China’s repression in Tibet worst for 30 years: Report

March 9th, 2009 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 9 (DPA) China’s repression of Tibetans’ political, civil and religious rights in response to last year’s unrest has reached levels last seen in the 1970s, the International Campaign for Tibet said in a report Monday.
“Since the protests began on March 10 last year, state repression of Tibetans’ freedoms of expression, religion and association has intensified to a level not seen in Tibet since the paranoia and Maoist excesses of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76),” the London-based group said.

“Over the past year, the Chinese government has engaged in a comprehensive cover-up of the torture, disappearances and killings that have taken place across Tibet combined with a virulent propaganda offensive against the exiled Tibetan leader, Nobel Peace Laureate the Dalai Lama,” the report said.

The report, “A Great Mountain Burned by Fire: China’s Crackdown in Tibet”, details the arrest and imprisonment of Tibetans who took part in protests last spring in support of independence and the Dalai Lama.

The government’s tough stance since then has “created deepening tension in Tibet, the opposite of the ‘genuine stability’ that President Hu Jintao claims to be seeking”, it said.

“This is the only known period when protests have continued despite the severity of Beijing’s response,” it said, referring to several new protests by Buddhist monks and lay Tibetans in recent weeks.

Many Tibetans also boycotted last month’s traditional Tibetan new year celebrations after calls by exile groups for a period of mourning to replace the usual festivities.

The report said police detained several monks from the major monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Ganden in recent weeks.

The three monasteries are all close to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, where rioting erupted March 14 last year.

Tension has risen with the approach of Tuesday’s 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, which was followed by the flight into exile of the Dalai Lama.

The report recorded more than 130 “overwhelmingly peaceful” protests in Tibetan areas of China since last year’s anniversary of the uprising.

It said hundreds of monks were taken from monasteries after the protests last March.

About 1,200 Tibetans remain unaccounted for after they disappeared following protests last year, it said.

The government said 19 people were killed in last year’s violence in Lhasa, most of them non-Tibetans, and said it had sentenced 76 people to prison for their role in the rioting.

But the Tibetan government-in-exile said some 200 people were killed in the protests in Lhasa and other areas of China, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese paramilitary police.

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