By Tenzin Monlam
[Wednesday, May 04, 2016 19:05]
■ Dharamshala, May 4: The Washington-based bipartisan US federal government commission on freedom of religion in their 2016 annual report stated that religious freedom has ‘been under serious and sustained assault’ last year.
“Over the past year, the Chinese government has stepped up its persecution of religious groups deemed a threat to the state’s supremacy and maintenance of a ‘socialist society’,” United State Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated in its latest report.
The report detailed the government’s forcibly removing crosses and bulldozing churches, violent crackdown on Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists and their rights and subjection to harassment, harsh policies and imprisonment.
In 2015, the Chinese Communist Party tightened its internal ideology, elevating the crusade against the three evils – separatism, terrorism and religious extremism – particularly with respect to religious freedom.
The report also accused Beijing of increasingly ‘targeting of human rights lawyers and dissidents who advocated for religious freedom.’
As far as crackdown on Tibetan Buddhist is concern, the year 2015 reflected China’s continued extreme surveillance and strictly monitoring over monasteries’ cultural and religious practices. The report also showed constant raids and officials trying to infiltrate monasteries with Communist Party propaganda. “Reports indicated increased government interference in the education and training of young Buddhist monks. In protest of these and other repressive policies, at least 143 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009,” it stated.
USCIRF also highlighted the death in detention of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche under suspicious circumstances in July 2015. It also mentioned notable anniversaries of the past year including the 50th anniversary of Beijing’s control over the TAR and the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima.
“China’s approach to religious freedom and related human rights does not comply with international standards. At the same time, China increasingly flouts these standards as it grows more assertive on the global stage and seeks to assume the mantle of world leadership,” the report said while recommending certain steps including high level bilateral dialogues and meetings and releasing of prisoners of conscience who have been detained for the peaceful exercise of their faith.