By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 9 May 2018
The human rights situation in Tibet has worsened because of the Chinese government’s fear of Tibetans’ uprising to seek greater freedom, according to rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
“There is discrimination against Tibetans in general, and the list of human rights violations and abuses is long,” said Tsering Tsomo, the Director of TCHRD during the launch of the 2017 Annual Report on Human Rights situation in Tibet.
She said the key areas of concern around human rights abuses committed by Chinese authorities in 2017 are mass surveillance and its repercussions on the rights to privacy and freedom of expression and opinion; the right to freedom of religion and belief; arbitrary detention and torture; and development policies with special focus on poverty-alleviation programmes.
Under the guise of development and stability, Chinese authorities have implemented various mass-surveillance methods to monitor and control Tibetans.
“Through the numerous mass-surveillance schemes, the Chinese government has managed to apply severe levels of control and domination over Tibetans, leaving little to no space for expression of criticism and dissent,” Tsomo says.
Following the 2008 Tibetan uprising, the use of facial recognition cameras increased throughout public spaces and monasteries in 2017. Such cameras started to be used in China as early as 2005.
Tsomo said that there may not be security officials in uniforms patrolling the streets, but the government controls the people through surveillance techniques such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that subject Tibetans to even more violations of their basic rights.
Introduction of the “Four Emphases and Four Loves” was to stop Tibetans from criticising the government and its policies, encourage them to show loyalty to the Party and Xi Jinping, and oppose anything that threatens the Party and the state security.
It also discourages Tibetans from showing their loyalty to the Dalai Lama, and wants them to replace that commitment with feelings of patriotism and loyalty towards the Party and the Chinese state.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions were said to be common among dissents, and torture remained rampant in pre-trial detention where detainees are frequently forced into false confessions.
She urged the Chinese government to halt its orchestrated crackdown on civil society; repeal legislation and policies that breach the right to privacy and freedom of expression; and involve local Tibetans in decision making of the developmental projects in their areas.