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Development

Human Rights Watch Says Lhasa Railroad Increased Tibetan Concerns About Marginalization

Human Rights Watch
January 12th, 2007

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said the opening of the railway line to Lhasa in July 2006 "exacerbated concerns among Tibetans that they would be unable to compete economically with an anticipated influx of Han migrants."

In its World Report 2007, released on January 11, 2007, Human Rights Watch summarized some of the developments in Tibet. In general, the report said that "China is moving backwards."

Chiding the Chinese Government for supporting human rights violating countries, Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, "We would hope a government that eagerly sought the symbol of international fair play and cooperation -- the Olympic Games -- would not dispense with international solidarity when it comes to the victims of its tyrannical partners."

The report contains survey information on human rights developments in 2006, drawing on events through mid-November 2006, in more than 75 countries.

This is Human Rights Watch's 17th annual review of human rights practices around the globe.

Following is the full text of the Tibet section of the report. The complete report can be accessed on Human Rights Watch'swebsite.

Tibet

Chinese authorities view the Dalai Lama, in exile in India since 1959, as the linchpin of the effort to separate Tibet from China and view Tibetan Buddhist belief as supportive of his efforts.

Suspected "separatists," many of whom come from monasteries and nunneries, are routinely imprisoned. In January 2006, Gendun, a Tibetan monk, received a four-year prison sentence for opinions expressed in his lectures on Tibetan history and culture. In June 2006, five Tibetans, including two nuns, were detained for publishing and distributing independence leaflets. In July, Namkha Gyaltsen, a monk, received an eight-year sentence for his independence activities. In August, armed police detained Khenpo Jinpa, an abbot. In September, Lobsang Palden, another monk, was charged with "initiating separatist activities."

On September 30, Chinese People's Armed Police shot at a group of approximately 40 Tibetan refugees attempting to cross the border into Nepal, killing a 17-year-old nun, Kelsang Namtso, and possibly others. The rest of the group fled, though witnesses reported seeing Chinese soldiers marching approximately 10 children back to a nearby camp. The official press agency Xinhua claimed that the soldiers were "forced to defend themselves," but film footage showed soldiers calmly taking aim and shooting from afar at a column of people making their way through heavy snow.

In spite of plans for economic development of Tibetan regions, the opening of the Qinghai-Lhasa railroad in July 2006 exacerbated concerns among Tibetans that they would be unable to compete economically with an anticipated influx of Han migrants.





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