China: Amnesty International Calls on Chinese Authorities to Open Tibet

For Immediate Release

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China: Amnesty International Calls on Chinese Authorities to Open Tibet

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International today called on
the Chinese government to immediately open Tibet to human rights
monitors and the media and to end its “Strike Hard” campaign, launched
in anticipation of protests to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed
1959 Tibetan uprising.

The organization warned that the increased security measures put in
place by the Chinese government in the run up to the anniversary are
likely to exacerbate an already tense situation. 

“Extreme security measures only increase tension and lead to more
human rights violations,” said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International
Asia-Pacific Deputy Programme Director. 

Since March 2008 there has been strict control on the flow of
information from the region.  Foreign journalists have only been
allowed in on government organized group tours and all access has been
denied to UN monitors.

In spite of this on-going closure and the recent increased military
presence, Amnesty International is receiving reports of a number of
human rights violations being carried out against the population. These
include arbitrary detentions, arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention
and imprisonment of peaceful protestors and other prisoners of
conscience, torture and other ill-treatment, violations of freedom of
expression, association and assembly, and of Tibetan people's right to
maintain their culture, language and religion.

“The authorities should immediately open Tibet and allow independent
human rights monitors and international media into the region,” said
Roseann Rife. “The authorities should also issue a standing invitation
to the UN human rights experts to visit the region.”

A recent white paper issued by the authorities characterizes all
protest as attempts by Western anti-China forces to stir up unrest.

“The government position signals a failure by the Chinese
authorities to acknowledge the depth of the long-standing grievances
hold by the Tibetan population and is a misguided stance if social
stability is the government’s goal,” said Roseann Rife.

Notes to editors:

• Over the past 12 months, farmers, nomads, students, labourers and
intellectuals have joined monks and nuns in a number of protests
prompted by ongoing human rights violations, as well as the
intensification of the “patriotic education” campaign and the crackdown
itself. 

• The Chinese authorities have rejected criticism of their handling
of the situation in Tibet as “ill-founded attempts to politicize the
issue”. The authorities continue to portray the protests as individual
incidents and maintain that the situation is not a matter of human
rights but of violent separatism.

• In an official “white paper” earlier this month, the Chinese
authorities accused the Western anti-China forces of training and
supporting the Dalai Lama clique in order to restrain and split China.

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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