Once one of the world's most self-contained and religious civilizations,
Tibet is now struggling to survive its fourth decade of Chinese occupation.
Because Buddhism and Tibetan nationalism are closely intertwined, Chinese
authorities have persecuted monks and nuns. The fundamental human rights
of the Tibetan people continue to be severely abused:
Chinese government authorities commit widespread human rights violations
in Tibet, including instances of torture, arbitrary arrest, detention without
public trial, and rigid controls on freedom of speech and the press.
Thousands of Tibetans have been arrested in Lhasa since the fall of 1987.
Hundreds remain as political prisoners, detained for their advocacy of Tibetan
independence from China (primarily through peaceful demonstrations) or for
proclaiming allegiance to the Dalai Lama.
=>The proportion of "counter-revolutionaries" to common criminals in Tibetan
prisons today is almost 21 times higher than in China proper.
Religion is the strongest bond that defines Tibetans as a people and a nation.
China has ruthlessly sought to destroy the traditional social system and
religion of Tibet:
=>Monks and nuns who express dissenting political views are persecuted.
It is reported that the number of nuns detained for political reasons tripled
between 1991 and 1994.
=> Before China's 1950 invasion of Tibet, there were 6,259 monasteries
throughout the land. By 1976, only eight monasteries and nunneries had escaped
=> Even today, admission to monasteries is controlled and political
indoctrination is part of the monastic life.
=> The propagation of the teachings of Buddha, a mainstay of Tibet's religious
belief system, is discouraged and strictly controlled.
China's development projects have encouraged a massive influx of Han Chinese
into Tibet, which overwhelms Tibet's traditional culture and dilutes Tibetan
demographic dominance. In Lhasa alone where Tibetans are estimated at 60,000,
there are now approximately 150,000 Chinese.
Although the Chinese Communist Party claims that its occupation has brought
great socioeconomic advancements to Tibet, few Tibetans personally benefit
from the changes:
=>The Tibetan population is still among the poorest in the world
=>The literacy rate of Tibetans in Tibet is lower than those in exile
=>Unemployment among Tibetans (as opposed to Chinese settlers) in Tibet
is growing fast
Sources: Human Rights Watch 1994 Country Report, International Campaign for
Tibet, Tibet: Proving Truth from Facts (Dharamsala 1993), Tibet Information
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