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Tibet: News International 'Tibetans have fewer rights that those in failed states:' Canadian Senate

'Tibetans have fewer rights that those in failed states:' Canadian Senate

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Canada-Tibet-Senate-Human-Rights-2017Dharamshala — A group of Canadian Senators have launched an official inquiry into the state of political prisoners inside Tibet in Canadian Senate chamber on November 23, 2017, saying "The fact that the Tibetan people have fewer rights and liberties than a failed state and the world’s worst dictatorship should raise serious concerns about the treatment of 3 million Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese authorities."

Five senators led by Senator Dennis Glen Patterson have highlighted five political prisoners of Tibet who are suffering in Chinese prison for peaceful expression of views in asserting their national identity and defending their culture. The other supporting senators are Senator Marilou McPhedran, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, Senator Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) and Senator Linda Frum.

On the floor of the Canadian Senate, Senator Patterson said, "I was moved by the stories told by these young Tibetans of cultural and religious repression being suffered by Tibetans by under the Chinese majority in that province, how the Tibetan language has been removed from school classrooms since 2000 and how Tibetans cannot gain employment unless they speak, read and write Mandarin. They told me how difficult the process has become for obtaining visas and how that has reduced tourism, which had been a source of income and reinforcing cultural values for Tibetans. They said that Tibetan nomadic yak herding people have been removed from their ancestral lands and housed in concrete ghetto-style housing, and that this drastic change in living circumstances has led to suicide, alcoholism and prostitution.

“I am concerned and disturbed to learn that a child [the Panchen Lama] was abducted by the state and that his whereabouts and current condition remain unknown... I do hope that this inquiry will serve, as our government reaches out to engage with China, to emphasize that in doing so we must also reinforce and advocate for the basic human rights and freedoms that we cherish and protect in Canada,” Patterson continued.

In closing, honorable senators, I do hope that this inquiry will serve, as our government reaches out to engage with China, to emphasize that in doing so we must also reinforce and advocate for the basic human rights and freedoms that we cherish and protect in Canada.

Senator Marilou McPhedran also spoke on the Senate floor in support of Patterson's inquiry, saying, "the situation in Tibet is complex due to skilled obfuscation. Chinese authorities refuse to share numbers of detainees and specific details with regard to their names and locations. Statistics are difficult to come by, but the situation does not seem to be getting better. Many prisoners have faced torture, beatings and degrading treatment during interrogations. They have faced trials that do not meet international standards and some have not had any trials at all. Prisoners have faced punishments while incarcerated, including long periods in isolation, and some are still imprisoned — years past their sentences. There is no presumption of innocence in Chinese law, and verdicts in these political cases often seem to be predetermined.

"This protection of rights and the ability to live rights is not solely for the elite of this world. Canada, at home and abroad, has committed to championing human rights."

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo also contributed, saying, "The fact that the Tibetan people have fewer rights and liberties than a failed state and the world’s worst dictatorship should raise serious concerns about the treatment of 3 million Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese authorities. Since 1950 Tibet has been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party and has been divided into the Tibet Autonomous Region and 12 Tibetan autonomous prefectures.

"The Chinese authorities tightly restrict all news media and independent expression in Tibet. Individuals who use the Internet, social media, or other means to disseminate dissenting views or share politically sensitive content face arrest and stiff penalties. This includes Tibetan cultural expression, which the authorities associate with separatism and is subject to especially harsh restrictions.

"The Dalai Lama, an honorary Canadian Citizen, continues to advocate for the basic rights of the Tibetan people. A man who teaches patience, compassion and tolerance is the biggest threat to China’s wish to maintain control over Tibet. China takes this so seriously, they went so far as to ban Lady Gaga just for meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Finally, Senator Yonah Martin, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, also spoke in support of the inquiry, saying, "I would like to bring to the chamber’s attention one specific case, that of Lobsang Jamyang. Jamyang is a writer and a monk who was detained on April 17, 2015, in China’s Sichuan province at the age of 28. It is believed he is still held in the region currently. Upon his detention, he was held incommunicado for one year, which is a violation of Chinese law. In January 2017, Jamyang was indicted on charges of “leaking state secrets” and “engaging in separatist activities.” No evidence was provided to support these claims. In May 2016, Jamyang was sentenced to seven and a half years, with the trial taking place behind closed doors.

"At the time of his detention, he was studying Buddhism at Kirti Monastery. He had also contributed articles to popular Tibetan language websites in Tibet. A man of peace and a supporter of Tibet, Jamyang’s current health situation is unknown, although it is reported that he was subjected to beatings and torture during the one year of detention prior to his trial and sentencing.

"Honorable senators, Jamyang’s case is not unique. He is merely one example of a deeply concerning pattern of human rights abuses taken against Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China."

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 November 2017 16:55 )  


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