A bipartisan initiative by more than 20 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. Jim McGovern, has called upon Secretary of State Antony Blinken to emphasize the escalating human rights violations against Tibetans during China's upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. The letter emphasizes the deteriorating situation in Tibet since China's last review in 2018, pointing to a significant decline in civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
Specifically, the letter highlights Chinese government policies that are systematically eroding Tibetan Buddhism, language, and traditional ways of life. The members of Congress underscore the urgency of addressing these violations, characterizing them as fundamental threats to the survival and well-being of the Tibetan people.
China’s Universal Periodic Review is scheduled for January 23 in Geneva and presents an essential opportunity for the international community to assess China's human rights record, conducted once every four to five years by the Human Rights Council.
The letter insists that the U.S. delegation participating in the review should actively raise concerns regarding the situation in Tibet, offering specific recommendations to the People's Republic of China during the process. This proactive stance aims to spotlight the violations committed against Tibetans and present recommendations aimed at safeguarding the human rights and cultural heritage of the Tibetan people.
Among the signatories are several prominent House members such as André Carson, Lloyd Doggett, Raúl Grijalva, Pramila Jayapal, and Nancy Pelosi, representing bipartisan support for the cause.
The letter extensively outlines the Chinese government's coercive measures, including the state-run boarding school system that has separated over a million Tibetan children from their families, the replacement of Tibetan language with Mandarin in education, and efforts to assimilate Tibetan culture into Chinese norms. Additionally, it notes China's attempts to alter the demographics in the Tibet Autonomous Region, coercive relocations, and resettlement programs that disrupt Tibetan communities.
This congressional appeal supplements ongoing U.S. efforts to support Tibet, including recent legislative actions such as the Resolve Tibet Act, aiming to pressure China to engage in dialogue with Tibetan leaders. The Biden administration has also taken action, imposing sanctions on Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses in Tibet, aligning with President Biden's campaign promise to stand up for the Tibetan people.
The letter concludes by urging the U.S. to leverage the Universal Periodic Review as a pivotal moment to shed light on the plight of Tibetans and reinforce the protection of their fundamental rights, serving as a vital step in addressing the continuous human rights violations in the region.
Edited and collated by Team TRC