Tibet, “the Roof of the World”

Country background information
Tibet was an indipendent nation with its own history that can be traced back for over 2000 years, but in 1950 the People's Republic of China, in the middle of the “cultural revolution” invaded Tibet. The invasion and occupation of Tibet were without doubt an act of aggression and violation of International law.
The Dalai Lama, political and spiritual head of Tibet, tried a peaceful solution with the Chinese , but China's political line was to turn Tibet into a Chinese province and make the Tibetan people surrender; this was the start of the Chinese repression against which the Tibetans resisted. On 10th March 1959 the tension rose to the extent to cause an open revolt. The Chinese Army stopped the revolt in an extreme brutal way killing more than 87.000 civilians in Central Tibet between March and October of that year.
The Dalai Lama, followed by about 100.000 Tibetans, fled and asked for political asylum in India where a Tibetan government in exile was created which was based on democratic principles and which is still very active. At present the refugees are more than 135.000 and the Tibetans are still leaving their country in order to escape persecution.
Chine ruled what was left of Tibet with brute force and repression. About 1,2 millions Tibetans were killed (one fifth of the population!), 6.254 monasteries destroyed, about 100.000 Tibetans taken to labor camps and on top of that a devastating deforestation was pursued.

Human Rights

“Tibetans have suffered and continue to suffer repression and discrimination under PRC rule. Their rights to freedom of religion, association, speech, and assembly have been systematically violated, and those who challenge Chinese authority—particularly by expressing their loyalty to the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile since 1959 and whom most Tibetans are believed to regard as their spiritual and political leader—are subject to detention, torture in custody, and other arbitrary abuses.  Security agencies are quick to treat even minor expressions of discontent as a disguised form of nationalist or separatist sentiment.”  a passage of “No One Has the Liberty to Refuse” by Human Right Watch.

Up to the present day the Tibetans do not have the basic human rights like freedom of opinion, speech and religion. Torture, imprisonment and death penalties are inflicted out without any proper trial in court. Only mentioning the name of the Dalai Lama is enough to be accused of separatism and getting arrested.
Thousands of religious and political prisoners are kept in prison and in forced labour camps where torture is commonly used. Tibetan woman are forced to be sterilized and to have abortions.
To study and teach Buddhism is forbidden. The apparent religious freedom has only been introduced for propaganda reasons and for tourism.
Medical care is not accessible to everybody and the best hospitals are only for Chinese nationals; education available to Chinese children is a lot better than the one Tibetans can get. 70% of the teaching posts in higher education are reserved for Chinese nationals. Furthermore Tibet is strictly under the control of the Chinese Communist party and the Chinese army. Beijing nominates all the higher government officials, and most of them  do not speak Tibetan.
Tibet has been also transformed into a vast military base where 500.000 Chinese soldiers are based, as well as a fourth of the Chinese nuclear missiles, estimated to consist in 550 nuclear weapons !!!
Despite the fact that the Commission for Internation Justice has found in Tibet both acts of genocide and the violation of sixteen points of the "Declaration of Human rights" and the General Assembly of the United Nations has approved several resolutions condemning China , for ‘violating the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people’ recommending China to respect the rights of the Tibetan people including the rights of self-determination, the situation in Tibet has not improved and the politics of denigrating the Dalai Lama continues more than ever on the part of the Chinese government. At present there are continuously Chinese threats against those Governments who receive the Dalai Lama for talks, declaring openly that future diplomatic relations between those governments and China will be deteriorated.

Useful Links:
- Download “No One Has the Liberty to Refuse” (published by Human Right Watch)
- "No One Has the Liberty to Refuse" on Human Right Watch web site
- Dalai Lama - Official web site
- Tibetan Government in exile - Official web site
- Central Tibetan Administration - Official web site