Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017

Tibet *

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Freedom Status: 
Not Free
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Freedom in the World Scores

(0=Least Free, 100=Most Free)
(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Population: 
3,000,000
Overview: 

Tibet is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government based in Beijing, with local decision-making power concentrated in the hands of Chinese party officials. Residents of both Chinese and Tibetan ethnicity are denied fundamental rights, but the authorities are especially rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of religious belief and cultural identity. State policies encourage migration from other parts of China, reducing the ethnic Tibetan share of the population.

Key Developments in 2016: 
  • A Tibetan blogger who had been detained in 2015 was sentenced in February to three years in prison on separatism charges, one of many laypeople and monastics who faced detention for peaceful expression of their beliefs or criticism of the Chinese government.
  • At an April party conference, Chinese president Xi Jinping and other CCP leaders called for the “Sinicization” of all religions, adding to concerns that the government sought to extinguish Tibetan religious and cultural identity.
  • In June, authorities ordered a sharp reduction in the number of nuns and monks residing at Larung Gar, one of the world’s largest centers for Tibetan Buddhist learning, in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. Demolitions and evictions ensued the following month.
Executive Summary: 

The Chinese government continued to implement draconian public surveillance and enforcement measures in 2016 as part of a significant expansion of its “stability maintenance” policies in Tibet since an outbreak of protests and interethnic violence in 2008, and particularly since a change in national leadership in 2013. Observers documented wide-ranging violations of fundamental rights, including an alarming rate of detentions, prosecutions, and convictions of Tibetans for the peaceful exercise of their freedoms of expression, assembly, and religious belief.

Officials also ratcheted up Chinese nationalist rhetoric, including calls for the “Sinicization” of all religions, while moving forward with vast development and urbanization projects despite protests from the affected Tibetan communities. 

Aggregate Score: 
1
Freedom Rating: 
7.0
Political Rights: 
7
Civil Liberties: 
7

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