An appeal from Tibet

The following is an excerpt of an appeal letter received from Lhasa, Tibet. The letter, dated December 1996, describes the new problems of unemployment and prostitution found in the capital today under Chinese rule.

Tibetan people are suffering tremendously from Chinese suppression. It is very hard to live under Chinese occupation. In Tibet’s major cities, Tibetans are outnumbered by Chinese. There are 6 to 10 Chinese for every one Tibetan and, in the Lhasa area, 10 to 15 Chinese for every one Tibetan. How sad the Tibetan people are today, outnumbered in their own land by the Communist Chinese.

Jobs at all levels are given to new Chinese settlers. All road construction, engineering work and development projects are run by the Chinese which leaves the Tibetans jobless. The Tibetan people face difficulties in simply living day to day.

The Lhasa Development Bureau is the main Chinese authority in Lhasa responsible for the many Chinese enterprises in Tibet. Tibetan workers have had their jobs taken away and their very livelihood threatened as a result of policies favouring Chinese employees.

Older workers have had their benefits stopped while younger workers fail to receive their monthly salaries on time. This in turn is creating crises within the families of Tibetan workers. High-ranking Tibetans working in Chinese offices are provided with an additional allowance and are able to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.

Instead of helping the Tibetan people the Chinese officials are conducting house raids, ransacking their belongings and destroying pictures of His Holiness. We Tibetans are living under turmoil. There is not a single day of peace and joy.

Every corner of Lhasa is filled with prostitutes who demoralise young Tibetans and create problems within families. Each Chinese officer is accompanied by several prostitutes. Young Tibetan girls are brought from the countryside to work in the brothels. The situation in Lhasa is tragically deteriorating.

Traditionally, Tibetan monasteries have used donated funds for religious ceremonies. Today they are not free to use donations in this way. In November 1996, during the prayer festival at Sera Monastery, Chinese officials took 37,800 Chinese yuan given as donations, saying that they would keep the amount in the bank.

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