The Tibetan people's non-violent resistance to Chinese government oppression continues despite over 60 years of fear and intimidation. Tibetans are arrested and routinely tortured for demanding human rights and free expression. Recently, Tibetans have received sentences of 15 years to life for 'crimes' like sending email to the outside world, speaking out against irreperable damage being done to Tibet's environment and for recording songs about freedom. Tibetans are marginalised by the education, employment and political systems in their own country and can be arrested or shot for trying to leave.
The military junta in Burma have used recent sham elections to solidify the idea that they are progressing, but human rights abuses in Burma continue while opposition parties like that of Aung San Suu Kyi are banned, their representatives arrested, tortured and killed. Meanwhile, the junta continues campaigns of ethnic genocide, burning down villages and using rape and murder to intimidate the population into silence. The regime would not be able to fund these campaigns without the huge financial support it receives from China, ensuring the military retains control.
The Uyghur people of East Turkestan (or Xinjiang in Chinese) suffer human rights abuses and discrimination in their own land. The Chinese state controls education and religion, preventing Uyghurs and other ethnic groups from learning in their own languages, sidelining them in employment. They are only allowed to use a Communist state approved version of the Koran and those who demand religious freedom can receive lengthy sentences. Others were executed for taking part in unrest in 2009. The state's continual attempts to brand Uyghurs as would-be terrorists have further enflamed tensions and have often been seen as an excuse to crack down on the Uyghur people.
The Chinese government does not spare its own people from the human rights abuses which it inflicts on other nations under its influence, as seen most memorably in the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, when it is thought that as many as 3,000 civilians were killed by government forces after a peaceful pro-democracy student protest. The state continues to silence those who dare to demand information access, who speak up against state corruption and who proudly demand that their nation embraces freedom, justice and individuality. In 2010, leading dissident Liu Xiaobo, incarcerated by China, won the Nobel Peace Prize. More and more Chinese people are following his example and opposing totalitarian controls.
Mongolia has a long and storied history of conquest and conflict, and though today it is not a significant power, the Mongolian cultural and national identity is as strong as ever. Inner Mongolia has been occupied by China since before the current regime's rise to power, and was the first of China's puppet 'autonomous' regions. Hundreds of thousands of Mongols have been killed during the occupation, while natural resources are plundered and Mongols who demand democracy and human rights are handed down severe prison sentences as they are gradually pushed to the sidelines in their own land.
In 1999 the number of Chinese citizens who were part of the Falun Gong spiritual movement eclipsed the number of Chinese citizens who were members of the Communist Party. In response the Chinese government banned the movement and has orchestrated a campaign of hostile propaganda and violent persecution ever since. Falun Gong practitioners are regularly subjected to political imprisonment, torture and forced labour. Some human rights reports suggest that they are also the victims of organ harvesting by government authorities.
Recent news has shown the dangers posed by the North Korean regime; a regime which China props up. North Korea's 24 million people suffer under one of the world's most brutal totalitarian regimes, controlled by the Korean Workers Party (KWP). Any political opposition or free expression is ruthlessly crushed, torture and public executions are commonplace and some reports suggest that horrific human experiments are carried out on dissidents and their families. The Chinese state provides investment and political protection for the KWP while deporting escaped dissidents back to face imprisonment or death.
Zimbabwe may seem a long way from China, put Robert Mugabe is another brutal dictator to whom the Chinese state offers arms and political support. In 2008 Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legitimately led in elections despite a campaign of intimidation, attacks and murders by Mugabe's followers. International pressure led to limited power being ceded to the MDC but in reality Mugabe rules with an iron fist. With China's backing, he has killed opponents, orchestrated violent racial purges, conscripted child soldiers and brought economic ruin to Zimbabwe.
Sudanese dictator Omar Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Western province of Darfur. Elsewhere in Sudan his regime is responsible for widespread political imprisonment, torture, extrajudicial executions and one of the largest armies of child soldiers in the world. In spite of this the Chinese government consistently provides tanks, arms, ammunition, helicopters and attack aircraft as well as crucial political support in international arenas such as the UN in return for lucrative oil revenues.
Taiwan is a functioning democracy that since its de-facto separation from China has made enormous progress in areas such as human rights, free press and religious freedom. However, it is constantly threatened by the Chinese government who, despite a recent warming in relations with the Taiwanese authorities, still view it as an integral part of China and wish to bring it under dictatorial rule. Taiwanese democracy activists are campaigning hard not so much to achieve freedom, but to maintain it in the face of Chinese state pressure. We must all work together for this aim.
Created by created by Students for a Free Tibet UK in co-operation with other peaceful causes.
This website is designed to introduce activists to related causes, inspire individuals to take action and work together to make all of our causes stronger.