Religious Persecution in China: The Tibetan Autonomous Region

In the fifth in a series of videos exposing the attacks on freedom of religion or belief in China, MP David Anderson addresses persecution in the Tibetan Autonomous Region:

In previous videos, I addressed the persecution of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

One of the reasons the persecution of Uyghurs has become more intense is because of Tibet’s former Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo. He left this position in 2016 to take up the position of Communist Party Secretary in Xinjiang. Unfortunately, he brought his repressive policies with him.

Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs in China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) for decades and the situation has only become more desperate in recent years.

Since February 2009, at least 152 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest of Chinese rule.

By 2017:

  • TAR had become a police state.
  • Chinese authorities restricted Tibetan monks and nuns` ability to travel to places of worship. Authorities confiscated their passports, and restricted their travel to religious gatherings overseas. Authorities made decisions on what they could be educated on and where places of worship could be built or repaired.
  • The Chinese government put in prison, expelled and tortured those who did not renounce their beliefs in the Dalai Lama. Many are still in prison.
  • New checkpoints appeared at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Tibet.
  • Chinese Community party cadres were stationed at the institute to direct “patriotic education” classes.

In 2008, a two month “renewed patriotic education campaign” was launched to target monasteries in Tibet. One article from April of 2008 noted:

“…students were indoctrinated with communist ideology and taught how Tibet has flourished under its rule…denounced the old and backward Tibetan society by showing films from the period of the Cultural Revolution. Peasants, nomads and private entrepreneurs were told about the economic development achieved and happy life enjoyed by the Tibetans under the patronage and policy of the Communist party. For the monastic institutes… monks and nuns are ‘educated’ to be patriotic towards nation, one’s religion, oppose ‘splittist’ forces, to help maintain social stability, social legal institutes and to restore religious order.”

As of June 2017, 4,700 structures and homes at Larung Gar had been destroyed, and more than 4,800 monks and nuns were evicted. The destruction and eviction has been spread to the Yachen Gar Buddhist Center in August of 2017 where authorities planned to destroy 2000 homes and expel 2000 monks and nuns.

Tibet and Xinjiang are examples of how persecution can spread from one region to another, from one faith group to another when those in authority do not uphold religious freedom as a fundamental human right.

I would like to remind China of Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which states that:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Click here to learn more about freedom of religion or belief in China