A new report from the Tibet Advocacy Coalition has revealed the Chinese government’s ‘cradle to grave’ policies of displacement, control and cultural erasure in Tibet. The report adds to concerns around coercive labour transfer schemes in the region, with Chinese official statistics referencing over 2.8 million Tibetans transferred over the past five years.
In response, Tim Loughton MP led a cross-party group of 15 Parliamentarians in calling on the UK Foreign Secretary to issue sanctions on Chen Quanguo and Wu Yingjie, two Chinese officials linked with human rights abuses in the Uyghur and Tibetan regions. Both individuals had been omitted from sanctions on Chinese officials announced by the UK Government earlier this week. The text and signatories to the letter, released by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, are attached.
The report finds that though the Chinese government claims labour transfer schemes are for vocational purposes, mandatory political indoctrination makes up a core part of the programme, in some case up to 70% of activity with the remaining time focused on ‘low-level skills’ training The authors of the report conclude that those taking part in the programme, including Tibetan rural labourers and former prisoners, will have little or no choice about taking part.
The report builds on evidence by leading China scholar Adrian Zenz, co-released by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) last year, that first revealed evidence of the large scale coercive labour transfer schemes in the region. IPAC has since called for meaningful access to Tibet for international investigations into the abuses.
The report claims that coercive labour transfer schemes are just one part of the Chinese Commmunist Party’s campaign to dilute Tibetan identity through implementing a programme of ideological indoctrination beginning at childhood, the restructuring of rural economies and a systematic intensification of data-driven policing and surveillance.
Other key findings of the report include:
- Torture, sexual abuse and imprisonment of Tibetan monks and nuns in specific ’transformation through education’ facilities.
- Religious practitioners report being forced to denounce the Dalai Lama and memorize political CCP propaganda.
- ‘Military style’ political education for children as young as kindergarten age, with Tibetan toddlers being required to wear Chinese military uniform and participate in activities with army personnel.
- A heightened risk of imprisonment, torture and even death for moderate expressions of Tibetan cultural and religious identity or information sharing.
Tim Loughton, British Conservative Member of Parliament and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, commented:
“Those who seek to destroy Tibetan life and perpetrate abuses on its people must be held to account for their actions. Governments around the world should implement targeted sanctions on the Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet.
The international community must demand full and meaningful access to Tibet to make legal investigations into the alleged abuses. Until such access is forthcoming, governments around the world should impose reciprocal travel restrictions on Chinese officials connected to the abuses.
Failure to act will only serve to embolden the Chinese government’s brutal persecution of not only Tibetans, but also Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities across China.”
Kimberley Kitching, Australian Labor Senator and Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, commented:
“Today’s report adds to a mounting body of evidence documenting egregious human rights abuses in Tibet.
The Chinese government has repeatedly demonstrated its intent to stamp out Tibetan culture, language and religion and is willing to use any means to achieve this.
Ordinary Tibetans are powerless to stop the Chinese state from subjecting them to invasive surveillance, indoctrination and coercion into so-called ‘vocational’ labour transfer programmes.
Democratic states across the world must instigate UN or other international investigations into the alleged abuses, we cannot turn a blind eye to these abuses.”
The full text and signatories of the letter from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China is included below.
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China
The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
24th March 2021
Dear Secretary of State,
We, undersigned members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, write to you to express our concerns at the Chinese government’s new and intensified campaign of repression against Tibetan identity, religion and language.
A report published today by the Tibet Advocacy Coalition has revealed the Chinese government’s ‘cradle to grave’ policies of displacement, control and cultural erasure in Tibet.
The report details how Chinese officials have stated their intent towards “controlling minds” and “breaking lineage, breaking roots, breaking connections, and breaking origins” of Tibetans in the region. Policies include political indoctrination for toddlers in kindergartens and the demotion of the Tibetan languages in schools.
As ordinary Tibetans are subject to increasingly invasive surveillance, they face a heightened risk of imprisonment, torture and even death for moderate expressions of Tibetan cultural and religious identity.
According to figures provided by Chinese media in February 2021, 2.8 million Tibetans have taken part in such programmes over the past five years. The authors of the report conclude that it is unlikely that those enrolling in the labour transfer schemes, including Tibetan rural labourers and former prisoners, would be able to decline them.
We welcome the sanctions issued against Chinese officials and government entities responsible for abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur region, as requested in a letter from this group to your office dated the 10th of November 2020.
It is noted with concern that Chen Quangou, Political Commissar within the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which itself is subject to UK sanctions, has been omitted from the sanctions list. Chen previously served as Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, where he oversaw the implementation of a heavy-handed repression and surveillance of Tibetan religious and cultural life.
This programme of “coercive assimilation” identified by the report has been accelerated by Wu Yingjie, Chen Quangou’s successor. Wu Yingjie is responsible for an intensified crackdown on Tibetan religion, publicly stating that Tibetans must separate “religion from life” and “Sinicize” Tibetan beliefs. Under Wu’s leadership, Tibetan monks and nuns have been forcibly enrolled in ‘re-education’ facilities, where they are forced to denounce tenets of their religion and subject to sexual abuse.
We urge you to consider implementing sanctions on both Chen Quangou and Wu Yingjie to send a clear message that the abuses taking place in both the Tibetan and Uyghur regions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
We also ask that the government makes renewed efforts to request the Chinese government grant full and meaningful access to the Tibetan region for a UN or international investigation into our concerns. Should such access not be forthcoming, we ask that the government consider what reciprocal measures may be taken to restrict the access of Chinese officials responsible for abuses in Tibet to the United Kingdom.
We would be happy to assist by meeting with you to discuss this further, or by supplying any further information that could help take this process forward. We look forward to hearing from you.
Tim Loughton MP
Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet
Lord (David) Alton
Baroness (Natalie) Bennet
Chris Bryant MP
Alistair Carmichael MP
Rosie Cooper MP
Judith Cummins MP
Geraint Davies MP
David Davis MP
Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP
Wera Hobhouse MP
Baroness (Jenny) Jones
Chris Law MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
Layla Moran MP
Andrew Selous MP
Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (UK)