One year on and no sign of Xi changing failed Tibet policies

Joint Network Members Sign-on Statement

For release 14 November 2013

First twelve months of China’s 5th generation leadership marked by increased repression in Tibet, including shootings of unarmed Tibetans, and continued self-immolation protests.

Dhardon Sharling: +91 941 879 1189, based in India [English, Tibetan] Tenzin Jigme: +1 703 424 0015, based in US [English, Tibetan] Kyinzom Dhongdue: +61 416 695 590, based in Australia [English, Tibetan]

Xi Jinping’s first year at the helm of China’s Communist Party has seen a tightening of restrictions in occupied Tibet, Tibet campaigners said on the anniversary of China’s 5th generation Politburo Standing Committee being unveiled. Xi and his colleagues have shown no sign of changing course in Tibet, instead they are continuing down the same failed path as previous generations of Chinese leaders; implementing a harsh military crackdown, which – far from bringing about the stability they seek – serve to exacerbate Tibetan grievances and create widespread resistance right across Tibet.

“Xi and his colleagues are trying to maintain their stranglehold occupation in Tibet through Three Pillars of Coercive Control; Military Occupation, Colonial Rule, and Fear and Intimidation”, said Dhardon Sharling, Co Chair of the International Network [1]. “But with protests and immolations continuing [2] to be regular occurrences, Xi and China’s 5th generation leaders need to recognize that Tibetan resistance is not fading away, and the encouraging number of recommendations from governments about Tibet in China’s Universal Periodic Review highlight the urgent need for change.”

Xi’s family history has led to speculation that he might consider political reform, including China’s Tibet policies, as his liberal father Xi Zhongxun was close to the 10th Panchen Lama and carried a photo of the Dalai Lama [3]. However the evidence is so far discouraging. In August the New York Times reported on the circulation of Document 9′, bearing “the unmistakable imprimatur of Xi Jinping”, which urged Communist Party Members to eradicate “seven perils” including  “Western constitutional democracy”, promoting “universal values” of human rights and Western-inspired notions of media independence and civic participation”. [4] Whilst a recent Reuters report said that Xi had tried but failed to end China’s labour camp system [5], the conclusion of the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee announced new plans to establish a state security committee that, according to the Wall Street Journal, has the potential to “cement Xi Jinping’s hold on the military, domestic security and foreign policy and help establish him as the country’s most individually powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping.” [6]

“The last twelve months have seen a worsening situation in Tibet, with numerous instances of unarmed Tibetans being shot by security personnel and where Tibetans have continued to self-immolate in protest against China’s rule [7]” said Tenzin Jigme, the Network’s International Coordinator. “China’s highly specific Tibet policies should be the yardstick for evaluating Xi’s first year of leadership, and our conclusion is that Xi scores a resounding “fail”.”

Examples of deteriorations in the situation in Tibet include:

  • At least three known incidents of security forces opening fire on unarmed Tibetans. These include in Tawu, eastern Tibet on 6 July 2013 when Tibetans gathered to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday – at least 10 were injured; in Driru, central Tibet on 6 October 2013, when Tibetans called for the release of a villager who had been detained for objecting to official orders to fly the Chinese flag and demonstrate loyalty to the Communist Party – at least 60 were injured; and in Dzatoe, central Tibet on 16 August, when security forces broke up a peaceful sit-down protest against mining, despite demonstrators having erected posters of Xi Jinping and quoted a speech he had made on protection of the environment – at least 14 Tibetans were injured. [8]
  • The continued self-immolation protests by Tibetans from all walks of life. There have been 49 such instances since 15 November 2012, the most recent on 11 November 2013 by Tibetan monk Tsering Gyal in Golok, eastern Tibet. Over 100 self-immolation protesters have died since the wave began. [9]
  • The criminilization of relatives of Tibetan self-immolation protesters, including Lobsang Kunchok, sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, and Lobsang Tsering who received a 10-year sentence in January 2013 for “intentional homicide”. On 16 August 2013 Dolma Kyab was sentenced to death for “homicide”, accused of “killing his wife [Kunchok Wangmo] and burning her body to make it look as if she had self-immolated”, according to Xinhua. [10]
  • Further isolating Tibetans by tightening control of the internet and detaining Tibetan writers. In early November 2013, Chen Quanguo vowed to “ensure that the voices of hostile forces and the Dalai group are not seen or heard”. [11] During October 2013 three writers who were frequent information sources for external observers were arrested on the pretext that they carried out “political activities aimed at destroying social stability and dividing the Chinese homeland”. Reporters without Borders wrote: “Every arrest of a Tibetan who tried to inform his peers and the outside world about the dramatic situation in Tibet plunges the region further into isolation.” [12]
  • An escalation in the policy to remove Tibet’s nomads from their ancestral home, the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau. [13]

Meanwhile, no doubt in order to mitigate criticism of its policies in Tibet ahead of October’s Rights Review, China has hosted visits to Lhasa by Ambassadors from the USA, Australia and Canada, and the EU’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis. Rather than being evidence of a relaxation of policies, these visits merely demonstrate that China is confident of its ability to stage-manage visits to Lhasa and keep evidence of dissent out of sight. However, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has not yet been able to visit and, as Human Rights Watch reported, China has for years rebuffed efforts by other Human Rights Council experts, with 13 unfulfilled requests dating back to 2005. [14]

“China will only be moved on Tibet when world governments clearly speak up in unison. UN member states must unite for Tibet and hold China to account for its human rights violations.” said Kyinzom Dhongdue, Australasia’s representative on the Network Steering Committee. “Our governments must spare no effort in following through with the recommendations made on Tibet during China’s recent Universal Periodic Review. This should include immediately agreeing dates for an overdue visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and facilitating early visits by Special Procedures.”

Xi Jinping and 5th generation leaders must adopt a paradigm shift in the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to Tibet that gives full agency over formulating future policies to the Tibetan people, by first acknowledging its failures and the illegitimacy of its military rule over Tibet.

Xi Jinping must commit to a just and lasting resolution that recognizes the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination under international law.

Xi Jinping must implement the following recommendations immediately:

  • Stop the Chinese government’s use of military force to crackdown on the Tibetan people. As a matter of urgency, withdraw all security forces from monasteries and places where protests have taken place.
  • Allow immediate and unfettered access to all Tibetan areas by foreign media, diplomats, international observers – in particular the High Commissioner for Human Rights – and foreign tourists.
  • Cease the harsh and systematic repression of religious and cultural life in Tibet, and suspend with immediate effect the Chinese government’s patriotic education programme.
  • Remove all Party cadres from monasteries in Tibet with immediate effect, and suspend policies concerning interference by Chinese authorities in the selection of reincarnate lamas.
  • Ensure the Tibetan people’s right to practice and promote their language is respected by restoring the Tibetan language as the primary medium of instruction in schools and universities.
  • Halt all economic and development policies detrimental to safeguarding the prospects and livelihood of the Tibetans. Reduce the dependency of the Tibetan economy on Chinese government subsidies by favouring bottom up, sustainable development models that offer opportunities to disadvantaged Tibetans and cease all financial incentives for Chinese settlement onto the plateau.
  • End and reverse the coercive policy of nomad settlement; suspend all ongoing settlements and allow those nomads already settled to return to their land and way of life if they wish, and their cancelled long term land leases restored. Allow the Tibetans to be full partners in all decisions over land use in Tibet.
  • Stop environmentally destructive mining and damming projects, and engage with downstream nations to implement bottom-up participatory management of Tibet’s water resources.
  • Release all political prisoners detained for engaging in peaceful protest, arbitrarily detained or sentenced without a just trial in accordance with international law immediately and unconditionally.


  • Establish and participate in a contact group or multilateral forum by world governments to devise and implement new, more robust, coordinated strategies for resolving the Tibet crisis.
  • Vigorously pursue actions in appropriate international forums that will focus the attention of the government of the PRC on the severity of the situation in Tibet and on the legitimate concern of the international community that Tibetans enjoy the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants to which China is a party.
  • Utilize all opportunities to raise bilateral concern about Tibet in the context of China’s Leadership handover, emphasizing the failure of security, economic and development policies to achieve stability in Tibet and urge the immediate adoption of measures to address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.
  • Express strong public condemnation of China’s intensifying religious and cultural repression in Tibet, with specific reference to widespread programmes of “patriotic education” and harsh measures to punish individuals for peaceful expression of their cultural and political freedom.
  •  Urgently seek to send diplomats to affected areas and demand from China assurances that foreign journalists be allowed unfettered access to the TAR and Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan.
  • Expand capacity to monitor the situation in Tibet, including continuing to push for greater access to Tibet. Initiate or elevate efforts to establish a diplomatic presence in Lhasa, and expand existing resources within Beijing embassies for monitoring.
  • Raise strong concerns over the failure of economic and development policies in Tibet, including the lack of Tibetan participation in shaping these policies.
  • Call for a halt to the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and the loss of an ancient, sustainable way of life and urge China to adopt best practice models of participatory governance of Tibet’s fragile environment and water resources.
  • Increase programmatic support for Tibetans in Tibet and for programmes that facilitate information exchange between Tibetans in exile and in Tibet.

[1] International Tibet Network is a global coalition of over 185 Tibet campaign groups which are dedicated to advancing the rights of the Tibetan people, see
[2] At least 123 Tibetans are known to have self-immolated since February 2009; at least 49 incidents since 15 November 2012. See Resistance in Tibet: Self Immolation & Protest Report:
[3] www.chinese-leaders.or/xi-zhongxun
[4] Document 9
[5] Reuters: Failure to end China’s labour camps shows limits of Xi’s power
[7] See Note 2.
[8] For further information about the Driru shooting incident see:
For further information about the Tawu shooting incident see:
For further information about the Dzatoe shooting incident see:
[9] See Note 2
[10] For more information about Lobsang Kunchok, Lobsang Tsering and Dolma Kyab see  and
[11] See AFP report.


Signed by Member Groups of the International Tibet Network:

Western Europe
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Association Dorje
Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet
Association Rencontres Tibetaines – C.S.P.T. Midi-Pyrenees
Associazione Italia -Tibet
Austrian Committee for Tibet
Autodétermination-Tibet 09/31
Briancon05 Urgence Tibet
Caisse d’Aide aux Prisonniers Tibetains
Casa del Tibet – Spain
Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT)
Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain (Les Lilas)
Corse – Tibet
Eco-Tibet France
EcoTibet Ireland
France Tibet
Free Tibet
Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin, France
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
International Campaign for Tibet Deutschland
International Campaign for Tibet Europe
International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter (IGFM)
Jamtse Thundel Association
La Porte du Tibet, Geneva
Les Amis du Tibet – Belgium
Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg
Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France
Lungta Association Belgium
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
Nice Tibet
Nos Amis de l’Himalaya
Objectif Tibet
Passeport Tibetain
Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara
Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet
Save Tibet, Austria
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Solidarite Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet – France
Students for a Free Tibet – UK
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF)
Tibet 59 / 62
Tibet Democratie
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibets Kinder im Exile V.
Tibet Liberte Solidarite
Tibet Libertes, France
Tibet Society, U.K.
Tibet Support Group – Ireland
Tibet Support Group – Netherlands
Tibet Unterstutzung Liechtenstein
Tibetan Association of Germany
Tibetan Community Austria
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibetan Community in Ireland
Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Tibetan Youth UK
TSG Free Tibet And You
Tsowa-Maintenir la Vie, France
Vrienden Van Tibet
Tibetan Community of Italy
Tibetaanse-Vlaamse Vriendenkring vzw

Northern Europe
Association of Free Tibet
Friends of Tibet in Finland
Swedish Tibet Committee
SFT Denmark
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
Tibet Support Committee Denmark
Tibetan Community in Denmark
Tibetan Community Sweden

Central & Eastern Europe
Fair Society o.s.
Friends of Tibet Slovakia
Friends of Tibet Society St. Petersburg, Russia
International Youth Human Rights Group – Human Rights in Tibet
Lithuanian Tibet Culture Foundation
Polish Movement for a Free Tibet
Save Tibet Foundation
Society for Croatia-Tibet Friendship
Students for a Free Tibet, Poland
The Foundation for Civil Society, Russia
Tibet cesky (Tibet in Czech)
Tibet Support Association – Hungary
Tibet Support Group – Krasnodar Region, Russia
Tibet Support Group – Romania
Tibet Support Group – Sochi Region, Russia
Tibetan Community in Poland
Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation
TSG – Slovenia
Union Latvija Tibetai (Latvia for Tibet )
Zida Cels, Latvia
Tibetan Association of Slovakia

North America
Association Cognizance Tibet, North Carolina
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Boston Tibet Network
Canada Tibet Committee
Colorado Friends of Tibet
Committee of 100 for Tibet
CTC – Calgary
Dhokam Chushi Gangdruk
International Campaign for Tibet
International Tibet Independence Movement
Los Angeles Friends of Tibet
Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association
San Diego Friends of Tibet
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Sierra Friends of Tibet
Snow Lion Foundation
Students for a Free Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet – Canada
The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago
The World Tibet Day Foundation
Tibet Committee of Fairbanks
Tibet Justice Center
Tibetan Association of Ithaca
Tibetan Association of Northern California
Tibetan Association of Philadelphia
Tibetan Association of Santa Fe
Tibetan Association of Southern California
Tibetan Cultural Association – Quebec
Tibet Oral History Project
Toronto Tibet Youth Congress
United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT)
U.S. Tibet Committee
Western Colorado Friends of Tibet
Wisconsin Tibetan Association

Central and South America
Amigos del Tibet, El Salvador
Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana
Asociación Cultural Tibetano – Costarricense
Casa Tibet Mexico
Centro De Cultura Tibetana – Brazil
Grupo De Apoyo a Tibet Chile
Grupo Pro-Cultura Tibetana, Chile
Le Club Francais – Paraguay
Pensando En Tibet – Mexico
Tibet Group-Panama
Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay
Fundación Pro Tibet – Argentina
Friends of Tibet in Costa Rica
World League for Freedom and Democracy

Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India
Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India
Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H. H. the Dalai Lama
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet
Himalayan Committee for Action on Tibet
India Tibet Friendship Society
Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha)
Lung-Ta Project
Mahatma Gandhi Tibet Freedom Movement
National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India
National Democratic Party of Tibet
Raise Tibetan Flag Campaign
Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia
SFT Japan
SFT India
Students for a Free Tibet – Bangladesh
Taiwan Friends of Tibet
Taiwan Tibet Exchange Foundation
The Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan
Tibet Lives, India
Tibet Philippines Support Network
Tibet Solidarity Forum, Bangladesh
Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan
Tibet Support Network Japan
Tibetan Student Association, Madras (TSAM)
Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre
Tibetan Rights and Freedom Committee (TRFRC)
Tibetan Women’s Association (Central)
Tibetan Youth Congress
Japan Committee of 100 for TIbet
Ns3 Rigpa Community Builder’s Foundation
Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti

A.C.T. Tibet Support Group
Australia Tibet Council
Friends of Tibet New Zealand
Students for a Free Tibet New Zealand

Africa and Middle East
Friends of Tibet – Isamailia (Egypt)
Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People
South African Friends of Tibet
Tibet Support Group Kenya