By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, February 23: Global rights watchdog, Amnesty International, in its annual report of 2017-18 released on Thursday said that repression carried out under ‘anti-separatism’ campaigns remained severe in Tibetan-populated areas and government’s continued practice of drafting and enacting new laws under ‘national security’ guise presented serious threats to human rights.
“Ethnic Tibetans continued to face discrimination and restrictions on their rights to freedom of religion and belief, of opinion and expression, of peaceful assembly and of association,” said the London-based rights group, adding that at least six Tibetans self-immolated during the year in protest against the Chinese repressions.
Since 2009, 151 Tibetans have self-immolated as protest against the Chinese government’s rule in Tibet, demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Amnesty International fears that the revised ‘Regulations on Religious Affairs’, which came into effect from February 1, is another government mechanism through which the state could control every aspect of religious practices. “The revised law could be used to further suppress the right to freedom of religion and belief, especially for Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and unrecognized churches,” said the report titled ‘The state of the world’s human rights’.
Citing the death of prominent Chinese activist and Nobel Laureate, Lui Xiaobo, in custody the report noted the practice of detaining human rights defenders outside formal detention facilities and sometimes incommunicado for long periods. It fears that it poses additional risk of torture and other ill treatment to the detainees.
The rights group also highlighted China tightening its grip over an already well-censored cyberspace with Cyber security Law, which came into effect from June 1, 2017. As per the law, it is obligatory for Internet companies operating in China to censor users’ content.
The report noted, “In September, China’s dominant messaging service WeChat introduced new terms of service to collect a wide range of personal information, and made data on its over 900 million users available to the government.”