May 24, 2013
France24 reporter Cyril Payen recently brought new interviews and images out of Tibet that reveal a dire human rights situation resembling “an Orwellian world of surveillance.” Nicholas Bequelin with Human Rights Watch contends that "the situation in Tibet is as bad as it's ever been," adding that "Chinese police forces are now running what could be called a major counter-insurgency operation in Lhasa." The problem, says Bequelin, is that there is no real insurgency in Tibet. And with the visible increase of surveillance, the emergence of one is unlikely. Chinese officials have praised the remote surveillance system along these lines for "increasing harmonious factors and minimizing the factors of disharmony,” and acting as "nets in the sky and traps on the ground.”
“What the Chinese government is trying to do now,” says Bequelin, “is remodel Tibetan culture in a way that is inoffensive to the Chinese state, rather than completely eradicate it.”
A leaked 250-page internal training document of Chinese police indicates a prevalence of severe psychological damage among paramilitary forces tasked with maintaining order in Tibetan areas of Sichuan province. Distributed by the Tibetan Centre for Human Right and Democracy, an NGO staffed by Tibetans in Dharamsala, India, the document offers various tools for combatting depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for members of the People’s Armed Police involved in recent human rights atrocities.
One section titled “How should you deal with flashbacks of brutal episodes” refers specifically to the self-immolation of a monk in Aba county and a protest in Seda and Ganzi counties in which Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesting Tibetans.
The Telegraph reports that military psychiatrists have been making trips to Tibetan areas to counsel Chinese troops, sometimes for months at a time.
All seven Muslims charged for the murder of a Buddhist monk in Meiktila, which we reported on two weeks ago, have been convicted. One was sentenced to a life term and the other six for terms ranging from 2 to 28 years. These sentences complement the 14-year sentences of the goldshop owner and two employees charged in instigating the riots in central Burma that killed at least 44 and displaced roughly 12,000, the vast majority of them Muslim.
No Buddhist has yet to be charged in the violent rioting, and neither has any major case involving Buddhist suspects been announced. Advocate General Ye Aung Myint said that the courts were starting with the initial incidents and that those involved in later incidents would eventually be tried for murder, arson, and looting, ABC News reports.
Physicians for Human Rights released a report that details the killing of at least 24 Muslim students and teachers from an Islamic school in Meiktila by Buddhist mobs. The report echoes that of Human Rights Watch in accusing state security forces of standing by idly during the rioting and killing.
Burmese President Thein Sein arrived in Washington earlier this week, making him the first Burmese leader to visit the country in nearly half a century. President Obama received the Burmese ex-general at the White House where he—between breaths of praise for various democratic reforms—voiced his concern for the human rights of Muslims in Burma, saying, “The displacement of people, the violence directed toward them, needs to stop.”
The Burmese president wrapped up his trip with a nice little trade deal.
That’s all for this week. We’ll be back in the office on Tuesday. Have a wonderful, peaceful Memorial Day Weekend.