By Tenzin Dharpo
Sen. Marco Rubio (R), and Rep. Chris Smith discuss the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's annual report on human rights conditions and the rule of law in China in Washington, Oct. 10, 2018. photo- RFA
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 11: The 2018 report of a United State’s independent agency, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), published Wednesday, said there is a growing repression on multiple fronts in Tibet. The report shows deteriorating freedom of religion, movement and expression, heightened surveillance, status of Tibetan culture and environment concerns inside Tibet.
The Chair of the Commission Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, “China’s authoritarianism at home directly threatens our freedom as well as our most deeply held values and national interests. The joint statement with Co-Chair Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) also said that human rights situation inside China including Tibet has steadily been on a downward trajectory with incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ascendency in the Chinese Communist Party.”
The report pointed that the stall in dialogue between Beijing and the representatives of Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the last nine years despite the latter’s relinquishment of independence demands for Tibet. His own reincarnation as well as that of religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism, the commission recommended, should be best left with the Tibetan people and not the Chinese government.
The commission said, “The Party and government continued to regulate Tibetan Buddhism and its practices in an effort to strengthen their control over Tibetan Buddhists,” citing clampdown on key religious and monastics sites like Larung Gar that remain largely demolished as well as the string of 147 (159 according to exile sources) self immolation by Tibetans since 2009.
On the ever-growing surveillance and progression of Tibet towards a “police state”, the report stated that the, “Domestic security spending in two Tibetan prefectures in Sichuan increased nearly 300 percent between 2007 and 2016, while the TAR’s domestic security spending grew 404 percent over the same time period, compared to a 215 percent in- crease nationwide.”
The report highlighted the cases of Tibetan political prisoners such as Tashi Wangchuk, now released writer Shokjang and activist and filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen who escaped to the US last year, to point towards China’s clampdown on freedom of expression in Tibet.
Among its many recommendations to US policy toward China, CECC urged prioritization of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which would restrict entry in the US to Chinese officials who prevent Americans from entering Tibet. The bill which was passed in the House of Representatives and now needs to be approved by the Senate. “I’m confident that if we can get it onto the floor of the Senate in some form, it would pass without even a vote. We want to get it there, we believe there’s support for it, and we’re working hard to get it accomplished,” Senator Rubio said at the press conference on Wednesday.