The photo is entitled “The Light Of Hope” and shows a Tibetan man preparing for a candlelight vigil to mourn those in Tibet who have been recently been killed, and to pray for peace and human rights for Tibetans and all people. This photo has been shown at various events, Tibetan support group websites, The Smithsonian website, and the Lonely Planet website.
International Human Rights Day
December 10th is the date that was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global proclomation of human rights.
Human Rights Day is also the anniversary of Nobel Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lui Xiaobo being awarded their prizes (although Liu was unable to accept his in person, being in prison in China)
In what has been called by some the worst single human catastrophe since the Jewish genocide during World War II, Tibet has been under Chinese occupation for nearly 50 years. Tibet has often been erroneously portrayed as a mysterious “Shangri-La”; unfortunately, the harsh reality is that this remote Himalayan country has been the victim of the worst of China’s well-documented human rights atrocities, having faced over four decades worth of Tiananmen-like agony since the Chinese invasion in 1949. China’s human rights violations were brought to light to the majority of the world in 1989 due to the infamous shooting of the unarmed student protesters in Tiananmen Square. The following is a small list of some of the documented atrocities that have befallen Tibet and its people:
- Over 1.2 million Tibetans, or one-fifth of the population, have been killed as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation. Most of the Tibetans killed have been unarmed.
- China has been dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau, polluting the headwaters of many of Asia’s major river sources. China has admitted to this, confirming the existence of a 20 square mile dumpsite for radioactive pollutants near Lake Kokonor, the largest lake on the Tibetan plateau.
- China has established a massive resettlement policy of Chinese to Tibet, causing the Tibetans to become minorities in their own country. Chinese is the official language, and Tibetans are frequently barred from education, or if admitted to schools, are educated in an attempt to make them “Chinese” in their way of thinking. Tibetans are regularly subjected to a dizzying array of Chinese propaganda, including movies, newspapers, and radio. Tibetans who help to promote The Chinese cause are rewarded monetarily, and gain rights that most Americans take for granted.
- One out of every ten Tibetans has been imprisoned, usually for merely exercising free speech in a non-violent manner.
- Religious freedom has been abolished. More than 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed, with only a handful remaining, having been restored for the benefit of tourists. Media people who are allowed to visit China are taken to sections of Tibet made to look like a movie set.
- Strip-mining in Tibet’s forests, depletion of natural resources, and the extinction of wildlife are chief results of China’s environmental policy.