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New report finds elements of cultural genocide in Tibet

April 30, 2012

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet examines the impact on Tibetan culture of Chinese Communist Party rule in Tibet and concludes that policies and practices targeting Tibetan culture and additional risk factors for serious instability in Tibet require a stronger response from the international community.

The report, entitled ‘60 Years of Chinese Misrule: Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet’ is published on April 25, the birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Tibet’s Panchen Lama and significant religious figure, who was taken into custody by the Chinese authorities in 1995 and has not been seen since. April is also designated globally as Genocide Prevention Month.

Having compiled this report, ICT makes the following findings:

·      The Chinese authorities have engaged in a consistent effort over 60-plus years to replace authentic, organic Tibetan culture with a state-approved and controlled version that comports with the ideological, political and economic objectives of the Chinese Communist Party. This effort has been pursued through intentional policies that are designed to fundamentally alter Tibetan culture in a way that robs it of its essence and turns it into something that the Chinese authorities can manage.

·      Chinese Communist rule in Tibet has exhibited a pattern of repression, relative liberalization, vigorous reassertion of cultural identity by Tibetans, and renewed repression. This pattern is rooted in the application of policies that privilege the Chinese party-state’s interests over those of the Tibetan people. These policies are, in turn, based on a set of ideological and nationalistic principles that permeate the thinking of Chinese leaders and have taken hold on a societal level.

·      Chinese policies and practices of cultural repression and destruction are so systematic and persistent in Tibet, and their effects are so serious, that they contain elements of cultural genocide.

·      These elements of cultural genocide, combined with certain conditions such as: a history of acts of genocide against Tibetans as a religious group, unprecedented communal tensions, and officially sanctioned statements that provoke prejudice and hatred directed at Tibetans, have been recognized as precursors to conventional genocide elsewhere, and should sensitize the international community to take robust action in the case of Tibet.

Mary Beth Markey, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “We feel strongly that the report makes a persuasive case that elements of cultural genocide are occurring in Tibet. As such, we are calling for stronger international efforts to address and reverse China’s culturally destructive policies and practices in Tibet. Broadly, we hope the report will be of value to the international discourse around genocide issues, and we welcome the constructive examination of arguments advanced in the report by genocide scholars, and a continuing discussion with country studies experts, human rights advocates, and others.”

 

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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