China has imprisoned and often tortured hundreds of Tibetan independence supporters over the past two years, including children, Amnesty International said in a report to be released today.
The report by the London-based human rights group lists in detail the names and cases of 628 prisoners held in Tibetan jails by the end of 1994 for their political beliefs, including 182 women and 45 people under age 18 - some as young as 12.
Chinese authorities have confirmed the arrests of the 45 juveniles, the report said.
“In violation of both Chinese and international law, children have been reportedly held incommunicado, denied trials, beaten, made to do heavy labor with adults and subjected to electric shocks,” Amnesty International reported.
It cited the case of a 12-year-old girl from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa who lost the use of an arm and a leg after being beaten with electric batons and forced to work digging excrement and loading it onto trucks.
The group urged the Chinese government to release all political or ideological prisoners, investigate all reports of torture and ensure fair and prompt trials.
It also called on China to observe the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans torture, corporal punishment and any other cruel or degrading treatment for children.
The Chinese government had no immediate comment. Beijing frequently blames anti-government or anti-Chinese activities in Tibet on small numbers of “splittists” backed by the government-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader.