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No improvement in situation in Tibet: TCHRD annual report

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By Shyamal Sinha,New Delhi

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy  released its annual report encompassing a wide range of issues that collectively point to “no improvement” in the situation inside Tibet in 2015. The report was published in three languages.

The two prime new developments coming out of the assessment and research by the Dharamshala based group; firstly, China’s attempt to include “legal justifications for repression” thereby essentially legalizing the oppressive practices as law of the land. “China passed laws on national security and counterterrorism that appear to do little but provide China with a convenient pretext to continue violating human rights,” the TCHRD said at a press conference Friday. Secondly, the sinister effort that “prioritized rhetoric over substance” while failing to implement any measures that contribute positively to the already degrading eco system which many experts say is “irreversible”.

The Chinese government is especially proficient in making untoward pledges while addressing climate related issues over the Tibetan plateau and mainland China. The case in point, TCHRD Director Tsering Tsomo points out, “The rate of China’s use of coal as a fuel is more than the rest of the other countries using coal put together, yet the government during the COP 21 meet last year in Paris put forth resolutions for effective cutback of carbon emission only after 2030, until then they plan to look the other way”.

The 2015 edition also dedicates detailed report on China’s “mass surveillance” laws and policies and the targeting and persecution of religious figures such as the late Tulku Tenzin Delek who died in detention. “Religious figures were targeted for disappearance, detention, and, sometimes, death. Local Chinese police also detained monks and laypeople, and in many cases, they used pretence to detain community leaders, who are frequently religious leaders,” the report says.

Researcher Tsering Gyal of TCHRD says, “Religion being the core of the Tibetan existence inside Tibet, Chinese policies and laws of late have increasingly begun to show extreme prejudice on matters related to religion.”

Last year saw a lower number of Tibetans inside resorting to self immolation as form of protest yet many have protested solo despite arrests, torture and disappearance. 12 Tibetans self immolated in the last four months of 2014 alone yet in the whole of 2015, only 9 people self immolated. “The reduction in the numbers can be attributed to ruthless measures such as criminalizing the peaceful act and punishing the families and friends of self immolators”, said Tsomo.

The crackdown on public gatherings and assembly have also been reported in the recent past. In the beginning of the month, Tibetans in Mangra and Ngaba has resorted to hold prayers in the secrecy of their homes due to the intense crack down.

The 194 page report encompasses detailed research material with chapters on religious freedom, rights to privacy and chilling effects, environment, civil and political rights and international community.

The 2015 annual report on “human rights situation in Tibet” is published in three languages; Tibetan, Chinese and English “as it caters to the three main players in the whole dynamic which are Tibet, China and the international community,” says Senior Researcher of TCHRD Tenzin Nyingjey.

Currently, there are 2081 known political prisoners in Chinese prison, out of which 967 are monastic. In 2015 alone, 68 Tibetans have been added to the tally.