By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 23: The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) on Tuesday launched a report titled “Distorted Development: Chinese Discourse on the Right to Development and its Implementation in Tibet”, which argued that the heightened Chinese model of development unequivocally ignores the existing human rights situation in Tibet. The press release noted that the report highlights “how Tibet offers important lessons into the limitations of the Chinese model of development.”
TCHRD Director Tsering Tsomo remarked that the stark difference between economic rights and human rights under the governance of China is emblematic of a shortcut to development and modernity. “Chinese government insists that the economic welfare of the people is the most important right. This Chinese interpretation threatens to undermine fundamental political, civil and cultural rights by making them subservient to economic rights. There is an urgent need to listen to the Tibetan experience in the development discourse that China unashamedly promises,” she said.
The rights group noted that the model of development is “implemented through a statist, top-down model, [which] is inconsiderate of, and as a result damaging to, the collective rights of already marginalised and disempowered groups.” The report dismisses the official Chinese rhetoric that portrays Tibetan as uninterested, or apathetic to developing themselves.
Tsomo suggested that the interdependent nature of political including religious freedom, environmental protection, and language advocacy shouldn’t be driven by state interests. She further pointed out that the government fails to provide any “disaggregated data” to show the number of Tibetans actually benefitting from this model of development.
The report recommended several actions to rectify this distorted image by urging international human rights organisations to reject China’s attempts to prioritise economic rights over others. The Dharamshala-based organisation also urged the United States to maintain a strong presence across all key UN organisations, citing the previous Trump administration’s move to withdraw from various organisations (including WHO, Paris Climate Agreement, UNHRC, WTO) bolstered China to cover-up their human rights violations on the international platform.