Human Rights in Tibet

26 Feb

A remote and predominantly Buddhist autonomous region in China, Tibet has had a long and tumultuous past with regard to human rights and their suppression by the Chinese.  During the 1950s, China sent in thousands of troops to enforce its claim on the region. Some areas became the Tibetan Autonomous Region and others were incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces. In 1959, Tibet was again under attack by Chinese authorities and its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama along with 100,000 other followers, were forced into exile to neighbouring India.

Religious Suppression

Since 1949, as an act of authority exertion, the Chinese have limited Tibetans freedom to practise Buddhism.  The Chinese have destroyed over 6000 monasteries and shrines and by 1978 only 8 monasteries remained as well as only 970 practising monks and nuns.  According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, educational, legal and propaganda channels are used to pressure Tibetans to renounce their Buddhist faith and convert to one that complies with the political regime they promote.

Political Oppression

Chinese have responded to attempted Tibetan uprisings by using extreme violence and it is reported that they have continually violated UN conventions through the extensive use of torture against Tibet’s political prisoners. In addition, Tibet is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, and to date, no Tibetan has ever been elected as Party Secretary which is the most senior government post in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The politics of Tibet has long been a contentious issue because the Dalai Lama is not only seen as a religious leader for the Buddhist population, but also a political one therefore he threatens the dynamics of the Chinese leadership.

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One Response to “Human Rights in Tibet”

  1. wa1g10 March 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    The law which was put in place in 2007 strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, it is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation” (The Huffington post, 2007). But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama. This law means that Reincarnation Applications must be filed by all Buddhist temples in China before they are allowed to recognize individuals as tulkus (reincarnated teachers). It also means that individuals who plan to be reborn must complete an application and submit it to several government agencies for approval.
    “By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering” (The Huffington post, 2007).
    The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959 leading the Tibetan government in exile, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control. “Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks” (The Huffington post, 2007).

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