Human Rights in Tibet

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Human Rights in Tibet

In 1949, newly communist China sent 35,000 troops to invade Tibet (Tibet Support Group UK 1). The year after that a treaty was made. The treaty acknowledged sovereignty over Tibet, but recognized the Tibetan government's autonomy with respect to internal affairs. The Chinese violated the treaty on many occasions, though. This lead to the National Uprising in 1959, and after that, the exile of the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, and many governmental leaders (Office of Tibet 1). During and after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, there was mass destruction of Tibetan buildings. Over 6,000 monasteries, temples and other cultural and historic buildings were destroyed. The contents of the thousands of buildings destroyed was taken back to China and sold (Office of Tibet 3). The Tibetan people tried to rebuild their country, but the political leader who tried to start the "recuperation" policy was forced to resign from office shortly after (Office of Tibet 2). During the National Uprising alone 87,000 Tibetans were killed. Another 430,000 died in the fifteen years of guerilla warfare that followed. Sources also say that up to 260,000 have died in prisons and in labour camps (Tibet Support Group UK 3). Also, 200 unarmed civilians were killed during non-violent protests between 1987 and 1989. Overall 1,200,000 Tibetans have died since 1959. That is roughly one fifth of the population of Tibet (Office of Tibet 1). That does not include all of the deaths of Tibetans during the Chinese invasion, and all of those who froze to death trying to flee Tibet. The Tibetan people who survived the killing were denied what most consider primal freedoms. One of which is freedom of religion. Tibetan religious practice was forcibly suppressed until 1979 (Tibet Support Group UK 4). Also, in early 1989, Chinese authorities undertook a campaign to tighten control over religious practice. This campaign intensified the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement (Churchward 1). The campaign affected Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Buddhists. Another religious suppression on the part of the Chinese is that they have banned public celebrations of Tibet's Great Prayer Festival because China believed that it would lead to nationalist demonstrations (Churchward 2). Now all Tibetan churches, mosques, and temples must be registered, and to do so, they must meet official standards (Churchward 1). Also, the only people permitted to perform religious duties, according to Document #19, are those who after examination are deemed "politically reliable, patriotic, and law-abiding" (Churchward 3). On May 23, 1951, the 17-point agreement was enacted. It stated that the Chinese would not interfere with Tibet's existing system of government and society. China never kept those promises, though, and in 1959 reneged on the treaty altogether (Tibet Support Group UK 1). China renamed two of Tibet's three provinces as part of China. The remaining province was named Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), but there is no evidence to support China's claim that TAR is autonomous. All of TAR's local legislation is subject to approval of the central government in Beijing, and all local government is subject to the regional party, which in Tibet has never been run by a Tibetan (Tibet Support Group UK 3). The Tibetan people also do not have the right to a fair trial. In Tibet non-violent opposition to the Chinese is met with charges of "counter revolution" and the offender is classed an enemy of the people. Chinese authorities regard anyone arrested for nationalist activities as undeserving of the protection of the law, because they have lost their right to be considered part of "the people" (Lawasia and Tibet Information Network 31). The Tibetans suspected of opposing the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) have been held as political prisoners for lengthy periods, decades for some. The US government presented China with a...
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