Exiled Tibetans say 1.2 million killed during Chinese rule


WASHINGTON -- Tibet's government in exile says more than 1 million Tibetans have died under Chinese rule since 1951 and an estimated 100,000 others remain in Chinese jails -- charges denied by Chinese authorities.

'The statistics tell a gruesome story ... giving a final tally of 1,207,387 for the number of Tibetans who have died of unnatural causes during the years of Chinese occupation,' said News Tibet, a magazine published by the New York office of Tibet's government in exile.


The report preceded the arrival in New York Monday of Tibet's exiled political and spiritual leader, the dalai lama, who planned to spend 44 days in the United States lecturing at several universities.

The 49-year-old dalai lama, who fled Tibet with 100,000 followers in 1959, divides his time between his base in Dharmsala, India, and foreign travels carried out in search of support for Tibet's cause.


News Tibet said 156,758 Tibetans were executed, 92,731 were tortured to death, 173,221 died while in prison, 432,705 were killed in uprisings, 342,970 starved to death and 9,002 committed suicide.

The starvation deaths were blamed on the agricultural policies China imposed on the region while those resulting from suicide were said to have been brought on by 'psychological pressure and physical abuse.'

Tinley Nyandak, a spokesman at the Office of Tibet in New York - the equivalent of the embassy of the government in exile -- also said there were more than 100,000 Tibetans now in jails in Tibet, some since they were arrested in 1959 during an uprising against Chinese rule.

'Last year alone, in the name of a crackdown against crime, the Chinese arrested more than 1,500 Tibetans active in political or religious issues,' he said.

The dalai lama has often said more than 1 million Tibetans died since Peking installed its own government in 1951. Nyandak said the study published in News Tibet represented the first documented account of the deaths.

He said the figures were the result of a two-year analysis by the Central Tibetan Secretariat -- the India-based Tibetan government in exile -- based on reports from Tibetans fleeing their homeland. A questionnaire asked each refugee to list and explain deaths in his home village, as well as his own family.


'If the price in lives which the Tibetans have had to pay seems unrealistically high, one ought to bear in mind the fact that human costs of Maoist policies since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 have been variously estimated (at) several tens of millions of lives,' Nyandak said.

Chinese officials deny Peking has ever carried out political executions in Tibet, calling the charges a propaganda ploy by the dalai lama.

Official Chinese figures put the population of the Tibetan Autonomous Region at 1.7 million, but Nyandak said there are about 6 million people in Tibet, including the eastern half of the country that Peking incorporated into other Chinese provinces. In other news about the developing world:

PEKING (UPI) -- Like their capitalist counterparts in the West, China's burgeoning ranks of private entrepreneurs are fast discovering that taxes and red tape can mean their ruin.

'These taxes and duties, under a miscellany of names, have proved unbearable,' Individual Enterprises Department chief Hao Haifeng admitted to Peking's China Daily newspaper in a story published last week.

Hao, who heads the state agency in charge of private enterprise, called on the government to enforce a law restricting the number of taxes or duties that can be levied on small businesses.


The Worker's Daily newspaper cited as an example the northeast city of Harbin, which has imposed 42 different kinds of fees on local businesses.

'The police alone collected seven kinds of duty, including fees for maintaining public order, organizing meetings on public security, and even a drunkard fee of 10 yuan ($5) per restaurant,' the paper said.

'According to a survey of 11 prefectures and cities in Guangdong Province in south China, 17 departments collected 22 kinds of fees from individual entrepreneurs, some of which were groundless and bordering on extortion,' Worker's Daily said.

The number of private enterprises in China mushroomed from 180,000 in 1978 to 2.6 million at the end of 1982 as part of a government plan to curb unemployment and boost the development of an efficient private sector.

Latest Headlines