Five dead by suicide under Chinese authoritarian Covid-19 lockdown
Tibet and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defense.
Forty nine days ago, the Chinese authorities imposed an authoritarian lockdown in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) in order to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 in Lhasa and other major cities.
The strict enforcement of its zero-Covid policy have led five Tibetans died of suicide between the 23rd and the 25th of September in Lhasa city. Some videos of their suicide deaths were posted online.
The five people who died of suicide were from the Lhasa Comprehensive Protective Tariff Zone no.2, the Bayi Community, Lanting apartement and Gakyiling neighbourhood 3.
Posts on social media where people share their hardships are deleted and many accounts from where such posts originate are forcibly closed. One of such posts read that “the extreme repression has cost the lives of four people”.
The extreme “zero-covid” policy is seen to violate international human rights law on numerous, specifically the right to be free from torture, cruel or inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as the right to liberty and security of person.
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that all individuals have the right to liberty and security of person. The harsh conditions and authoritarian lockdown threatens the right to security of person, as the State has not taken the necessary measures to protect a person’s physical and mental security, leading thus to suicidal tendencies.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In this regard, all individuals are free from serious physical assault or psychological abuse under any circumstances. In this regard, with the treatment of Tibetans for the handling of the “zero covid” policy, China is seen to violate that right to be free from ruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as it imposes such an authoritarian lockdown that it leads to extremely humiliating and undignifying living conditions for the people living in the TAR.
NB: As a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in october 1998, China is not bound by the covenant however it has the obligation to act in good faith and not defeat the purpose of the ICCPR.
Sources and further reading:
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. (2022, September 27). China’s zero-Covid policy push five Tibetans to commit suicide in three days. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://tchrd.org/chinas-zero-covid-policy-push-five-tibetans-to-commit-suicide-in-three-days/