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2012 Human Rights Report On Tibet

Mass protest in Dharamsala as self immolation crosses 100.
Mass protest in Dharamsala as self immolation crosses 100.

The Chinese government’s respect for and protection of human rights in Tibetan regions deteriorated markedly.

“During the year the [Chinese government’s] respect for and protection of human rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas deteriorated markedly,” the annual Human Rights Report issued by the U.S. Department of State indicated.

2012 Human Rights Report On Tibet
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“Under the banner of maintaining social stability, 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 ethnic Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement.”

“Other serious human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detentions, and house arrests. There was a deepening perception among Tibetans that they were systemically targeted for economic marginalization and educational and employment discrimination,” the Human Rights Report continued.

“The total number of reported self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist laypersons and clergy during the year [2012], 83, was more than six times that of 2011. . . . The Chinese government responded harshly to self-immolations . . . An editorial in the December 3 Gansu Daily, an online news site, noted that [China’s] Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security had jointly issued the ‘Opinion on Handling Cases of Self-Immolation in Tibetan Areas According to Law,’ which criminalizes various activities associated with self-immolation, including ‘organizing, plotting, inciting, compelling, luring, instigating, or helping others to commit self-immolation,’ each of which may be prosecuted as ‘intentional homicide,’” the Human Rights Report said. “Not long after [this issuance], a number of friends, relatives, and associates of self-immolators across the Tibetan Plateau were detained, arrested, or sentenced.”

“[The annual Human Rights Report] sends a very clear message that all governments have a responsibility to protect universal human rights and they help to blaze a path forward for places where those rights are either threatened or denied,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said when releasing this year’s Human Rights Report. “[It] reaffirms . . . America’s commitment to advancing basic freedoms and dignity of all people, and our support for the brave men and women around the world who are working towards that goal . . . There are people of courage, amazing courage . . . And we need to stand up for them and stand behind them.”