By Sherab Woeser
Phuntsok, a monk of Kirti monastery, set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. Two more Tibetans have died since and scores arrested as the situation in Kirti monastery continues to remain tense.
Tibet is among the world’s most repressive societies in the world with its citizens suffering from systematic and pervasive human rights violations, says a new report released on June 3 at the ongoing 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Freedom House, an independent watchdog organisation, in its report, Worst of the Worst 2011: The World’s Most Repressive Societies, listed Tibet and China in its list of the world’s worst human rights abusers.
While Tibet is placed under the ‘Not Free’ category at the bottom of the Political Rights and Civil Liberties rankings along with Burma and North Korea, China is shown just falling short of the bottom of the ratings scale along with eight other countries including Cuba and Syria.
Describing the current atmosphere in Tibet as one of ‘tight security’ similar to that of 2008, the report noted the lack of political freedom and representation of ethnic Tibetans in the administration.
“Under Chinese rule, Tibetans lack the right to determine their political future or freely elect their own leaders … The few ethnic Tibetans who occupy senior positions serve mostly as figureheads, often echoing official statements that condemn the Dalai Lama and emphasise Beijing’s role in developing Tibet’s economy”, the report said.
Highlighting the ‘tight control’ on the flow of information in Tibet and on all media, the report blamed Chinese authorities for enforcing ‘even more stringently in the TAR’ the online restrictions and cybercafé surveillance in place across China.
Directly challenging China’s claim of religious freedom in Tibet, the report said, “Since March 2008, the authorities have intensified ideological education campaigns, forcing monks, nuns, students, and merchants to recognise the CCP claim that China “liberated” Tibet and to denounce the Dalai Lama”.
Taking a jab at Tibet’s ‘abysmal’ judicial system, the report noted that ‘most judges lack legal education’ while defendants are given ‘minimal access to legal representation’.
“Torture remains widespread, with coerced confessions routinely admitted as evidence”, the report observed.
This is the 10th year in a row when Freedom House has assessed the human rights situation inside Tibet as among the worst in the world in its annual survey
on the state of global political rights and civil liberties.