During the 3rd Europe-Tibetan Communities General Meeting (ETCGM) (October 1-2) held in Milan, the representatives of the Tibetan Communities and Associations from over nine European countries discussed and deliberated on various issues related to Tibetans’ human rights and culture. The agenda of ETCGM included discussion about coordinated efforts for protection of Tibetan culture, language and identity; advancing Tibet advocacy and raising voices against suppression of human rights in Tibet by China. They discussed various issues concerning Tibet and a resolution was passed at the meeting expressing concern about the colonial-style boarding school system being implemented by the Chinese government in Tibet.
In view of the deplorable situation in Tibet under the occupation of China, the attendees adopted a declaration titled “Milano Declaration”, whereby the attendees committed to create increased awareness about the worsening situation in Tibet and strengthen the mobilization and advocacy for Tibet within their respective countries.
Almost a million Tibetan children including some as young as four years old, are forcibly separated from their parents and sent to “boarding schools” where they are taught in Chinese language and are subjected to “patriotic education” aimed at total Sinicization of Tibetan language, culture as well as identity leading to annihilation of the centuries-old Tibetan civilization.
Tibetans based in Europe said that they are appalled by the recent videos and reports emerging from Tibet where the Chinese government in the garb of Zero-Covid Policy is forcefully detaining Tibetans in “quarantine centres” irrespective of their testing Covid-positive/negative, providing rotten food and depriving them of basic amenities which have even forced a few Tibetans to commit suicide. All these videos confirm the total repression of Tibetans.
They also raised alarm at the reports of mass DNA collection of over 1 million Tibetans including men, women and children. The Chinese officials have specially targeted Buddhist monks between June 2016 and July 2022 as part of Chinese government’s high-tech surveillance mechanism. The blatant violation of human rights is not limited to the adult population but has been extended to even kindergarten children. Reportedly, the DNA collection drive began in 2019 as part of a policing campaign and involved inspection, investigation, and mediation. According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), DNA was collected from residents in at least 7 villages, 2 townships, 2 towns, 2 counties, and one prefecture of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). Besides, two government tenders were floated to create local DNA databases.
While the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, the Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation. Prior to 1951, Tibet had a theocratic government of which the Dalai Lama was the supreme religious and political head.
Similar to the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, Xi Jinping’s communist government is using force to collect DNA samples from residents of Tibet, without their consent, under the pretext of crime detection. The representatives called upon the Chinese Government to respect and implement its own constitutional provisions and international obligations guaranteeing social, cultural and economic rights including right to language, religious freedom and autonomy to the Tibetan people.
They also called the international community including the national governments of the European countries, parliamentarians, the European Union as well as the United Nations to press Chinese government to stop the acts of crimes against humanity. Since Chinese occupation six decades ago, Tibetans within Tibet have been suffering under the authoritarian rule of China. The Chinese government has stripped Tibetans of their basic human rights and their inherent dignity of being human.