(TibetanReview.net, Jun12’20) – The US State Department has criticized China for a series of religious repressions, violations, violence and discrimination it had carried out in occupied Tibet in its 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the report on Jun 10.
The report said, in its separate Tibet section, that in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas under Chinese rule, “there were reports of forced disappearances, arrests, torture, physical abuse, including sexual abuse, and prolonged detentions without trial of individuals due to their religious practices.”
The 115-page report said that China banned Tibetans from showing loyalty to the Dalai Lama in the name of forbidding them from “accepting domination by external forces” and harming “national security”.
It also accused China of now plotting to appoint its own successor to the Dalai Lama once the Tibetan Buddhist leader, who turns 85 next month, eventually passes away.
“In official statements, government officials often likened supporters of the Dalai Lama to terrorists and gang members,” the report added.
Responding to the State Department’s report, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, has said in a statement Jun 10 that China’s plan to appoint its own Dalai Lama was a threat to religious freedom worldwide.
“The CCP is also seeking to interfere in the succession of the next Dalai Lama, which would undermine the religious freedoms of Buddhist practitioners around the world,” said Risch who is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that is currently considering the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, a bipartisan bill that will dramatically upgrade US support for Tibetans once it is passed.
Among the long list of religious repressions in Tibet by China cited in the report were the following:
- Forbidding Tibetan schoolchildren from taking part in religious activities during their two-month winter break.
- Forcing monks and nuns to dress in military uniforms and undergo political re-education in detention centers.
- Increasing scrutiny of social media posts about religious belief.
- Punishing Tibetans for owning photos of the Dalai Lama and requiring monasteries to prominently display the Chinese flag and images of five Chinese Communist Party chairmen, from Mao Zedong down to current leader Xi Jinping.
- Instituting committees and working groups of CCP members and officials to manage general administrative affairs in monasteries.
- Preventing religious leaders and lay worshippers from traveling to monasteries outside their home regions and making it difficult for them to travel to India to take part in religious events with the Dalai Lama.
- Continuing a campaign to “Sinicize” Tibetan Buddhism.
- Requiring Tibetan lamas to get “approval” from Chinese government entities in order to reincarnate.
- Forcing about 100 monks from 73 monasteries to take part in a training on reincarnations led by Gyaltsen Norbu, the 11th Panchen Lama appointed by China in place of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who was abducted by China in 1995 and had remains disappeared ever since.