China touts “happy and healthy” Tibet amid UN human rights criticism, other reports
Coinciding with Chinese officials’ fielding — and rejecting — sharp criticism on Tuesday from members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including comments about its record of “religious repression of ethnic minorities, including Tibetans,” China this week issued a lengthy white paper touting its Tibet policy as “correct” and declaring that the Tibetan people are “happy and healthy.” The document makes no mention of the more than 120 Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, who have undertaken the extreme action of self-immolation to protest increasingly severe strictures on religious practice since 2009.
The New York Times yesterday illustrated a case-in-point about the deep frustration and fear among Tibetan Buddhists, spotlighting the pilgrimage place of Labrang:
“Labrang presents an idyllic picture of sacred devotion that is carefully curated by the Chinese government, which hopes to convince visitors that Tibetan religion and culture are swaddled in the Communist Party’s benevolent embrace.
“But behind closed doors, many of the monastery’s resident monks complain about intrusive government policies, invisible to tourists, that they say are strangling their culture and identity.
“‘Even if we’re just praying, the government treats us as criminals,’ said a young monk.”
See also this Buddhadharma News item from October 8: “New self-immolation protest in Tibet as Chinese religious policies condemned in human rights report”