By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 3: The US State Department in its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reiterated the continued human rights abuses against Tibetan people inside Tibet. The report released on Tuesday documented a decline in human rights around the world, noting the increase in Chinese surveillance, discrimination, and forced assimilation of Tibetans.
The Department said that 273 Tibetans were known to be detained in violation of human rights standards as of late 2019. The report said that the Chinese government treats the Dalai Lama supporters as a “criminal organization”, where the authorities have arrested at least 101 Tibetans accused of being in the “Dalai Lama Clique”. It cited the case of the Tibetan herder Lhamo who was detained in June 2020 on the charges of sending money to relatives in India, and eventually succumbed to death after facing torture in custody.
The report highlighted the massive surveillance system operated by China’s Ministry of Public Security which installed tens of millions of surveillance cameras throughout the country to monitor the public. “The monitoring and disruption of telephone and internet communications were particularly widespread in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas. The government installed surveillance cameras in monasteries in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan areas outside Tibet,” the report stated.
The Chinese authorities have increased the maximum reward for information leading to the arrest of ‘deviant’ social media users to 300,000 renminbi ($42,800). The State Department said that China created a “double-linked household system” in Tibet that groups households and establishments, and further encourages them to report transgressions by other groups to the government. It also noted that the ethnic Chinese held an “overwhelming majority of top government, police, and military positions in the TAR and other Tibetan areas.”
The US-based International Campaign for Tibet said in its analysis of the report on Thursday, “The Chinese government is trying to undermine the very idea of universal human rights by claiming to have its own, culturally specific model. But anyone who looks at the Tibet section of the State Department’s 2020 report can tell that China’s claims are a joke.
“From torturing and beating Tibetan political prisoners to death after sham trials, to detaining Tibetans for speaking out about COVID-19, to blocking foreign journalists’ access to Tibet and treating support for the Dalai Lama as an organized crime, it’s obvious that China’s model of human rights is no human rights at all.”