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portraits-of-Tibetans-2012Dharamshala: In all parts of occupied Tibet, the suffering of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule grows day by day. Gross violations of basic rights and the freedom to practice religion and culture are endemic, and the situation has been long known to whole world.

Over 1.3 million Tibetans have sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom and human rights since 1959. In 2008, during and after the Beijing Olympics, hundreds of Tibetans were killed and thousands more 'disappeared' or were imprisoned.

The six million Tibetans in Tibet are human beings. They are born free and equal in dignity and rights. But the Chinese government doesn't see or treat Tibetans as human beings. As Sikyong Dr Lobsang said in his March 10 address, Chinese policies in Tibet "could easily lead one to suspect that China wants Tibet but not the Tibetan people". Tibetans in Tibet who feel they have no dreams, no future, left believe self-immolation is the only available option. The messages that the self-immolators have left behind spell this out clearly.

The many baseless allegations made by the Chinese authorities against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration serve only to hurt millions of Tibetan people, including those who have grown up under the current regime. The Chinese have no evidence, but continue to propagate misinformation via such state-controlled media as Xinhua - even since Xi Jiping's election to office and purported mission to fight corruption.

The situation is exacerbated by claims made by some foolish Tibetans, including Jampa Phuntsok, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Pema Trinley, who call themselves 'top officials' of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region. Increasingly, they blame His Holiness the Dalai lama and Tibetans living in exile for inciting and funding self-immolation protests.

They make such allegations without a proper knowledge of Tibetan history, religion and cultural identity - a history that teaches us how to learn from our own and others' mistakes. It is not too late for these official to realise the reality of the situation. But first they must learn the true history of Tibet, as taught by their ancestors, if they are to avoid turning themselves into the enemies of their religion, culture and even their own people.

So where is the evidence that Tibetans are treated as equal citizens, living the contented lives that Beijing claims? Chinese court officials commonly announce that they are depriving Tibetans of their civil and political rights during sentencing. In point of fact, Tibetans have no civil or political rights, because they are proscribed from any type of political activity or protest. Further, the arbitrary detention and political indoctrination of Tibetans are abuses of international laws and, indeed, China's own laws.

The communist regime has certainly brought some economic development to Tibet, but has it benefited Tibetans? Developments in transport have served to help the government take natural resources out of Tibet and bring Chinese immigrants into the country.

Since 2009, at least 107 Tibetans have set themselves alight in protest against Chinese rule. This is the largest self-immolation freedom struggle in world history. Only those living in Tibet know the reality of how bitter life is under Chinese occupation.

The facts should speak for themselves and lead the international community to demand change in Tibet. But year after year, the UN and parliaments around the world adopt weak resolutions condemning China's treatment of Tibetans which fall on the deaf ears.

The UN and EU like to be seen as champions of democracy, freedom and human rights, but they seem handcuffed by China's lack of cooperation and their own inability to enforce any meaningful pressure on the regime. Instead of meaningful protest or action, they allow the tragic situation of Tibet and Tibetans to continue.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com