Freedom Of Religion In Tibet: Testimony To The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Image: Potala Palace -Lhasa, Tibet. (René Heise/Wikimedia Commons.)

Submitted by Sarah Cook, Senior Research Analyst for East Asia
to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Washington DC – Co-Chairman Hultgren, Co-Chairman McGovern, distinguished members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, thank you for the chance to submit testimony for the report in your hearing on Tibet: Freedom of Religion.

Freedom House earlier this yr launched a report titled The Battle for China’s Spirit: Religious Revival, Repression, and Resistance underneath Xi Jinping. Attached is the evaluation from that report on conditions forTibetan Buddhists in China.

I want to highlight several concrete actions (among many) that Commission members may take to support religious freedom in Tibet:

* Champion the imposition of entry and property sanctions on officials who have dedicated or been complicit within the abuse, torture, or persecution of spiritual believers. Penalizing perpetrators by way of the blocking of visas and freezing of foreignbased belongings is an effective means to make sure that these people face some measure of justice and to deter future abusers. This is very essential in countries like China and areas like Tibet, the place impunity for severe violations is endemic. Under theInternational Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), for instance, international authorities officers who’ve engaged in “particularly extreme violations of spiritual freedom” and their spouses and children can be denied entry to the United States.

* Ensure full and sturdy implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act signed into regulation in December 2016, which amongst many other mechanisms, expanded the IRFA to incorporate extra Congressional reporting requirements which were initially due no later than June 24, 2017, and each one hundred eighty days thereafter.

* Retain China’s designation as a country of specific concern (CPC) underneath the International Religious Freedom Act and impose further penalties obtainable underneath the legislation. China has been designated as a CPC—a rustic which “engages in or tolerates systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of non secular freedom.”

* Highlight the circumstances of particular people imprisoned or persecuted for his or her religion. Former political prisoners have constantly reported that when overseas officers raised their instances, their remedy in jail improved; in some instances they were even launched after such interventions. Members of Congress ought to deliver ground speeches, concern press releases, and ship open letters to Chinese officers about victims of religious persecution in China, together with in Tibet, and adopt prisoners through the Lantos Commission’sDefending Freedoms Project.

* Urge both state and local governments to promptly delay or cancel visits or exchanges to China, in response to egregious incidents of religious persecution. This ought to embrace provinces like Sichuan and Qinghai, which are home to Tibetan prefectures and have been imposing growing constraints on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism lately.

* Support enough and strong funding for democracy, rights, and governance programming.

I commend the Lantos Commission for drawing attention to the ongoing persecution of Tibetan Buddhists and championing spiritual freedom in China.

China is rated Not Free in Freedom within the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2016.
Tibet is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017.

Freedom House Press Release

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