Within the somewhat more restrained posture and rhetoric displayed by both Clinton and Trump during the final Presidential Election Debate Hillary came out with a line that would have passed by unnoticed to those sucked in by the inflamed narrative which has characterized this contest. The former Secretary of State used this national televised platform to declare her belief that forced abortions in China are now ended. In other words she has issued a public endorsement of China’s propaganda assertions on this issue. Yet her declaration is at odds with a wealth of documented evidence and reports. And she now finds herself contradicting, on the subject, the meticulous conclusions and inquiries of the Congressional Executive Committee On China and the United Nations Committee Against Torture! No doubt her fact-free assertion would have been warmly received by the Chinese Regime, not so those women across China and occupied lands such as Tibet and East Turkestan who continue to suffer a range of violations under China’s draconian population control policies. Including forced sterilizations and forced abortions.
As this post is being written there are convening preparatory meetings by regional and country divisions of the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and also women’s Non-Governmental Organizations. Such gatherongs are planning for the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.
We have for some years now exposed and challenged the UNCSW and associated women’s NGOs for their refusal to oppose and condemn forced sterilizations, and in particular their silence on China’s coercive population control program. Anyone committed to the principle and enjoyment of human rights would be deeply concerned that a UN body and NGOs seemingly dedicated to defending and promoting women’s rights chooses to ignore these harrowing violations. Yet that’s precisely what is happening.
Something is very wrong indeed especially when their collective silence and evasion on this issue is in opposition to the findings and concerns of other divisions of the United Nations. Unlike the UNCSW (and UN Women) the UN’s Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) is sufficiently concerned about the plight of women suffering under the harrowing realities of China’s population policies to take action. It also is not inhibited to express its concerns:
“In November 2015, the UN Committee against Torture conducted its fifth periodic review of China’s compliance with the Convention.18 In its concluding observations, the Committee stated its concerns about China’s coercive implementation of the population policy, such as coerced sterilization and forced abortion, and the lack of information on investigations into such allegations” (Source: CECC Report 2016).
We would like to thank the UN Committee Against Torture for its concern on this most disturbing of human rights violations and welcome their decision to investigate and challenge the Chinese authorities on this matter. A few months earlier UNCAT had requested China’s regime provide information on ‘‘the total number of investigations or prosecutions launched against officials and other persons” with respect to coercion within China’s population program. Responding during October 2015 China’s government failed to furnish the Committee with the relevant data sought by UNCAT. No surprise there then!
This clear refusal to comply with a official UN inquiry into reports of violations imposed by China’s population control program provides further evidence (not that much more be needed) that women in China remain subject to a range of draconian measures that contravene a number of human rights principles and breach the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, (adopted by the Fourth World Conference on
Women on 15 September 1995, endorsed by UN General Assembly resolution 50/203 of 22 December 1995) That document, to which China is a signatory, states that governments which participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirmed their commitment to ‘‘Ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; . . .’’ (para. 9) and ‘‘are convinced that . . . [t]he explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment; . . .’’ (para. 17).
The UNCSW and its associated NGOs may be seen across social media and the internet as being deeply motivated to ensure that women are empowered in all sorts of areas, education, employment, social mobility and human rights. However their take on empowerment does not extend to a woman having a right not be forcibly sterilized, they do not advocate what any right-thinking person would consider as constituting a fundamental freedom. Even when their prestigious UN colleagues in the Committee Against Torture document their concerns on the subject and expose the Chinese authorities blatant refusal to cooperate, they remain mute!
When she presides over the 2017 Commission On The Status of Women assembly Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women will no doubt be reunited with an old friend of the UNCSW, Ms. Meng Xiaosi. A member of China’s communist party, Minister and Vice-Chairperson of National Committee on Women and Children under the State Council China. She’s also vice president of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a national organization that assists in the enforcement of China’s notorious population control policies upon women in China, and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.
A closing note that just about says it all on the issue, on March 14th 2016 she was warmly applauded by UNCSW delegates as she presented a speech (image above) on equality for women!
October 2, 2016: A video recently surfaced that shows Chinese cops attacking Tibetans on the sidewalk. It was posted across Twitter by @Lhasa_Bhu who reports this latest case of Chinese tyranny as happening in Eastern Tibet.
Yay! The circus has come to town! Well, not yours but Brussels in Belgium, but we are not talking acrobats, jugglers or tight-rope walkers. Not even clowns. Although there will be an ironic element of slapstick present in the gathering otherwise known as the International Conference of Tibet Support Groups, the seventh of which convened on September 8th to discuss various strategies and issues relating to Tibet. It’s a serious business, yet its colorful assemblage of individuals, comprised virtually exclusively of supporters of the Tibetan Administration’s surrender/autonomy ‘policy’, play the fool with a rare talent!
As the tone of this post ably demonstrates we are not fan of these events, why so? Well as an entirely volunteer network of individuals who are passionate in their support of Tibet we oppose any betrayal of the struggle for Tibet’s independence inside occupied. Make no mistake this conference. like its predecessors, seeks a very different objective to that so courageously struggled for by Tibetans living under the tyranny of Chinese rule. The very mention of ‘independence’ is off-the-menu, instead the focus is seeking compromise with the Chinese regime to secure rights for Tibetans under its meaningless laws on local and regional autonomy. Sure you may hear talk of Tibetan freedom around the dining tables but such comments mask an agenda of surrender, described of course as ‘political realism’!
That such treacherous capitulation, for that is what it is when contrasted with the common political aspirations of Tibetans who dream of regaining their national freedom, is applauded and endorsed by those who describe themselves as supporters of Tibet is deeply disappointing. It also begs the question as to what in truth they are actually ‘supporting’. Is their allegiance instead towards Buddhism and His Holiness the Dalai Lama? Would that explain their willingness to advocate the exiled Tibetan Administration’s political suicide note (otherwise known as the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy For Tibetans) the core document that appeases the communist Chinese regime.
So embedded is the conformity on parade at such meetings that few have the political or ethical integrity to express any dissent against the surrender being proposed, hardly a surprise when looking at the unfinished business of previous International Tibet Support Group Conferences, which permit little room for optimism. Determined action in solidarity with the Tibetan people’s struggle is certainly not on the agenda, instead delegates will be distracted by the opportunity to network and harmonize on such key issues as, how to promote autonomy and friendship with China. No doubt Tibetans inside Tibet will be crying with unrestrained appreciation for those efforts!
Image via @tibettruth
The cynicism and critique which International Tibet Support Group conferences attract is authored and justified by its troubling and hypocritical record on some central issues, namely Tibetan independence, but also its virtual silence on the subject of coercive birth-control inside Tibet. Let’s take a peek at one of its statements on the former issue. 16 years ago the International Tibet Support Groups conference in Berlin agreed through democratic process that:
“We endorse the proposal made by some members of the Parliament to urge His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile to seriously consider demanding full independence for Tibet, or the holding of an internationally supervised referendum on the issue if no progress has been made in negotiations with the government of the PRC on proposals for genuine autonomy for Tibet in the next three years. In that event we should fully support such a stand and should launch a major campaign for international recognition of Tibet’s claims” (Berlin Statement An Action Plan Third ITSG Conference Berlin May 14, 2000)
The years that followed witnessed a complete lack of progress on negotiations for so-called genuine autonomy, including most recently Beijing’s forceful rejection of the exiled Tibetan Administration’s ‘Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for Tibet’. Has anyone noticed the International Tibet Support Groups honoring the agreed determination of its delegates, as formulated in that final conference statement? Where was the forceful international campaign by those groups to press the exiled Tibetan Administration to change its stance to support Tibetan independence? The predictable inaction which followed exposed the hollow words of such meetings and showed International Tibet Support Groups conferences, for all their pretensions to being seen as dynamic and organized, as little more than a talking-shop. Whose main function is to endorse whatever instruction received from the exiled Tibetan Administration.
Image: via Tibetan Journal
It’s difficult to grasp the degree of terror, suffering and oppression which Tibetans have endured since China invaded Tibet in 1950. The instances of torture, loss and personal tragedy are of a magnitude that can be found in descriptions of genocide or prolonged war. there have been countless examples of Tibetans who when faced with China’s vicious tyranny have bravely resisted, sacrificed their lives to demand Tibet’s national freedom and to protest against the persecution and erosion of Tibetan Buddhism. All such accounts are deeply moving, demand answers of governments and the United Nations who have offered self-serving platitudes while appeasing the Chinese regime.
A report just released today, via Radio Free Asia, documents another such case, this time a Tibetan nun, named as Rinzin Dolma, who lived at the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, in Serthar County, Kham region of eastern Tibet who hung herself in protest at the forced demolition of Tibet’s largest Buddhist center by the Chinese regime
“Rinzin Dolma, a nun of Larung gar Buddhist center hanged herself to death when Chinese began demolition at the center on July 20, 2016.” according to RFA’s Facebook page.
The global religious and political community has remained virtually silent as this major seat of Buddhist learning is bulldozed into oblivion by the Chinese paramilitary, a silence that speaks volumes of their merciless in difference to the plight of Tibet and its culture!
Image: SFT Canada/Edited @tibettruth
Sheng Xue a respected and renowned activist for human rights and freedom presented recently a poem she composed titled ‘Light Me Up’ dedicated to those brave Tibetans who sacrifice their lives to demand national freedom for Tibet.
I opened my eyes in the morning
The room is dark.
I opened the window to welcome the gentle wind
The sky is dark.
I opened the door to greet the wild wood
The mountain is dark.
My heart opens to embrace freedom,
in a world dark and hard.
I didn’t want much,
to hope the yak in the mountains can freely run.
That the eagle can crown the turqoise sky,
to hear the monks chanting in the temple.
I just want to see His Holiness at least once in my life time.
I keep them as dreams in my heart, I don’t dare to ask.
But there is no light,
the darkness expands.
Filling all the space
and tearing at the sun’s rays.
Suffocating each and every breath,
it builds up and strives to quell my hopeful heart.
I want to run, run, and run.
but the temple demolished, broken, shattered.
The debris like the bodies of history piled upon a bloody hill
Each step along the road to Lhasa under the shadow of the gun,
streets full of tanks and check-points.
Where can I hide
What should I try
Who will listen to my cry
And how can I die
I can no longer remember,
what does light look like?
I can no longer remember,
the healing touch of sunshine.
I can no longer remember
the feeling of a sweet night,
nor recall the five noble colors of prayer flags.
I saw a dim light in a death cup
I should light myself up
Light me up
Light me up
Light me up
I’d rather die for my ideals
If I cannot live with my beliefs
light it up with a style,
light it up for a life more real.
The light grows more intense,
blinding brightness the flames
reach to the sky.
The Himalaya became a prayer
and forever I left the fear.
Light me up,
the sounds of flames singing with the wind.
Light me up,
the excited fire dancing like the sea’s wave.
The burning ocean consumes,
kiss me, touch me.
Hold me like a baby
once, once and once again.
I must return
I have to come back with the light
Light for freedom, religion, dignity, culture, language and human rights.
Light me up
Light the mountain up
Light the river up
Light the sky up
Let the flame burned up the darkness
Light the sun up
Let it shine
Let it blaze for all lives
Let it’s luminous rays dispel the shadows in Tibet
Shining Tibet shining bright!
For too long has Agence France Presse, in its coverage of Tibet, been a willing accomplice to the distortions and propaganda vomited by China’s regime.
It’s report of a Tibetan horse festival (August 1st, 2016) a staged and tightly controlled propaganda event to promote the lie that Tibetan culture is thriving and respected under China’s control is a nauseating assemblage of falsehoods and deception. Engineered by China’s Ministry Of Disinformation to mislead an international audience the article, which clearly is a barely re-written statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, is loaded with officially sanctioned terminology.
It states the event took place in so-called “Yushu (China) in the northwestern (sic) Chinese province of Qinghai” this is incorrect, the actual location was near Jyekundo in Kham region of Eastern Tibet!
AFP go on to state that the area is home to many of “China’s eight million strong Tibetan minority, some of whom chafe against Chinese rule“. This sly misrepresentation of the facts chooses to ignore entirely that Tibetans are a distinct people, who under international law have the right to self-determination, and are not a ‘minority’ group within China, but an oppressed people whose land was invaded, occupied and colonized. Notice too how the journalist makes fact free assertion which implies that the majority of Tibetans are content and supportive of Chinese rule?!
While the reporter, Nicolas Asfouri, ends with a superficial mention of Tibetan concerns that their culture is being oppressed and eroded and Tibet’s natural resources exploited to benefit China the dominant impression conveyed by this article is misleading and biased towards the claims of the Chinese regime.
Like the majority of western media agencies within China such as Reuters and Associated Press, Agence France Presse is serving as a conduit for the lies and propaganda that China uses to conceal the dark reality of its tyranny against the Tibetan people and the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet. The nature of online and print journalism is such that these agencies are held by global newspapers in the highest of esteem as credible and objective sources of information. This ensures that their reportage on Tibet is republished internationally, usually without any critical assessment or major editing, a credulity much welcomed by China’s government!