Target: United Nations General Assembly
Goal: Ask governments attending this week’s UN General Assembly to pressure the Chinese government to end human rights abuses in Tibet
At this week’s United Nations General Assembly, the world’s governments have the opportunity to seriously discuss ways in which to end China’s suppression of Tibetan human rights. The Chinese government continues to severely limit the free flow of information and communication in and out of Tibet, has increased repressive security measures and arbitrary detentions, and has upheld policies that suppress Tibetans’ freedoms of religion, expression, and culture. The results have been tragic: since February 2009, 51 Tibetans have self-immolated, setting themselves on fire as a public protest. Astonishingly, the international community watches in silence, afraid that any action beyond a few stern words will upset Beijing and damage economic ties and global trade.
In 2012 alone there have been 38 self-immolations—7 which took place as recently as August—showing a clear escalation of Tibetan outrage over Chinese suppression. In many cases, the deaths of these self-immolators incited wide-scale protests involving hundreds of people that only led to more deaths when the Chinese government reacted in force. In an effort to prevent future fiery protests, Chinese officials have made wide-spread arrests and detentions, and have enacted tougher controls, especially targeting Tibetan monasteries. On entering the monasteries, police have been reportedly beating and harassing the monks, attempting to ferret out information concerning self-immolators and arresting monks without cause.
A key source of the Tibetan-Chinese tensions lies at the crossroads of Church and State. In late 2011, the Chinese government reversed an earlier decision that had allowed Buddhist monasteries in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to be overseen by monks in compliance with all government regulations. Now, a new policy allows the Chinese Communist Party and government officials to enact direct control over nearly every Tibetan monastery. As a result, most self-immolators have been Buddhist monks and nuns protesting the Chinese government’s continued infringement on Tibetans’ abilities to practice their religion and culture in peace.
Demand that the leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly this week break their tradition of hesitant silence and pressure the Chinese government to end its abuse of Tibetan human rights.
Dear Governments of the United Nations General Assembly,
I ask that you seize the opportunity you have while gathered as a global community to formulate a plan to end China’s ongoing persecution of Tibetans. In 2012 alone, 38 Tibetans self-immolated in protest against the increasingly oppressive policies China has enacted restricting freedoms of religion, culture, expression, and more. This number has been on the rise since 2011 when the Chinese government took control over Tibetan monasteries from Buddhist monks, and there is good reason to believe the number of deaths will continue to increase if no action is taken.
The protection of global human rights is an essential piece of the United Nations’ role in the world. To continue to ignore such a blatant infraction of international law is to ignore what the UN stands for. Please take the necessary steps to see that Tibetan human rights are restored and China is held accountable for its ongoing disregard for human life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: dreamsjung via Flickr