Tuesday 30 July 2013

China Human Rights FCO report

 The UK Foreign and Commonwealth office regularly publish updates to their Human Rights Reports and this includes China.  You can read the report along with the latest update and leave a comment at the following link 

China Human Rights Record - FCO Report

The report includes

A number of human rights defenders around the country were harassed, illegally detained, or placed under house arrest in this period, with such incidents increasing around the anniversary of the Tiananmen unrest. These included Mao Hengfeng, Hu Jia, Xu Zhiyong, Tibetan blogger Woeser and rights lawyers Teng Biao and Tang Jingling.

There were five reported self-immolations in Tibetan areas of China during this period. There were also further criminal convictions of Tibetans accused of inciting or glorifying self-immolations, as well as of Tibetan writers and musicians accused of promoting ‘splittism’. We continue to receive reports that ethnic Tibetans face extensive restrictions on their ability to travel freely within China. British diplomats were refused permission to visit the Tibetan Autonomous Region during this period.

please read and leave a comment

Tibetans unwanted at Chinese factories making Apple products: Report

Phayul[Tuesday, July 30, 2013 03:34]
Pegatron recruitment poster, specifying their employment criteria: “Hui, Sala, Yi, Tibetan, Uighur etc. who have unique lifestyles and customs will not be accepted.” (Translated by Free Tibet)
Pegatron recruitment poster, specifying their employment criteria: “Hui, Sala, Yi, Tibetan, Uighur etc. who have unique lifestyles and customs will not be accepted.” (Translated by Free Tibet)
A labour rights group on Monday accused Chinese factories that make Apple products of indulging in discriminatory hiring practices against ethnic minorities, including Tibetans.

The US based China Labout Watch published an investigative report detailing the labor violations of three factories of Pegatron Group, a major supplier to Apple. Investigations revealed at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations. 

The group accused Pegatron of "discriminatory hiring practices" including refusing to hire members of China's so called ethnic minorities including Huis, Tibetans, or Uighurs.

It also said managers screened out job applicants who were pregnant or older than 35, and rushed through safety training. 

Pegatron assembles products including the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 for Apple, according to the report.

China Labor Watch said it sent undercover investigators to factories in Shanghai and one in Suzhou, a nearby city, that employ a total of 70,000 people and conducted nearly 200 worker interviews between March and July this year. 

The group said the majority of Pegatron production employees worked 66 to 69 hours a week, far above China's legal limit of 49 hours. It said pregnant women sometimes were required to work 11-hour days, more than the eight-hour legal limit, and employees were pressured to falsify time cards to conceal the violations. 

The report noted that "many workers" were under 18, some of them interns from vocational schools. 

The group found violations including discrimination against women, excessive work hours, poor living conditions, health and safety problems and pollution.

UK based Free Tibet in a release on Monday noted that although ethnic discrimination in employment practices theoretically violates Chinese employment law, in practice, Tibetans have reported that they are frequently the victims of many forms of discrimination, both within Chinese-occupied Tibet and when living, travelling or seeking employment in China.

Free Tibet translated a photograph provided in the report of a Pegatron recruitment poster, specifying their employment criteria. The group confirmed that with regard to the “nationality” of employees, the poster states:

“Hui, Sala, Yi, Tibetan, Uighur etc. who have unique lifestyles and customs will not be accepted.”

“There is ample evidence that Tibetans face continuous and systematic discrimination in China regardless of theoretical legal protections,” Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said. “Any company operating in China, partnering with Chinese businesses or using Chinese suppliers needs to accept its responsibility for ensuring the rights of Tibetans and other employees are respected.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said in a statement it was "committed to providing safe and fair working conditions" and would investigate the claims about Pegatron. The Taiwanese company's chief executive, in a separate statement, also promised to investigate.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Reports on Tibetan Human rights

[A series of reports have been published on Tibet in the first six months of 2013 by respected human rights organisations, the US government and Tibet organisations. The reports highlight a variety of issues facing Tibetans, including human rights abuses, religious repression, lack of press freedom and forced resettlement. Below are summaries and links to these reports.

Human & Civil Rights
Freedom House logoJanuary 2013: Freedom House
Freedom in the World 2013

Freedom House, a US-based NGO, classified Tibet amongst the “Worst of the Worst” 
alongside countries such as Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Tibet had the lowest possible ratings for both political rights and civil liberties. The report noted that the Chinese government’s “security clampdown... was sustained during 2012 and increasingly extended to Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region”. In response to self-immolation protests the authorities “responded with communications blackouts, “patriotic education” campaigns, travel restrictions, and intrusive new controls on monasteries”. Read report

US State Dept logopril 2013: US State Department
Human Rights Report for 2012

The Chinese government was engaging in the “severe repression” of Tibet and that human rights in Tibet had “deteriorated markedly” during 2012. “Under the banner of maintaining social stability, the [Chinese] government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s ethnic Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association and movement.” Download report (Tibet section: pp 83-107) 
Amnesty International logoMay 2013: Amnesty International
Annual Report 2013

The Chinese government maintained a “stranglehold on political activists, human rights defenders and online activists, subjecting many to harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance”. In the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Chinese authorities “continued to repress Tibetans’ right to enjoy and promote their own culture as well as their rights to freedom of religion, expression, peaceful association and assembly”. In addition, “socioeconomic discrimination against ethnic Tibetans persisted unchecked”. Read China section

Religious Freedom
USCIRF logoApril 2013: US Commission for International Religious Freedom: Annual Report 2013
Religious freedom conditions in Tibet are “worse now than at any time over the past decade”. According to the report, China is one of the “most egregious violators” of religious freedom in the world, along with countries such as North Korea, Iran and Sudan. Download report (China & Tibet section: pp 29-45) 
 State Dept logoMay 2013: US State Department
International Religious Freedom Report 2012
The Chinese government’s respect for and protection of religious freedom in Tibetan areas “deteriorated markedly” in 2012, with a substantial increase in official interference in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. “Monasteries were increasingly forbidden to deliver traditional educational and medical services to the people of their communities and official intimidation was used to compel acquiescence and preserve a facade of stability.” Read Tibet section

Creative Freedom
PEN international logoMay 2013: PEN International
Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China

The report, which compiled five years of research between 2008 and 2013, found a “targeted, protracted and widespread crackdown in Tibetan regions... which have severely curtailed [Tibetans’] right to express themselves freely”. It also noted, “the enforcement of a dominant language... such as that imposed in the TAR, is a direct attack on freedom of expression,” and, “the policy restricting cultural expression extends to all areas of Tibetans’ lives”. The report stated that since 2008 “[Tibetan] writers, intellectuals, and advocates faced increasingly severe restrictions”. Read report

Press Freedom
Freedom House logoMay 2013: Freedom House
Freedom of the Press 2013
In 2012, “China’s media environment remained one of the world’s most restrictive”. “Conditions in Tibetan areas deteriorated” during 2012 and “access for foreign journalists to Tibet and Tibetan-populated regions of neighbouring provinces was especially restricted”. In addition, “ordinary Tibetans” were “imprisoned for accessing, possessing, or transmitting banned information” and the “[Chinese] authorities resorted to more draconian measures to curb the [self-immolation] protests and restrict the transmission of information about them”. Read reportReporters Without Borders logoMay 2013: Reporters Without Borders
2013 World Press Freedom Report

In the World Press Freedom Index, China remained in the bottom 10 countries (out of 179) for press freedom, along with the likes of Sudan, Iran, Syria and North Korea. The report noted that in China “those involved in online news and information, such as bloggers and netizens, are forced to deal with increasingly harsh repression. Many Tibetan monks have been convicted or abducted for having sent information abroad about the disastrous state of human rights in Tibet.” Read report

Housing Rights
Human Rights Watch logoJune 2013: Human Rights Watch
Mass Rehousing and Relocation in Tibet

The Chinese government is planning to forcibly rehouse and relocate over one million rural Tibetans over the next 18 months. Since 2006, China has already resettled over two million Tibetans, mostly nomads and farmers, into "New Socialist Villages". This resettlement policy has led to extensive rights violations including "the absence of consultation" and the "failure to provide adequate compensation", both of which are required under international law. There are also concerns over "defects in the quality of the houses provided, absence of remedies for arbitrary decisions, failures to restore livelihoods, [and] a disregard for autonomy rights nominally guaranteed by Chinese law in Tibetan areas."Download options

Reports by Tibet Organisations
January 2013: TCHRD: Annual Report 2012 
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy's report records wide-ranging human rights violations in Tibet during 2012, including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, self-immolation protests and language rights. 
Press release I Download 

January 2013: TCHRD: Religious Repression in Tibet 2012
Special report by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy providing an in-depth analysis of the internationally protected right to freedom of religion and belief, and the ways in which the Chinese government is continuously and systematically violating it in the context of Tibetan Buddhism. 

March 2013: International Tibet Network: Submission to Universal Periodic Review
A report analysing the Chinese government's human rights record in Tibet since 2009. Submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of China, due in October 2013. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. The report was also submitted to the UK Foreign Office in May by Tibet Society. 

Summary I Download

May 2013: International Campaign for Tibet: Tibetan Refugees in Nepal
This report, highlighting issues facing Tibetan refugees in Nepal, was submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee ahead of the session in July. Article I Download

May 2013: Tibet Policy Institute: Why Tibet is Burning...
A revised report explaining the fundamental reasons behind the wave of self-immolations inside Tibet and the alarming escalation in  protests. The Tibet Policy Institute is a think-tank of the Tibetan government in exile (Central Tibetan Administration). 
Article I Download

June 2013: International Tibet Network: A New Global Approach, Unite for Tibet
This report, presented to world leaders prior to the G8 Summit in June, calls on governments to change the way they engage with China on the Tibet issue. It highlights the failure of current methods and recommends new approaches such as multilateral policies and coordinated diplomatic actions. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. The report was delivered to Prime Minister Cameron in June by Tibet Society. 
Article I View Report

June 2013: International Tibet Network: Concerns and Questions about Developments in Lhasa
A report on the Chinese government's plans to 'modernise' large parts of the ancient Tibetan quarter of Lhasa. The report was delivered to UNESCO in June, prior to the meeting of the World Heritage Committee. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet groups including Tibet Society. Article I View Report

Tuesday 23 July 2013

A Film remembering Tibetan self immolators

On the 30th June we remembered the 118 Tibetans who have self immolated and made this film.
The process was very moving as the scale of 118 names unfolded.
It took 6 minutes to read out the list and place the names around a figure that had been made from Tibetan flags.

You can watch the film on the following link
please share

China sentences three Tibetans for up to 10 years for rescuing self-immolator

Phayul[Monday, July 22, 2013 08:21]
In yet another case of harsh sentencing of Tibetans in connection with the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests inside Tibet, a Chinese court in eastern Tibet has sentenced three Tibetans for up to ten years in prison for their crimes of trying to rescue a Tibetan self-immolator from falling into the hands of Chinese authorities.

A Chinese court in Siling sentenced Doptrug, 51 to ten years; Ugyen Dorjee, 40 to 21 months and Choekyab to 18 months for taking part in a protest demanding the body of Tibetan self-immolator Lobsang Gedun last December.

Lobsang Gendun, a 29-year-old monk of the Penag Kadak Troedreling Monastery in Seley Thang region of Golog Pema Dzong set himself on fire on December 3, 2012 protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet. 

Lobsang Gendun had his hands clasped in prayers as he raised slogans while engulfed in flames and walked a few steps towards a busy road intersection and then fell to the ground. He succumbed to his injuries at the site of his protest.

Since 2009, as many as 119 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.Kunchok Sonam, an 18-year-old monk of the Thangkor Sogtsang Monastery in Zoege region of eastern Tibet, became the latest Tibetan to self-immolate after he set himself on fire on July 20. He passed away at the site of his protest.

China has criminalised the self-immolation protests and sentenced scores of people to heavy prison terms on charges of “intentional homicide” for their alleged roles in the fiery protests. Chinese officials have barred Tibetans from offering prayers and showing solidarity with families of self-immolators and announced the cancellation of development funds to those villages where self-immolations have taken place.

In January this year, Chinese courts sentenced Lobsang Kunchok to death with a two-year reprieve and Lobsang Tsering to 10 years on charges of “intentional homicide.” The same day, another court sentenced six Tibetans to varying jail terms of 12 to three years in jail on similar charges.

Following the sentencing, New York based global rights group, Human Rights Watch, said Chinese authorities should “immediately release” Kunchok and Tsering, while noting that their conviction “relied solely on confessions they gave during five months in detention.”

The group said the prosecutions were “utterly without credibility” and pointed out the Chinese government in pursuing these ‘incitement’ cases was “compounding the tragedy” of the self-immolation protests.

18-year-old Tibetan monk sets self on fire, Toll reaches 120

Phayul[Saturday, July 20, 2013 05:39]
Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Sonam, 18, in an undated photo.
Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Sonam, 18, in an undated photo.
The wave of self-immolations inside Tibet continues to rage on with reports of yet another fiery protest in the Zoege region of eastern Tibet earlier today.

Kunchok Sonam, an 18-year-old monk of the Zoege Monastery, set himself on fire at around 8:40 am (local time) protesting China’s occupation of Tibet. He passed away at the site of his protest.

More details about the fatal self-immolation protest are not yet available.

According to Tibetan language media portal, Tibet Times, Kunchok Sonam carried out his protest soon after the morning prayers at the Monastery.

Chinese security personnel arrived at the site of the protest and, as in earlier instances, tried to bundle away Kunchok Sonam’s body. However, local Tibetans present there succeeded in rescuing the deceased’s body from falling into Chinese hands. 

No information is available on where the body is being kept or on the current situation in the region at the time of filing this report. 

Tibetan self-immolator monk Kunchok Sonam.
Tibetan self-immolator monk Kunchok Sonam.
Konchok Sonam is the son of Sonam Palden and Lentrug.

With today’s self-immolation, a total of 120 Tibetans living under China’s rule have now set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Zoege has witnessed a number of self-immolations in the past. On April 24 this year, two Tibetan monks Lobsang Dawa, 20 and Kunchok Woeser, 22 of the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Zoege set themselves on fire today protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet. Both of them passed away at the site of the protest.

The Chinese government has responded to the self-immolations with even harsher policies, criminalising the fiery protests and sentencing scores of people to heavy prison terms on charges of “intentional homicide” for their alleged roles in self-immolation protests. Chinese officials have barred Tibetans from offering prayers and showing solidarity with families of self-immolators and announced the cancellation of development funds to those villages where self-immolations have taken place.

The exile Tibetan administration has made repeated appeals to Tibetans inside Tibet to refrain from drastic action including self-immolations.

The Central Tibetan Administration maintains that the self-immolations “represent a new threshold of Tibetan despair and resentment” and attributes the current crisis in Tibet to China’s policies of “political and religious repression, economic marginalisation, social discrimination, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction in Tibet.”

A Statement from Robert Thurman on the Tibetan Self-Immolations