Chinese 'patriotic Education' Bans Dalai Lama Images, UN Rights Council Told

The International Campaign for Tibet has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the Chinese government adopted a more pervasive approach to "patriotic education", including measures to micromanage Tibetan Buddhist monastic affairs; "legal education" programs for monks and nuns; and a ban on images of the Dalai Lama."

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, delivered a statement on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion at the 28th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

While in Geneva, Mecacci asked for support among the diplomatic community on Tibet related issues. He was accompanied by the ICT Head for UN Advocacy, Kai Mueller.

The Special Rapporteur in his report stressed that in some cases States promote hatred against religious minorities through deliberate policies of religious discrimination.

According to Mecacci, this is what systematically takes place in China with regard to Tibetan Buddhists, as China's Criminal Law is used to prosecute individuals, whose religious activities are equated with "separatism", leading to the fact that monks and nuns make up approximately 44 percent of the political prisoner population in Tibet.

He said that the deteriorating environment for Tibetan Buddhism worsened significantly after the Tibetan protests of March 2008.

In China, State media characterize patriotic education campaigns in Tibet as necessary means to guide "Tibetan Buddhism to keep in line with the socialist society".

In January 2012, a new policy of stationing Party officials in monasteries was announced. This measure requires a non-elected "Management Committee" to be installed in every monastery, particularly in influential centers of Tibetan Buddhist culture, and was adopted with the aim of ensuring that "monks and nuns do not take part in activities of splitting up the motherland and disturbing social order".

Moreover, in 2014 new measures were imposed in Driru county in the Tibet Autonomous Region, according to which monasteries deemed 'illegal' would be torn down.

The International Campaign for Tibet called upon the Human Rights Council to ensure freedom of religion in Tibet.

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