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Open Letter on Tibet – UN High Commissioner

Published: March 17, 2008, Author: MHirch

Guest Contributor: Dr. Amy Eisenberg

{Editor: An Open Letter to the Director of the United Nations Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights by CWIS Associate Scholar Dr. Eisenberg offers an important plea for UN intervention.}

His Excellency Louise Arbour
High Commissioner for Human Rights

Dear High Commissioner Arbour and Partners in International Human
Rights protection,

I hope this message finds you and your good staff very well. I am deeply concerned about what is befalling the Tibetan people of Tibet. I visited Tibet in 2006 right before the Tibetan ani was shot dead by the Chinese near Nangpa Pass. I was serving as an International Expert in China where I conducted UNESCO-LINKS and UNDESA project research through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues with the Kam Ethnic minority and relevant ministries responsible for ethnic development.

There were Chinese informants planted in the streets and monasteries of Lhasa therefore it is no surprise how rapidly the Chinese military took action today in
Lhasa. Tibetan people were watched and heavily scrutinized by Chinese informants and were imprisoned and severely punished. They are forbidden to have a photo of the Dalai Lama or speak his name in public. They love him very much and hope he returns to them. They are not free in their own land. They suffer daily because of Chinese abuses and racism toward them, which is very sad and unfortunate. I saw Chinese physically abusing Tibetan people while in Lhasa. I witnessed a Han boy who was abandoned by his parents. I took him to the local police as he was living outside of a monastery and the kind Tibetan people were assisting him with food, clothing and blankets.

I saw a Chinese man robbing a Tibetan woman. I saw a Chinese woman brutally beating a Tibetan worker at Norbulingka because she came late and wanted more tickets for her group of 7. The Tibetan man never fought back. The violent woman broke her umbrella by severely beating this man. I broke up the abuse and reported this to the police and the office at Norbulingka and documented this in writing however
nothing was done. Many Chinese are unfortunately very disrespectful of Tibetan people. I witnessed drunken Chinese men beating impoverished Tibetan people on the streets of Lhasa. I broke this up and informed the police. This is not acceptable for Chinese to enter the Tibetan holy land and impose their smoking, drinking, loud firecrackers and prostitution. I stayed in a Chinese hotel in Lhasa, which was filthy and disgusting. People had defecated in the shower room. Where is the pride and care? I left the hotel and went to stay at a Tibetan establishment, which was very clean, secure and inexpensive. Why should the Chinese be permitted to behave this way in the Tibetan holy land? It is a desecration of Tibetan culture and Tibetan life ways. This is not right and needs to be examined. There must be certain laws set down but the Chinese government feels that it makes the laws and denies the value of Tibetan faith. This is a core problem. They have destroyed so many holy places, which hurts all of us in a diverse and rich multicultural world. The Chinese are developing unsustainably and consider economics their focal point.. I saw this with my own eyes. I was awarded an International Expert Friendship Award by the Chinese government of Hunan for my contributions to Education for Sustainable Development and assisting the orphans
and poor and homeless elders of China.

Many Chinese behaviors in Tibet are not acceptable. While in Nepal in 2006, I informed the UN Peacekeepers that assistance is needed in Lhasa because of the Chinese abuses I witnessed in my travels there. There must be a time of healing and mutually respectful dialogue and genuine respect. Many Chinese believe that they are racially superior. This is a fallacy, which the government is perpetuating. Too many innocent people have been hurt and killed in Tibet. I urge UNOHCHR to please take action to keep the peace. The Chinese almost confiscated our legitimately purchased train tickets to Tibet. My friend from Australia lost his ticket to Chinese police because this teacher in China was traveling alone to Tibet. These Chinese policies are unethical. People are bought and sold on the streets and pay offs are common. It is a disgrace. Why should China have the privilege of hosting the international peace games? I am boycotting them and Chinese goods.

Dalai Lama is a peaceful and honest man. He is certainly not responsible for the violence. He calls for peace, respectful dialogue and calm. We suffer when our Tibetan people are hurt and are not living in freedom and peace and have to flee their homes and live in refugee communities. Tibetan people have the right to live in peace and freedom in their sacred lands.

Please help the Tibetan communities now. I fear that more lives will be taken by the Chinese military by its brute force and ideology of superiority and that they have a right to harm innocent peacefully protesting people. I am strongly opposed to violence. My family survived the Holocaust but many members that remained in Poland did not. I cannot accept the Chinese policies toward the Tibetan people, who keep
our world in balance with their prayers.

I urge the UNOHCHR to please enter Tibet and assist to keep peace. Many Chinese are unethical and very disrespectful of Tibetan prayers and culture. They walk counter clockwise around the holy Johkang Temple when it is clear and respectful to walk clockwise. Many Chinese ignore this custom and defy this by walking counter clockwise. This is culturally insensitive and disrespectful. This is the problem: Widespread disrespect by Han Chinese toward Tibetan people and their cultural norms and traditions. The Chinese government perpetuates this norm.

Dalai Lama is not a separatist as he is portrayed. I shared with my ethnic minority graduate students at Jishou University in Hunan his teachings. They did not know that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. They are kept ignorant and uninformed. This is not fair to the ethnic peoples of China. They should have the right to read and see and hear international news that is not screened through biased Chinese media.

Please see our website of photos of our work in Asia with indigenous peoples of Tibet, Nepal and China by my team member, John Amato RN:

The Chinese have trashed Chomolungma by using the toilets as garbage dumps. They honk their horns excessively and speed on the unpaved road, which
frightens wildlife and impacts Tibetan horsemen and their pony carts leaving them in the dust. This is unethical and inappropriate for a protected area. I recommended that only emergency vehicles should be permitted at Base Camp.

Please enter Tibet to prevent the escalation of violence by the Chinese toward peaceful Tibetan people. Chinese have and will torture and kill Tibetan people. Their policies and human rights abuses are extreme and intolerable. We cannot stand by watching
and waiting. We need to enter and stand to protect the Tibetan people. This is very real and serious.

Justice needs to prevail. I am very concerned that we will wait too long as we did with Burma and Darfur. We must act early and prevent further abuse and damage. The Holocaust in Tibet is a reality. We saw the violent history and injustices by the Chinese and we do not want this to occur again.

I am available to assist immediately if I can help you. I have friends in Tibet, China and Nepal and in Tibetan communities of these countries and in the USA. We want peace and understanding and respect. Many Chinese regard money as more important than life and spirit. This is a problem that is very real. It is spoiling the opportunities for a better way. Tibet was a peaceful place and now there are fire crackers,
filth and prostitution. We cannot accept this in the holy city of Lhasa. It is sacred ground but many Chinese do not respect this.

We need your intervention now. I am here to assist and will go to Lhasa and China to speak with the leadership if I can help you. I speak fluent Mandarin and some Tibetan.

Thank you for your consideration. It is time to act for peace and equity. We must assure that Tibetan people will not be harmed by violence.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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