In 1959 Tibet was invaded by the PRC, People’s Republic of China. Many Tibetans fled their country to seek refuge in the neighbouring countries such as India and those that stayed behind escaped to the roof of the world (Tibet). With the invasion came a new government, new rules and a military force that invaded every aspect of society to keep control of the population.
In 1982 the PRC inserted a law to keep more control on the populace known as the one child rule. For the Chinese this means that a family can only have one child, yet the Tibetan population can have 2 children in certain regions but only one if they work for local Chinese administrations. Regardless as to whether the child lives or dies a woman will be sterilised after two with no option to have more children in the future, even if one were to die unexpectedly.
Regardless of religious beliefs or basic human right to reproduce, today the Tibetan women are still undergoing forced sterilisation, coerced abortions and fees have to be paid if over 2 children are born. The government has set up organised groups that monitor the populace to keep count and they are referred to as called Family planning and women associations, warm names for a cold system.
A tactic used by the PRC to pressure the parents to have minimal children is the financial burden that would come along with that extra child in the form of fees. In Tibet they say: “If you have the fortune to be born as a human being, you also have the fortune to eat supper”. If the fees for the extra child are not paid then the child, in some regions, will be called a ‘Black cheep’ and will not exist within society. The will have no education, care, or official acknowledgment of existence. The PRC are seen as bullies to some within society, bullies that unfortunately are getting away with hideous crimes.
The PRC uses several different sterilisation’s techniques that have been recorded:
-the coal, also called Chinese ring for its specific design
-Laparoscopy, which is the severing and tying of the fallopian tubes
They are mothers, daughters and sisters. As woman they tell their story…
Photographs by Claire Kern
Interviews by Tenzin Tsering and Claire Kern