Despite China’s much-touted prosperity, poverty continues to plague the majority of Tibetans living under its authority. Discriminatory fiscal and social policies, coupled with political repression, have entrenched a two-class economic and social system based primarily on race. Economic benefits accrue primarily to Chinese companies and migrants who transfer profit and skills out of Tibet. Foreign investors, including Canadians, have been unwilling or unable to introduce a different model of economic cooperation with the Tibetan people.
What you can do to defend the economic rights of Tibetans
- Write letters of concern to Canadian politicians before they leave on trade missions to China (sample letter below);
- When meeting with your Member of Parliament, discuss the idea of “no-go zones” for Canadian investment;
- If you have information about a Canadian company operating in Tibet, please share it with us.
What are the issues?
- Discriminatory treatment of Tibetans in Tibet with respect to economic policy-making, work place opportunities, and benefit sharing;
- Loss of traditional land and livelihoods associated with forced resettlement of nomadic and communities;
- Harmful environmental impact of economic development on land, water and air quality;
- Insufficient transparency, due-diligence, and stakeholder engagement by foreign investors;
- Lack of judicial or non-judicial remedies at the national level in Tibet.
What are the solutions?
- The Government of Canada should prioritize the defense and promotion of human rights in its economic relations with China particularly when direct impacts may be felt in Tibet. Canada should require its companies to comply with international standards including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the Global Reporting Initiative, and impose penalties for non-compliance.
- Canadian companies operating in Tibet should respect due diligence responsibilities including by carrying out ex-ante human rights and environment impacts assessments of any planned activities in Tibet. Companies should not be complicit in human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese state in Tibet. Companies should not derive profit from the state’s abuse of human rights in Tibet.
- The Government of China should end economic policies that discriminate against Tibetans including tax breaks and other incentives for companies based outside of Tibet, and it should develop a set of affirmative action policies designed to promote local participation and ownership of Tibet’s economy.
Is Canada OPEN FOR JUSTICE?
The Canada Tibet Committee is a member of the Canadian Coalition on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) and we participate in the CNCA’s campaign “Open for Justice”. The campaign has 2 objectives:
- An extractive sector Ombudsman with the power to independently investigate complaints and make recommendations to corporations and the Government of Canada;
- Legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies
We believe that Tibetans should be able to exercise their right to an effective remedy for human rights violations. If they cannot exercise that right within the Chinese system, and the violations result from actions of a Canadian company, then they should be able to access justice here in Canada.
Help this campaign work for Tibet! Learn how to be part of our “Open for Justice!” activities by visiting the campaign action site today!
- Engaging APEC: Relevance for the Tibet movement
- Request for Review Submitted to Canada’s National Contact Point Pursuant to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Canada Tibet Committee, January 2014
- Canadian coalition submits five recommendations to Canada’s Extractive Sector Strategy Review, January 2014
- Tibet groups in Canada express concern about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, (FIPPA), April 2013
- Net Risk to Human Rights: The CNOOC grab for Nexen and its potential impact on human rights, Canada Tibet Committee, December 2012
- The Economic Dimensions of Autonomy and the Right to Development in Tibet, Andrew Martin Fischer, International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 2004
- Poverty by Design: The economics of discrimination in Tibet, Canada Tibet Committee, 2002
- Tibet and the APEC: A briefing paper for Tibet Support Groups, Catherine James, Canada Tibet Committee, 1997