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Repression in Tibetan Area of China


Golog Jigme, former political prisoner and human rights defender.

At an April 18 U.S. Congressional hearing, Tibetan monk and former political prisoner Golog Jigme described the torture he reports he experienced over the course of several detentions in China from 2008-2012.

At an April 18 U.S. Congressional hearing, Tibetan monk and former political prisoner Golog Jigme described the torture he reports he experienced over the course of several detentions in China from 2008-2012.

Unfortunately, such treatment of Tibetan political prisoners continues, according to the State Department’s 2015 report on human rights in China.

According to the report, the Chinese government’s respect for human rights in Tibetan regions remained poor in 2015.

“Under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, and combating separatism, the government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s Tibetan population…Other serious abuses included extrajudicial detentions, disappearances and torture.”

The State Department reports “Chinese officials severely beat, even to the point of death, some Tibetans who were incarcerated or otherwise in custody.” The report also cites the case of Tenzin Choedrag, an environmental NGO worker, who died two days after his release and reportedly suffered brain damage due to torture. There were also reports of recently released prisoners who were permanently disabled because of the harsh treatment they endured in prison.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, said in an interview that it is not in China’s interest to have permanent instability in Tibet:

“To the extent that there are people within the Chinese government who worry about separatism, about Tibet going its own way – the way to avoid the growth of those sorts of sentiments in Tibet is to work with, to engage in dialogue, with clearly legitimate leaders like the Dalai Lama who have consistently said over the years that Tibet should remain in China, and that all they are seeking is respect for basic human rights, respect for cultural traditions.”

At the release of the annual human rights reports, Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that a government’s respect for human rights is not only a moral obligation: “It’s an opportunity to harness the full energy of a country’s population in building a cohesive and prosperous society,” said Secretary Kerry.“And it doesn’t jeopardize stability; it enhances it.”

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