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UN: China Rejects Calls for Human Rights Reform and Doubles Down on Abuses in Tibet

    China Rejects Almost 70% of UN Member State Recommendations Urging for Justice and Accountability in Tibet


    Tibet campaigners have expressed deep concern following China’s rejection of almost 70% of the Tibet-specific recommendations put forward by governments aimed at improving human rights.

    In January 2024, 20 UN Member States used China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) [2] in Geneva to raise concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet, making 24 uncompromising recommendations on Tibet.

    The increased concern about Tibet by governments was hailed as a “landmark” showing a two-fold increase on the last Review in 2018, signalling the severity of the worsening of the human rights situation on the ground, as China continues to deny independent UN human rights monitors access to the country.

    While China claims to have accepted 290 recommendations, a closer look reveals a disturbing pattern of dismissal and deflection when it comes to Tibet.

    China rejected the majority of Tibet-related recommendations on the grounds that they “are based on false information” despite years of UN documentation detailing the urgency of the human rights crisis in Tibet.

    Among those recommendations rejected were that China abolish the coercive system of residential boarding schools in Tibet; end forced labour and coercive labour transfer in Tibet; cease the persecution and arbitrary detention of Tibetans.

    Beijing simultaneously rejected all calls for UN human rights monitors to access Tibet, stating that they “undermine China’s sovereignty”, yet again showcasing China’s refusal to engage with the UN and its mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the rights of the Tibetan people.

    While China “accepted” a handful of recommendations on Tibet on the grounds that they are “already implemented”; an extensive catalogue of evidence by UN experts points to these violations being unremedied [3].

    UN Documentation Ignored

    Over the last two years, multiple UN human rights bodies have raised the alarm at the escalation of human rights violations in Tibet, including the separation of nearly one million Tibetan children from their families in a residential school system [4], an extensive labour transfer programme [5]; a massive relocation program of the rural Tibetan population [6]; the imprisonment of Tibetan environmental defenders [7]; and the sidelining of Tibetan-language education. Tibetans continue to face torture, death in custody [8], and enforced disappearances at the hands of the Chinese state [9].

    Years of UN reports detailing these abuses along with calls for access for UN human rights experts were cynically dismissed by China as”false information” and infringements on national sovereignty.

    “By refusing to cooperate with the UN, China is doubling down on harming Tibetan children and their families,” said Lhadon Tethong, Director of Tibet Action“It’s the UN’s job to investigate widespread abuses and try to hold those responsible to account; Beijing calling credible evidence of the coercive boarding schools in Tibet from UN experts, NGOs, scholars, and journalists ‘false information’ is an outrageous rejection of this process.”

    Topjor Tsultrim of Students for a Free Tibet said:“China’s shamelessness is astounding. Beijing continues to use the processes of the United Nations, including this UPR, as opportunities to broadcast their propagandized lies about Tibet. China’s blatant lies are nothing short of an effort to whitewash a catalogue of abuses in front of the international community.”

    “The UPR process has laid bare for the entire international community what we’ve known all along: China has no intention of improving the human rights situation in Tibet,” said Gloria Montgomery of Tibet Advocacy Coalition “Their response to the UPR is a cynical attempt to whitewash well-established abuses.”

    Londen Thoding of Tibetan Youth Association Europe said:  “China’s response to the UPR review is a slap in the face to the UN and the Tibetan people. It sends a chilling message that they will continue to deny Tibetans their rights at all costs. International governments must call out China for its continued intransigent behaviour that flies in the face of the most fundamental UN norms.”

    Mandie McKeown of International Tibet Network said: “This UPR process has yet again exposed China’s true colours. They are more brazen than ever, showing absolutely no regard for the human rights of the Tibetan people. China could have used this UPR as an opportunity to meaningfully engage on the urgent need for human rights improvements in Tibet. Instead, they opted to deny the extensive UN documentation of their abuses in Tibet.”

    Gloria Montgomery, Tibet Advocacy Coalition: +44 7541 362001
    Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute: +1 917-418-4181
    Topjor Tsultrim, Students for a Free Tibet: +1 610-745-1022
    Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network: +44 7748 158618

    Notes for Editors:[1]

    [2] Tibet-specific recommendations can be seen at

    The OHCHR, Universal Periodic Review – China report is available at

    The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer-review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, where UN Member States assess each other’s human rights records, their fulfilment of human rights obligations and commitments, and provide recommendations to the State under review:

    This is China’s fourth review under the Universal Periodic Review, and whilst China has nominally participated in the process, in reality, it has failed to adhere to any of the accepted recommendations agreed in the last three Reviews (2009, 2013 and 2018), has failed to include any public consultation in the preparing of its national report, and has presented the UNHRC with false information about improvements that have been made.[3]



    [6] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Concluding Observations, 6 March 2023:




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