Thousands of Tibetans around the world are victims of espionage, extortion and threats against family members still living in Tibet, according to a new report.
While the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet continue to be documented, a new report by the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) broadly targets defectors in countries including the United States, India, France, and Australia. This is the first study to investigate the According to researchers, Canada.
China is increasingly aiming to suppress debate and criticism from Tibetans, Hong Kongers and Uyghurs outside its borders, a tactic known as cross-border repression.
Dongden, a Tibetan citizen living in Switzerland, told TCHRD researchers: “In 2021, I received a video call from one of my brothers in Tibet. When I answered the phone, I found myself receiving a call from the local police station, surrounded by half my family.
“The police officers urged me to behave well abroad and refrain from activities that could go against China’s policies. If I did not comply, the police officers said that my relatives would suffer. I did.”
Researchers collected testimonies from 84 exiled Tibetans from 10 countries and found that 49 of them had received threats of harm to relatives still living in Tibet. A total of 125,000 Tibetans are estimated to be living in exile.
TCHRD Executive Director Tenzin Dawa said the phenomenon was “shockingly” more severe in Europe than elsewhere, and that U.S. authorities were responding more aggressively to China’s cross-border crackdowns. he added.
Some Tibetans feel cut off from their families. Losar The Tibetan New Year begins this weekend, or the March 10th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Tibet was annexed by China in 1951, in what Beijing calls a peaceful liberation but Tibetans call an invasion. Government repression in the region accelerated after mass protests in 2008.
Tsering Topgyal, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Birmingham, said Tibetans in exile are one of the most organized groups abroad, influenced by and openly critical of Chinese Communist Party rule. He said that because of this, he has become a target.
Since the establishment of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the Central Tibetan Administration, in the early 1960s, Tibetans have established schools and religious institutions and asserted their rights on the international stage.
Security officials from the Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamshala, India, told researchers that about 80 to 90 percent of Tibetan refugees living in Tibet with their families have experienced cross-border repression.
Gal Lo, a Tibetan educational sociologist who defected from China to Canada in 2021, said that since Xi Jinping became president for a second term in 2018, China has been focusing on Tibet and other politically sensitive areas. He said there has been a fundamental change in people’s ability to discuss topics.
Gal Lo recalls discussing Tibetan autonomy over dinner with Han Chinese friends and colleagues before 2018. However, since then, many friends and colleagues have severed ties with him.
After receiving a phone call from her family asking her to stop criticizing the Chinese government in foreign media, Gal Lo no longer felt safe contacting them.
“The day I left home, I said to my 86-year-old father, ‘I have to go, but I’ll be right there to see you.’ Being completely separated by form.” [family]”
Gal Lo said cross-border repression not only breaks family ties, but also undermines the unity of the Tibetan diaspora and undermines their ability to rally against China’s policies in Tibet.