While many people know that Tibet is under Chinese colonial rule, few are aware of the extensive human rights violations which are being perpetrated against the Tibetan people.
Restrictions are placed on religious expression; monasteries and nunneries are attacked, nuns and monks expelled or imprisoned; Tibetan children are forbidden to learn their own language or study their culture; political dissidents are silenced through imprisonment, torture and death; women are forced to undergo abortions and sterilizations.
A deliberate cultural genocide is being perpetrated in Tibet, and the gentle, peaceful Tibetan culture is under a real threat of becoming extinct if the world community does not act now.
The great plateau of Tibet stretches 2100 km from east to west and 1100 km from north to south. At an average height of nearly 4,000 metres, it lies at the heart of a system which regulates climatic and hydrographic conditions throughout the region. The temperature pattern of the plateau regulates the Indian monsoon. The plains of China and South-East Asia depend on waters from the great rivers which have their sources on the plateau: the Brahmaputra, the Mekong, the Salween, the Yellow and the Yangtse. Ecological stability in Tibet is vital to the surrounding regions.
Environmental conditions on the plateau are now at a critical stage. Degradation accelerated with the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) built roads and settlements during the 1950’s, and were followed by Chinese settlers. Their most visible impact is deforestation and mining, but the effects could be far wider.
Tibet Information Network