Evidence Of Chinese Torture Presented To UN

Chinese Torture
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“They would pour boiling hot water on us” — Free Tibet submits torture evidence as China reviewed at UN Director meets Committee Against Torture

Campaign group Free Tibet and its research partner Tibet Watch provided oral evidence to the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture Monday, following up their written submission detailing the continued use of torture across Tibet. The groups’ report “Torture in Tibet” contains graphic testimonies from torture survivors, records deaths in custody as a result of torture and details how Tibetan prisoners continue to face degradation, abuse and mental and physical torture.

The submission and presentation form part of the Committee Against Torture’s (CAT) review of China’s compliance with the International Convention Against Torture which the PRC ratified in 1988. China was last reviewed by the committee in 2008, when it found torture across China and Tibet to be “widespread” and “routine” and expressed “great concern” about reported torture and state violence in Tibet.

“Torture in Tibet” (co-authored with Tibetan political prisoner association Gu Chu Sum) records the testimony of Gonpo Thinley, jailed following the 2008 Uprising in Tibet:

“They tortured us using electric batons, metallic water pipes and handcuffs. If our answers didn’t satisfy the interrogator, they would pour boiling hot water on us. They also tied both hands up on the ceiling and beat us on our feet with batons. We were hanging above the ground. Sometimes they also used electric batons in our mouth, which caused us to lose consciousness. During cold days or winter, we were put in cold water.”

A monk who wished to remain anonymous reported:

“They made us stand up in the sun for hours, even for the whole day following every interrogation, because we didn’t say anything. One of my friends was tied to the flagpole in the centre of the government campus for two days and two nights without food and water. They shoved me down over pieces of broken glass spread on the ground and beat me a lot with batons after I’d refused to confess. They said we were like animals because we said nothing in between beatings.”

In February, the three Tibet organisations submitted an initial joint report to CAT, providing case studies of tortured prisoners and those at risk of torture and detailing breaches of the Convention’s requirements. The committee subsequently raised these issues and cases with China as part of the preliminaries to the review. China’s delegation will be questioned by the committee on Tuesday and CAT’s final report will be issued early in 2016.

Free Tibet and Tibet Watch director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“In their responses so far, China would have us believe that there is no torture in Tibet and our evidence is false. Today we will be urging the Committee Against Torture to press for answers on the questions China would rather avoid. If the Committee’s past performance is anything to go by then tomorrow we’ll see China squirm under international scrutiny and be asked to account for the Tibetans who have been convicted on the basis of confessions extracted by supposedly illegal torture and those who have left Chinese prisons either dead or permanently injured by years of torture and abuse.”

By Alistair Currie

Brits Polled On China And Tibet

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A YouGov poll commissioned by campaign group Free Tibet on the eve of the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping has found that 69% of respondents agree with the Dalai Lama’s comment that UK policy towards China is about “money, money, money.” Just 8% disagreed with the Tibetan spiritual leader’s full statement, made in an interview in September: “Money, money, money. That’s what this is about. Where is morality?”

The poll also shows that seven in ten (69%) believe that protecting human rights in Tibet is more important than or as important as maintaining good trade relations with China. Only 14% considered human rights in Tibet to be less important than trade relations.

The poll arrives amidst widespread concern that the UK is unwilling to risk provoking Beijing’s ire with public support for Tibet or human rights. No members of the government met the Dalai Lama on his trip to the UK this September and on his recent trip to China, Chancellor George Osborne refused to be drawn on human rights in public statements, winning praise from Chinese state media for “not finding fault over the human rights issue.” Instead, Mr Osborne declared that it was Britain’s goal to be China’s “best partner in the West.”

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“Just last week in a meeting at the Foreign Office, Free Tibet was told that commercial interests do not drive UK policy on China. Our poll confirms just how few people outside Whitehall find that claim credible. The UK has sunk so low in its desperation to curry favour with Beijing that David Cameron isn’t so much rolling out the red carpet as lying under it.

“British policy on Tibet and human rights in China is shameful. Human rights defenders in Tibet and China are paying with their lives and freedom for standing up to China’s government while this government is unwilling to stand up to Beijing at all. The Dalai Lama asked ‘where is morality?’. Right now, it isn’t found in Downing St and the British people know it.”

Tibet campaigners will be staging demonstrations throughout Xi Jinping’s visit, including at Downing St on 21 October as Xi meets Mr Cameron. The will carry a large banner saying Cameron: has China bought your silence? Speak out on Tibet. A digital “advan” will also follow the president in London, carrying a Tibetan flag and a separate image of David Cameron gagged by a Chinese flag, saying Warning: Chinese president in town. Don’t mention Tibet or human rights.

By Alistair Currie

“Last Olympics didn’t reduce human rights violations in China, it increased them” – Human rights groups’ letter warns don’t award China another Olympics

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A joint letter was sent today to the International Olympics Committee calling on them to reject China’s bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, citing past claims that the 2008 Games would reduce China’s human rights violations contrasted with evidence that the 2008 Games actually increased human rights abuses in the Asian nation.

The letter, which was submitted one week before the Olympic committee makes its decision, was signed by the president of the World Uyghur Congress, the director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, the president of Initiatives for China and a former Tibetan political prisoner, jailed and tortured for actions related to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

The letter states, “All of the people we represent have suffered as a result of the Chinese government’s contempt for human rights. We hope that you are aware by now that the 2008 Beijing Games did nothing to alleviate human rights abuses in China or enhance freedom.”

It notes that human rights in China are worse in 2015 than in 2001 when the 2008 Games were awarded to China, and cites several specific examples of abuses, including the mass jailing of human rights lawyers, the outlawing of some religious activities in China’s largely Muslim East Turkestan, forcing nomadic Mongols from their grazing lands, and ongoing ruthlessness in dealing with Tibetans.

Read more: Under Xi Jinping, repression in China has increased – Freedom House Report

The letter warns the Olympic committee not to make the same mistake it made last time, when the IOC expected awarding Beijing the Games would improve human rights in China.

“The reality is that the 2008 Beijing Olympics left a trail of human rights abuses directly linked to the Games,” the letter asserts, citing Human Rights Watch’s 2008 report on the Beijing Games, which documents some of the abuses.

The letter also references the Olympic spirit, which, as other human rights groups representatives have pointed out, expressly requires safeguarding the dignity of the individual as a requirement of Olympism, and questions how allowing the Games to become a part of human rights violations will reflect on the Olympics.

Read more: China can’t host Olympics, fails Olympic Charter, rights groups say

“Until the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party are prepared to reform and recognize the inherent rights of all people, they should not be awarded the honour of another Olympics,” the letter states. “The IOC must recognise that the Olympic spirit and the reputation of the Olympic Games will suffer further damage if the worsening human rights crisis in China is simply ignored.”

The conclusion of the letter is a warning: “[T]he Games returning to Beijing will be a green light for the government’s ongoing abuse of their rights and denial of their hopes for freedom.”