Human beings came into the world crying. Little faces scrunched up, hands balled into weak fists, voices penetrating through the walls. There is nothing silent about people. Whether it is the sound of voices or the loudness of expression, this is the human right we have been born with— the ability to express. We are our word. To silence this is to silence our human rights.
Oppression and tyranny are words that tend to spark flashbacks of the past. However, even in this century, such continue in perpetuation. The Chinese government has been under pressure by the United States due to its malicious treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority in the region of Xinjiang. However, the story does not end there. More human rights horrors are being committed still by the Chinese government on another group of people in Tibet, the Buddhists. Tibet remains under Chinese control and many are losing not just their voice but also their culture. Symbols that make the Tibetan Buddhists who they are being forcefully removed. The younger generation is raised in an environment that forbids even learning the Tibetan language.
Religious practice plays a major part in the Tibetan culture but even this, their right to religious freedom, is being erased in this decades-long suppression. Any forceful attempt, whether through physical or psychological means, to get rid of an identity of a people is a threat to humanity like a disease slowly spreading. The first step to finding a cure is by first making the injustice known so that proper sanctions can be put in place to prevent the affliction from worsening. Along with the stress of the COVID-19, the people of Tibet are forced to face even more ills for the sake of gaining political and economic power. Chinese government regulations are in control of religious venues and groups and many Tibetans have been subject to disappearances, detention without trial, physical and sexual abuse, torture, and even political indoctrination. This maltreatment has gone for too long without notice. Fortunately, as more evidence against the Chinese officials come to light, there is now increasing resistance against the abuse.
Those in support of Tibetan rights activists are finding ways to help through the law. For instance, the United States Congress is looking at the Tibetan Policy and Support Act which holds back Chinese officials from violating the religious freedom of the Tibetan people despite Chinese officials demand to be left alone to do their will. As the future generations of Tibet grow up, interventions to prevent further cultural erasure will save these children from the pains of forgetting their identity and preserve their inherent right to speak on their own accord.
Governments all within Asia (and ultimately, the world) must end the oppression of religious groups. Whether a religious minority like Shincheonji Church is deemed as a Korean cult along with “coronavirus cult” due to a large group of its congregation in South Korea contracting the virus, a sect of faith in Pakistan, or a Mulsim community in China–all have the right to practice in their countries. All must remember that history has favored those who stand for justice and condemn those who withhold it. This pattern will continue for as long as there are those who use their voice to make known the wrongs that take away human rights and preserve the voice of humanity.