The “enjoyment” of social and economic rights of Tibetans

The people of my generation were just teenagers when the Berlin wall fell and the demise of the social and political system built around the Soviet Union took place.

I knew very little about politics and the world at the time, but that little was enough to remember Communist propaganda that was sometimes mentioned on TV celebrating a happy and florid land (images of beautiful Red Square on Moscow were in display) where people where not interested in “western freedoms,” but instead enjoyed “real equality”. After all, I was born in Italy, a country that had the biggest Communist party of western Europe, so I had some easy access to that propaganda.

When in 1989, I saw the images of the people of Berlin celebrating the fall of the Soviet system, it was clear to me who was lying and who was telling the truth.

Today, China, although still formally ruled by the Communist Party, is far different from the Soviet Union. Decades ago it decided to wholeheartedly embrace capitalism; a decision that has led to significant economic growth over the last 15 years.

What is not too different from the communist systems is the propaganda about justice and equality; has capitalism, without freedom and the rule of law – brought equality, in particular in Tibet, as the Chinese government claims?

Last week, ICT challenged China’s assertion that Tibetans enjoy equal social and economic rights and we did it in the place where all countries of the world are, in theory, supposed to be accountable for the respect of basic human rights.

ICT Germany’s Executive Director Kai Muller took the floor at the United Nations in Geneva and gave a clear testimony before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that was reviewing China’s record.

You can read Kai’s testimony here. His case was particularly compelling regarding the forced relocation of Tibetan nomads, the denial of the right to education for Tibetan children and the control on religious freedom in Tibet.


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Matteo Mecacci

Matteo Mecacci, is President of the International Campaign for Tibet. Born in Firenze (Florence) Italy, Matteo Mecacci, studied International law at the University of Firenze. He represented the Transnational Radical Party and No Peace without Justice at the UN in New York from 2001 to 2008 and later served as a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies as well as an elected official of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly. In that capacity he participated in over 20 election observation missions, including as OSCE Special Coordinator in Serbia and Belarus in 2012.
He was appointed head of mission of the OSCE/ODHIR election observation mission in Georgia in 2013. He served as Chairperson of the Italian Parliamentary Intergroup for Tibet, and in 2009, he organized the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in Rome. He was Co-chair of the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) and played an active role in promoting Tibetan democracy in exile, and was a Co-Chair of the Tibetan Election Observation Mission in 2011.