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Racial Discrimination in Chinese-Occupied Tibet

[Department of Information and International Relations. Tibetan Government-in- Exile. Dharamsala - 176215. INDIA. July, 2001.]


On 10 March, 2001, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: "As a firm believer in non-violence and spirit of reconciliation and co-operation, I have from the beginning consistently sought to prevent bloodshed and to arrive at a peaceful solution. I also have admiration for China and her people with their long history and rich culture. I therefore believe that with courage, vision and wisdom it is possible to establish a relationship between Tibet and China which is of mutual benefit and based on respect and friendship. Consequently, my position regarding the Tibetan freedom struggle has been to seek genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people. In spite of increased accusations against me and the worsening situation in Tibet, I remain committed to the policy of my "Middle-Way Approach". I truly believe that a resolution of the Tibetan issue along the lines of my approach will bring satisfaction to the Tibetan people and greatly contribute to stability and unity in the People's Republic of China. Over the past more than 20 years our contacts with the Chinese government have taken many twists and turns, sometimes they have been more encouraging and at other times more disappointing.

"Last July, my elder brother, Gyalo Thondup, once more made a personal visit to Beijing and brought back a message from the United Front Department reiterating the well-known position of the leadership in Beijing on relations with me. In September of the same year we communicated through the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi our wish to send a delegation to Beijing to deliver a detailed memorandum outlining my thinking on the issue of Tibet and to explain and discuss the points raised in the memorandum. I sincerely hoped that this development would lead to an opening for a realistic approach to the Tibetan issue. I reasoned with the Chinese leadership that through face-to-face meetings we would succeed in clarifying misunderstandings and overcoming distrust. I expressed the strong belief that once this is achieved then a mutually acceptable solution of the problem can be found without much difficulty. So far the Chinese government is refusing to accept my delegation in spite of the fact that between 1979 and 1985 the Chinese government had accepted 6 Tibetan delegations from exile. Yet, now they are stalling the acceptance of a Tibetan delegation. This is a clear indication of a hardening attitude of Beijing and a lack of political will to resolve the Tibetan problem."

Racial discrimination continues to be a constant reality in the lives of the Tibetan people today. This Report has demonstrated that Tibetans suffer from widespread, systematic racial discrimination in the classroom, the workplace, medical care centers and at the ballot box. Onerous reproductive rights policies and enforcement practices and the systematic torture of Tibetan political prisoners, including children, remain severe symptoms of ongoing racial discrimination. This racial discrimination clearly has had an adverse impact on Tibetans' daily lives and continues to threaten their future cultural existence. Both international and domestic law require China to take affirmative action in preventing the current racial discrimination that exists against Tibetans. Unfortunately, China's actions thus far have been insufficient to alleviate this significant problem.

This Report also urges the Committee to consider the following recommendations in light of the special situation in which Tibetans find themselves today. Tibet is a de facto colony of China and the Tibetan people are continually denied their right to self-determination by the Chinese authorities. These factors place the problem of racial discrimination in Tibet in a special category of its own that warrants extra scrutiny by this Committee of China's compliance with the CERD. We respectfully submit the following recommendations for the Committee's consideration in order to end racial discrimination in Tibet:

1. With respect to economic development programs, including population transfer policies and practices accompanying those programs, we recommend that the Committee direct the Chinese Government as follows:

(a) Rescind, economic development programs and policies concerning Tibet until a review of such programs can take place with the full participation of the Tibetan people;

(b) Rescind existing incentives for Chinese population transfer into Tibet, and actively discourage the further resettlement of Chinese into Tibet;

(c) Create and implement economic development programs in Tibet, with the participation and support of the Tibetan people, that are consistent with the Tibetan people's distinct history, culture, traditional economic practices and environmental concerns.

2. With respect to primary, secondary, vocational, and higher educational institutions in Tibet, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

a. China should institute a policy to build new schools and improve existing facilities in rural parts of Tibet so that all Tibetan children have access to education. China should describe the practical steps it will take to in order to accomplish this goal.

b. China should ensure equitable distribution of educational resources amongst students at all levels. China should describe how it plans to improve Tibetan resources to bring them up to a level comparable to resources enjoyed by the Chinese.

c. China should abolish all fees for primary schools.

d. China should ensure that Tibetan children receive equal treatment in all levels of schools, in terms of labor, purchase of supplies and punishment. China should undertake to monitor all schools in order to insure that Tibetan children are not being treated differently than Chinese children in school.

e. China should ensure fair requirements for entrance into higher level education institutions. China should describe the actions it has taken to prevent reliance on guangxi and bribes in the acceptance of students at educational institutions.

f. China should permit and encourage the education of Tibetan students in the Tibetan language, at levels of education.

g. China should teach Chinese to Tibetan students as a foreign language. China should also describe how language lessons and the rest of the curricula promote the advancement of Tibetans in employment.

h. China should allow the Tibetan people to control the curriculum regarding Tibetan culture and history at all educational levels. China should describe how Tibetan children learn about Tibetan culture and history, stressing that books should be in Tibetan and that Tibetan history and culture are not inferior to Chinese culture.

i. China should allow freedom of expression in education. China should describe how it refrains from censoring teachers' expression, particularly if they wish to teach about Tibetan traditions or religion, and how it promotes freedom of expression in children.

(j) China should withdraw its "atheist campaign" in Tibet and immediately call off its "patriotic re-education campaign" being conducted in monasteries and nunneries all over Tibet.

3. With respect to employment in Tibet, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

a. China should ensure that Chinese and Tibetan workers receive equal pay and benefits for similar work.

b. China should describe its unemployment policy and how it intends to combat the problem of high unemployment within the Tibetan population.

c. China should ensure that special barriers including but not limited to Chinese language skills -- are not erected to prevent Tibetans access to employment or business.

d. China should ensure that Chinese and Tibetan people will be treated equally when applying for business permits or licenses.

e. China should implement fair taxation policies, and rescind mandatory sale policies, for farmers and herders.

4. With respect to health care in Tibet, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

China should provide equal access to health care. China should describe particularly the actions it has taken to prevent the assessment to Tibetans of special fees for medical services or medication and hospital security deposits.

China should describe how it intends to provide equal quality medical care to Tibetans living in rural areas, including the number and location of new medical facilities and the technology, doctors and medications they will possess.

5. With respect to public representation in by Tibetans, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

a. China should ensure that Tibetans will have equal access to the polls during elections, and that the results of elections will stand as final, without the government tampering with the results.

b. China should facilitate the participation of Tibetans in local, regional, and national politics. China should describe its policies toward Tibetan political figures and public employees with regard to their religion and their ability to freely express their views.

c. China should demonstrate to the Committee that it does not remove Tibetan political officials or public employees because of their views on Tibet's status as a territory or their religion.

6. With respect to family planning policies and practices in Tibet, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

a. China should rescind all restrictions on births of Tibetans and take steps to ensure that local officials honor the Tibetan people's right to control the number and spacing of children.

b. China should provide data on birth control practices against Tibetan women in its tenth periodic report.

7. With respect to torture of Tibetan political prisoners, we recommend that the Committee include as written directives to the Chinese government the following:

(a) China should affirmatively ban all forms of torture under any circumstances.

c. China should aggressively prosecute all officials and prison employees who suspected of having committed torture.

d. China should end the arbitrary detention of Tibetan people for the peaceful expression of political, religious and cultural opinions and ideas.

e. China should receive the Special Rapporteur on Torture before the 58th UN Commission on Human Rights session in 2002.

8. On the Future of Tibet, the Committee should:

a. Urge the Chinese authorities to open dialogue leading to negotiations with the representatives of the Tibetan Government in Exile that can lead to a mutually agreeable solution to the Tibetan Issue.

b. Urge the Chinese authorities to receive a Tibetan Delegation in Beijing as proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


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