The onslaught against Tibetan culture marches relentlessly on. China’s regime targets the children of occupied Tibet robbing them of their cultural identity within indoctrination centers. Such as the one above in the Tibetan town of Chamdo near the border with Tibet’s Kham region. In this so-called ‘experimental primary school’ the Chinese language is compulsory, along with a psychological grooming designed inculcate loyalty and patriotism towards China, its communist party regime and dictator Xi Jinping.
As the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women closes today and women activists and NGOs hug their last goodbyes to New York City, we’re disappointed to report that once again the defenders of women’s rights have remained deafiningly silent on the atrocities of China’s forced sterilizations.
There’s been much self-congratulation about progressing gender equality, equal participation, girl’s empowerment, women in leadership and solidarity against child-marriage and female-genital mutilation. But the hot topic of a ‘feminist vision’ has suffered an acute myopia concerning China’s state engineered violence against women, which its coercive population control program still inflicts.
After years lobbying and informing @UN_CSW @UN_Women and associated women’s NGOs on this issue we are not surprized that they continue to ignore the plight of their sisters suffering under the harrowing dictates of the Chinese regime. Their record on this matter is a shameful betrayal of women’s human rights and seriously erodes, to anyone of normal intelligence and integrity, any residual moral authority or credibility they may have.
We have through our experience and activism on this subject come to a conclusion that these bodies do not care about the court of public opinion. Nor are they vexed by the staggering hypocrisy at the heart of their callous indifference to those whose lives have been devastated as a result of being forcibly sterilized. While demanding action across a range of rights for women, they choose denial, silence, delusion and evasion as a response to this issue. Why is this appalling duplicity operating you may wonder. How can it be that women who announce themselves dedicated to rights and equality remain unmoved by the disturbing reality of forced sterilizations?
It’s our view that these organizations operate and possess characteristics often defining a cultic mindset. There’s an exclusive ideology, a dominating elite and compliant devotees. An elevation of an enshrined philosophy above all other considerations, protected by an emphatic and consistent rejection of anything regarded as not conforming to the approved dogma.
Does this concerned sisterhood regard women’s freedom-of-choice, and opportunity to educational and career advancement, restricted and disadvantaged by having children? Does that explain their selective definition of reproductive rights as being the provision of safe and free access to contraception and related education? Those are of course important and justified resources yet a woman surely has the right not to be forcibly sterilized, an action that violently denies any chance of reproduction.
They choose to offer no comment on that, which begs the question; are these organizations holding to the unspoken view that women ‘unburdened’ by pregnancy and children are more likely to realize the ultimate goals of the much trumpeted feminist vision? If so it may well serve to account for their reticence to condemn or oppose forced sterilizations, atrocities which are tolerated and perceived as liberating women from the confinements of motherhood?
Our position on this is one of respecting all human rights, we’re not interested in arguments for or against abortion, nor do we subscribe to any side of the pro or anti debate. Unlike the participants of the UNCSW and NGO Forum we regard forced sterilizations as a disturbing example of violence against women, constituting a physical and psychological disfigurement and denying women the reproductive right to have a child.
We’ve long taken the position that tourism to occupied Tibet serves the interests of the China’s regime and bank-balances of Chinese dominated tourist businesses. Those seeking the ‘spiritual experience’ of visiting Tibet are exploited, manipulated and suffocatingly controlled by the Chinese authorities. What they are allowed to see is an ersatz version of Tibetan culture, engineered by the same regime which, away from the stage-managed tourist hotspots, wages a genocidal assault upon Tibetan national and cultural identity.
Our just criticism and opposition on this issue occasionally results in weak responses from those who attempt to justify tourism to Tibet by claiming their presence enables information on the plight of Tibetans to reach the wider world. This reasoning held some credibility in the late 1980s and 1990s but no longer. With the instant access of the internet (informed by the knowledge, testimony, courage and sacrifices of Tibetans inside Tibet) the dire circumstances endured by Tibet’s people is freely available, 24/7 via a few taps of a mobile device or laptop.
The fact is that travellers are lead by a leash along well worn and safe tourist routes, constantly monitored, meeting approved Tibetans and exposed to China’s distorted version of Tibetan culture. They do not see the torture centers, visit forced labor camps, or witness the misery of Tibetans forced into concentration settlements.
Of course that inconvenient reality is not what tourists to Tibet are paying top dollars for. They come for the illusion of a Buddhist Shangri-la, which the Chinese tyranny is more than happy to fabricate, while milking them as cash-cows and promoting its propaganda narrative.
We have eyes and ears on site at the 63rd Session of the UNCSW in New York City and at the end if the first week the reports are not good. The subject of forced sterilizations, especially those which form part of China’s population control program is off the table. Anyone who has followed our activism and reportage over the years on this gathering of the ‘concerned international sisterhood’ will know that there’s a taboo administered by UN Women and its associated NGOs on criticizing China’s regime and its mass campaigns of forcibly sterilizing women.
While participants are engaged in articulate and impassioned discussions on a range of concerns; equality, gender-based violence, economic empowerment and female genital mutilation being prominent. The plight of their sisters suffering forced sterilizations has again been given the cold shoulder. Not a politically correct issue for those who describe themselves as defenders of women’s rights!
Thanks to the immense courage of local Tibetans who take a genuine risk in making such information available reports have emerged during the past few days of Tibetans living in Rebgong རེབ་གོང་, རེབ་ཀོང་ located within Amdo region of occupied Tibet being subjected to intensified oppression. With movements restricted, increased surveillance and musicians and beggars banned from streets. These measures are a response from China’s regime to suppress any show of dissent against its illegal and violent rule, particularly during the month of March, which on previous occasions has witnessed Tibetan uprisings and mass protests.
With armed paramilitary roaming the streets, security checks, 24/7 cctv surveillance, over 100 ‘police’ stations and a number of interrogation centers Mr Wang Yongpu a head of Chinese law enforcement proudly declared (March 13, 2019) such measures as resulting in Lhasa, the capital of occupied Tibet, as being virtually crime free.
By ‘crime’ of course he doesn’t mean robbery, traffic offenses, assault and the like, nope he’s talking public dissent against China’s illegal and violent occupation of Tibet.
The city has been on lockdown since China invaded in 1950. Tibetans terrorized into a state of compliance, made aware of the grim consequences of opposing Chinese rule. Torture, forced-labor camps, midnight raids on houses family members disappearing into the darkness.
The latest measures of oppression, including identity cards, facial recognition technology and tight restictions on movement across Lhasa have added to the suffocation endured by Tibetans.
Behind however the technology and security stratagies being praised by the Chinese regime what is maintaining the so-called ‘social harmony’ is the daily reality facing the people of Lhasa that any expression of opposition to China’s presence results in broken bodies and destroyed minds.
* The details of the photographers who took these images have been withheld for reasons of security. These can be added by contacting us to authorize.
This remarkable photograph was taken on March 12, 1959. as thousands of Tibetan women demonstrated against Chinese tyranny and massed around the Potala Palace Lhasa to show support for and protect the Dalai Lama from China’s army of occupation. Which had begun its deadly repression against legitimate Tibetan protests that sought freedom from an illegal and violent Chinese rule. We remember and salute the courage and sacrifice of those brave Tibetan women, whose spirit of resistance continues in the ongoing demands of Tibet’s people for their rightful independence.