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  • 01 Oct, 2023
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An Open Letter to World Leaders

Dear world leaders,

As you know, China is celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st. While the Chinese Communist Party celebrates with pomp and grandeur, Tibetans in CCP-occupied China continue to reel under the pressure of increasing Sinicization and assimilation efforts. Wonder how? Here’s a detailed breakdown for you (in case you did not know already or you chose to not acknowledge even if you knew). 

The world needs to be aware that China has been illegitimately occupying Tibet since the 1950s. Tibet’s leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has been living in exile in Dharamshala, India since 1959, where the Tibetan government in exile also operates. Meanwhile, in occupied Tibet, Chinese Communist Party continues to curtail the fundamental rights of Tibetans and Sinicize Tibetan culture, religion, education, language and tradition. Its human rights record in the world’s Rooftop is appalling and it is trying to Sinicize Tibetan culture, traditions, education and language; Tibet was ranked the least-free country in the world by Freedom House recently.

One million Tibetan children are forced to live in Chinese government colonial boarding schools and preschools. This includes an estimated 100,000 children aged 4-6 in preschools, and 800,000-900,000 children aged 6-18 in primary and secondary schools. The long-lasting impact of these schools on Tibetan identity cannot be overstated. Many Tibetans who attended these schools experienced a sense of cultural alienation, leading to a disconnect from their roots and an identity crisis.

CCP is trying to assert control over Tibetan Buddhism by appointing its own Panchen Lama and other religious leaders. This move allows the CCP to manipulate the religious institutions and promote leaders who align with the party's ideology.

CCP seeks to assimilate Tibetan culture and traditions into the dominant Han Chinese culture. This includes altering religious practices, rituals, and even the appearance of temples to align them with Chinese cultural norms. The Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism has led to severe restrictions on religious freedom in Tibet. Tibetan monks and nuns face strict regulations, surveillance, and censorship, limiting their ability to practice and propagate their faith freely.

CCP's policy of forcibly relocating Tibetan nomads disrupts their traditional way of life, which is deeply rooted in Tibetan culture and heritage. Nomads have historically relied on livestock herding and the vast Tibetan plateau for their livelihoods, and this forced relocation erodes their cultural identity.  Tibetan nomads have practiced sustainable and harmonious land use for centuries. Their nomadic lifestyle allowed pastures to regenerate naturally. Forced resettlement leads to overgrazing, soil degradation, and desertification, posing severe environmental consequences for the fragile Tibetan plateau.

The collection of DNAs without informed consent infringes upon the privacy rights of Tibetan individuals. Many Tibetans are unaware of the purpose behind these DNA collections, and it is often done without their voluntary participation. The Chinese government's collection of Tibetan DNA is part of its broader surveillance and control efforts in the region. However, this data can be used for tracking and monitoring Tibetan individuals, particularly those engaged in political activism or dissent.

The Chinese government actively pushes Mandarin as the main language in Tibet, particularly in education, administration, media, and business. Mandarin is being promoted as the major language of instruction in schools, which has resulted in a move away from Tibetan as the medium of instruction. Bilingual education in Tibet typically means that Mandarin is the primary language of instruction, with Tibetan often relegated to a secondary role. This can result in Tibetan students struggling to become fluent in Mandarin, limiting their educational opportunities. 

Chinese authorities have initiated the demolition of the ancient capital of Lhasa, which holds immense cultural and religious significance for Tibetans. This includes the Jokhang Temple, one of Tibet's holiest sites. The Chinese government plans to transform Lhasa into a tourist city similar to Lijiang's "Shangri-La" in Yunnan Province. This transformation includes extensive construction projects, such as shopping malls and underground parking facilities around the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street.

China's media censorship concerning Tibet is particularly stringent. The Chinese government tightly controls information related to Tibet, limiting access to both domestic and international media. Reporting on sensitive topics such as Tibetan autonomy, human rights abuses, or the Dalai Lama is heavily restricted, with journalists facing harassment and expulsion if they attempt to cover such issues. 

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintains a pervasive surveillance apparatus over Tibetans, infringing on their basic rights and on Tibetan citizens' phones, using advanced technology to monitor their communications and activities. This extensive surveillance includes ubiquitous security cameras, internet censorship, and data tracking, all ostensibly for "stability." The system suppresses dissent, stifles cultural expression, and undermines Tibetan identity.

CCP has undertaken a systematic campaign to erase Tibetan heritage in Tibet, sparking global concern over cultural preservation and human rights. One of the most egregious aspects of this effort has been the destruction of numerous Tibetan monasteries and religious artifacts, erasing centuries of religious & cultural history. 

Enforced disappearances of Tibetans in Tibet at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are a grave human rights concern. Tibetan activists, monks, and individuals who express dissenting views or advocate for Tibetan autonomy often vanish without explanation, their fate and whereabouts concealed by Chinese authorities. 

We urge you, world leaders, to consider the gravity of these issues and take immediate steps to address them. Respecting the rights, culture, and environment of the Tibetan people is not only a moral imperative but also essential for promoting peace and stability in the region. History has shown that humanity can overcome the most daunting challenges when leaders unite with vision, courage, and determination. We trust that you will seize this opportunity to lead us toward a brighter, more equitable, and sustainable future for all. 

We urge you to amplify our voices so that world leaders listen to them, realize the significance of addressing the issue of Tibet and holding CCP accountable for the crisis.