Authorities in Tibetan areas continue to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly, and fail to redress popular concerns about mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involve intimidation and unlawful use of force by security forces.
Authorities’ 13th Five-Year Plan for Tibet (2015-2020), which set ambitious state goals for rural transformation, includes the relocation of several hundred thousand more people. Official claims of “poverty alleviation” prompted fears of further marginalization and dispossession of Tibet’s rural majority.
In May, regulations for the promotion of “Nationality Unity Model Areas” came into force, representing a new milestone for the coercive assimilationist policies of the current leadership. These policies encourage economic migration from other parts of China and phasing out Tibetan-medium instruction in primary schools. Intensified surveillance and intimidation in neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes has prevented public protest, a goal emphasized repeatedly by leading officials.
At the 7th Forum on Tibet Work in August 2020, President Xi personally called for increasing political education in schools to ensure the loyalty of the next generation, signaling central support for these policies.
In the Ngawa Tibetan region of Sichuan in November 2019, Yonten became the 156th Tibetan to set himself on fire in protest against the Chinese government since March 2009.