China’s Universal Periodic Review
22 October, 2013
For Immediate Release
Padma Dolma, Campaign & Europe Director, Students for a Free Tibet, +41 788 966 390
Iona Liddell, Tibet Justice Centre, + 44 7712 570736
Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network, +44 7748 158 618
Julie de Rivero, Human Rights Watch, +41 79 640 16 49
Yang Jianli, Initiatives for China, + 1 857 472 9039 (in Geneva)
Tibet movement leaders welcome UN member states’ interventions on China’s Universal Periodic Review and slam China’s defensive responses on Tibet[GENEVA] China’s Universal Periodic Review concluded a short time ago in Geneva, with 13 UN member states making recommendations on Tibet and numerous others calling for China to change its treatment of ethnic minorities and respect the rights to freedom of expression, religion and assembly. Meanwhile China’s response to concerns about Tibet mirrored current hardline policies and included insulting condemnation of the Dalai Lama. Members of the Tibet Coalition Lobby Team gave their reaction to the UPR hearing in a Google Hangout press conference, convened by the International Tibet Network within an hour of the UPR conclusions, along with Julie de Rivero of Human Rights Watch and pro-democracy campaigner Yang Jianli. A video of the proceedings can be watched at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTm8dXYC7io&feature=youtu.be.
“The timing of the recommendations for China from so many member states on issues that directly relate to Tibet could not be more urgent, because entire towns and villages in central Tibet are under siege for opposing a patriotic re-education drive that Tibetans say is reminiscent of the cultural revolution.” said Padma Dolma, a member of the Tibet Coalition Lobby Team from Students for a Free Tibet. “Just this month at least 60 Tibetans were injured when Chinese forces opened fire on a crowd peacefully appealing for the release of fellow villager who had objected to a government order for all Tibetan homes and monasteries to raise the Chinese flag. Yet China’s representatives today had the gall to attack the Dalai Lama , a nobel peace laureate. As a Tibetan I am horrified that China’s new leadership has not moved on from such an antiquated and insulting attitude towards His Holiness” she added.
“We especially commend Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and United States of America for their verbal interventions on Tibet, along with written questions from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and robust statements from many other states concerning the protection of ‘ethnic minorities'” said Iona Liddell of Tibet Justice Centre. “However, China’s response on Tibet was not what was required of a state deserving re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. We urge Governments not to vote for China on 12 November and thereby prevent China’s continued erosion of the integrity of the Human Rights Council.”
Julie de Rivero of Human Rights Watch said: “An impressive number of states mentioned Tibet today, showing that it is impossible for China to hide the reality of the situation on the ground, however much it tries. We also welcome the fact that a number of other governments made stronger statements than expected, on a broad range of rights issues, especially considering the pressure China must have put them under prior to the review. However, in its response China showed that it is not willing to take any responsibility for the deterioration in Tibet and revealed the truth behind its claims that civil society organisations were allowed to participate in this UPR process by disappearing Cao Shunli, an activist that was trying to engage with international human rights mechanisms.”
Yang Jianli added: “Today I was struck by China’s ability to tell such blatant lies with a straight face. This is another example of why China does not deserve to be re-elected to the Human Rights Council. China’s re-election defies logic reason and common sense. We need look no further than the Tibetans who have received unspeakable suffering at the hands of this regime, or the Tiananmen mothers, Liu Xiaobo and his wife, the Uighurs, Mongolians, Falun Gong practioners, and those in black jails. The Human Rights Council vote on 12 November is a test for every democracy’s commitment to human rights. If every democracy says no to China, it will not get the required 97 votes.”
Earlier this morning, activists from Students for a Free Tibet hung a banner on the Palais des Nations reading “China Fails Human Rights, UN: Stand Up for Tibet”, to draw attention to the extreme human rights violations taking place in Tibet right now and urging UN member states to block China’s re-election to the Human Rights Council on 12 November. Four activists were arrested, later released but have since been detained again when they returned to the UN (with permission) to collect their equipment. Photos are available from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sqefqgji0cp8qb1/H0mgGAFcOK. The Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein also held a rally today in Geneva, featuring distinguished speakers such as Rebiya Kadeer, Yang Jianli and Tibetan Parliamentarian Thubten Wangchen.
1. In China’s verbal response to questions on Tibet, its representative claimed the self-immolations were instigated by the Dalai lama clique behind the scene, and that the lack of progress in the Sino Tibetan dialogue is because of the Dalai Lama’s demand for independence. In a white paper, released today, China attacked the Dalai Lama and his ‘clique’, reiterating it had no intention of altering policies in Tibet. See http://english.cntv.cn/special/tibetwhitepaper/homepage/index.shtml and http://english.cntv.cn/20131022/102284.shtml.
International Tibet Network, a global coalition of Tibet groups, and its Member groups submitted a written set of recommendations for Governments to raise during China’s UPR..
Human Rights Watch, a leading global organisation dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, has been urging the United Nations Human Rights Council and Member States to ensure China’s second UPR is a genuine and robust review of China’s human rights situation.
Yang Jianli, President of Initiatives for China, is a leading Chinese dissident; a Tiananmen Square survivor now resident in the United States, and a long time democracy activist. Initiatives for China recently launched a campaign urging UN States to say “No” to China’s bid to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council on 12 November; signatories include Chen Guangcheng and Tiananmen Mother Ding Zilin.