Tibetan leader highlights repression in Tibet before US lawmakers

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Dharamsala– Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Penpa Tsering testified virtually at the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s hearing, highlighting small and large-scale repression that is deliberately intended to annihilate the foundation of Tibetan culture and national identity.

Apart from Tsering, witnesses on Tuesday’s hearing included Richard Gere, chairman of International Campaign for Tibet, Lhadong Tethong, director of Tibet Action Institute (TAI), and Tenzin Dorjee, senior researcher at TAI.

The testimonials of the four witnesses essentially stressed the new and worsening challenges faced by Tibetans in Tibet as Beijing implements new intensified repressive measures.

The hearing on “Preserving Tibet: Combating Cultural Erasure, Forced Assimilation and Transnational Repression” examined the unprecedented linguistic, religious and human rights repression in Tibet and the transnational repression faced by Tibetans abroad.

After scrutinising the details of the testimonies, the commission will identify diplomatic and policy options for the US and other like-minded countries to help preserve Tibetan cultural heritage as well as explore measures to defend against threats and intimidation targeting Tibetans in the US and around the world.

In his testimonial, Tsering detailed the Chinese government’s complete disregard for the serious and urgent aspirations of the Tibetan people that have resulted in 157 tragic acts of self-immolation in Tibet since 2009 in the hope that the PRC government would pay some attention to their plight and that the international community would come to their rescue.

He elaborated on both small and large-scale repression that is deliberately intended to annihilate the foundation of Tibetan culture and national identity. He testified on the recent implementation of colonial boarding schools across Tibet to assimilate Tibetan children into the majority Han culture.

Additionally, Tibetan youths are massively transferred to China for labour and incentivised migration of Han Chinese into Tibet is being carried out.

He cautioned: “If the PRC is not made to reverse or change its current policies, Tibet and Tibetans will definitely die a slow death.”

Despite the prevailing atrocities in Tibet, the CTA President pointed out that Tibet’s case does not receive adequate global attention predominantly due to PRC’s Orwellian gridlock system where they attempt to use all means of artificial intelligence to surveil people, control the flow of information precisely to keep the real situation of Tibet concealed from the outside world.

And those in leadership roles in education, religion, culture and environment that have dared to speak against the PRC are being arbitrarily arrested or go missing.

Also at the hearing, US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya delivered a video message raising concerns over the Communist Party of China’s continued repressions inside Tibet, such as the enforcement of colonial-style boarding school system and involuntary mass DNA collection campaigns endangering the unique Tibetan identity.

“This administration will continue to shine a light on Tibet-related issues within our broader human rights concerns with the PRC, bilaterally or jointly with multilateral partners and promote accountability for the PRC’s human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere,” she assured and further guaranteed her dedicated support and efforts stating: “I am committed to continuing this administration’s close and sustained cooperation with the congress to deepen our strong track record of supporting the Tibetan community and uphold an affirmative vision for human rights.”

She put forward two questions before concluding her address, asking the commission how the US government can assist in improving information flow into and out of the “Tibetan Autonomous Region” despite China’s impenetrable great firewall.

Secondly, she sought recommendations for garnering multilateral global support to elevate the issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. (IANS)


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