Head of Tibet’s government in exile addresses US Congress for the first time, says Tibetan language, culture and religion facing ‘unprecedented threat of eradication’.
Exiled Tibetan leaders and officials in the United States have condemned China’s “cruel” policies in Tibet, accusing Beijing of separating families in the Himalayan region, banning their language, and engaging in non-consensual DNA collection.
Addressing the US Congress for the first time, Penpa Tsering, the head of the India-based organisation known as Tibet’s government in exile, said on Tuesday that Tibet was dying a “slow death” under Chinese rule.
“We often get asked why we don’t hear about Tibet any more,” said Tsering, known as the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
He blamed that silence on China’s “Orwellian gridlock system, use of all means of artificial intelligence to surveil people, control the flow of information and lockdown of Tibet to the outside world”.
“Tibetan language, religion and culture are the bedrock of Tibetan identity … These are facing the unprecedented threat of eradication,” he told the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing via video link.
“If PRC [[People’s Republic of China] is not made to reverse or change its current policies, Tibet and Tibetans will definitely die a slow death,” Tsering added.
The hearing came as some Tibetan activists lament what they see as a fading focus on alleged abuses in Tibet amid growing concerns in Washington and other Western capitals about China’s expanding military, pressure on democratic Taiwan, and crackdowns in Hong Kong and on minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region.
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