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Peace, development and equality
August 1995 report, prepared by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile,
documents the conditions of Tibetan women inside occupied-Tibet as
well as in exile. It touches upon the concerns of Tibetan women.
The report, kindly released on the Internet by Nima G. Dorjee
(email@example.com), is available on-line in two electronic
(a) as a plain
text file (88 Kb); (b) as a set of three interlinked HTML
files (prepared by Dr T.Matthew Ciolek) accessible from the URL http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVLPages/TibPages/TibetWomen-Report.html.
Est.: 21 August 1995. Last updated: 21 August 1995. The document is a part of the Tibetan
Studies WWW Virtual Library.
Part 2 of 3
Tibetan women under Chinese occupation
ONE. The status of Tibet before 1959
THE territory of Tibet largely corresponds to the geological
plateau of Tibet, which consists of 2.5 million square kilometres.
At different times in history, wars were fought and treaties signed
concerning the precise location of boundaries.
The Government of Tibet was headquartered in Lhasa, the capital
city of Tibet. It consisted of the Head of State (the Dalai Lama),
a Council of Ministers (the Kashag), a National Assembly (the
Tsongdu), and an extensive bureaucracy to administer the vast
territory of Tibet. The judicial system was based on that developed
by Emperor Songtsen Gampo (seventh century), Lama Jangchub Gyaltsen
(fourteenth century), the Fifth Dalai Lama (seventeenth century)
and the Thirteenth Dalai Lama (twentieth century), and was
administered by a magistrate appointed by the Government.
The population of Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion was
approximately six million. Tibetans as a people are distinct from
the Chinese and other neighbouring peoples. Not only have the
Tibetans never considered themselves to be Chinese, the Chinese
have also not regarded the Tibetans to be Chinese.
On the eve of China's military invasion, which started at the close
of 1949, Tibet possessed all the attributes of independent
statehood recognized under international law: a defined territory,
a population inhabiting that territory, a government, and the
ability to enter into international relations.
Nepal, Bhutan, Britain, China and India maintained diplomatic
missions in Tibet's capital, Lhasa. The Tibetan Foreign Office also
conducted limited relations with the United States when President
Franklin D. Roosevelt sent emissaries to Lhasa to request
assistance for the Allied War effort against Japan during the
Second World War. Also during the four UN General Assembly debates
on Tibet in 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1965, many countries expressly
referred to Tibet as an independent country illegally occupied by
Tibet's independent foreign policy is perhaps most obviously
demonstrated by the country's neutrality during World War II.
Despite strong pressure from Britain, the U.S. and China to allow
the passage of military supplies through Tibet to China when Japan
blocked the strategically vital "Burma Road", Tibet held fast to
its declared neutrality. The Allies were constrained to respect
The Chinese takeover constituted an aggression on a sovereign state
and violation of international law. The continued occupation of
Tibet by China, with the help of several hundred thousand troops,
represents an ongoing violation of international law and of the
fundamental rights of the Tibetan people to independence.
On March 17, 1959 His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Lhasa to seek
political asylum in India. He was followed by an unprecedented
exodus of Tibetans into exile. Never before, in the long history of
Tibet, had so many Tibetans been forced to leave their homeland and
under such difficult circumstances. There are now more than 130,000
Tibetan refugees scattered over India and the world.
China tries to justify its occupation and repressive rule of Tibet
by pretending that it "liberated" Tibetan society from "medieval
feudal serfdom" and "slavery". Beijing trots out this myth to
counter every international pressure to review its repressive
policies in Tibet.
Traditional Tibetan society was by no means perfect. It was in need
of changes, which His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama initiated
as soon as he assumed temporal authority in Tibet. However, it was
not as bad as China would have us believe. And it certainly was not
a "serfdom". As far back as 1960, the International Commission of
Jurists' Legal Inquiry Committee reported, "Chinese allegations
that the Tibetans enjoyed no human rights before the entry of the
Chinese were found to be based on distorted and exaggerated
accounts of life in Tibet."
Whatever the case may be, the Chinese justification for
"liberation" are invalid. First of all, international law does not
accept justifications of this type. No country is allowed to
invade, occupy, annex and colonize another country just because its
social structure does not please it. Secondly, China is responsible
for bringing more suffering in the name of liberation. Thirdly,
necessary reforms were initiated by the Tibetan themselves, who
were quite capable of carrying them through.
1.1 Tibetan women: Impact of population transfer and military
THE transfer of civilians by an occupying power into the territory
it occupies is a violation of international law, according to the
Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. However, it is a practice which
many occupying powers, colonial administrations and totalitarian
rulers have used and still use to break resistance to their rule
and consolidate control over the territory. China is implementing
the same policy in Tibet. Begun as early as 1949, when China
started the invasion of Tibet, this policy poses the greatest
threat to the survival of the Tibetan nation and people.
In Lhasa alone, there were 50,000 to 60,000 ordinary Chinese
residents in 1985. From 1988 additional Chinese immigrants doubled
the population of Lhasa. That this development created problems for
the Tibetan population was also recognized by the " of four in
China. Why should Tibet spend its money to feed them?... Tibet has
suffered greatly because of the policy of sending a large number of
useless people. The Chinese population in Tibet started with a few
thousand and today it has multiplied manifold".
Besides the influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet, the presence of
a large military force in Tibet poses a serious threat to the
Tibetan people's human rights and freedom. Tibetan women are being
subjected to a major security operation to crush the independence
movement and all manifestations of so-called "splittist
activities". The government, the police, the army, the judicial
system and the legal system are collaborating in the crackdown. The
number of PLA troops in Tibet is estimated to be around 300,000,
though accurate figures are difficult to obtain. The armed police
and other special forces are responsible for arbitrarily arresting,
beating and obstructing Tibetan women from exercising their
fundamental freedoms such as freedom of assembly and expression.
The Public Security Bureau and the People's Armed Police also
engage in sexual abuse of Tibetan women whilst they are in their
TWO. The status of Tibetan women before the Chinese occupation
TIBETAN women before the Chinese occupation belonged to a distinct
culture which has been preserved in exile. Today the Chinese law
dictates that Tibetan culture can only be exercised within the
parameters of Chinese rule.
It is necessary gain an understanding of the history of Tibetan
women to understand the situation and plight of Tibetan women
In the annals of Suishu and T'ang shu-Sui and T'ang dynasty (around
the second century AD), there is a reference to the existence of
a "women's kingdom" in southeastern Tibet. In this kingdom, the
society is described as being matriarchal and matrilineal where
political power appeared to have been in the hands of women.
Matriliny is also suggested in a Tibetan text of aphorisms from
Tun-huang that may be connected to a female-dominated society of
the fifth century Sum-pa people. In Tibetan history one also finds
that there were times when certain individual women played
prominent roles in determining the social development of the
Tibetan nation. The mothers of the Tibetan emperors in the period
between the seventh and the ninth centuries AD, for instance, are
believed to have played active roles in the polity of the state.
In the recent past also Tibetan women have proved themselves to be
able administrators and courageous warriors. Miu Gyalmo Palchen Tso
took over the work of her ailing husband and governed the province
of Amdo with amazing energy. She was a great warrior and shrewd
administrator. Similarly Jago Tsewang Dolma was an influential
woman and far-sighted administrator in the court of Derge, Kham.
Khangsar Yangchen Dolma was a brilliant warrior and chief of the
Karze area in Kham, eastern Tibet. Ngarong Chime Dolma was another
powerful and brave officer who personally led her soldiers into
battlefields with great success. However, she was later captured
and killed by the Chinese forces.
Before 1949, Tibetans engaged in a mixed economy consisting of
agriculture, animal husbandry and trade. Both men and women engaged
in all three activities. Women contributed significantly to
agricultural and pastoral pursuits and also engaged in trading
activities, in which they held the major decision-making authority.
There was some division of labor along gender lines. It was,
however, not rigid. A woman's economic contribution to the
household was considered significant. Because of the tendency
towards extensive social and economic equality in our society,
there was no sharply defined division between the kind of work to
be done by men and women. In fact, a certain flexibility was
prevalent and the division of labor was seen as complementary
rather than exploitative.
We can also gain an insight into the position of women by looking
at the patterns of marriage and household organization. Marriage
arrangements included monogamous, polyandrous and polygamous
alliances. Divorce and remarriage (including widow marriage) were
acceptable. Polygamy was just as common as polyandry, though both
were by no means widespread. They were accepted in some regions to
sustain family and social networks and to keep estates undivided,
without infringing the rights to which men and women were
accustomed. Arranged marriages were the norm but only the daughter,
upon marriage, would remain with her family. Her husband would
enter her family. Then, upon the death of the household head, the
daughter, and not her husband, would head the family estate. At the
same time, the possibility of remaining unmarried was open to both
men and women.
Buddhism played a significant role in the lives of Tibetan women.
Although the number of monks is greater than that of nuns, becoming
a nun provided an alternative and positive role for women in
society. Becoming a nun was a matter of choice. Prior to 1959,
there were 270 nunneries with over 15,600 nuns throughout Tibet.
Besides, many nuns lived in small groups in retreat communities or
The Chinese authorities have time and again tried to portray
traditional Tibetan society in a negative light to legitimize their
"liberation of a nation which endured in backwardness even in this
modern age". It is true that in the past Tibetan women did not
feature prominently in the political and administrative aspects of
Tibetan history. However, all the great nations of today went
through periods of feudalism, slavery, casteism and other medieval
evils. At no point of history were the Tibetan women subjected to
foot-binding, veiling, dowry or concubinage. It is not fair to
compare the status of Tibetan women in the past to that of present
under Chinese occupation. It is more justified to compare Tibetan
women in Tibet with their counterparts in exile. The women in Tibet
enjoy none of the human rights and freedom that are taken for
granted in exile.
THREE. The status of Tibetan women under Chinese occupation
3.1 China's lack of commitment to internationally-recognized
standards of women's human rights
THE status of Tibetan women must be seen in terms of human rights
dimensions of gender violence and inequality. The Chinese are
violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetan women, such as
the reproductive rights, right to education, right to be free from
discrimination, coercion and violence.
China is bound by the objectives and obligations arising from its
accession to the convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women  (CEDAW) which it signed on
November 4, 1980. Upon signing CEDAW China became bound to
recognize its objectives, one being
"Emphasizing that the eradication of apartheid, all forms of
racism, racial discrimination, colonialism, neo-colonialism,
aggression, foreign accupation and domination and interference in
the internal affairs of states is essential to the full enjoyment
of the rights of men and women."
China often quotes the laws that it has passed to establish the
argument that it is protecting the fundamental rights of Tibetan
women. A Chinese report on Tibetan women even stated recently that:
"The basic principles underlying legislation for women in China
are: Equal rights for men and women, protecting women's special
rights and interests, and banning discriminating against,
maltreating, injuring, and killing women. Women in Tibet, a
provincial level autonomous region in China, are certainly
protected by Chinese laws enacted for all women in China."
A study of the manner in which these laws are implemented
highlights the great discrepancy between law in theory and law in
practice. The continued discrimination of Tibetan women in the
fields of health and education, their arbitrary arrests, detention
and torture without fair trials are the indicators of this
discrepancy. In addition, Tibetan women also suffer physically and
mentally under a stringent and irrational birth-control policy
which dictates how women's lives and their reproductive roles will
be determined. Human rights are also women's right and should apply
to Tibetan women as well.
3.2 Claims of the equality: Discrepancy between theory and
IN addition to the great discrepancy between law in theory and in
practice (which this report will serve to highlight), law in
theory, itself, reveals its discriminatory attitudes towards women.
A Chinese report on Tibetan women recently stated that:
"Freedom of marriage has become the general concept of contemporary
Tibetan women. Women's right to divorce and remarry is duly
guaranteed, thus improving the quality of marriage and the
stability of the family, and laying the foundation for equal rights
between husband and wife". In October 1994 the 'Mother and Child
Health Law' was passed by the National People's Congress, to take
effect from June 1995. The law delegates discretionary power to
Chinese officials who can prevent marriages and births from
occurring on certain grounds. Besides, these grounds involve a
determination of the mental and physical health of the parents. The
official can decide not to grant the relevant couple approval if
one is suffering from a mental or hereditary disease which is
serious and likely to affect others.
"Therefore, a couple who wishes to marry must first go through a
medical examination. If the doctor concludes that one or both of
the couple have either a mental disorder or hereditary disease,
then the couple will be denied permission to marry. The aim of the
regulations is to ensure that the couples that procreate will have
"If there is a risk of the couple producing deformed or unhealthy
babies then they must divorce. This law also dictates the abortion
of all foetuses identified as mentally or physically handicapped,
as well as abortions for and/or sterilization of women suffering
from mental instability, hereditary or infectious diseases."
FOUR. Occupation and its impact on the political rights of Tibetan
girls and women
4.1 The persecution of Tibetan women for the exercise of their
fundamental civil and political rights:
CHINA has imprisoned hundreds of Tibetan political activists since
the invasion and occupation of Tibet, many of them being women and
young girls. Amnesty International said, in a report released in
June this year, that there were 628 prisoners held in the "TAR"
jails by the end of 1994 for their political beliefs, including 182
women and forty five persons under the age of eighteen and some as
young as twelve. A 1994 report by Tibet Information Network, a
London-based independent news monitor, stated that out of 255
political prisoners in Lhasa's Drapchi Prison, sixty eight were
women; in 1991 this prison held only twenty three women prisoners.
(See Appendix I for a partial list of Tibetan women political
Fifty nuns were reportedly arrested in connection with peaceful
independence activities in Tibet during the first quarter of 1995.
More arrests were made during the first three months of the year
than in the whole of 1994.
The majority of these women political prisoners were sexually
abused via torture techniques, and received no medical attention
for injuries suffered. The following are the stories of some
Tibetan girl and women prisoners of conscience:
4.1.a. Women prisoners of conscience
WOMEN make up nearly a third of the hundreds of political prisoners
held in Tibet. Many have been tortured. Amnesty International's
report "Women in China" states that by far the largest group of
female political prisoners known to Amnesty International in China
is imprisoned in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Ven. Phuntsog Nyidron (nun), at the time of her arrest was twenty
four years old. She was arrested on October 14, 1989 along with
fourteen other nuns for participating in the peaceful demonstration
held in the Bakhor area, in the old town of Lhasa. The
demonstration called for an end to the Chinese occupation in Tibet.
On October 8, 1993, she, along with thirteen other nun inmates,
sang a song for the independence of Tibet and His Holiness the
Dalai Lama in front of the prison guards. The authorities reacted
to the song by extending her prison sentence by eight more years.
Serving a total of seventeen years in Drapchi prison, Phuntsog
Nyidron is now the longest serving, known woman political prisoner
in Tibet. Phuntsog Nyidron, incidentally, was a nominee for the
1995 Reebok Human Rights Award.
Fourteen nuns from Garu nunnery were sentenced to prison terms
ranging from two to seven years for their alleged participation in
a demonstration, which, unofficial sources in Tibet claim, never
actually took place. The nuns were arrested on June 14, 1993, a day
when no demonstration in or near Lhasa was reported. Sources from
the city believe the nuns were arrested before they managed to
begin a protest. Among the nuns arrested that day was the
thirteen-year-old Gyaltsen Pelsang, who died in February 1995,
shortly after her parole for medical treatment. Informed sources
attribute her death to constant torture in captivity.
4.2 Young girls as political prisoners: abuse of human rights
IN May 1995 Amnesty International released a report expressing its
particular concern about the number of youths that were being
detained and imprisoned for taking part in peaceful demonstrations
-- "some of them were only twelve years old".
Among the female political prisoners arrested between 1991 and
1994, at least eleven, under the age of eighteen at the time of
their arrests, were reportedly still in detention in December 1994.
Of them, seven were under eighteen in 1994.
Amnesty International recently stated in a report on human rights
violations in Tibet that:
"..youths, like adults, have been subjected to beatings, electric
shocks, solitary confinement and deprivation of sleep, food or
drink as punishment. Beatings by the police are reported to be
4.2.a. Documented abuses of Tibetan girl prisoners
WOMEN prisoners of conscience are particularly vulnerable to
torture or ill-treatment as police officials attempt to extract
information or confessions from them in order to formalize the
arrest or justify their detention. There have been frequent reports
from prisons of degrading methods of torture for the purpose of
extracting confessions. These include setting of guard dogs on
prisoners, use of electric batons especially on women prisoners in
extremely perverted and degrading manners, inflicting cigarette
burns, administration of shock, etc. One recent refugee from
eastern Tibet, who was a member of the Chinese Public Security
Bureau, described thirty-three methods of torture of prisoners.
Below are several accounts of Tibetan girls who have been reported
tortured or ill-treated.
At least a dozen Tibetans, aged fifteen or younger, most of the
them nuns, have been imprisoned for political offenses. Many, like
Gyaltsen Pelsang, never received sentences and were held without
any indication as to when they would be released. Gyaltsen Pelsang
was reported to have been aged fifteen at the time of her arrest
but it is now believed that she was aged thirteen when she was
detained. According to our sources, she was held in Gurtsa
Detention Center, outside Lhasa, where the majority of young
Tibetan Political prisoners are held, often without charge or
Three nuns from Michungri nunnery near Lhasa _ Jampa Dedrol, Tenzin
Dekyong and Ngawang Drolma, all of them aged fourteen or fifteen _
spent up to a year without trial in Gurtsa in 1993 after staging a
demonstration on March 13, 1993.
The youngest of the recent prisoners is Sherab Ngawang, a Michungri
nun who was formally sentenced by the "Re-education-Through-Reform"
Committee to three years in detention. She was only twelve years
old at the time of her arrest. She died recently due to torture in
police custody. Three years was the maximum sentence that could be
imposed by the committee. Under the Chinese law Sherab was too
young to be sentenced, and it has been suggested that the Chinese
authorities were unaware of her age. However, a court document
obtained by the Tibet Information Network in London, suggests
otherwise. It says that she was too young to be tried with the
other demonstrators, meaning the authorities knew she was under
Jampa Dedrol was fifteen at the time of her arrest on June 14,
1993. She had been a novice at Michungri nunnery near Lhasa. She
was reportedly arrested for peacefully demonstrating in Lhasa, and
taken to Gurtsa Detention Centre. There has been no recent news of
Tenzin Dekyong, a novice at Michungri nunnery near Lhasa, was
sixteen at the time of her arrest during a peaceful demonstration
in Lhasa on March 13, 1993. Reports suggest that she was beaten at
the time of her arrest and subsequently taken to Gurtsa Detention
centre. According to China's laws, "abuse", "corporal punishment"
and "maltreatment" of "offenders" are "strictly forbidden".
4.2.b. Violations of Chinese law and international human rights
THE ill-treatment meted out to young detainees in Tibet violates
international human rights treaties which China is legally bound to
observe. The People's Republic of China signed the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child on August 29, 1990 and ratified it on March
2, 1992. Article 37(b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
"No child shall be deprived of his/her liberty unlawfully or
arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall
be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure
of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time"
Article 37(a) also states that:
"No child shall be subjected to torture, or other inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. Neither Capital punishment nor
life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed
for offenses committed by persons below 18 years of age".
On the Face of it, Chinese law also seeks to protect the physical
and mental safety of minors. The Constitution of the People's
Republic of China , in Article 49 states that Children need
special protection and should never be maltreated. The Law on the
Protection of Minors, Article 52 also states that:
"Agents of the legal administration who infringe the regulations of
surveillance in custody, who commit corporal punishment and
ill-treatment against juveniles, shall bear criminal responsibility
in accordance with Article 189 of the Criminal Law". There are also
other legal protections in Chinese law that exist to protect the
interests of minors.
As reported above, the treatment of young female prisoners violates
both the international obigations that the Chinese Government has
agreed to observe by ratifying the relevant international
conventions and also its own law that it has created to protect
minors, especially young female prisoners.
4.3 Violence against Tibetan women: Torture and sexual abuse of
women activists and those in custody
TIBETAN women are being sexually assaulted in an organized and
systematic way by the Chinese authorities. Reports and allegations
of physical assault, sexual abuse and harassment in Chinese prisons
in Tibet filter across the Himalayas. The Chinese authorities have
themselves acknowledged the use of torture in obtaining
confessions. This torture and sexual abuse have led thousands of
women to flee Tibet. However it is extremely difficult to assess
the full extent of sexual abuse and violence against women in
Tibet. The humiliation and social stigma discourage many women from
reporting such abuses.
A report issued jointly by LawAsia and TIN in March 1991 stated
"Written and oral accounts by nuns of their experiences in prison,
particularly in Gurtsa, are strikingly consistent and indicate that
nuns have been singled out for special treatment. Torture
apparently reserved for nuns include the use of dogs to bite
prisoners; lighted cigarettes being applied to the torso and face,
and the use of electric batons in the genitals".
The People's Republic of China has ratified the Convention against
Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment. The Criminal Law of the PRC also stipulates that "it is
strictly forbidden to extort confession by torture" (Article 136).
The Criminal Procedure Law repeats the prohibition of "extortion of
confessions by torture" or by other "unlawful means". The
Regulations on Detention Centers which came into force in March
1990 provide that "beating and verbal abuse, corporal punishment"
and "maltreatment" of "offenders" are "strictly forbidden".
The following are details of specific instances where Tibetan women
have been tortured and have lived to tell their stories.
Dawa Langzom, a nun, was arrested in 1989 in Lhasa, after shouting
independence slogans during a demonstration. On the police jeep,
which took her to Gurtsa Detention Centre, the arresting officers
cut off one of her nipples with a pair of scissors, according to
nuns who have now fled Tibet.
Ngawang Kyizom was arrested for shouting slogans like "Long live
the Dalai Lama" and "Free Tibet" at the entrance of the Jokhang
(the main cathedral in Lhasa). For this outburst, in September
1990, Chinese secret police kicked and beat her, jabbed her with an
electric cattle prod on her tongue, breasts and thighs and then
jailed her for three years without a proper trial.
Another Tibetan woman, the twenty-six-year old Sonam Dolkar, was
arrested in July 1990 on suspicion of her involvement in
independence activities. Although she denied any political
connections, she was interrogated under torture every other day for
six months. She endured a fearsome range of torture techniques. She
was stripped naked, slapped and punched. She was wrapped in
electric wires and given electric shocks until she fainted. She was
prodded with electric batons all over her body and on the face.
Electric batons were also pushed into her genitals. She was
restrained in handcuffs and leg-irons throughout her ordeal and
held in solitary confinement on the days she was not tortured. By
early 1991 she was vomiting and urinating blood every day and was
in such a condition that a doctor was finally called to see her.
She was eventually transferred to a police hospital from where she
managed to escape. She left the country clandestinely during the
second half of 1991.
Damchoe Pemo, a Lhasa businesswoman in her mid-twenties, was
arrested in Lhasa on May 20, 1993. According to unofficial
reports, she miscarried her baby a week after police forced her to
remain standing for at least twelve hours and beat her with
electric batons. At the time of arrest, she was reportedly four or
five months into pregnancy. According to one source, she was
tortured for refusing to reveal the names of Tibetan underground
activists. She was apparently arrested on suspicion of being a
member of an independence organization. Her release was officially
announced on October 29, 1994 to European ambassadors during a
meeting in Beijing.
4.4. Death in custody
ACCORDING to reports received, since 1991 five Tibetan women have
died in custody or shortly after being released. These women are no
doubt the victims of mistreatment and abuse in custody.
Most recently a nun political prisoner, Gyaltsen Kelsang, died,
apparently as a result of maltreatment and poor living conditions
in custody. She was the tenth known political prisoner since 1987
to die shortly after leaving prison, and the fourth woman to die in
four years. At least two other prisoners have been hospitalized in
serious conditions in the last five months. In October 1994
European diplomats visiting Lhasa raised the case of Gyaltsen
Kelsang and fourteen other Garu nuns with the Vice-chairman of the
Tibet Autonomous Region. The Vice-chairman told the diplomats that
the nuns had been convicted of "separatist activities". The
diplomats appeal for clemency and further information about the
nuns' condition remains unfulfilled.
In its May 1995 report Amnesty International said:
"In the recent past, three young Tibetan women have died shortly
after release from prison, and that the Chinese Government's
accounts of the reasons for, and circumstances of, their death are
inadequate and did not respond to allegations of ill-treatment".
An eighteen-year-old girl, Sherap Wangmo, died as a result of
severe torture which she received whilst in Drapchi prison. She was
imprisoned for three years for taking part in an independence
A fifteen-year-old girl, Sherap Ngawang, also died in 1995 whilst
serving a prison sentence for shouting independence slogans. The
Tibet Information Network (TIN) reported on 30 May 1995 that:
"A Tibetan nun believed to have been the youngest political
prisoner in Tibet died two weeks ago just after release from
prison, apparently as a result of being beaten for pulling a face
at prison guards, or through lack of medical treatment, according
to unofficial reports from Tibet... Sherab Ngawang, thought to have
been 15 years old when she died, was released from detention in
February 1995 after completing a three year sentence for joining a
pro-independence demonstration in 1992. Five women were involved in
that protest, and Sherab's death means that two of those five women
have now died either in custody or just after being released".
On June 4, 1994 Phuntsog Yangki, a twenty-year-old Tibetan nun and
prisoner of conscience serving her sentence in Drapchi prison, died
in a police hospital in Lhasa. She was serving a five-year prison
sentence for taking part in a brief independence demonstration in
February 1992. According to unofficial reports, she was beaten by
prison guards after she and other nuns sang nationalist songs on
February 11, 1994.
FIVE. Birth-control policy in Tibet: Physical violation of Tibetan
THE Chinese government, by implementing its birth control policy in
Tibet, continues to violate Tibetan women's reproductive choices.
Tibetans are devout Buddhists who hold reverence for all life forms
and specially so for human life which is believed to be very
precious. This is because of their belief that to be born a human
being is to get a chance to attain enlightenment. To practice
abortion is to deprive a human being of that opportunity and to
submit to sterilization is to prevent a person who deserves to be
born from being so born. Therefore, the act of performing abortions
and sterilizations is considered sinful and it is particularly
offensive to Tibetan women, since the killing of a sentient being
is a sin. So, the forced implementation of birth-control and
abortion not only deprives Tibetan women of their reproductive
rights but this policy is a serious infringement of their religious
rights as well.
In 1984 China announced a new policy, restricting the number of
children per family to two. Orders were issued for the imposition
of fines (ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 yuan or US $ 400 to 800) for
the birth of a third child. Extra children were denied ration
cards, and workers violating the rule had their pay cut to the
extent of fifty percent, or withheld altogether for three to six
months in some cases.
According to the Civil Affairs Department of Shigatse, in July 1990
a team from Shigatse Child and Maternity Hospital visited a remote
and poor area of Bhuchung district to carry out examinations. It
was found that 387 women in this sparesly populated rural area had
been sterilized. The team had gone to ten districts to propagate
family planning, resulting in the sterilization of 1,092 women out
Birth-control policy is forced more repressively on the poluation
of Kham and Amdo. For example, in "Gansu Parig Tibetan Autonomous
County" 2,415 women were sterilized in 1983 of whom eighty two
percent were Tibetans. In 1987, 764 women of child bearing age were
sterilized in Zachu district in "Karze Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture": 660 were Tibetans. Mobile birth-control teams comb the
countryside and pastoral areas where they round up women for
abortion and sterilization. Even women well advanced in their
pregnancy are forced to undergo abortion, followed by
On November 5, 1987, the "TAR' Family Planning Department head,
Tsering Dolkar, stated at a meeting:
"There are 104,024 women of child-bearing age, of whom 76,220 are
married. Of them, 22,634 have already undergone birth-control
operations, constituting thirty percent of women of child-bearing
age in the TAR. In 1985, after the science of family planning was
announced in the countryside and pastoral areas, there has been a
perceptible change in the mental outlook and birth rates in these
areas. In 1986, nineteen percent of women in Nyingtri, Lhokha and
Shigatse were sterilized."
Tibetan women, like women all over the world, should have the
inalienable right to control their bodies. Their right to privacy
should be protected. Although China officially claims that its
one-child birth control policy does not apply to "China's
Minorities", evidence shows that the policy implemented China is
applied in Tibet as well. Young women with one or no children are
routinely sterilized. Vasectomies are forced on Tibetan men. No
women under twenty two years of age are allowed to have children.
Thereafter, they can have a child only with a birth permit from the
authorities. Then there are various subtle birth-control policies
such as restrictions on who may give birth, at what age and where,
and fines of up to 2,000 yuan (U.S.$ 400) for "illegal" children,
and incentives for one-child families, etc.
According to Pema, a Tibetan doctor who worked in a Chinese
hospital in Amdo (Northeastern Tibet) prior to her recent escape to
India, Chinese birth-control teams operate in hospitals, villages
and nomadic areas.
She states: "The teams have a monetary incentive to do abortions
and sterilizations on as many women as possible.
"The more names the Chinese doctors collect the more money they get
from their government as well as from the unwilling victims."
According to Mrs. Lhankar, a 37-year-old Tibetan woman born in
"The Chinese policy is one child per family and we have to pay
heavy fines for each extra child. In a sense we are paying a `human
tax'. In 1988 the Chinese took me by force and sterilized me. Since
I had had more children than was officially allowed, my children
were designated as illegal and deprived of all rights of
citizenship as dictated by Chinese ideology. We were no longer
eligible for ration cards, resident registration or travel permits.
In reality, my children became non-entities.
"Along with me, nearly thirty other women were sterilized at the
same time. I can say that seventy percent of the women, aged
eighteen and above, in my village have been sterilized. They (the
Chinese) treat us like animals and use crude methods. My
sister-in-law was aborted before her husband's eyes. She was four
months into pregnancy when they took her to the clinic by force.
They bound her hands and legs. A doctor, wearing gloves, put his
hand into her vagina and seemed to squeeze the foetus. She became
delirious and bled profusely. Many other pregnant women, some at
seven months, were given injections in the stomach. The women
wailed in agony and delivered dead foetuses. While operating,
medical staff often made incisions without anaesthesia and with
little consideration for the pain that was being inflicted. I have
witnessed these terrible things with my own eyes"
According to another source from Amdo, in Huangnan (Tibetan: Malho)
Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Chinese government announcement at
a public meeting stated that birth-prevention operations should be
carried out to such an extent that two families would become one.
In Awar village of the Henan Mongol Autonomous County (an area of
Tibetans with Mongolian ancestry), the family of Dhondup, in 1992,
was imposed a fine of 3,000 Yuan for exceeding the official limit
on birth; and as he did not have such a hugh sum of money, the
family's grain stock and other properties were confiscated. In the
same village, the family of Dolma was fined 1,500 yuan for
exceeding the official limit on birth. The source stated that there
had been many other such cases.
Another report of forced birth-control implementation comes from
Nagchu, northern Tibet. According to a source, a new "child care"
hospital had been set up in Nagchu town by the Chinese authorities.
It had some Tibetan medical personnel from Nagchu, too. With its
establishment, the situation had become a nightmare to pregnant
Tibetan women. Women becoming pregnant without the official permit
would have their foetuses killed. This was done by inserting a
small electric device into the womb, through the vagina. The
electric device minced up the foetus. Following this, the woman was
made to take a pill and the foetus taken out in bits and pieces.
The Chinese authorities do not talk publicly about this method of
foetus-killing, the source said. Such a crude method of pre-natal
termination of pregnancy had been reported earlier from the
northwestern Tibetan area of Qinghai too.
SIX. Increasing poverty and its consequence on Tibetan women
YEAR after year, the Chinese Government claims great economic
advancement in Tibet: bumper crops, industrial growth, improvement
of infrastructure and so forth. These claims were made even in
1961-1964 and 1968-1973, when Tibet was suffering its only famines
6.1 An overview of the political-economic situation in Tibet
THE pattern of development in Tibet is intended to control the
Tibetan economy rather than stimulate initiative enterprises and
production. In the past four decades, there has been some economic
progress in Tibet in certain areas like transportation,
tele-communications, electricity, etc. However, these developments
have tended only to support the Chinese population in Tibet. For
instance, the beneficiaries of the World Food Programme's
Agricultural Project Number 3357 in the Lhasa valley are the
Chinese settlers, although it is meant for Tibetan villagers.
Similarly, industrial development in Tibet has been in the field of
mining for the exploitation of Tibet's natural resources for the
benefit of China, while Tibet has to import all its needs for
manufactured goods from China.
The late Panchen Lama, in his last speech in 1989, remarked, "The
price Tibet paid for this development was higher than the gains".
This speech was reported in China Daily, by its staff reporter Guo
There is increasing evidence to suggest that the economic rewards
of China's development policies in Tibet are not distributed
equitably amongst the population of Tibet, and that in fact the
main beneficiaries are Chinese settlers. Tibet's utilitarian role
in China's economic progress is explicitly spelled out in the
eighth Five Year Plan (1991-1995). The difference in the standard
of living between China and Tibet is striking: whilst China has a
rating of 94 in UNDP's HD index in 1994, the rating for Tibet is
Whilst Tibet remains under foreign occupation, Tibetans, the
custodians of Tibet for millennia, have no control over the
development which is taking place in their country. As a people
under foreign occupation, Tibetan women are deprived of the
opportunity to voice their opinions as to whether the development
program being implemented in Tibet is necessary or desirable. An
examination of current development projects and policies in Tibet
reveals that the largest proportion of investment activity is
focused on large scale industrial and infrastructural projects and
the exploitation of natural resources, and strengthening of China's
control in Tibet.
The Chinese frequently emphasize Tibetan people's "backwardness" as
a factor inhibiting Tibet's economic progress. This overtly
colonialist attitude is used to justify the importation from China
of Chinese "specialists" and "technicians" to work on and
administer development initiatives in Tibet.
In December 1994 Tibetan delegates to the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the
Government and Party, charged that in spite of the glowing reports
of economic improvements in Tibet, Tibetans in some areas are now
weak with hunger, and poverty is increasing. They also stated that
rampant inflation, widespread corruption, poor education and high
illiteracy are plaguing Tibet. In Sog County, Nagchu, located in
the northern rim of the Tibet Autonomous Region, 4,446 people are
said to be in a state of severe hunger and forty percent of the
population lives below the poverty line. The documents written by
these delegates provide some of the most stinging criticisms and
details of social and economic policies in Tibet and are evidence
of divisions and bitterness amongst a core of people who were
thought to be loyal and supportive of the government.
The following is a direct translation of excerpts from some of
"Inflation, poverty, and starvation
"On May 13, 1994 deputies from Nyangchi, Ngari, Shigatse, Lhoka and
Nagchu prefectures held a meeting in which they complained that due
to rampant inflation, a great many of farmers and nomads, including
residents of cities and suburban areas are having an extremely hard
time. Households under the poverty line are increasing
significantly, they complained.
"Tulku Ngawang Jigdrol, vice-chairman of the local Chinese People's
Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) in Sog county, and Athar,
vice-chairman of CPPCC in Nagchu prefecture, reported to the
meeting that in the three eastern counties of Nagchu area (Sog,
Biru, Bhachen), poverty is so devastating that households falling
under the poverty line are increasing significantly. In the last
two years snowstorms and hail have already reduced the production
to fifty percent and this year's rampant inflation on food-grain
put most of the farmers and nomads in almost unbearable
The general economic impact of the Chinese settlers on Tibetans may
be gauged from the following example: Of the 12,827 shops and
restaurants in Lhasa city (excluding the ones in the Barkhor area)
only 300 are owned by Tibetans. In Tsawa Pasho, southern Kham,
Chinese own 133 business enterprises whereas Tibetans own only 15.
The ownership ratio is similar in other Tibetan towns: 748 to 92 in
Chamdo, 229 to 3 in Powo Tramo. The situation is far worse in the
urban centres of Amdo, where, according to one British journalist,
Tibetans are reduced to "tourist curios".
6.2 Poverty and women
THE Fourth World Conference on Women will be placing the
feminization of poverty high on its agenda. The conference, whilst
discussing these problems, should also take into account the
feminization of poverty from the perspective of women in occupied
countries who are being discriminated against on the basis of both
their sex and race.
Tibetan women experience poverty different from that of their male
counterparts. Tibetan women need social support systems for health,
family planning and education. Abject poverty exposes Tibetan women
to extreme hardship in gaining employment and educational
opportunities. As household members, women find it difficult to
obtain even the most basic amenities for sustaining their families.
So much so that the third Tibetan official fact-finding mission
from Dharamsala was told by a woman in Tibet that she had to feed
her baby with the soup made of her own blood.
As long as China controls Tibetan economy to serve the interest of
the Chinese, Tibetan women will not be able to participate in in
economic decision-making processes that affect their future lives.
They will continue to be hamstrung by the lack of access to
education, health services, employment and participation in
6.2.a. Tibetan women and education
EDUCATION in Tibet today is neither free nor universally available.
Overwhelming numbers of Tibetan girls still do not go to school
either because there are no schools or, where they are available,
parents cannot afford the fees.
6.2.b. Education before the Chinese invasion
IN independent Tibet there were over 6,259 monasteries and
nunneries which served as schools and universities, fulfilling
Tibet's unique education needs. Drepung monastery in Lhasa alone
had at any given time over 10,000 students coming mostly from the
peasantry. In addition there was a sizable network of private and
government schools all over Tibet.
6.2.b.i. Education in Tibet today
OF the over six thousand traditional institutes of learning, only
thirteen survived the Chinese destruction. An overwhelming number
of them are still heaps of rubble and their rebuilding or
renovation is strictly under Chinese censorship. Similarly, almost
all the learned scholars and teachers, the human repositories of
Tibet's rich religious philosophical, intellectual and literary
heritage, were persecuted. Most of them were executed or died under
various forms of torture or incarceration.
Education policies inside Tibet today serve to favour Chinese as
the medium for teaching. The cost of education is high and many
places are reserved for Chinese settlers as a part of the incentive
package to encourage more Chinese to move into Tibet. Tibetan women
and girls are, therefore, escaping Tibet everyday to seek an
adequate education in India, the seat of the Tibetan
According to UNICEF, illiteracy rate is seventy three percent in
Tibet as against thirty one percent in China. Amnesty
International in a recently published report stated that:
"Only sixty percent of school age children attend schools in the
TAR, according to Chinese Press reports". Members of the Tibetan
Government-in-Exile's third fact-finding delegation (on education)
to Tibet were told by the Chinese Government that there were 2,511
schools in Tibet. However, Mrs Jetsun Pema, leader of the
"Wherever we went it was extremely difficult to arrange a visit to
a school. "The school is closed for summer vacation, the headmaster
is away, the children have gone for lunch" (at 10:am), were some of
the excuses. After one such excuse the delegation looked into the
classrooms and found them stacked from floor to ceiling with
timber. Another time, on being shown a rural tent classroom, the
delegates lifted the groundsheet and found the grass still green
While the Chinese in Tibet study English right from the Primary
school stage, Tibetans are taught this language only when they
reach the third year at Upper Middle School level.
John Billington, Director of studies at Repton School in England,
travelled extensively through Tibet in 1988 and reported the
"In rural areas especially, a large number of children can be seen
working in the fields cutting grass, herding sheep, collecting yak
dung and working at stalls. Enquiry reveals that they do not go to
school, in most cases because no schools exist. It was sad to hear
older people say that there had been schools in the past attached
to a monastery, but that when the monasteries were destroyed the
little rural schools have not been replaced. Well off the beaten
track, I met elderly nomads who could read and write; it was too
often a brutal reminder of Chinese neglect that their grandchildren
There have been several demonstrations staged by the students in
Tibet in recent years to protest against the high costs of
education, discrimination against Tibetan students and Tibetan
studies, poor educational facilities and the lack of basic
sanitation in the existing schools.
The medium of teaching from Middle School level upwards is Chinese
even in an area where the Chinese Government claims by its 1990
census that 95.46 percent of the population is Tibetan.
The first Australian Human Rights Delegation to China in July 1991
stated in its report:
"Though the delegation noted an official determination to raise
educational standards for Tibetans, many Tibetan children appear to
still go without formal education. Tibetan children in Lhasa area
seemingly have access to a very limited syllabus at both primary
and secondary levels. Some testified to never having been at
school, or having to leave for economic reasons as early as ten
In a petition, dated February 20, 1986, submitted to the Chinese
authorities, Tashi Tsering, an English teacher at Lhasa's Tibet
"In 1979, 600 students from the Tibet Autonomous Region were
pursuing university education in Tibet and China. Of them, only 60
were Tibetans. In 1984 Tibet's three big schools had 1,984 students
on their rolls, out of which only 666 were Tibetans. In the same
year 250 students from Tibet may have been sent to universities in
the Mainland. But only 60 to 70 of them were Tibetans... Most of
the government outlay meant for Tibetan education is used on
Chinese students. Even today, 70 per cent of Tibetans are
"Out of 28 classes in Lhasa's Middle School No. 1, 12 are for
Tibetans.... Out of 1,451 students, 933 are Tibetans and 518
Chinese. Not only are the Chinese students not learning Tibetan,
387 of the Tibetan students are not learning Tibetan either. Only
546 Tibetans are learning their language. Of the 111 teachers, only
30 are Tibetans and seven teach Tibetan. I have heard that the best
qualified teachers are assigned to teach the Chinese classes
whereas unqualified teachers teach the Tibetan classes.
"In Lhasa's Tibet University, there are 413 Tibetan students and
258 Chinese. 251 Tibetans are in the Tibetan language and
Literature stream and 27 in the Tibetan Medical Studies Stream.
Only 135 Tibetan students get to study modern subjects... The
Tibetan departments are generally known as the 'Departments of
Political Manipulation'. This is because, while the authorities
have fixed 60 percent of seats for Tibetan students and 40 per cent
for Chinese students, most of the Tibetan students are absorbed
into these two Tibetan departments, leaving the majority of the
seats in modern education streams to the Chinese.... The English
Department of this University has two Tibetan students and fourteen
Tibetan women are denied their basic cultural rights to learn and
speak their own language. On the Tibetan new year day of 1993,
women prisoners in Lhasa's Drapchi prison were not allowed to wear
the traditional Tibetan dress. When the prisoners complained about
this, they were subjected to brutal beatings.
From 1966 onwards complete sinicization became the watchword. The
Tibetan language was labelled as the language of religion and the
teaching of the Tibetan language was forbidden. Some time in the
1960s monk and nun teachers as well as qualified lay Tibetan
teachers were nearly all ordered to leave their teaching jobs.
"Fluency in the Chinese language has become a prerequisite for
obtaining employment, even for unskilled positions. This provides
little incentive for young Tibetans to become proficient in their
own language. In fact, opportunities to learn Tibetan are limited,
as entrance examinations to upper level schools are conducted in
the Chinese language.
Every year a certain number of university seats in Tibet and China
are officially reserved for "Tibetan" students and this financial
allocation forms part of the budget for Tibetan education. However,
the majority of these seats go to Chinese students due only to the
fact that they have finished school in the Tibet Autonomous Region
(TAR), or owing to their Tibet residency registration. Thus the
real beneficiaries of educational opportunities are the Tibet-
resident Chinese. Even scholarships to study abroad, meant for
Tibetan students, go to Chinese residents in Tibet because they are
deemed Tibetan due to their residential status.
Since the early 1980s well over 6,000 children have risked
everything to journey across the Himalayas to India in the hope
that they may receive in exile what they have been denied back
home: education. Many children escaping across the Himalayas have
been unaccompanied minors. The UNHCR office in Kathmandu registered
thirty such minors in the first two months of 1995 alone. These
children are lucky; many such minors have been reported missing
along the escape route. During their arduous journey many children
have suffered frostbite; others have been drowned while trying to
negotiate dangerous rivers along the escape route. Some children
have succeeded in their escape only after several failed attempts.
In order to reverse the tide of escaping Tibetan youngsters, the
Chinese authorities in Lhasa issued orders in August 1994 to
Tibetan government officials and employees instructing them to
recall their children to Tibet. Warnings were issued that those who
failed to obey the order would be demoted or possibly expelled from
their jobs, that their promotions and pay increments would be
withheld, and cadres would be expelled from the party. The ban is
not restricted to cadres and government employees alone, the order
also stated that students presently being educated in India would
lose their right to a residence permit if they did not return to
Tibet within the stipulated time.
The Women's desk of the Department of Information and International
Relations recently interviewed women who have just escaped from
Tibet. All those interviewed cited the absence of educational
opportunities and freedom as thereason for their escape.
6.2.c. Tibetan women and health
TIBETAN women, like women in many other countries, suffer from low
levels of health care as a result of economic, social and political
factors such as foreign occupation. In occupied Tibet, the health
service is not only urban-biased, but also serves the Chinese
colonists and the rich better than the predominantly poor Tibetans.
Only ten percent of financial outlay for health goes to rural
areas: ninety percent goes to urban centers where Chinese settlers
are concentrated and where most hospitals are located. Even when
available, medical facilities are prohibitively expensive for most
Admission to a hospital as an in-patient requires a deposit from
300 to 500 yuan (U.S.$ 80 to 133), an impossible fee for a
population whose average per capita income is 200 yuan. Likewise,
surgery and blood transfusions are reserved only for those who can
pay. The average Tibetan is economically disadvantaged against
Chinese who receive "hardship posting" subsidies.
A swedish delegation to Tibet reported in 1994 that:
"There were only 10,000 trained doctors in the whole of Tibet and
there was a considerable shortage of staff in the rural areas and
small communities. The number of doctors was just over two per
That mortality rate for Tibetans is much higher than Chinese is a
pointer to the poor health service and the low standards of public
hygiene in Tibet. In 1981 crude death rates per thousand were 7.48
in the Tibet Autonomous Region and 9.92 in Amdo, as against an
average of 6.6 in China, according to the report of the World Bank
in 1984 and the UNDP in 1991. Child mortality rates are also high:
150 per thousand in Tibet against forty three for China. The
tuberculosis morbidity rate, according to the World Bank, is 120.2
per 1,000 in Tibet Autonomous Region and 647 per 1,000 in Amdo.
6.2.c.i. Pregnancy and medical abuse:
THERE have been numerous reports of Chinese doctors and health
personnel using Tibetan patients as guinea pigs to practice their
skills. It is commonplace that Chinese medical graduates sent to
Tibet for internship are given independent charge of Tibetan
patients whom they are free to treat in any way they wish. There
are widespread allegations of common Tibetan patients being
subjected to examination for diseases other than those they
complained of. Especially, operations are being carried out without
any obvious or actual need.
In August 1978, Kalsang (from eastern Tibet) and his wife Youdon
took their 21-year old daughter, who was three months pregnant, to
the "TAR Hospital No.2" (then known as Worker's Hospital)&for an
examination. The Chinese doctor carried out an apparently
unnecessary operation on her. She died two hours later, crying in
great physical agony.
Again, around the same period, when a worker named Migmar of the
Lhasa Electric Power Station took his 25-year old wife to Lhasa
City Hospital for delivery, both the mother and child died after a
failed attempt at a caesarian delivery. When the mother's body was
dismembered at her "sky burial" (an ancient Tibetan practice of
feeding the dismembered parts of the deceased to vultures) a pair
of scissors were discovered in her body.
Sometime in August 1994, Pasang, 23, went to the People's Hospital
in Lhasa to give birth. A doctor reportedly told Pasang's mother
that because the expectant mother was too weak and the child too
big, delivery was impossible without operating. After about three
hours the doctor announced to the mother that Pasang died due to
hypertension. While preparing for sky burial, the family instructed
the 'tobden' (men who dispose bodies) to find out the cause of
death. The 'tobden' reported to the family that the heart, liver
and womb of the deceased were quite clearly missing. On hearing
this, Pasang's family reportedly took the matter to court. To date
there is no report of the judicial fate of this case.
6.2.c.ii. Medical neglect in Chinese prisons
MANY former Tibetan women political prisoners have reported
suffering injuries due to beatings and illness from the generally
poor conditions in prison. Injuries sustained include broken ribs,
partial deafness, broken arms, chronic headaches and nausea. When
women are sexually violated with electric cattle prods, the
consequences for women can be severe both in the short and long
term. A report jointly issued by LawAsia and TIN in 1991, stated
that: "reports consistently suggest that medical care in the
prisons is inadequate, limited to very basic first aid for what are
sometimes serious injuries or illnesses. "When a doctor was allowed
to visit", said a forty-two-year old man who spent nine months at
Gurtsa in 1988, "one or two tablets were given. They said we were
reactionaries, that we were enemies of the people and deserved no
6.2.c.iii. Threats to women's health due to life-threatening toxic
materials, environmental hazards
DURING the 1960s and 1970s, nuclear waste from the "Ninth
Academy", China's primary nuclear weapons research and design
facility site on the Tibetan Plateau in Haibei Province, was
disposed of in a haphazard and unregulated way, posing enormous
danger to those who lived nearby. Reports from areas of Amdo
describe the mysterious pollution of land and water and widespread
human and animal deaths. In Jampakok and Kharkok, over fifty
Tibetans have died inexplicably since 1987 after being affected by
severe fever, vomiting and dysentery. Significantly large numbers
of deformed births are also reported from areas around Qinghai in
Amdo and Nagchu in U-Tsang.
Nuclear dumping poses a serious threat to human life and ecological
environment. Child-bearing women and children are specially
susceptible. The effects of nuclear dumping range from mild
sickness to death and deformity at birth. At the time, when the
international community is making all efforts in creating and
maintaining a clean environment, China is conveniently dumping its
nuclear wastes in Tibet without the least care for its ill effects
on life and environment in Tibet.
A high proportion of Tibetan villagers living near the mine in
Ngaba Prefecture have reportedly died after drinking water polluted
by waste by the uranium mines, according to information gathered by
the London-based Tibet Information Network. In the past three
years at least thirty five of the approximately 500 people in the
village have died within a few hours of developing fever, followed
by a distinctive form of diarrhea; six victims died within three
days of each other. There have reportedly not been such deaths in
the villages located farther away from the mines, a villager
The most likely sites for such dumps are in the northern plateau of
Chang Thang, where large areas have been closed off by the Chinese
army, and near Nyakchuka where China has set up a nuclear test
facility. The method of storage is not known, although surface
storage is suspected since China has no proper underground storage
6.2.d. Tibetan women and unemployment
THE increased economic activity in Tibet has not substantially
increased employment opportunities for Tibetans. To the contrary,
Chinese workers are encouraged, via a system of incentives such as
attractive subsidies, relaxation of the one-child policy, and
higher wages to come to Tibet to work on development projects.
These workers are comprised not only of technicians and specialized
personnel, but include unskilled laborers. As a consequence,
unemployment is becoming endemic amongst Tibetans, especially for
Tibetan women who face double discrimination.
ONE. Women refugees in flight: A perilous journey
TWO. Economic displacement and women in exile
THREE. Power sharing and decision making
- Primary employment
- Secondary employment
- Affirmative action in exile
- School enrollment ratio
- School graduates
- Further education/technical education
Recommendations for the Draft Platform for Action
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