DHARAMSHALA: The US government on Friday called on the Chinese government to allow Tibetans to express their grievances freely and peacefully against its policies threatening Tibet’s distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity.
“We are aware that there are reports that Chinese authorities have handed down sentences to two Tibetans for allegedly inciting the self-immolation of others. As we have regularly said, the United States wants to see these kinds of tragic acts of self-immolation come to an end, and we continue both publicly and privately to urge the Chinese government at all levels to address policies in Tibet – in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people,” US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in Washington.
“And we take this opportunity once again to call on the Chinese government to permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution,” Nuland said.
Human Rights Watch Calls for Immediate Release of Imprisoned Tibetans
Chinese judicial authorities should immediately release two Tibetans who were found guilty in legal proceedings that relied solely on confessions they gave during five months in detention, said Human Rights Watch, a prominent human rights group, said in its statement on Friday.
Human Rights Watch said it has documented endemic use of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and coercion of Tibetans in detention.
“These prosecutions are utterly without credibility,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “The Chinese government seems to think it can stop self-immolation by punishing anyone who talks about it. But in pursuing these ‘incitement’ cases, the government compounds the tragedy of these suicide protests.”
“Self-immolations take place in the context of the Chinese government’s long-standing repressive policies in the Tibetan areas that have seen severe restrictions on Tibetans’ rights,” Richardson said, adding that “statements left behind by some individuals make clear their actions were protests against government policies.”
The Human Rights Watch said the Chinese government has still made no concerted effort to address the underlying grievances in Tibet, which have contributed to the rising number of self-immolations by Tibetans.
“Sentencing someone to death for allegedly inciting someone else to commit suicide is neither just nor respectful of the right to life,” said Richardson. “The ongoing prosecution of people linked with self-immolation appears to be about stifling dissent and laying blame on others for this tragedy. It is time for China to respond to the grievances and human rights violations that appear to be provoking this tragic form of protest.”