Dalai Lama accuses China of 'cultural genocide' in Tibet after protest crackdown

[JURIST] Exiled Tibetan spiritual and political leader Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama [personal website; BBC profile] on Sunday accused China of committing "cultural genocide" [recorded video] in Tibet, and said he will not call for an end to ongoing protests [BBC backgrounder] in the region. He reiterated the right of Tibetans to protest peacefully and urged that an international investigation be launched into China's tactics in suppressing the protests, sparked by concerns that non-ethnic Tibetan migrants are threatening to dilute the traditional Tibetan culture. The Dalai Lama also refused to ask protesters to surrender to Chinese authorities by midnight on Monday, the deadline set by government authorities.

The protests, which began last Monday, escalated into violence Friday as protesters attacked police vehicles, non-Tibetans migrants, and businesses. On Sunday, the Chinese government blocked Internet access [JURIST report] to the video-sharing website YouTube after videos of the recent government crackdown appeared on the site. The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after the failure of a Tibetan rebellion, currently advocates Tibetan autonomy rather than Tibetan independence from China. The Chinese government has long faced criticism for financial neglect of the region, religious persecution, the destruction of Buddhist temples, and brutality towards Tibetan dissidents, though concerns eased somewhat after "Open Door" reforms were implemented in the 1980s under international pressure. Even with the marginal gains, rights groups still criticize the China for ongoing human rights violations [HRW materials] targeted at Tibetans, and many call for the total independence [advocacy website] of the currently "semi-autonomous" region. The New York Times has more.

 

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