ISSUED BY: Human Rights Desk of the Department of Information & International Relations, Tibet Government-in-Exile (Dharamsala)
Human Rights Situation in Tibet for 1995: An Overview
Chinese enforce strict controls as dissent increases in Tibet in 1995
1995 has been a year of growing dissent over Chinese occupation in Tibet following a major crackdown by the Chinese authorities against so-called "splittist activities" in Tibet. This political crackdown has resulted in the violations of many fundamental human rights in Tibet such as the right to freedom of religion, expression, assembly and the right to leave and return to ones own country.
TIN (Tibet Information Network an independent news service in London) recorded the arrests of 98 Tibetans in 1994. So far this year there have been over 218 known political arrests in Tibet. These include people who were briefly detained and later released. The cause of the increase in arrests is related to the arrest of monks over the Panchen Lama selection process and the Chinese crackdown on the monasteries and nunneries in Tibet. 1995 also saw the deaths of four political prisoners of conscience dying as a result of ill treatment and torture in Chinese police custody. This figure does not represent the true number of deaths caused by maltreatment in police custody as many deaths occur after release from prison which are not reported.
In a major crackdown this year against the independence movement many monasteries and nunneries were raided, resulting in the expulsion of more than 88 monks and nuns in a series of three raids in the early half of the year.
This year diplomatic sources in Nepal admitted that by 19th June at least 200 Tibetans were known to have been deported by the Nepalese police and handed over to Chinese border police. TIN predicted at the end of July this year that the real figures for forced deportations this year was likely to be as high as 400. These forced deportations are continuing despite protests by the U.S, Australia and the UNHCR in Nepal.
There have also been many reports received this year about the harassment and increased surveillance of foreigners in Tibet.
Recently we have seen the selection by the Chinese of a new Panchen Lama, despite the fact that His Holiness declared Gendun Choekyi Nyima, a six year old boy from Nagchu, Tibet, to be the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama on May 14th 1995. Chadrel Rinpoche, the former head of the search committee who was arrested shortly after His Holiness's announcement and accused of "colluding" with His Holiness, is still being detained by the Chinese authorities.
China Politicises the Panchen Lama selection process
The search and recognition of Panchen Lama's reincarnation is a religious matter H.H. the Dalai Lama
Monasteries and nunneries in Tibet stormed and nuns and monks expelled
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced the reincarnation of the late Panchen Lama (the second highest spiritual authority in Tibet who passed away in 1989), on May 14th this year.
- 6-year old Gendun Choekyi Nyima, was proclaimed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the new Panchen Lama reincarnation.
- The Chinese authorities in Lhasa recently announced a rival Panchen Lama, a six year old boy from Nagchu near Lhasa, claiming that His Holiness had no right to announce the Panchen Lama reincarnation.
- We are concerned for the safety of Gendun Choekyi Nyima who has been declared " missing" for the past five months. The Chinese authorities have failed to reveal his whereabouts.
- Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. Guofang said on November 30, answering questions as to the whereabouts of Gendun Choekyi Nyima that, "he should be amongst China's 1.2 billion people".
- We are also concerned for the safety of Chadrel Rinpoche, the abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and former head of the Chinese appointed Search Committee for the reincarnation. Chadrel Rinpoche has been reported missing since May 1995.
Tibetan refugees banded back to Chinese authorities by Nepalese border police
- Monasteries and nunneries in Tibet were raided and many monks and nuns were expelled for their involvement in the independence movement inside Tibet.
- Nalanda monastery in Phenpo Lhundup county was raided twice in the last week of February 1995 resulting in the arrest of 40 monks. Following the raid, a political reeducation "work team" expelled 64 monks.
- Chinese authorities expelled 24 novices and the abbot and a teacher of Yamure hermitage near Lhasa for engaging in "splittist" activities after Chinese police stormed the hermitage.
- Then again, on the night of July 12/13th, a single police raid on the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery resulted in a reported arrest of thirty two monks of the monastery.
Tibetan independence demonstrations and arbitrary arrests on the rise
- This year many Tibetans who have tried to escape through Nepal for fear of political persecution or for a better education in exile were handed over to the Chinese authorities by Nepalese police at Dram, the border area of Nepal and Tibet.
- Since April 1995, the Nepalese border police have deported over more than two hundred Tibetan refugees in fourteen groups including a five-year old child. The situation is getting very serious with more deportations taking place every month.
- Those Tibetan refugees who are being deported face, the threat of torture, imprisonment and the denial of economic and political rights.
- These deportations were carried out despite strong protests from the U.S, Australia, and the U.N's High Commission for refugees (UNHCR) in Nepal.
- Nepal has signed the UN Convention on Torture, which forbids deportation to countries where torture is rife.
Deaths in custody & ill Treatment of Tibetan prisoners of conscience
- The most number of arrests and demonstrations were recorded this year, since the 1989 demonstrations in Tibet.
- At least twenty three demonstrations are known to have taken place this year, sixteen in February and March alone.
- The right to freedom of expression and opinion continues to be violated in Tibet.
Four deaths caused by torture and ill treatment in custody were reported this year. Their crime? Peacefully advocating for their right to live in a country free of Chinese military occupation.
Tibetan prisoner of conscience Phuntsok Nyidron wins Reebok Human Rights Award
- Sherab Ngawang, a novice nun from Michungri nunnery died in May this year at the young age of fifteen. She was repeatedly tortured and ill treated whilst in detention.
- Tashi Tsering died in May this year at the age of 55 due to torture and medical neglect in Drapchi prison.
- Gyaltsen Kelsang died on February 20, this year at the young age of 24 due to medical neglect whilst serving a term in Drapchi prison.
- Sonam Tashi died on August 10 this year due to severe torture which resulted in multiple injuries.
Fourth World Conference on Women
- Phuntsok Nyidron, a 27-year old nun from Michungri Nunnery in Tibet, who is serving a prison sentence of 17 years in Tibet's most notorious Drapchi Prison, was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award at a New York Ceremony five days ago. His Holiness's representative in New York received the award on her behalf.
- Phuntsok's prison sentence was doubled after she sang peaceful songs in prison in front of prison guards for Tibet's independence and for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- After the Reebok Human Rights award ceremony a "Call to action campaign" was initiated to call for the release of Phuntsok. As a sign of support we ask you to write letters of appeal to the Chinese government, and to your government, asking for the immediate release of Phuntsok Nyidron.
- She is a symbol of freedom of expression, an extraordinary woman who continues to non violently advance the cause of the human rights at the cost of her own personal freedom and safety.
Tibetan Women Harassed: "China did not live up to its beautiful promises, made while signing the agreement with the U.N. The mismanagement, chaos and harassment that characterised much of 'Beijjing 1995' cannot be forgotten by the international community." - Tsering Norzom, President of Tibetans Women's Association, Oct 1995.
Gendun Rinchen Escaped and Arrived Safely in India
- This year the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing from September 4-15, 1995
- Tibetan women from India were denied visas to attend the conference
- Nine Tibetan women with passports from democratic countries such as Canada, Australia and America attended the NGO conference but were constantly under surveillance and were harassed by Chinese security and Tibetan delegates chosen by China.
- The 1992 best guide award recipient in Tibet, Mr. Gendun Rinchen escaped and arrived safely in India on May 19, 1995. He was accused of being a counter-revolutionary and was arrested on the night of May 13, 1993.
- He was released last year after wide scale campaigning by Amnesty International and the European parliament for his release.
8 December 1995
Human Rights Desk
Department of Information & International Relations
Central Tibetan Administration
Dharamsala 176 215 INDIA