December 23, 2005
The US-based Freedom House has announced that Tibet is among the two “worst-rated territories” for the 2004-2005 period, in terms of respect for political rights and civil liberties.
In its annual survey of global freedom, "Freedom in the World," released in New York on December 19, 2005, Freedom House said, “There are two worst-rated territories: Tibet (under Chinese jurisdiction) and Chechnya, where an indigenous Islamic population is engaged in a brutal guerrilla war for independence from Russia.”
“The Ratings reflect global events from December 1, 2004 through November 30, 2005,” a Freedom House Press Statement said.
According to the survey, 89 countries are Free, the same as the previous year. These countries’ nearly 3 billion inhabitants (46 percent of the world's population) enjoy open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life, and independent media. Another 58 countries representing 1.2 billion people (18 percent) are considered Partly Free.
Political rights and civil liberties are more limited in these countries, in which the norm may be corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic and religious strife, and a setting in which a single political party enjoys dominance. The survey finds that 45 countries are Not Free. The 2.3 billion inhabitants (35 percent) of these countries are widely and systematically denied basic civil liberties and basic political rights are absent.
Since 1972, Freedom House has published an annual assessment of the state of freedom in all countries (and select territories), now known as Freedom in the World. Individual countries are evaluated based on a checklist of questions on political rights and civil liberties that are derived in large measure from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each country is assigned a rating for political rights and a rating for civil liberties based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest degree of freedom present and seven the lowest level of freedom. The combined average of each country’s political rights and civil liberties ratings determines an overall status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
China’s rating in this year’s survey is “Not Free.” It scored 7 in the field of political rights and 6 in the field of civil liberties. Tibet is listed under “Disputed Territories” and its freedom rating is "Not Free." Tibet scored 7 in political rights and 7 in civil liberties, making it as the region having the lowest level of freedom.
Freedom House says the ratings are “not only assessments of the conduct of governments, but are intended to reflect the reality of daily life.”
In Asia, 16 of the region's 39 countries are Free (41 percent), 12 are Partly Free (31 percent), and 11 are Not Free (28 percent). A solid majority of the region's countries, 23, are in the ranks of electoral democracies.
Freedom House is a non-profit, non-partisan organization and is led by a Board of Trustees composed of leading Democrats, Republicans, and independents; business and labor leaders; former senior government officials; scholars; writers; and journalists.
The full survey report can be viewed at www.freedomhouse.org.
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