Tibetan resistance against China’s intensification of assimilationist policies is stronger than ever.
London: In its attempts to counter a perceived Western backlash against what China calls its peaceful and inevitable rise, the Chinese government is making effective use of global institutional mechanisms with mixed success.
But one global organization that China has actually manipulated for its own deceptive purposes is the United Nations.
If the world needed proof of how China is carrying out its devious strategy, just look at the recent “controversial” visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, to China – the first such visit in 17 years.
The Chinese government – led by the Chinese Communist Party – first armed access to China (including the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) by making the visit conditional on the leader’s acceptance of human rights. the UN man that his visit (which was first commandeered long ago in 2018) would not be an “investigation”. This then turned his visit into a “closed loop” visit, very conveniently citing the government’s notorious zero-Covid policy, thereby severely restricting the small purpose this visit was intended to achieve.
Human rights groups and activists have repeatedly called on the UN rights chief to use her visit to confront Chinese authorities with credible evidence and testimony of genocidal acts perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims illegally. held in mass internment camps. The Central Tibetan Administration (the government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, India) and Tibet support groups around the world have asked Bachelet to also include occupied Tibet, ranked by the US Freedom House as the country less free again. visit, but she thought otherwise.
His official statement after the visit was as disappointing as his visit was ineffective. You could be forgiven for thinking the statement may have been issued by the Chinese state. It was loaded with official Chinese terms such as the use of the term “vocational training centers” instead of “internment camps”. He also endorsed the Chinese version of human rights, that of equating them with economic development and poverty reduction. By reproducing the Chinese state’s narrative on human rights and Xinjiang, Ms. Bachelet used her position and high office to do China’s bidding, giving the Chinese government a huge diplomatic victory.
So much so that the Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs took advantage of Ms. Bachelet’s visit and her words to declare to the world that her visit had “enhanced the understanding of the evolution of human rights in China”, inflicting even more pain and suffering on those who seek justice and answers from the brutal regime.
No wonder more than 230 rights groups, including Free Tibet, signed a strong joint letter on June 8 calling for Bachelet’s immediate resignation.
Except for a passing reference to Tibet in her post-visit statement, Ms. Bachelet has never said the word “Tibet” since the day she took office four years ago.
China has completely closed Tibet to the outside world. Diplomats, officials and journalists cannot enter Tibet, and at the same time Tibetans inside cannot easily escape into exile due to pervasive intrusive surveillance and severe restrictions on Tibetan movement – something China doesn’t want the world to see.
The illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet – which began in the 1950s – continues to this day, with the intensification of Sinicization policies implemented by Chinese authorities to deliberately eliminate the unique religious, linguistic and cultural identity and distinct from Tibetans.
According to well-researched and credible information provided by Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, Chinese authorities in Drago County in Kham, eastern Tibet (incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province) demolished in late 2021 Buddhist religious symbols, including a towering 99-foot Buddha Statue (whose construction was approved by local party authorities and completed in 2015) and a monastic school that provided holistic education to more than 100 student monks, who have were forced to attend colonial-style boarding schools run by the Chinese state. of demolition.
The Tibet Action Institute, a human rights watchdog group focused on Tibet, released a report last year on China’s vast colonial boarding schools in Tibet, which pointed out that around 800,000 Tibetan children aged 6 at 18, or 78% of Tibetan students, live in Chinese colonial boarding schools.
The report quotes a former boarder who said: “Every day for three years, I never felt happy to start a day or go to class…my only thought was, ‘When I get home ‘.”
Meanwhile, an expert Tibetan eyewitness recently confirmed the existence of a compulsory system of colonial preschool boarding schools for children between the ages of four and six run by the Chinese government across historic Tibet. Dr. Gyal Lo, a Tibetan educator who left China last year, has personally visited more than 50 such schools and estimates that at least 100,000 Tibetan children live in these institutions.
Tibetan children as young as four years old are driven from their parents and families and placed in state-run colonial preschools in a coordinated and well-planned move where the language of instruction is Chinese and where children learn to be loyal to the Chinese Communist Party and become patriotic Chinese citizens, alienating them completely from the Tibetan language, culture and religion.
The myth of China’s assertion that Tibetans inside Tibet lead happy and contented lives was shattered when a young and popular Tibetan singer, Tsewang Norbu, 25, reportedly died in February this year. before the Tibetan New Year, after having immolated himself in front of the cathedral of Lhasa. Historic Potala Palace, bringing the total number of Tibetan self-immolations to 159 (including one by TaPhun, 81, the following month).
How many other Tibetans inside Tibet have to burn their bodies for the outside world to sit up and notice?
China cannot wish for an end to the Tibet-China conflict. The atheist state also cannot claim ownership of the estate of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which is a purely religious matter. The only peaceful way to resolve the conflict is through dialogue between representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government. The sooner this reality sinks into the minds of Chinese leaders, the better. Meanwhile, the international community, including India, has a role to play in bringing China to the negotiating table.
India, our guru – from where Buddhism came to Tibet – and the people of India have done the most for Tibetans, especially during our time of great need. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama notes, we Tibetans have also been reliable chelas, keeping alive the rich, centuries-old Nalanda Buddhist tradition that continues to benefit millions around the world. I hope India will play a timely and meaningful role, even considering that a speedy resolution of the Tibet-China conflict would be in India’s long-term interest and security.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who turns 87 next month, has assured the Tibetan people that he will live another 15-20 years, which is great!
With its guiding vision, the Central Tibetan Administration continues to spearhead the political movement, as a new generation of highly educated and motivated young Tibetan leaders advances the struggle for freedom. The resolute resistance of the Tibetans is stronger than it has ever been.
A former Tibetan civil servant, Tenzin Kunga, served in the Tibet Office in London until 2020. He currently works as an advocacy officer in Free Tibet, UK. https://freetibet.org/