Lives of Tibetan Children Under Chinese Rule

These key points are taken from a document written by the International committee of lawyers for Tibet. I write it to bring up some of the horrible things that the Tibetan children go through while living under Chinese rule. I recommend that you read the whole report to get a full insight in the horrible reality that they live in.

  • Detention. Chinese authorities arbitrarily detain Tibetan children, usually in deplorable conditions, and hold them for months or years without any semblance of due process. Tibetan children may be detained at police stations, ‘re-education through labor camps and prisons.
  • Detention facilities of all kinds are characterized by deplorable conditions: meagre if any food and water, little to no bedding, poor sanitation, little light and a complete absence of medical care.
  • Torture. Children detained for alleged political offences virtually always suffer interrogation and torture in the same manner as adult Tibetans accused of political activities.
  • To obtain information and confessions, to intimidate and to punish, Chinese officials at times torture Tibetan children (in one case as young as four years old).
  • Torture most often involves beatings (with everything from fists and military boots to whips, sticks and metal rods) and application of electric cattle prods to sensitive areas of children’s bodies. Other forms of torture used against children include burns, assault by attack dogs, suspension in painful positions and psychological torture, such as solitary confinement, threatening children’s parents and forcing children to witness friends and relations being tortured. In addition, older girls may be subjected to sexual abuse while in custody.
  • Corporal Punishment. Teachers in Tibetan primary schools routinely employ corporal punishment in a manner that often constitutes torture as defined by international law.
  • Corporal punishments include beatings with sticks, bamboo staffs, whips, wires, brooms and belts, forced kneeling on sharp objects, such as glass, stones or spiked iron bars, and application of electric shocks.
  •  In some cases, school authorities even cooperate with state police to inflict corporal punishment
  • Tibetan teachers caught teaching students about Tibetan culture or history face harassment, dismissal and other punishments, including even imprisonment.
  • Discrimination in Education. Tibetan children sometimes study in separate and poorer quality primary schools compared to their Chinese counterparts, and in mixed schools they often face ethnic discrimination.
  •  For instance, they require Tibetan students, but not Chinese, to perform physical labor, such as cleaning toilets, sweeping and cooking. They also reportedly denigrate Tibetan students, calling them ‘dirty,’ ‘not intelligent’ or ‘donkeys.’
  •  Access to Healthcare. Tibetan children suffer from poor access to healthcare, in large part because of two factors: the absence of adequate healthcare facilities, particularly in rural and nomadic regions of Tibet; and the high cost of healthcare even where facilities exist.
  •  Common Illnesses Among Tibetan Children. The most common serious illnesses from which Tibetan children suffer are acute upper respiratory infections (such as pneumonia), diarrhoeal diseases, hepatitis, hydatid disease and tuberculosis. Diarrhoea illnesses, commonly caused by parasites, constitute the leading cause of death for Tibetan children.
  • Malnutrition and Growth Stunting. Recent studies show that more than half of Tibetan children suffer from growth stunting caused by chronic malnutrition.
  • Tax practices and market regulation policies instituted by the Chinese government have led to shortages of food for some Tibetan families. Most Tibetan children have access to adequate drinking water because of the abundance of rain and snow. In some regions, however, the water supply is infected with parasites and other impurities, causing dysentery and, potentially, long-term health problems.
  • Women’s Rights and Children’s Health and Education. China continues to enforce a family planning policy in Tibet that limits Tibetan families to two or three children, depending on where they live. To implement this policy, the government sometimes uses forced and coerced abortions and sterilisations. ‘Unauthorized’ children – those born in violation of family planning laws – are denied access to benefits provided to other children by Chinese law; for example, education, healthcare and food rations. Consequently, violations of Tibetan women’s rights indirectly cause violations of their children’s rights.
  • The circumstances outlined above motivate many Tibetan children – nearly 1,000 each year – to risk their lives on hazardous journeys into exile in India.

This is just a little part of the report. You can find it at Tibet justice centre and is horrible reading…

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