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Tibet rated "worst of the worst" for rights and freedoms PDF Print E-mail
[17 July 2012] A recent report has ranked Tibet alongside North Korea and Sudan as one of the world's most repressive societies. The report, by the US-based human rights and democracy advocacy group Freedom House, analyses the lack of basic political and civil liberties in countries and disputed territories around the world.

The report, Worst of the Worst 2012: The Worlds Most Repressive Societies, gave Tibet the lowest ratings for both political rights and civil liberties, deeming it to be the "least free". According to Freedom House such a rating is given when "political opposition is banned, criticism of the government is met with retribution, and independent organisations are suppressed."

Nine other countries received the lowest rating: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, plus one other disputed region, Western Sahara. China was ranked just above this group, receiving the lowest rating for political rights and the lowest but one for civil liberties.

On political rights in Tibet, Freedom House commented that "Tibetans lack the right to determine their political future or freely elect their leaders" and that "the few ethnic Tibetans who occupy senior positions serve mostly as figureheads, often echoing official statements that condemn the Dalai Lama and emphasise Beijings role in developing Tibets economy". The report added that, "Tibetans suffer the same lack of political freedom as Chinas ethnic Han majority, but those seen to be advocating greater autonomy or political independence for Tibet risk harsher punishment and imprisonment."

Regarding civil liberties, the report said that, "Chinese authorities control the flow of information in Tibet, tightly restricting all media and severely limiting access to foreign journalists. Online censorship and cybercaf surveillance in place across China are enforced even more stringently in Tibet."

As well as referring to the suppression of protests, it was noted that near the sites of self-immolations the Chinese authorities would often "cut off the internet entirely and install security cameras along main roads". The report also mentioned religious repression, the lack of a fair and just judicial system, imprisonment of Tibetan intellectuals and torture, which it said "remains common in practice".

Referring specifically to China, the report added that as well as "crushing dissent in Tibet", the Chinese government "has committed increased resources to internal security forces, engaged in systematic enforced disappearances of dozens of human rights lawyers and bloggers, and enhanced controls over online social media."

Further reading:
Freedom House - online report I download full report (PDF)

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