Press Release: New report released ahead of China’s 19th Communist Party Congress
Undoubtedly the most dominant leader that China has seen since Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping is expected to cement the power he has built over China’s Communist Party (CCP), and the more than a billion people who live under its rule, at China’s forthcoming 19th Party Congress.
Since his ascent to the top of the CCP in November 2012 Xi’s leadership has been characterised by a wholesale effort to silence dissent – at home and abroad – across a range of issues, not least relating to China’s continued occupation of restive Tibet. This new report, ‘Xi Jinping: Five Years of Failure in Tibet’ describes the severity of the situation in Tibet, showing firmly how Xi is, first and foremost, responsible for the intense crackdown that has deepened over the past five years, with China inflicting widespread, systematic repression across Tibet, that is affecting Tibetans’ everyday lives.
The report states, “Xi is presiding over a Tibet in crisis, devastated by five generations of colonial exploitation but possessing a population whose sense of the Tibetan nation, and whose spirit and diverse resistance to China’s rule is undiminished since the day the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet nearly 70 years ago.”
“Five years of Xi’s leadership have been five desperate years in Tibet”, said Nyima Lhamo of International Tibet Network . “The situation in Tibet, China, and other territories occupied by the People’s Republic of China, has gone from bad to worse since 2012 – with the deaths of prominent human rights defenders, Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, and Tibetan buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, starkly epitomising Xi Jinping’s rule.”
Tibet, for the second year in a row, is ranked by Freedom House as the second worst place in the world for human rights abuses and freedoms; ranking worse than North Korea and falling closely behind Syria. Freedom House documented wide-ranging violations against basic rights, including an alarming rate of detentions, prosecutions, and convictions of Tibetans for the peaceful exercise of their freedoms of expression, assembly, and religious belief.
“Xi must be held responsible for the current situation in Tibet and, as we move into his second five year term – or possibly more – the brutal impact of his policies must be brought to the attention of the world”, said Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet and Co-Chair of International Tibet Network. “Xi Jinping is the great silencer – silencing dissenting voices and criticism at home and abroad; the dictator of the unfree world. He cannot be allowed to evade criticism from governments and world leaders any longer.”
In the lead up to the Party Congress, Xi has ejected foreigners from Tibet and sealed off the entire area. Restrictions have been implemented to stop Tibetans in Tibet travelling internally and a significant increase on surveillance of digital communications has been reported.
Similarly, Beijing regularly increases military presence in Tibet at sensitive times: the most recent example for this trend is the “huge military exercise in Lhasa ahead of the 19th Party Congress” carried out on 26 September 2017 and reported by Tibetan activist and blogger Woeser . Chinese officials at the military display used the event to publicly pledge “loyalty to the Party, keeping the mission firmly in mind, countering terrorism and violence, governing borderland and stabilising Tibet”.
At a time of huge global uncertainty and anxiety Xi has positioned himself as a champion of the global liberal order; a contradictory image to the reality that he is an oppressor who oversees the systematic repression of millions under his rule. To date the international community has turned a blind eye to Xi’s failings and has shamefully kow-towed to his aggressive influence instead of consistently and unitedly speaking out against his extraordinary assault on basic human rights.
“Xi is presiding over a Tibet in crisis, devastated by five generations of colonial exploitation but possessing a population whose sense of the Tibetan nation, and whose spirit and diverse resistance to China’s rule is undiminished since the day the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet nearly 70 years ago,” said Tenzin Jigdal, International Tibet Network. “It is frightening to think what will happen in the next five years if governments do not take a stand and call Xi Jinping out on his ruthlessness. We cannot wait until the situation gets worse as it is already critical and world leaders must act now.”
Xi Jinping: Five Years of Failure in Tibet highlights China’s policy failures; policies that over nearly seven decades of unfettered control have left Tibetans resolutely opposed to China’s rule. The number of solo protests against China’s rule and self-immolations carried out across Tibet has increased in the five years since Xi Jinping’s appointment.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
- International Tibet Network is a global coalition of 180 Tibet Groups working to end the human rights violations in Tibet and restore the Tibetan people’s right under international law to determine their own political, economic, social, religious, and cultural status – www.TibetNetwork.org
- https://freetibet.org/news-media/na/china-continues-crackdown-wechat-tibet, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/warned-09252017160538.html