US Report Says State of Religious Freedom in Tibet Severe

The State Department has, on September 13, 2011, released its annual report on the state of religious freedom throughout the world. This International Religious Freedom Report documents major developments with respect to religious freedom in 198 countries and territories from July-December 2010.

There is a separate section in the report on Tibet. It says that the Chinese “government’s repression of religious freedom remained severe in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas, particularly during “sensitive periods,” such as the Shanghai World Expo and the Asian Games.”

 

The report said in part;

“The government’s level of respect for religious freedom remained poor in the TAR and other Tibetan areas. Repression was severe, particularly during “sensitive periods” such as the Shanghai World Expo or the Asian Games in Guangzhou. The government continued to blame the Dalai Lama publicly for instigating the March 2008 unrest and repeatedly stated that all reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhist lamas would have to be approved by the government. Chinese authorities often associated Tibetan Buddhist monasteries with pro-independence activism; disagreement with government strictures on religious practice and education are often assumed to be simply expression of separatist attitudes. Control over religious practice and the day-to-day management of monasteries and other religious institutions continued to be extraordinarily tight. Monks and nuns reported that government restrictions continued to interfere with their ability to carry out the teaching and practice of Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions. Throughout the year, authorities limited the ability of monks from outside the Yushu TAP in Qinghai Province to travel to areas to assist in earthquake relief reconstruction. There were reports that large religious gatherings for earthquake victims were not permitted so as to “protect social order.”

“During the reporting period, residents continued to face societal discrimination, including, for example, being denied rooms at hotels in large cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (April 30 to October 31, 2010).
“The U.S. government encouraged the government and local authorities to respect religious freedom and allow Tibetans to preserve and develop their religious traditions. U.S. diplomatic personnel visited the TAR twice during the reporting period. TAR officials restricted U.S. diplomatic personnel’s ability to talk openly with persons in Tibetan areas. The U.S. government protested religious persecution and discrimination, discussed individual cases with the authorities, and requested further information about specific incidents. U.S. government officials continued to urge government leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama and his representatives and address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions due to their effect on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods, as well as the environment.”

You can read the full report on Tibet here.

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