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Expanding the “Severe Punishments” in Tibet is a China’s Style

According to The People’s Daily: “On June 17, an air force division of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted actual combat exercise at a military airport on the snow-covered plateau to improve combat capability of the troops.”
Dharamshala: – Mr Chen Quanguo, the Chinese party chief in Tibet, recently claimed the government’s new “anti-separatism campaign”would not make a big difference to Tibet and its people, but expanding crime and severe punishment in Tibet has become the government’s style.

Mr Chen claimed “the anti-separatism campaign should be strengthened and will severely punish those officials who are more concerned with their personal welfare, or those who still want to follow the Dalai Lama group or support separatism.” The logic was clear: Preserve what the totalitarians in Beijing call “stability” and “harmony” to maintain state power.

“Repression incites resistance and such actions will further hamper any chance of long term stability that China is seeking in the region,” Tibetan administration member DickiChhoyang said in response to the remarks made by Chen. He then added: “Clearly this latest warning to Tibetan officials who revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama demonstrates that all is not well in Tibet after all.”

It is evident that the international community was misinformed by the Chinese authorities’ false claims about the “Lhasa Consensus,” which argued His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama presented a “distorted and incorrect” picture of Tibet. The report claimed Tibetans were happy and enjoyed religious freedom, and Western media were biased in their reports about Tibet.

Many expressed their disappointments after China repeatedly claimed that 100 foreign attendees had signed and agreed to the document at “the 2014 forum on Development in Tibet”.

Sir Bob Parker has disassociated himself from the Lhasa Consensus. In response to a question about whether he was aware of the content of the Lhasa Consensus, Sir Bob Parker responded: “Not at all. I’m aware that the statement was made but I certainly haven’t signed up to it. I think a number of people who were there were a little surprised to hear about that statement. Certainly the conference that I’ve been attending has been focused on sustainable development and there were no real political themes running through it at all.” Reportedly, Pat Breen (Irish Parliament) has refused to sign the Lhasa Consensus.

If China’s claim that Tibetans enjoy freedom and equality are true, after more than six decades later, then there should be freedom for Tibetan people – the protection and preservation of their culture, religion and national identity. However the so-called ‘socialist paradise’ has turned into an inhumane situation of empty promises.

Many Tibetans believe that the authorities immediately politicize any issue and connect them to “instability” or “Separatism” when in actuality there is an endemic issue of corruption and fear.

In an effort to crack down even harder on Tibetan writers, artists, intellectuals and cultural advocates who criticized failed Chinese government policies, starting in 2008, Tibetans are sentenced to death or life in prison for sending news about Tibetan protests – including self-immolation – to Tibetans abroad.

The government and Party initiated unprecedented measures to further strengthen control over the Tibetan religion and monastic institutions and transform them into entities prioritising loyalty to the CCP and patriotism toward China. These efforts run parallel to a desire to bring to an end His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s influence on Tibetan people in Tibet.

In 1949, the newly established Communist China led by the dictator Mao Zedong decided to invade his neighboring country, Tibet, with help of Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin.

Tibet at that time was intentionally isolated from the rest of the world, and only possessed a small, peaceful army. China has maintained their claim that Tibet was historically a part of its territory, yet pre-invasion Tibet had its own government, political system, distinct culture, language, religious traditions, and currency. The Tibetan government issued its own passports to travelers entering its borders or Tibetans who traveled abroad.

The ’17-Point Agreement’ was forced upon the Tibetan delegation with threats of personal harm and a full-scale Chinese military takeover of Tibet. When the Tibetan delegation expressed hesitation in complying with the demands of the Agreement, the Chinese warned, “It is up to you to choose whether Tibet would be liberated peacefully or by force. It is only a matter of sending a telegram to the PLA group to recommence their march into Tibet.” Such promises were soon broken when the Chinese strengthened their control over the country with an increasingly large military presence.

In the 64 years since the occupation of Tibet, the Chinese have attempted to “Sinocise” the Tibetans in an effort to more easily exert control over the Tibetan plateau, a land with an abundance of natural resources and vast acreage to accommodate China’s growing population. Such policies, however, have proved disastrously counterproductive, contributing to the destruction of Tibetan identity, widespread self-immolations, and growing instability across the Tibetan Plateau.

Since 1950, the government has imposed severe punishments on Tibetans convicted of crimes. The national flag and images of Tibet’s spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are prohibited. Tibetans can be punished simply for having nationalistic songs and images on their phones and laptops.

According to an April 2013 US State Department report, China has implemented severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing Tibetans’ civil rights. Indeed, “Serious human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests.” Media, international human rights NGOs and UN human rights institutions are banned from Tibet. International think-tank Freedom House has given Tibet a “worst-of-the-worst” freedom rating of 7.0, while the chair of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee has described it as “one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world.” More than 132 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese rule since 2009.

By order of the central government in 2012, the authorities of Qinghai Province cancelled aid to the victims’ relatives and suspended all development projects in villages and towns where self-immolations have occurred. In November 2012, nine Tibetans set themselves on fire in the province. All those who have paid tribute, even with small messages of condolence, to the young people who committed suicide, are punished. Severe penalties even find their way to party officials who are too “soft” with the activists.

On 9 November, about 5,000 children and teachers from the schools of Rongwo city organized a peaceful demonstration denouncing the apathy of the authorities and the media towards the increase self-immolations. The day before in Dowa, some young students lowered the Chinese flag from their institutes and from government offices, in protest.

After these events, on November 14 the authorities of Malho Prefecture and local Communist Party officials issued a five-point directive to punish cases of self-immolation. In the first point, the government orders all forms of support to be cancelled for three years for the relatives of the Tibetan people who committed suicide in protest, declaring that all local officials are required to implement the directive. Those who violate this order will be punished in exemplary fashion, according to the directive.

The measure also cancels development projects and public investments in the villages and cities where such protests have occurred. The second point orders the authorities to investigate officials who have shown solidarity with the victims, by attending a funeral, making a visit or sending a message of condolence.

The Communist Party members have an obligation to report the possible involvement of peers or superiors. In the third point, Beijing instead punishes all religious and secular authorities who celebrated the funeral or made visits to the families of those who have committed self-immolation. The fourth point orders local police to launch an immediate investigation into all those who were involved in the demonstrations, public ceremonies or joint prayer services in memory of those who committed suicide. The agents are authorized to conduct interrogations and stop any suspects. The fifth orders all local governments to publish the regulation and enforce it. Those who do not abide by the rules are to be arrested and prosecuted.

To increase the directive’s effectiveness, Beijing announced the news on all local media, accusing His Holiness the Dalai Lama of encouraging young people to set themselves on fire in protest, creating instability in the Tibetan-majority areas. In reality, the Tibetan leader has consistently criticized the form of self-immolation, in various messages inviting young people not to waste their lives with these extreme gestures.

Since 1950, an estimated 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese. Records of the Tibetan Administration show that between 1949 and 1979 the following deaths occurred: 173,221 Tibetans died after being tortured in prison. 156,758 Tibetans have been executed by the Chinese. 432,705 Tibetans were killed while fighting Chinese soldiers. 342,970 Tibetans have starved to death. 92,731 Tibetans publicly tortured to death. 9,002 Tibetans have committed suicide.

Since then, many thousands more have died as a direct result of persecution, imprisonment, torture and beatings. China has ratified a number of UN conventions, including those related torture and racial discrimination, and yet has repeatedly violated these in Tibet.

After the peaceful mass protests in all parts of Tibet in 2008, more than 200 Tibetans were killed or disappeared. Since 2009, more than 132 Tibetans are known to have set themselves on fire inside the Himalayan region in protest against the repressive Chinese rule of Tibet.

What has happened to Tibet over the last six decades is a great crime against humanity; the Communist regime in China is a criminal itself.

The recent claims made by the CCP chief in Tibet once again prove the false nature of the so-called Lhasa Consensus and reflects China’s totalitarian nature and ignorance of human rights, peace, freedom and democracy. The question now is:Are the Tibetans truly happy in Tibet, enjoying a socialist paradise?