Tibet confronts an escalating crackdown on freedom of expression and religion, as outlined in the HR Report

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Dharamshala, India—On March 20, 2024, the Tibetan Human Rights Group launched its annual report titled "Human Rights Situation in Tibet in 2023".

The report highlights the persistent challenges faced by Tibetans, including escalating crackdowns on freedom of expression, religion, and belief. It emphasizes the pressing need to address human rights abuses perpetrated by Chinese authorities in Tibet.

At a press conference held by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) on the same day, Executive Director Tenzin Dawa, Researcher Phurbu Dolma, and Legal Officer Ngawang Lungtok presented key findings from the report.

During the press conference, Tenzin Dawa remarked, "Despite China's cessation of draconian zero-Covid policies in 2023, Tibetans continue to endure increasing restrictions on their fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression, religion, and belief."

"Chinese authorities persist in enforcing Chinese medium education in Tibetan schools and amending local regulations to promote Mandarin Chinese, despite international calls for an end to such coercive assimilation measures," she added.

"Tibetans face not only curbs on their right to assemble freely but also severe limitations on expressing dissent against oppressive government policies, both online and offline. Chinese authorities exercise strict censorship and surveillance over all digital platforms under the pretext of maintaining social stability," she asserted.

Ngawang Lungtok highlighted, "The right to freedom of religion and belief is subject to further constraints, with Chinese authorities imposing stringent regulations to exert control over religious sites' management and activities. Even after the relaxation of zero-Covid measures, Tibetan Buddhists still encounter impediments to undertaking religious pilgrimages."

"In Tibet, detainees continue to suffer egregious human rights violations. Arbitrary detentions, unfair trials, and instances of torture leading to custodial deaths persist. Many detainees endure incommunicado detention in undisclosed locations without due process, resulting in long-term health issues and premature deaths following release," he added.

Phurbu Dolma remarked, "China's re-election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2023 underscores the manipulation and exploitation of the international human rights system by authoritarian regimes like China. This re-election exemplifies efforts to undermine the UN's capacity to enforce global adherence to human rights standards."

"The ongoing human rights abuses in Tibet underscore the urgent imperative for the Chinese government to release all Tibetans detained for exercising their fundamental rights and political freedoms. Action is required to address violations occurring across various facets of public life," she concluded.

According to TCHRD records, between 1990 and 2024, the Chinese government has arrested and incarcerated over 6,332 Tibetans, with 37 arrests recorded in 2023 alone. Six Tibetans received prison sentences, and three individuals died either in detention or shortly after release from Chinese custody.