China's Tibet Autonomous Region Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi via Getty Images

Putting Tibet Back on the Agenda

Human rights activists had hoped that international attention on China during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing would lead to greater political and religious freedom. It didn't, but it's not too late to pressure China to adhere to its past commitments.

WASHINGTON, DC – In 2001, when Beijing was selected to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, expectations were high that China’s human-rights performance would improve in the international spotlight. Even Chinese officials predicted change; as Beijing’s mayor said at the time, hosting the games would “benefit the further development of our human-rights cause.”

But ten years later, China remains one of the world’s most illiberal countries. Ethnic minorities are targeted, the regime’s critics are imprisoned, and promises of reform have been virtually meaningless. As a Tibetan political dissident, I am living proof of this reality.

In December 2017, I arrived in the United States after being held in Chinese prisons for more than six years. I endured beatings and torture for the “crime” of asking Tibetans what they thought about China’s leadership.

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