The Year in Unfreedom

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http://Residents%20of%20Chinese-controlled%20Tibet%20lack%20the%20right%20to%20%20freely%20elect%20their%20officials%20or%20determine%20their%20political%20future.%20Chinese%20%20security%20forces%20routinely%20engage%20in%20arbitrary%20arrest,%20detention,%20torture,%20and%20%20execution%20without%20due%20process,%20punishing%20even%20nonviolent%20protests%20against%20Chinese%20%20rule.%20Although%20he%20remains%20the%20spiritual%20leader%20of%20the%20Tibetan%20people,%20the%20Dalai%20%20Lama%20--%20who%20lives%20in%20exile%20in%20India%20--%20has%20relinquished%20his%20formal%20position%20as%20%20a%20political%20leader%20for%20Tibetan%20exiles.%20Inside%20Tibet,%20repression%20intensified%20in%20%20March%202011%20after%20a%20young%20monk%20set%20%20himself%20on%20fire%20to%20protest%20Chinese%20Communist%20Party%20(CCP)%20rule.%20At%20least%20%20eight%20more%20self-immolated%20last%20year.%20In%20response,%20authorities%20detained%20%20300%20monks%20for%20"patriotic%20education."%20During%20the%20year,%20the%20targets%20of%20%20detention%20and%20imprisonment%20in%20Tibetan%20regions%20expanded%20to%20include%20musicians%20and%20average%20citizens%20who%20%20circulated%20songs%20advocating%20Tibetan%20rights%20or%20independence.%20At%20least%20500%20%20political%20and%20religious%20prisoners%20were%20in%20custody%20as%20of%20September%202011.%20%20%20%20%20%20Here,%20a%20Tibetan%20lama%20carries%20a%20cannister%20of%20water%20at%20the%20Tashilhunpo%20Monastery%20on%20Dec.12,%202008,%20in%20Shigatse,%20Tibet%20Autonomous%20Region.

Residents of Chinese-controlled Tibet lack the right to freely elect their officials or determine their political future. Chinese security forces routinely engage in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and execution without due process, punishing even nonviolent protests against Chinese rule. Although he remains the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama -- who lives in exile in India -- has relinquished his formal position as a political leader for Tibetan exiles. Inside Tibet, repression intensified in March 2011 after a young monk set himself on fire to protest Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. At least eight more self-immolated last year. In response, authorities detained 300 monks for "patriotic education." During the year, the targets of detention and imprisonment in Tibetan regions expanded to include musicians and average citizens who circulated songs advocating Tibetan rights or independence. At least 500 political and religious prisoners were in custody as of September 2011.

Here, a Tibetan lama carries a cannister of water at the Tashilhunpo Monastery on Dec.12, 2008, in Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region.

http://Since%20the%202008%20Russia-Georgia%20war,%20Russia%20has%20increasingly%20%20expanded%20its%20control%20over%20this%20breakaway%20region.%20South%20Ossetian%20President%20%20Eduard%20Kokoity%20has%20replaced%20most%20of%20his%20cabinet%20with%20officials%20from%20Russia,%20and%20%20Russian%20forces%20have%20barred%20ethnic%20Ossetians%20from%20entering%20Georgia.%20South%20%20Ossetians%20now%20face%20the%20challenges%20of%20dealing%20with%20a%20Russian-funded,%20highly%20%20corrupt%20elite.%20In%20the%20run%20up%20to%20the%20November%202011%20presidential%20election,%20%20officials%20loyal%20to%20the%20outgoing%20president%20jailed%20and%20threatened%20opposition%20%20figures%20and%20changed%20legislation%20to%20prevent%20certain%20candidates%20from%20registering.%20%20In%20a%20surprise%20move,%20the%20South%20Ossetian%20Supreme%20Court%20demonstrated%20some%20%20independence%20by%20annulling%20%20the%20vote%20--%20which%20would%20have%20declared%20Moscow-backed%20candidate%20Anatoly%20%20Bibilov%20the%20winner%20--%20citing%20electoral%20violations.%20The%20court%20called%20for%20a%20%20repeat%20election%20in%20March%202012,%20but%20the%20move%20sparked%20protests,%20with%20officials%20%20from%20both%20the%20territory%20and%20Moscow%20suggesting%20that%20Russia%20simply%20annex%20the%20%20breakaway%20region.%20Bibilov%20withdrew%20his%20candidacy%20for%20the%20March%202012%20election,%20%20and%20former%20South%20Ossetia%20KGB%20head%20Leonid%20Tibilov%20was%20elected%20president%20after%20%20winning%20a%20runoff%20election%20against%20former%20human%20rights%20commissioner%20David%20%20Sanakoyev.%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20the%20national%20flag%20streams%20over%20Tskhinvali,%20the%20capital%20of%20South%20Ossetia,%20on%20April%208,%202012.

Since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, Russia has increasingly expanded its control over this breakaway region. South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity has replaced most of his cabinet with officials from Russia, and Russian forces have barred ethnic Ossetians from entering Georgia. South Ossetians now face the challenges of dealing with a Russian-funded, highly corrupt elite. In the run up to the November 2011 presidential election, officials loyal to the outgoing president jailed and threatened opposition figures and changed legislation to prevent certain candidates from registering. In a surprise move, the South Ossetian Supreme Court demonstrated some independence by annulling the vote -- which would have declared Moscow-backed candidate Anatoly Bibilov the winner -- citing electoral violations. The court called for a repeat election in March 2012, but the move sparked protests, with officials from both the territory and Moscow suggesting that Russia simply annex the breakaway region. Bibilov withdrew his candidacy for the March 2012 election, and former South Ossetia KGB head Leonid Tibilov was elected president after winning a runoff election against former human rights commissioner David Sanakoyev.

Above, the national flag streams over Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, on April 8, 2012.

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