First Xinjiang, Now Tibet

Last week marked the 70th anniversary of Tibet’s annexation by the People’s Republic of China. For most Tibetans, it’s a somber milestone. “The anniversary means the destruction, the illegal occupation and the violent take-over of the Tibetan people,” Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan president-in-exile, recently said.

Yet as Tibetans struggle to maintain their cultural identity, the Chinese Communist Party is renewing their efforts to reshape the province through military-style training and labor transfers.

The CCP was widely denounced over the summer for its sweeping human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, another prominent Chinese autonomous region. Between 800,000 and 2 million people in the province have been illegally detained and put through training programs by the Chinese government since April 2017. Reports have emerged of missing family members who never resurfaced, systematic organ harvesting, and the forced sterilization of Muslim women. The massive security apparatus that made these programs possible—nominally to curb terrorism threats from Xinjiang’s Islamic population—has its origins in the CCP’s repression of Tibetans. 

And now, the model of forced labor and large-scale “re-education” that developed in Xinjiang and has since garnered considerable criticism from the West has made its way to Tibet. 

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