Tibet: new rights report documents repression

Eyewitness accounts confirm that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force and acted with deliberate brutality in the wave of Tibetan protests that began on March 10, 2008, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. The report charges that many violations continue today, including disappearances, wrongful convictions and imprisonment, persecution of families, and the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement.

The 73-page report, “I Saw It with My Own Eyes”: Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010, is based on more than 200 interviews with Tibetan refugees and recent visitors to the restive region, as well as official Chinese sources. “Dozens of eyewitness testimonies and the government’s own sources show clearly the official willingness to use lethal force against unarmed protestors,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “This report decisively refutes the Chinese government’s claim that it handled the protests in line with international standards and domestic laws.”

The report also suggests that contrary to government claims, Chinese security forces opened fire indiscriminately on protesters in at least four separate incidents, including in an area of central Lhasa on March 14.

The report charges that in order to avoid external or independent scrutiny of the security operations, the Chinese authorities effectively locked down the entire Tibetan plateau and dispatched massive numbers of troops across all Tibetan-inhabited areas of the People’s Republic. It expelled journalists and foreign observers, restricted travel to and within the region, cut or monitored telecommunications and the Internet, and arrested anyone suspected of reporting on the crackdown. Beijing has rejected all calls for independent investigations into the protests, including those from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch has condemned violence committed by Tibetan protesters as well as by security forces. In Lhasa alone, 21 people were killed and several hundred injured over the March 14-15 time period in 2008, according to government figures. In multiple incidents, HRW says eyewitness testimonies show that Chinese forces acted in contravention of international standards—including prohibitions against disproportionate use of force, torture, and arbitrary detention, as well as the right to peaceful assembly—despite government claims to the contrary. (HRW, July 21)

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  1. whitewash on tibet
    Yet another biased report by a lilly livered ‘western’ organization!
    No mention of the abject racism meted out by the Han Chinese in Tibet, the fact that the Han regime is repressing and discriminating against the Tibetan people in the most callous and insidious ways.
    This is an issue of Racism, the Han have taken it upon themselves to rule over the Tibetan nation, repress and subjugate them against all international laws, conventions and UN Charters the Han CCP signed up to.
    Alas, this Racist regime has always paid scant regards to such civil conduct and is in breach of every agreement they’re bound by.

    More on this here

    In fact the Han nation’s very foundations are built on Racist premises, namely that the Han race installed themselves as the ‘divinely anointed’ rulers over all the other races’ territories of the old Qing dynasty, in spite of them being labeled ‘alien, foreign and occupiers’ in the case of the Manchu, whereas Tibet of course was never even part of that empire.

    1. whitewash?
      Too funny. Usually when we get comments attacking what the human rights groups are saying about Tibet, they are from Idiot Leftists griping about how Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are spreading imperialist lies to smear the glorious Chinese workers’ state. Now you are saying that because HRW doesn’t engage in sanctimonious rhetoric about the “Racist Han nation” they are engaging in a whitewash? Please, stop.

      And as a matter of historical record, Tibet was under Chinese suzerainty (although not sovereignty) from the beginning of the Qing dynasty. This question really has no bearing on the Tibetan right of self-determination.

      1. Don’t ever mention the ‘R’ word
        If you were to dig a little deeper you’d find a world of abject racism and discrimination the Tibetans experience on a daily basis.
        Is that not worth, or even allowed to be mentioned?
        The horrendous brutality meted out by the security forces, and yes they are Han security forces, is only possible because the very core of their thinking is racist, namely that the Tibetans are a subject races to the Han and that the Han have the ‘divine’ right to rule over their territory.
        A racist crime Sun Yat-sen and his cohorts concocted in order to justify the occupation of all the territories of the ‘alien invaders’, as he called the Manchu.

        There exists a deep rooted culture of condescension and racism amongst the Han people against the minorities, and particularly the Tibetan people, a delusional notion thoroughly exploited and nurtured by the Han CCP in order to create a common enemy for their only constituency, the Han race, on which they can vent their anger, away from the CCP itself. A ploy Hitler used with the Jews in the 30s, and today the Han CCP engages clearly in the same deplorable tactics.

        But we’re not allowed to mention this, oh no, the very word racism is taboo when it comes to our new masters the Chinese.
        If you view the truth and facts as ‘sanctimonious rhetoric’ as you facetiously put it, then that’s your, prerogative, it does not distract from the sordid facts, but is borne out by historical facts and the reality on the ground in Tibet.
        I would invite you to enquire more about this and then pass judgement!

        1. Too obvious to mention

          Look, it's so obvious that Han racism is at work in China's Tibet policy that it is practically superfluous to mention it. OK? Calling the above referenced HRW report a "whitewash" is an absurdity. And accusing the Han of racism in sweeping and generalized terms (e.g. "the Han have taken it upon themselves to rule over the Tibetan nation") is also racist. Or hadn't that occurred to you?

          1. racist????
            Well ok, lighten up, this was of course tongue in cheek to call it a ‘whitewash’, a slight ruse to get attention and mock the ones who would call it a western ploy to besmirch China, as is the usual response.
            I do however take strong exception to being labelled racist for the mere fact of exposing the racism of the Han creed, who has unilaterally taken it upon themselves to install themselves as rulers of the Tibetan nation. Is calling the old SA racist too by your logic?
            All the historical facts are clear on this point, the Han race overthrew the Manchu rulers, labelled them as alien and foreign occupiers, but then came up with the racist ploy of the “multiethnic nation”, but clearly installed themselves as the sole rulers and have never relented one iota on their iron grip on power.
            The PRC has extended this racist ploy and came up with the duplicitous ‘nation of 56 ethnic races’, implying some kind of equality and inclusiveness amongst all the races, but clearly the Han are the only race that counts for the CCP and flouts even its own constitution by not allowing any meaningful autonomy, as is enshrined therein, as is of course in the UN Charter.

            China can not demonstrate that it ever ‘owned’ Tibet, or that it even ruled it to some meaningful extent.
            To this day Tibet is an occupied independent nation according to international law, and most scholars agree on this point!
            Have a nice day.

            1. tongue in cheek???
              Well, we’re glad to hear that your “whitewash” line was “tongue in cheek,” but that wasn’t at all evident from your tone. No, calling apartheid South Africa racist isn’t racist. But you aren’t calling the Chinese state racist, you are calling the Han “race” racist (e.g. “the Han race…installed themselves as the sole rulers”). I’ve got news for you: there are about a billion Han in the PRC. A few thousand of them at most—in places like the CCP’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee—can be considered the “rulers” of China.

              Don’t fall for the divide-and-conquer game.