Written Ministerial Statement (UIN HCWS822) made on 6 June 2023
The Rt Hon Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, currently holds the Government post of Minister of State (Home Office) (Security).
“Last November, I committed to update the House on the response to media reporting of unofficial Chinese ‘police service stations’. The Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire reiterated this commitment in April.
Reports by the non-governmental organisation Safeguard Defenders claimed that there were three Chinese ‘police service stations’ in the UK – in Croydon, Glasgow, and Hendon. Further allegations have been made about an additional site in Belfast.
These reports alleged that, whilst these ‘police service stations’ are officially set up in countries across the world to conduct administrative tasks to support Chinese nationals residing abroad, they are also used to monitor and harass diaspora communities and, in some cases, to coerce people to return to China outside of legitimate channels.
The Police have visited each of the locations identified by Safeguard Defenders, and carefully looked into these allegations to consider whether any laws have been broken and whether any further action should be taken. I can confirm that they have not, to date, identified any evidence of illegal activity on behalf of the Chinese state across these sites. We assess that police and public scrutiny have had a suppressive impact on any administrative functions these sites may have had.
However, these ‘police service stations’ were established without our permission and their presence, regardless of whatever low level administrative activity they were performing, will have worried and intimidated those who have left China and sought safety and freedom here in the UK. This is unacceptable.
The Chinese authorities regularly criticise others for what they see as interference in their internal affairs. Yet, they felt able to open unattributed sites without consulting the UK Government. It is alleged that this was a pattern repeated around the world.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office have told the Chinese Embassy that any functions related to such ‘police service stations’ in the UK are unacceptable and that they must not operate in any form. The Chinese Embassy have subsequently responded that all such stations have closed permanently. Any further allegations will be swiftly investigated in line with UK law.
I hope that this clarifies what we know about these alleged ‘police service stations’ and the action that we have taken. The 2023 Integrated Review Refresh makes clear that we want to engage and partner with China on key issues where it is in our national interest to do so. However, the UK will always put national security first.
Let me be clear, any attempt by any foreign power to intimidate, harass or harm individuals or communities in the UK will not be tolerated. This is an insidious threat to our democracy and fundamental human rights. That is why I asked the Defending Democracy Taskforce to review the UK’s approach to transnational repression to ensure we have a robust and joined up response across government and law enforcement. Understanding and combatting this kind of interference is a key pillar of our Taskforce’s efforts.
The National Security Bill, now in its final stages, represents the biggest overhaul of state threats legislation in a generation, and will drastically improve our tools to deal with the full range of state threat activity, regardless of where it originates. The Bill contains provisions that will leave those seeking to coerce, including through threats of violence, for, or with the intention to benefit, a foreign state liable to prosecution in a way that they currently are not. Those convicted could face up to 14 years in prison. I urge Parliament to quickly pass the Bill so its powers can be used to clamp down on foreign interference and transnational repression.
I look forward to working closely with this House to further protect our democracy.”
China’s communist regime is increasingly subverting procedures and norms related to human rights at global forums, including the United Nations, intending to advance its agenda and minimize scrutiny of its violations, according to experts and advocates.
“Beijing will continue to write its own narratives, including on human rights, by framing a new order as she sees it, which would be entirely different from the U.S.-led allies’ perspective in the coming years,” Tsering Passang, the founder and chairman of the advocacy group Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Several Chinese state-run media and online resources tout China’s endorsement of human rights forums and its advocacy and promotion of global human rights. In contrast, the free world has published numerous reports—including testimonies by victims who fled China—about Chinese state-perpetuated violations within and outside the country.
Experts highlight the narrative warfare this situation brings to the multilateral forums where the Chinese regime identifies every attempt of the West to hold it or its allies accountable for their human rights violations as an attack against Beijing’s foreign policy. While the regime uses the concepts of human rights in its narratives, its goal is to defend its communist policies and criticize the free world.
Benedict Rogers, the co-founder and chief executive of the Hong Kong Watch and the author of the new book “The China Nexus,” believes that, in some ways, today’s global human rights are at the mercy of Chinese foreign policy agendas.
“To a certain extent, yes, and as a P5 member of the Security Council, it can wield its veto power,” Rogers told The Epoch Times in an email. “The reason, for example, the crises in Myanmar and North Korea have not received more attention is, at least in part, because China uses its influence to protect them diplomatically and politically.”
The Chinese regime has continuously come to the rescue of its allies despite their records of human rights violations. For example, until 2020, Beijing vetoed the United Nations Security Council’s most severe and potentially effective draft resolutions against the Syrian regime 16 times, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
The SNHR, in a report in July 2020, alleged that these vetoes have led to the killing of “nearly a quarter of a million Syrians” and the “arrest of nearly 150,000 others, and the spread of impunity.”
Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch, wrote in a paper (pdf) published by Brookings in 2020 that the Chinese regime in recent years had ratified many core U.N. human rights treaties, has served as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), and also seconded Chinese diplomats to positions within the U.N. human rights system.
“Particularly under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, the Chinese government does not merely seek to neutralize U.N. human rights mechanisms’ scrutiny of China, it also aspires to neutralize the ability of that system to hold any government accountable for serious human rights violations,” Richardson wrote in her paper titled “China’s Influence on the Global Human Rights System.”
She emphasized that the “rights-free development” Beijing endorsed in China is now being established as a Chinese foreign policy tool worldwide.
“Increasingly Beijing pursues rights-free development worldwide, and tries to exploit the openness of institutions in democracies to impose its world view and silence its critics,” wrote Richardson.
Passang said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had used its veto power in recent years to prevent international intervention in issues it considers internal affairs, such as the situation in Tibet or Xinjiang.
He believes that the U.N. system has lost focus of the noble objectives with which it was founded and appears to work in favor of more powerful nations today.
“In my view, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has benefited the most amongst any nation in the U.N. ever since the CCP’s PRC was given the U.N. permanent seat after replacing the Nationalist’s Republic of China (Taiwan) by the U.S. and its allies.
“Let’s not forget the Kuomintang of the Republic of China (ROC), now Taiwan, was a founding member of the United Nations after the Second World War,” Passang said.
‘A Chinese Slush Fund’
China is the second largest donor to the United Nations after the United States. Critics say that Beijing uses these funding channels for its agendas, including winning over the opinion of countries that rely on it economically.
According to Rogers’s book, “The China Nexus,” China announced in 2016 that it would donate a billion dollars to the U.N., with a payment of $20 million per year, “ostensibly for peace, security and development.”
“According to the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Kelley Currie, $10 million of this goes straight into the office of the U.N. secretary-general, ‘basically for his personal use to do whatever he wanted, with no oversight from anybody other than his office and the Chinese government,’” Rogers told The Epoch Times, adding that Currie told him in person that the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in particular, has turned into a “Chinese fiefdom” run by a Chinese official for many years.
The other half of the $20 million a year given by China to the United Nations goes to this department, specifically to advance China’s Belt and Road Initiative within the U.N. system, he said.
“Ambassador Currie describes this as ‘a Chinese slush fund.’ China has also learned to manipulate the G77 caucus of developing countries, which has 134 members, making it the majority caucus in the General Assembly. This enables China to mobilize resistance to resolutions critical of its human rights record and manipulate the system,” said Rogers.
The Atlantic Council, in a report last year, focussed on China’s modus operandi in Global South or sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. It said China pursues a global discourse favorable to its agendas by fostering “buy-in from leaders” in the region for Chinese-defined norms.
“This includes its principles of ‘non-interference’ in other countries’ internal affairs and on a concept of ‘human rights’ that actively subordinates personal and civic freedoms in favor of state-centered economic development. It is meant to stand in opposition to a Western human rights framework that China criticizes as having been used for interventionist ends, for example, in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Kenton Thibaut, Atlantic Council’s China fellow and the report’s author.
Passang said that Beijing also interferes in the domestic affairs of countries that rely on Chinese aid and investment.
“For example, China’s monetary assistance to Nepal has one commitment required from the recipient country … Nepal’s authorities must not allow the Tibetan refugee community there to engage in any political, human rights, and religious activity related to Tibet and the Dalai Lama, which Beijing deems political,” said Passang, adding that merely wearing a “Free Tibet” t-shirt in Nepal has become an issue today in the Himalayan nation.
“This is not so different from what the Tibetans in China’s occupied Tibet experience day to day.”
‘Battle of Values’
At the core of China’s foreign policy, supposedly based on global human rights, is its agenda to gain worldwide supremacy and spread its antagonistic worldview to everything liberal held by the West. Experts said this growing battle of values requires that the West speedily braces itself for this narrative warfare on global human rights.
“Certainly, the world is now facing a choice between authoritarianism and freedom, and the authoritarian narrative is clearly led by China and Russia. The free world has to wake up to this battle of values,” said Rogers.
Beijing has created the South-South Human Rights Forum, whose last conference was held on Dec. 8, 2021. It was organized by the State Council Information Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the attendees included various former national leaders, officials, and academics. The forum’s website discusses the CCP’s ideas of democracy, Xi’s call for stronger South-South cooperation, and Beijing’s economic assistance to developing countries participating in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Providence Magazine by the Washington-based Institute of Religion and Democracy reported that one of the participants, Chinese political scientist Zhang Weiwei of Fudan University, talked about the need for collective human rights over individual human rights. He said that individual human rights like “freedom of speech” can be restricted in the interest of collective rights.
Another participant, Tom Zwart, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, contended that human rights must be dissociated from “liberalism.” He defined international human rights as a “liberal social engineering project” that was losing its hold.
Passang said today’s battle of values exists because of the divided international response on human rights issues, particularly on CCP-perpetuated violations.
“Different countries and international organizations have varying levels of concern and prioritization regarding human rights. There is often a lack of consensus on how to respond to the CCP’s actions, leading to a divided international response. Some countries may prioritize engagement and dialogue or remain silent, while others may opt for more confrontational approaches,” he said.
Passang said it is still not too late for the international community, led by the United States, to act quickly to bring true justice to all U.N. member nations and those regions annexed by the Chinese regime, such as Tibet and East Turkestan.
“If [left] unchecked and [we] let the rogue regime such as the CCP in China go with the status quo, the world will become a very dangerous place to live in the decades ahead. We must act—act soon,” he said.
*Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
Tibetan activist leaders expressed support and solidarity with Chinese people in China and around the world.
On Sunday 4th June, protests and rallies were held across the United Kingdom to mark the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. On this day in 1989, the peaceful demonstrators, mainly students, young men and women, were brutally crushed down by the CCP authorities when at least a thousand were massacred, many more thousands injured in Beijing. The hardliner rulers of the CCP regime ordered at least 300,000 armed troops to engage in a bloody crackdown on their own people, who were simply calling for more freedom and democracy for the Chinese people in China.
China’s authorities continue to conceal information on the events of this period and ruthlessly crush any modern protests associated with the pro-democracy movement in China as well as in other regions, including in Hong Kong. Up until 2020, Hong Kong was the only part of China where the anniversary related to the Tiananmen Massacre event could be commemorated. However, after Beijing’s imposition of the National Security Law, the citizens in Hong Kong today can no longer publicly commemorate the anniversary.
Several hundred thousands of Hong Kong citizens, especially the young people, had already fled and continue to leave their homelands into exile for safety, fearing brutal crackdown by the CCP’s authorities for their pro-democracy activities in recent years. Countries such as the UK, the US, Canada and Australia have become their new homes from where their fightback for pro-democracy and freedom in Hong Kong is pursued. In the UK, protests and rallies were held across many cities, including in Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham to commemorate the day.
In London, the China Deviants, which comprised young Chinese from mainland China as well as from Hong Kong, organised a protest and rally in Trafalgar Square once again, where hundreds of people attended from 5pm to 7pm. Many of the organisers wore face masks to conceal their identity for fear of reprisals from the CCP authorities back home in China and Hong Kong against their families, for organising the anniversary event, banned by the Chinese authorities.
Speakers from various groups, including Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, World Uyghur Congress, Voice of Southern Mongolia, Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) as well as young students and activists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Manchuria, condemned the CCP’s regime for its atrocities and crimes committed against humanity. They called for joint actions to defeat the CCP regime.
Whilst expressing his support and solidarity, Tsering Passang, Founder and Chair of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, said: “As we observe the 34th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre or the June Fourth Massacre, we remember all those brave young men and women, students as well as other individuals, for the ultimate sacrifices they had made for all people in China – who called for democracy and freedom of speech.
“People of China’s occupied nations such as Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia, also must continue our campaign for freedom by fostering stronger relations with our friends from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and challenge the CCP regime altogether. By coming together also means we become a stronger voice for our respective causes and one day we can defeat the brutal regime.”
The Tibetan activist also said, “Today, nearly a million Tibetan children from the age of 4 to 18 are being forcefully admitted in colonial-style residential schools by the CCP authorities with the core objective to sinicise the Tibetans – in other words – a last resort towards the annihilation of Tibetan identity, language and culture.”
“Since Xi Jinping came to power, we have seen an increased crackdown on ordinary people across China, Tibet and East Turkistan. I do not need to mention the curtailment of freedoms of the Hong Kong people, especially after the CCP regime imposed the National Security Law”, the Tibetan activist added.
Passang also said that Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama fully supported the young Chinese students’ pro-democracy movement back in 1989, who issued “strongest condemnation of the Chinese government and their policy of brutalizing their own people” whilst offering “his unconditional support for the youngsters on the Square”.
At 7pm, the protesters marched towards the Chinese Embassy via Piccadilly Circus, Regents Street and Oxford Circus, passing the landmark BBC building. On the march, the protesters chanted loud slogans such as “Down Down Xi Jinping” “Free China” “Democracy in China” “Free Tibet” “Free Hong Kong” “Free East Turkistan” and “Free Taiwan” whilst carrying banners and big posters.
Rally outside London-Chinese Embassy
The rally outside the Chinese Embassy was held from 8pm to 10pm. This part of the protest and candle-lit vigil was organised by Amnesty International UK and June Fourth Sparks, which was attended by over 500 people. The protest was also aimed to highlight current intimidation of Chinese/Hong Kong people in the UK.
Speakers included Chinese, Hong Kong, Uyghur and Tibetan activists. Tenzin Kunga, Chairman of Tibetan Community UK, spoke at the rally, sharing Tibetan people’s solidarity and support with the Chinese people around the world in their fight for freedom and democracy in China.
Voices from Victims’ Mothers of the Tiananmen Massacre were heard through story-telling and poetry readings during the rally in Chinese and English. This was followed by a candle-lit vigil.
In the joint press release, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, Sacha Deshmukh said:
“The anniversary of the brutal Tiananmen crackdown is a stark reminder of the lengths to which the Chinese authorities will go to silence dissent.
“Protest continues to be ruthlessly crushed in both mainland China and in Hong Kong, with the long arm of Chinese state repression extending far beyond its borders to communities living in the UK.
“The UK government must defend Hong Kong and mainland Chinese people living here from Beijing’s efforts to intimidate and silence them – it’s vital their rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression are protected.”
Dr Shao Jiang, June Fourth Sparks’ co-founder, said:
“The 1989 movement was a movement for human rights, freedom, democracy and equality for all. Its goal was for every person to enjoy equal political, economic, social and cultural rights.
“Over the past four years, the Chinese authorities’ refusal to release the truth about the Covid-19 pandemic and its suppression of doctors, journalists and activists’ efforts to investigate it and call for scientific methods to prevent the outbreak and protect people, has resulted in the loss of many lives, including some of the mothers of those who took part in the 1989 protests and became activists themselves.
“The spirit of resistance in Tiananmen and in other places has never died. The dignity and courage of the ‘tank man’ are embodied in the movement to defend people’s rights and a new citizen movement, labour movement and movement against the Chinese Communist Party, as well as the feminist movement whose spirit keeps inspiring us in our struggles ahead.”
For a united workers campaign for the people of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet & the Uyghur Region.
A coalition of labour movement and human rights organisations are holding their first meeting for a new campaign which aims to bring together activists in the UK to develop solidarity with workers, oppressed nationalities and others whose democratic rights are threatened or being denied by the Chinese Communist Party and its regime. This important meeting will be held in London on 3rd June.
Introductory speakers include Vicky Blake, President (2020 – 2022) of the University and College Union (UCU), and other leading activists from Hong Kong and China. This will be followed by discussion and amendments on founding statement and other proposals on policies and actions.
The meeting will discuss and vote on proposals to establish a new campaign organisation, based on the draft platform that the meeting co-sponsors agreed, with a Steering Committee to lead on organising campaign activities.
This meeting is also expected to bring together solidarity campaigners to discuss creating a common labour movement campaign in the UK, to unite wherever possible in order to organising an active solidarity for the struggles of workers and oppressed and marginalised people in China for liberation, democracy and equality.
The organisers said, “Last year’s explosion of dissent in the Blank Paper Protests, originating in resistance and revolt against the abuse of Foxconn workers in Zhengzhou’s “iPhone City” and the murderous neglect of Uyghurs in Urumchi, reminds us of the struggles, and the enormous potential power, of China’s workers and oppressed people. The CCP dictatorship has been challenged by Chinese people in a way not seen for decades. Now is the time for a step change in our solidarity to them.”
They also added, “It is increasingly clear that the UK government cannot be trusted to give consistent and meaningful support to those fighting for democratic and workers’ rights in China, Hong Kong, Tibet and the Uyghur Region. Instead it uses these issues to promote nationalist paranoia and xenophobia; justify increased armaments expenditure; and advance Western big business interests. We must therefore base our efforts on the labour movement and grassroots international solidarity, independent from big business interests and the governments that serve those interests.”
The inaugural meeting, supported by a number of solidarity and labour movement organisations, will hear from leading campaigners and trade unionists, discuss the situation, and consider proposals to establish an ongoing joint campaign. All participants will discuss and decide the campaign’s programme and activities. They aim to initiate a joint campaign to build unity:
For democratic and workers’ rights across China and its occupied territories: the rights to free speech, to organise and protest, to form opposition parties to the state and the CCP, to organise independent unions and for the right to strike, to practise any religion or none.
For social justice and economic democracy for the Chinese, Hong Kong, Uyghur, Tibetan and Taiwanese people.
For equality and liberation for women, LGBT people, disabled people, and racialised minorities, and the abolition of the hukou system that discriminates against working-class migrants.
For freedom from repression, and the democratic right to self-determination, for Tibet, the Uyghurs, and Hong Kong.
For environmental protections, including just transition to halt climate change.
Against exploitation, oppression and environmental degradation in other countries affected by China’s economic imperialism and arms sales to tyrants.
None of these struggles benefit from superpower rivalries, xenophobia or threats of war. The campaign should therefore also:
Support the right of threatened nations such as Taiwan to defend their self-determination and to receive arms necessary for that defence from whatever forces are willing to supply them, while opposing armament drives and sabre-rattling by the imperialist camps of China, Russia and the US and their military and security alliances.
Fight racism against people of East & South-East Asian backgrounds.
Oppose the UK government’s racist anti-migrant policies and demand safe routes, sanctuary and equality for refugees fleeing repression, violence and authoritarianism – whether at the hands of the Chinese state or anywhere else in the world. Defend the rights of migrants & refugees who have already come to the UK, and support their inclusion & integration into the local workers’ movement.
To these ends, the campaign’s activities would include:
Organise and support protest and direct action against the Chinese state and its embassies and representatives, and against businesses complicit in repression and exploitation.
Work to win the argument for solidarity within the labour movement and the left, and to engage our trade unions and political organisations in this solidarity.
Encourage and support workers’ action in the global supply chains that connect the working classes here and in China and its occupied territories.
Discussion, debate and education within the left and labour movement on all these issues.
To carry out practical aid tailor made to the communities within the struggles in the UK.
Initial Campaign Sponsors:
Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong
Power to Hongkongers
Red Roots Collective
Peter Tatchell Foundation
Democracy for Hong Kong
Left Chinese Student Association
Uyghur Solidarity Campaign (UK)
Alliance for Workers’ Liberty
Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM)
June 4 Sparks
Join this important inaugural meeting on Saturday, 3rd June from 1.30pm to 5pm at Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
The Tibetan Peace Garden has a unique location. The park in which it is built houses the Imperial War Museum and so attracts large numbers of visitors from all over the UK and abroad. It is within walking distance of Waterloo Station and is close to the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, the London Eye, the South Bank Centre and Tate Modern.
The Tibetan Peace Garden honours one of the principal teachings of His Holiness – the need to create understanding between different cultures and to establish places of peace and harmony in the world. It is hoped that it will create a deepening awareness of His Holiness’s thoughts and words.
This Garden of Contemplation (Samten Kyil) is a place where anyone can come and enjoy a time of peace and tranquility. For the spiritually minded, this is no longer an ordinary place, because it has been both consecrated and blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to have a spiritual life of its own.
As part of the 24th anniversary of the Tibetan Peace Garden this year, the eight visiting monks from India-based Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, on Wednesday 24th May, prayed for World Peace and for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They also conducted Rabney – a Buddhist blessing. Friends from Southwark Council, local offices and Buddhist centres, including from Jamyang, Kagyu Samye Dzong and Lelung Dharma Centre joined the anniversary event. A small contingent of Tibetans from Belgium and Tibetan Community UK also attended the Buddhist prayer for World Peace.
HE Lelung Rinpoche, Founder and Spiritual Director of Lelung Dharma Trust, assigned Tsering Passang, a volunteer, who is also Founder and Chair of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, to organise this year’s anniversary event. Passang said: “It’s so wonderful to support the good work of HE Lelung Rinpoche and the Lelung Dharma Trust ensuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of Peace is continuously spread throughout the world. The monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery really made this year’s anniversary a special one with their presence at the Tibetan Peace Garden.”
Passang read out His Holiness the Dalai L ama’s Message, which is inscribed on the Stone Pillar in four different languages – Tibetan, English, Hindi and Chinese – in the Tibetan Peace Garden.
After the closing of the Tibet Foundation in 2021, the Lelung Dharma Trust agreed to and is committed to upkeep of the Tibetan Peace Garden in cooperation with the Southwark Council.
The visiting monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in south India are currently on their 50th anniversary of UK Tour 2023. The original Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse (Tibet) is the official seat of the Panchen Lamas. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who is the genuine reincarnation of the previous 10th Panchen Lama, recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has been missing since May 1995. For more, please read Tsering Passang’s piece – China Must Return the Stolen Tibetan Child – The 11th Panchen Lama
The Tibetan Peace Garden
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
St George’s Road
London SE1 6ER
Mainline train: London Waterloo; the garden is around 10 minutes’ walk from the station
Watch this short video clip that explains the illegal organ harvesting taking place in PRC.
Extensive reports since 2006 have documented the scale and severity of state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China. Independent reporting and pressure from international medical and governmental institutions have prompted the Chinese government to announce multiple reforms. Official statements claim that reforms are designed to bring China’s transplantation system into line with international standards and enable China’s transplantation system and professionals to gain international legitimacy and acceptance. Despite these claims and the gradual development (since 2010) of a voluntary organ donation system, evidence continues to emerge regarding largescale and severe human rights violations in the sourcing of organs for transplants in China.
The most recent and comprehensive assessment of the evidence about forced organ harvesting in China was conducted by the China Tribunal. This was an independent people’s tribunal established to investigate forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China and determine what criminal offences, if any, have been committed by state or state-approved bodies, organisations or individuals in China that may have engaged in forced organ harvesting. The Tribunal’s Final Judgment, delivered in June 2019, unanimously found that forced organ harvesting continues in China.
In August 2021, 12 UN Special Rapporteurs and human rights experts issued a correspondence to China regarding credible evidence of forced organ harvesting from ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. The correspondence was made public and the UNOHCHR issued a press release.
FINDINGS OF THE CHINA TRIBUNAL
“Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale.”
“Falun Gong practitioners have been one—and probably the main—source of organ supply.”
“In regard to the Uyghurs, the Tribunal had evidence of medical testing on a scale that could allow them, amongst other uses, to become an ‘organ bank’.”
“Commission of Crimes Against Humanity against the Falun Gong and Uyghurs has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.”
“The Tribunal has no evidence that the significant infrastructure associated with China’s transplantation industry has been dismantled and absent a satisfactory explanation as to the source of readily available organs concludes that forced organ harvesting continues till today.”
International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) is a coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers and human rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting in China.
The principal object for which the International Coalition To End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) has been established is to advance and promote the education of human rights and values with the goal of ending human rights violations associated with organ trafficking involving forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China and seeking justice for the victims of forced organ harvesting.
“The [Communist] regime’s ghoulish and inhumane practice of robbing individuals of their freedom, throwing them in labor camps or prisons, and then executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants is way beyond the pale of comprehension and must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally.”
Exactly 72 years ago, on 23rd May 1951, the “Seventeen-Point Agreement” was signed between the representatives of the independent Tibetan Government in Lhasa and the Chinese Communist Government in Peking.
Tibetans have always maintained that the “agreement” was signed by their representatives “under duress”. His Excellency Lukhangwa, the lay Tibetan Prime Minister, plainly told Chinese Representative Zhang Jingwu in 1952 that the Tibetan “people did not accept the agreement”. Nevertheless, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who was a young teenager at the time, decided to work with the Chinese “in order to save my people and country from total destruction”, as he wrote in his memoir, ‘My Land and My People’.
For eight years, the Dalai Lama tried to abide by the terms of that document. The Tibetan Leader even relieved his Prime Minister Lukhangwa from his post, who had made no secret of his staunch opposition to the Chinese aggression.
In 1954, the young Dalai Lama visited Peking. During his nearly 6 months of stay in mainland China the Dalai Lama had meetings with many Chinese leaders, including Chairman Mao Tsetung and Premier Chou En-lai on a few occasions. Both of them gave assurances to him on Tibet’s good future.
However, the Chinese leaders did not keep their words. The situation across Tibet was getting worse as Tibetan resistance against the invading PLA forces led to fierce fighting. The young Dalai Lama finally escaped Tibet into exile in March 1959 in India, where he set up the Tibetan Government-in-exile.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s first press conference in India, in Mussoorie in 1959, repudiating the 17 Point Agreement which was signed under duress in Beijing on May 23, 1951.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, has been saying that the 17-point “Agreement” is “illegal” under the international law. On the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, Sikyong Penpa Tsering delivered his administration’s Official March 10th 2022 Statement and said, “When the Chinese communist assumed power on 1 October 1949, it announced the so-called “peaceful liberation” of Tibet. Soon after in 1950, the overwhelming Chinese communist forces attacked Chamdo and defeated the Tibetan army. The whole of Tibet was brought for the first time under its occupation after coercing Tibetans to sign the 17-Point Agreement in 1951.
THE AGREEMENT OF THE CENTRAL PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF TIBET ON MEASURES FOR THE PEACEFUL LIBERATION OF TIBET
The Tibetan nationality is one of the nationalities with a long history within the boundaries of China and, like many other nationalities, it has done its glorious duty in the course of the creation and development of the great motherland. But over the last hundred years and more, imperialist forces penetrated into China, and in consequence, also penetrated into the Tibetan region and carried out all kinds of deceptions and provocations. Like previous reactionary Governments, the KMT [Kuomintang] reactionary government continued to carry out a policy of oppression and sowing dissension among the nationalities, causing division and disunity among the Tibetan people. The Local Government of Tibet did not oppose imperialist deception and provocations, but adopted an unpatriotic attitude towards the great motherland. Under such conditions, the Tibetan nationality and people were plunged into the depths of enslavement and suffering.
In 1949, basic victory was achieved on a nation-wide scale in the Chinese people’s war of liberation; the common domestic enemy of all nationalities–the KMT reactionary government–was overthrown; and the common foreign enemy of all nationalities–the aggressive imperialist forces–was driven out. On this basis, the founding of the People’s Republic of China and of the Central People’s Government was announced. In accordance with the Common Programme passed by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Central People’s Government declared that all nationalities within the boundaries of the People’s Republic of China are equal, and that they shall establish unity and mutual aid and oppose imperialism and their own public enemies, so that the People’s Republic of China may become one big family of fraternity and cooperation, composed of all its nationalities. Within this big family of nationalities of the People’s Republic of China, national regional autonomy is to be exercised in areas where national minorities are concentrated, and all national minorities are to have freedom to develop their spoken and written languages and to preserve or reform their customs, habits, and religious beliefs, and the Central People’s Government will assist all national minorities to develop their political, economic, cultural, and educational construction work. Since then, all nationalities within the country, with the exception of those in the areas of Tibet and Taiwan, have gained liberation. Under the unified leadership of the Central People’s Government and the direct leadership of the higher levels of People’s Governments, all national minorities have fully enjoyed the right of national equality and have exercised, or are exercising, national regional autonomy.
In order that the influences of aggressive imperialist forces in Tibet may be successfully eliminated, the unification of the territory and sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China accomplished, and national defence safeguarded; in order that the Tibetan nationality and people may be freed and return to the big family of the People’s Republic of China to enjoy the same rights of national equality as all other nationalities in the country and develop their political, economic, cultural, and educational work, the Central People’s Government, when it ordered the People’s Liberation Army to march into Tibet, notified the local government of Tibet to send delegates to the Central Authorities to hold talks for the conclusion of an agreement on measures for the peaceful liberation of Tibet.
In the latter part of April 1951, the delegates with full powers from the Local Government of Tibet arrived in Peking. The Central People’s Government appointed representatives with full powers to conduct talks on a friendly basis with the delegates of the Local Government of Tibet. The result of the talks is that both parties have agreed to establish this agreement and ensure that it be carried into effect.
The Tibetan people shall be united and drive out the imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; that the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the motherland–the People’s Republic of China.
The Local Government of Tibet shall actively assist the People’s Liberation Army to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defences.
In accordance with the policy towards nationalities laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Tibetan people have the right of exercising national regional autonomy under the unified leadership of the Central People’s Government.
The Central Authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet. The Central Authorities also will not alter the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama. Officials of various ranks shall hold office as usual.
The established status, functions, and powers of the Panchen Ngoerhtehni shall be maintained.
By the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama and of the Panchen Ngoerhtehni is meant the status, functions and powers of the 13th Dalai Lama and of the 9th Panchen Ngoerhtehni when they were in friendly and amicable relations with each other.
The policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference will be protected. The Central Authorities will not effect any change in the income of the monasteries.
The Tibetan troops will be reorganised step by step into the People’s Liberation Army, and become a part of the national defence forces of the Central People’s Government.
The spoken and written language and school education of the Tibetan nationality will be developed step by step in accordance with the actual conditions in Tibet.
Tibetan agriculture, livestock raising, industry and commerce will be developed step by step, and the people’s livelihood shall be improved step by step in accordance with the actual conditions in Tibet.
In matters related to various reforms in Tibet, there will be no compulsion on the part of the Central Authorities. The Local Government of Tibet should carry out reforms of its own accord, and when the people raise demands for reform, they must be settled through consultation with the leading personnel of Tibet.
In so far as former pro-imperialist and pro-KMT officials resolutely sever relations with imperialism and the KMT and do not engage in sabotage or resistance, they may continue to hold office irrespective of their past.
The People’s Liberation Army entering Tibet will abide by the above-mentioned policies and will also be fair in all buying and selling and will not arbitrarily take even a needle or a thread from the people.
The Central People’s Government will handle all external affairs of the area of Tibet; and there will be peaceful co-existence with neighboring countries and the establishment and development of fair commercial and trading relations with them on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territory and sovereignty.
In order to ensure the implementation of this agreement, the Central People’s Government will set up a military and administrative committee and a military area headquarters in Tibet, and apart from the personnel sent there by the Central People’s Government it will absorb as many local Tibetan personnel as possible to take part in the work. Local Tibetan personnel taking part in the military and administrative committee may include patriotic elements from the Local Government of Tibet, various district and various principal monasteries; the name list is to be prepared after consultation between the representatives designated by the Central People’s Government and various quarters concerned, and is to be submitted to the Central People’s Government for approval.
Funds needed by the military and administrative committee, the military area headquarters and the People’s Liberation Army entering Tibet will be provided by the Central People’s Government. The Local Government of Tibet should assist the People’s Liberation Army in the purchases and transportation of food, fodder, and other daily necessities.
This agreement shall come into force immediately after signatures and seals are affixed to it.
[Signed by the representatives of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on 23 May 1951]
The Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) met in Hiroshima for their annual Summit, from 19th to 21st May 2023. The Group of Seven is an intergovernmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States; additionally, the European Union is a “non-enumerated member.” It is organised around shared values of pluralism, liberal democracy, and representative government.
It is evident from this year’s G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué that the Leaders of these advanced economies are more united than ever before in their “determination to meet the global challenges of this moment and set the course for a better future.” The Communiqué states: “Our work is rooted in respect for the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and international partnership.”
The G7 Leaders’ Communiqué also highlighted China’s violations of human rights, including in Tibet, Xinjiang (East Turkistan) and Hong Kong, adding, “We will keep voicing our concerns about the human rights situation in China, including in Tibet and Xinjiang where forced labor is of major concern to us. We call on China to honor its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, which enshrine rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.”
In its comprehensive Communiqué, the G7 Leaders reiterated their “commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all, through taking a realistic, pragmatic, and responsible approach”. Tibetan spiritual leader and the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has been an avowed campaigner for “demilitarization throughout the world and the elimination of all nuclear weapons” for decades, issued a welcome statement.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the recent statement from the G7 Leaders’ summit in Hiroshima, Japan, calling for a “world without nuclear weapons”. This joint statement reflects the reality that we live in an increasingly interdependent world, and represents an opportunity to make this 21st century an era of peace and cooperation.
As an avowed campaigner for demilitarization throughout the world and the elimination of all nuclear weapons, I firmly believe this to be a positive initiative. In January 2022, when the Five Nuclear-weapon States made a joint pledge affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, I warmly commended their action.
In these times of uncertainty and upheaval across many parts of the globe, it is vitally important that all of us make earnest and concerted efforts to resolve problems through dialogue and diplomacy. Therefore, commitments like the one by the G7 countries represent a powerful message and recognition of the urgency of putting an end to the threat that these weapons pose to humanity.
A world without nuclear weapons is necessary and possible. In our interconnected world, violence brings suffering even to those far from the conflict. I sincerely hope that we can all remember the oneness of humanity, and recall that harming anyone with violence, including the use of nuclear weapons harms us all.
I pray that this 21st century becomes a more compassionate, peaceful and harmonious world.
“Don’t come back until you’re able to help others”. With these words of his master in his mind, Phuntsog Wangyal, a teenage monk left Tibet in 1958 with the dream of soon returning to his homeland.
Phuntsog Wangyal, Founding Trustee of Tibet Foundation, is a former Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based at The Office of Tibet in London and a former Member of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies in India (Tibetan Parliament in Exile). In July 2009 he was awarded the ‘Friendship Medal’ by the Mongolian government, in recognition of efforts to restore the traditional culture and heritage of Mongolia. In 2014, Phuntsog Wangyal was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree by the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London where he is a Honorary Fellow.
Түүний үйл хэргийг үнэлж Монгол улсын Ерөнхийлөгчөөс “Найрамдал” медалиар шагнажээ.
Phuntsog Wangyal was a founding trustee of Tibet Foundation, a UK charity that has made a significant contribution towards education, health-care and economic and spiritual development amongst the Tibetan communities across Asia. He served as the charity’s Chairman and Director for many decades.
Born in 1944, Mr Wangyal became a monk and studied Buddhism in Tibet at a young age. In 1959 he escaped amid an arduous journey to India, where he was educated at St Joseph’s College and later at Delhi and Jawaharlal Universities, graduating with an MA and MPhil in Politics and International Relations. Following this he became the Assistant Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In 1973 he came to London where he conducted research on the life of the 13th Dalai Lama and the concept of reincarnation, and taught Tibetan language at SOAS. For many years he served the Tibetan community as a council member and later as its chairman. In 1980 he returned to Tibet as a member of a pivotal delegation sent at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as part of a fact-finding delegation, followed by interviews and accounts of his visit including the BBC documentary series ‘The World About Us’. In 1981 he was appointed the London Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Office of Tibet was established.
In 1985 Mr Wangyal founded Tibet Foundation, which has since become one of the most highly respected Tibetan charities to date, offering practical, long-term support to Tibetans living both inside Tibet as well as India and Nepal.
He has also catalysed support for Mongolians in the revival of their Buddhist tradition and practice across Mongolia. In July 2009 he was awarded the “Friendship Medal” by the Mongolian President for the Foundation’s significant contribution to the development of cooperation between Mongolia and the United Kingdom, in recognition of efforts to restore its traditional culture and spiritual heritage.
Mr Wangyal has travelled internationally and written many articles on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, including ‘The Influence of Religion on Tibetan Politics’, The Tibet Journal 1975; ‘The Tibetans: two perspectives on Tibetan-Chinese Relations’, Minority Rights Group 1983; ‘Tibet and Development’, Tibet Foundation Newsletter 2004; ‘Tibetan Buddhism’, Encyclopaedia of Peace 2008.
Mr Phuntsog Wangyal received an honorary doctorate at the 2014 SOAS Graduation Ceremony, University of London. The Tibet Foundation was set up in 1985 and closed in 2021.
Tibetans in diaspora observed the 28th anniversary of the forced “disappearance” of their spiritual leader – The 11th Panchen Lama – on 17th May 2023. In London, a vigil was held outside the Chinese Embassy from 6pm to 8pm.
To coincident with the anniversary, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tibet in UK Parliament released a Statement of concern, seeking “details about his whereabouts and welfare”, whilst calling for “his immediate release”.
“This is a growing sign of support for the Tibetan spiritual leader, who was chosen by the Dalai Lama as per the Tibetan Buddhist tradition”, says Tsering Passang, Founder and Chair of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities.
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