Communist Party’s Centennial Celebration Strengthens Control Over Tibet Tibetan Leaders Call for Vigilance Against Cultural Genocide

The Chinese Communist Party is tightening its grip across Tibet as it approaches its centennial. Free Tibet, an overseas Tibetan organization, said Tuesday (May 25) that it has received information from various sources that the Chinese government has significantly increased its repression of Tibet.

Free Tibet said in a statement Tuesday that the Chinese government is taking a series of actions in Tibet to warn Tibetans not to carry out any protests during the Communist Party’s celebrations.

Free Tibet’s partner Tibet Watch reported three incidents that occurred in April. In one incident, six Tibetan activists were detained. These individuals have all served time in Communist prisons in the past, and the location of their detentions is unclear. In another incident, the government of Sog county, located in central Tibet, issued a notice prohibiting people from carrying Buddhist symbols, such as chakras and rosaries, and spreading religious messages in schools. In a third incident, Buddhist monks were forced to produce calligraphy to participate in Chinese government propaganda activities and to hold celebrations in their homes and schools when the Communist Party’s centennial celebrations expanded in late April.

Tibet Watch also said that in early May it was discovered that monks from five monasteries in Lhasa were being forced to take exams on Communist Party history and law, as the CCP attempted to use official Chinese ideology to diminish the influence of Tibetan Buddhism.

The 23rd of May begins the Sagadawa, the holiest month of Tibetan Buddhism. During this period, tourists are allowed to enter the Dagoba Monastery in Lhasa at will, while the movement of Tibetan Buddhists is restricted.

Later, monks at the Dorje Drak Monastery in Tibet were also forced to sign banners in support of the Chinese Communist Party and to register their signatures to participate in Communist propaganda activities.

The Free Tibet statement quoted John Jones, the organization’s campaign manager, as saying, “The Chinese government’s strong-arm tactic is to stifle the vitality of traditional Tibetan culture. If Tibet is slowly being wiped off the map, world leaders will not be able to turn their backs.”

Jones also criticized British and U.S. leaders for often being distracted by trade considerations on the Tibetan issue. He said, “An occasional vocal condemnation is not enough. By putting trade ahead of Tibetan lives, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden, among others, are effectively condoning the Chinese government’s continuation of such atrocities.”

Chinese Communist forces occupied Tibet in 1950. Subsequently, the Chinese government took complete control of the region and the Buddhist monasteries there. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, was forced to flee to India after the failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, where he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Wu Yingjie, secretary of the Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told a news conference in Beijing on Saturday that the most important thing is to adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China. He said that since the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, it has been found that only by adhering to the Party’s leadership can Tibet continue to prosper.

Penpa Tsering, chairman of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile, recently called the international community’s attention to the imminent threat of “cultural genocide” by the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet. He said, “The complete overwhelming of a majority population over a minority population is cultural genocide, especially when that overwhelming is enforced through the power of the state.”

For decades, Tibet has been considered one of the most restrictive and sensitive areas in the world. Foreign journalists, diplomats and other foreigners are not allowed to enter Tibet unless they have permission from the government to join a tour group with tight official controls.