News / Asia

    HRW: 2 Million Tibetans Forcibly Relocated Since 2006

    Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
    Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
    VOA News
    A New York-based human rights group says millions of Tibetans have been forced to leave their homes and livelihoods as part of a mass government relocation program aiming to control the ethnic group.

    Human Rights Watch says in a newly released report Beiing's efforts to build what it calls a "New Socialist Countryside" in the Tibet Autonomous Region are "radically altering" Tibetans' traditional lifestyle.

    It says over two million Tibetans have been rehoused through government-ordered renovations or new home constructions since 2006, while hundreds of thousands of nomadic herders have been relocated.

    The government says the program is helping improve the living standard of Tibetans. It denies that forced evictions take place, insisting the relocations are entirely voluntary and that Tibetans are grateful for the new housing.

    But Human Rights Watch says it has found that large numbers of those relocated did not move voluntarily. It says many were forced into often sub-standard housing and now face financial difficulties as a result of the move.

    U.S. officials say the American Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, is in Tibet for a three-day visit to meet with residents and check on human rights conditions. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said this is the first time a U.S. ambassador has traveled to Tibet since 2010.

    The group's report included before-and-after satellite photos of Tibetan villages, some of which appear to have been almost entirely demolished and replaced with "New Socialist Villages" made of identical houses in rows.

    The Chinese government has made it very difficult for rights groups and journalists to monitor the human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China. The region has become even more restricted to outsiders following a series of mass anti-government demonstrations and riots in 2008.

    More recently, Tibetan areas of China have been hit by a wave of self-immolation protests. Since 2009, at least 119 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest what they see as Chinese repression of their religion and culture.

    Many of the self-immolators have also called for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who fled China in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese occupation.

    Beijing views the Dalai Lama as a separatist who is looking for Tibetan secession, despite the spiritual leader's insistence that he is only seeking greater autonomy for Tibet.

    But despite the insistence by many rights groups that heavy-handed Chinese policies are only creating further unrest, there are few signs that Beijing plans to back down.

    Human Rights Watch says the government has already announced plans to relocate more than 900,000 people by 2014.

    In its Thursday report, the New York-based group warned that forging ahead with such programs "in a broadly repressive environment will only fuel tensions and widen the rift between Tibetans and the Chinese state."

    A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry on Thursday rejected the Human Rights Watch report, saying the organization "always makes groundless and irresponsible" accusations against China.

    The spokesperson said the group does not have the right to comment on China's policy on ethnic and religious affairs, and insisted that China has "made progress" in these areas.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.