Why You Should Care

Central Tibet 1995 Some Facts:

  • More than a million Tibetans have died from the Chinese occupation of torture, starvation, and execution, according to the Tibetan Government in Exile.
  • More than 6,000 monasteries and their contents, irreplaceable jewels of Tibetan culture, were destroyed.
  • Tibetans are routinely imprisoned and tortured for non-violently expressing their views.
  • Freedom of religion is severely curtailed.
  • Nuns are brutally raped in Chinese prisons.
  • China is encouraging the large-scale settlement of Chinese into Tibet which is overwhelming the Tibetan population in many areas.

Today the situation in Tibet is increasingly tense. The influx of Chinese increases; peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa and elsewhere take place despite the strong and often violent reaction of Chinese security forces. Hundreds of Tibetans are imprisoned for their political or religious activities. Asia Watch states in its 1994 report, Detained in China and Tibet, that "The proportion of 'counterrevolutionaries' to common criminals in Tibetan jails today is almost 21 times higher than in China proper." Detainees are regularly tortured and exiled Tibetans have only limited access to their country. Meanwhile, China has just opened Tibet to both individual and group tourism, and to wider economic development.

In recent years, and especially since the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the concern shown by the governments in Europe and the U.S., in particular, has grown considerably. A number of parliamentary bodies have passed resolutions condemning human rights violations in Tibet and calling for peaceful resolution of the conflict in accordance with the Dalai Lama's plan.

This is the most critical time for the Tibetan people. Tibetans urge the world to support the Dalai Lama's proposal and put pressure on the Chinese government to begin negotiations with the Tibetan Government-in-exile, the true representatives of the Tibetan people.

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