Tibetans have been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1949 and their plight has been voiced by human rights activists all over the world. Millions of Tibetans are denied basic human rights and freedom in their homeland, with their beautiful culture, religion, and values being wiped out by the CCP. But they still continue to assert their desire for freedom, even in the face of severe oppression!
Based on truth, justice, and non-violence, the Tibetan freedom movement is one of the very few protests in this world that are peaceful. The CCP is very much aware of the strength of this movement; so inside Tibet, it uses repression and violence, and while outside Tibet, it uses propaganda. Tibetans who speak out against the Chinese regime are imprisoned and tortured, sometimes even to the point of death.
The story of Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, is a remarkable one as it bears witness to the resilience of the human spirit, and to the strength of the Tibetan civilization.
After the 1959 Tibetan uprising, Gyatso was arrested by Chinese officials for refusing to compromise his religious beliefs. He was arrested for protesting and spent the next 33 years in Chinese prisons and labour camps.
In prison, he endured the most brutal forms of torture at the hands of the Chinese regime. Some of the most gruesome experiences that Gyatso encountered at the hands of the CCP have been shared on the Facebook page — Stories From Dharamsala.
Gyatso recalls that in September 1990, a Chinese official took an electric shock device and put it into his mouth. And after he fell unconscious, the officials had beaten him so hard that he woke up covered in his urine, feces and blood. In spite of all the torture, Gyatso never ceased to abide by the peaceful teachings of his faith—and the most striking aspect of his endurance has been his lack of resentment towards the tormentors.
In 1992, Gyatso was released and he escaped to Dharamsala in India. He managed to bring with him some of the instruments of torture used against him as a proof of the crimes committed by the Chinese regime. Since then he has devoted his life to expose the atrocities of the communist regime, and in 1995, he even testified before a United Nations tribunal.
His memoir “Fire in the Snow,” was published in 1997 and ranks among the most remarkable works of literature on torture and survival.
Human Rights Situation in China Today is Worrisome
The communist regime has not limited its acts of torture and persecution to just the Tibetans. Rather, over the years, the persecution of other religious groups like Uighurs and house churches has intensified. More notably, the persecution of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa), a peaceful self-improvement and meditation practice, has been the largest and the most severe case of violation of human rights in the world today.
Even to this day, China remains a one-party authoritarian state that systematically curbs fundamental rights. China’s human rights record has come in for some sharp criticism over the years with countries like the US, Canada and members of the EU jointly condemning and expressing their concern. The CCP often reacts aggressively to silence the criticism of its human rights record before UN bodies. China’s growing influence over the world needs to be addressed as it is one of the major factors that enables China to buy international silence over its human rights critics.