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New State Dept. report shows US is serious about ending isolation of Tibet for Americans

March 25, 2019

A new State Department report denouncing China for “systematically” impeding Americans’ travel to Tibet shows the US government is serious about implementing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. The report also clearly shows that the widespread discrimination, and in some cases amounting almost to harassment, perpetrated by Beijing against Americans to enforce the complete isolation of Tibet from the outside world, won’t be accepted any longer in Washington.

The report, released March 25, 2019, documents outrageous attempts by Chinese authorities to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other US officials, directly threatening to expel journalists and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which has been in the grips of a brutal Chinese occupation for the past 60 years.

The report is the first significant outcome of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2018 and takes aim at China’s double standard of denying US diplomats, reporters and tourists entry to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas under Chinese control even though Chinese bureaucrats, state media and ordinary citizens are free to travel throughout the US.

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European Demonstration for Tibet

Germany: Human Rights Committee condemns repression in Tibet, calls for support of Tibetans

Berlin, March 25, 2019

In a rare Joint Statement made public today, the Human Rights Committee of the German parliament called on the “Chinese Government to immediately stop the repression of the Tibetan people and resume dialogue with the legitimate representatives of the Tibetans”. The statement, passed on the anniversary of the “brutal suppression of the Tibetan people’s uprising” in March 1959, expressed concern that “culture, language, identity and religion of the Tibetans are threatened in their existence.” It declared the “peaceful resistance of the Tibetan people to the deprivation of rights through the Chinese authorities deserves more support,” adding the “despair of the people, over 150 self-immolations in recent years and the outcry of the monks must shake up the international community.” The committee expressed “its deep respect for the Tibetan culture and its sympathy for and solidarity with the peaceful, oppressed Tibetan people.”

The statement also acknowledges that “the secular and spiritual leadership of the Tibetans has repeatedly chosen the path of peace, during many decades of extensive oppression.” It views, “the third way of the Dalai Lama, with a broad autonomy of Tibet within China, as an opportunity to avoid possible conflicts for the future.” The statement was supported by the governing CDU/CSU and SPD, as well as by the liberal FDP and the Greens.

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Tibet Lobby Day 2016

Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters will take their cause to Capitol Hill next week

March 22, 2019

As Tibetans mark 60 years since the Dalai Lama was forced into exile, Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters will gather in Washington, DC next week to lobby members of Congress to support their cause.

The 11th annual Tibet Lobby Day—organized by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a DC-based advocacy group—will bring more than 130 Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters to the nation’s capital for meetings with elected leaders and their staff.

The lobbying will be spread over two full working days: Monday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 26.

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China’s response to Dalai Lama reincarnation statements shows Beijing’s insecurity and lack of legitimacy

March 20, 2019

As the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is given sole authority by the ancient traditions of his faith to select the manner of his reincarnation.

But when His Holiness made this clear in a recent interview, a spokesman for the foreign ministry of China’s atheist, authoritarian government claimed that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation must comply with Chinese law, specifically the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” and “Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas.”

Not only do the Chinese government’s claims completely disregard centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition; they also obviously violate the universal principle of religious freedom.

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Friends and family of Lodi Gyari at a memorial event.

Congressional Leaders, former US president and fellow activists remember late ICT chairman at Capitol Hill event

March 15, 2019

The sun was radiant, and it was surrounded by a glowing ring.

That breathtaking image was blown up and put on an easel at a service on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2019 where Sen. Dianne Feinstein —alongside fellow friends , colleagues and family members of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari—paid tribute to the remarkable Tibetan leader who helped the Dalai Lama make his people’s struggle for justice and human rights a major priority for the United States and governments around the world.

Lodi Gyari, the retired special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, senior official of the Central Tibetan Administration and executive chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, passed away in San Francisco on Oct. 29, 2018.

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united nations geneva

China’s response to UN rights review blatantly ignores its persecution of Tibetans

March 14, 2019

Geneva—China’s response to a United Nations review of the country’s human rights record represents a blatant denial of the human rights crisis in Tibet and other regions, the International Campaign for Tibet said today.

China’s conduct at the Universal Periodic Review session in Geneva is a mockery of this important UN mechanism and shows that China has no intention of respecting international human rights principles and the credibility of the human rights protection system as a whole, ICT said.

At Friday’s session, the UN Human Rights Council will discuss China’s response to more than 350 recommendations by member and observer states. China accepted those recommendations that applauded and whitewashed its policies and rejected those that called for improvement with regard to the rule of law and the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and religion.

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State Department 2018 Human Rights report exposes “severe” and “significant” restrictions in political participation and freedom of movement in Tibet

March 13, 2019

The people of Tibet face immense discrimination under Chinese rule, severe restrictions on their most basic rights and increasing isolation from the outside world, according to the US State Department’s Human Rights Report for 2018.

In the report, released March 13, 2019, the department “documents substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; severe restrictions of religious freedom; significant restrictions on freedom of movement; and restrictions on political participation” for the people of Tibet.

The report highlights several areas of discrimination faced by Tibetans. It says the top Communist Party positions in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as well as in all other Tibetan areas, are held by ethnic Chinese.

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Potala Tibet Brief

China tightens control and surveillance measures for 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising

March 8, 2019

Tibetans are preparing to observe the 60th anniversary of the March 10 anniversary of Tibet’s National Uprising in 1959, which coincides this year with high-level political meetings in Beijing known as the “Two Sessions.”

The Tibet Autonomous Region has experienced an unusually long closure to foreign tourists, spanning from January 30 until April 1. This year marks the significant 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, the Dalai Lama’s escape, and 60 years of the Tibetan diaspora in exile – and also the 70th anniversary year of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The tightened controls in place for the anniversary period reflect the Chinese leadership’s efforts to obliterate loyalty to the Dalai Lama and replace it entirely with allegiance to the Communist Party, with a particular focus on the “Sinicization” of Tibetan Buddhism. In the buildup to March, the Chinese authorities have sought to enforce the display of images of Xi Jinping and Chinese leaders – in some areas compelling Tibetans even to prostrate to those images – and there have been “clean-up” campaigns targeting images of the Dalai Lama.

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Honoring 60 years of nonviolent struggle by the Tibetan people to regain their rights and dignity

March 7, 2019

Beginning on March 10, 2019, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people will mark the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against Chinese rule, the escape of His Holiness and his eventual crossing over into India, and the re-establishment of the Tibetan governance system in exile. The Tibetan people will also mark the 60th anniversary of the direct occupation and control of Tibet by China.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) would like to take the opportunity to honor the tenacity, courage and determination of the Tibetan people who, despite great challenges, continue to peacefully resist China’s oppression and make great efforts and sacrifices to preserve and promote their identity, culture, language and traditions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama had the farsighted vision to establish institutions in exile that have empowered the Tibetan people to preserve and disseminate to the world their religion, traditions and way of life while at the same time pursuing modern education. The Dalai Lama’s commitment to keeping the Tibetan struggle nonviolent in the face of tremendous challenges continues to be an inspiration to nonviolent movements throughout the world.

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ICT commends Senate report criticizing Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at US schools

February 28, 2019

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) today voiced support for a US Senate report criticizing Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes for stifling discussion in American schools about Tibet and other topics that are banned in China.

The bipartisan report—released yesterday, Feb. 27, 2019, by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations—says the institutes demonstrate China’s lack of reciprocity with the US and calls for them to close down unless major changes are made.

“For too long, the government in Beijing has used its soft power as a Trojan Horse to spread its silencing of dissent to democratic countries,” ICT President Matteo Mecacci said. “After the approval of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act by Congress at the end of last year—legislation that challenges China’s lack of reciprocity with the United States when it comes to access to Tibet—it is now time to denounce China’s lack of reciprocity also when it comes to academic freedom and other civil liberties.”

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ICT supports the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 by the US Congress

February 28, 2019

The International Campaign for Tibet supports the passage of the bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 by the Senate and House of Representatives.

The Senate version (S. 178) was introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) while the House version (H.R. 649) was introduced by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Thomas Suozzi (D-NY).

At a time when the Uyghur people and others in Xinjiang (known as East Turkestan to Uyghurs) are witnessing horrific human rights abuses, Congress needs to assert its leadership in pushing back against China’s increasingly oppressive policies and pass this legislation. The Chinese Communist Party and government need to know that they will be held accountable for violating human rights.

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Thank You America

Remarks by ICT President Matteo Mecacci at the “Thank You, America” event

February 22, 2019

The International Campaign for Tibet has been privileged to work with many of you over the last few years, and we thank you for your genuine and heartfelt support for the people of Tibet.

By siding with the Tibetan people, the United States has decided not just to support them; what is more important is that the United States has decided to stand for truth and justice, values that go beyond Tibet and that are important for all of us and for the way we live. It is therefore very unfortunate that the Chinese government has decided not to trust the Tibetan people to run their affairs in freedom, but to continue to rely on deception, oppression and injustice to rule Tibet.

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Potala Tibet Brief

China bans foreigners from visiting Tibet Autonomous Region until April

February 19, 2019

Tibet tour operators have announced that the ‘annual closure’ of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to foreigners began this year on Jan. 30 and will last until April 1, with one operator recommending that foreigners plan to “begin the Tibet trip no earlier than April 1 because of the Tibet permits restriction policy recently.”

Every year since 2008, the TAR has been closed off to tourists for at least one month, coinciding with the anniversary of the March 10 Uprising in 1959 and protests in 2008.

In 2018, authorities closed the TAR to foreigners from Feb. 10 to April 1, according to tour operators.

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Youth Palace

New training camp for Party cadres in Tibet demonstrates tougher approach and challenges in ensuring loyalty

February 15, 2019

A new “political education camp” in Shigatse is intended to provide ideological training to some of the thousands of Party cadres who have been deployed across Tibet in recent years in private homes, monasteries and schools and in line with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s agenda of deepening control.

The Chinese state media report refers to the importance for Party cadres of changing their attitudes not just at the superficial level of reciting Party slogans, but in terms of achieving a complete ideological shift. It reflects the current approach of securitization combined with tougher attempts at rewiring Tibetan political thinking, with the stated official aim of “breaking lineage, breaking roots, breaking connections, and breaking origins” of Uyghurs and Tibetans. In Xinjiang, in an unprecedented and horrifying development, an extensive prison camp system of “de-extremification training centers” has been created where around a million Uyghurs and Kazakhs are being held.

The new training camp in Shigatse, established in a year that the Chinese Communist Party marks the 70th year of its foundation on October 1, is focused at training “grass roots Party cadres in rural and pastoral areas” in line with the methodology for Party members in Xi Jinping’s so-called “new era” announced at the 19th Party Congress in October, 2017.

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Thank You America

As Tibetans thank America for 60 years of support, US leaders pledge continued commitment

February 13, 2019

The Tibetan people thanked the United States for 60 years of friendship at a celebration on Tuesday night—and US leaders responded by pledging to maintain their support until justice and human rights come to Tibet.

“Bipartisan support for the rights of the Tibetan people is strong and is not going away. I hope the Chinese government is able to hear that message,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), one of several members of Congress honored at the lively “Thank You, America” event on Feb. 12 in the US Capitol, where gratitude was shared through prayers, songs and speeches.

The event, hosted by the Office of Tibet, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and the Capital Area Tibetan Association, was held to express gratitude to the United States government and people for steadfastly supporting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan.

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AOC and Dalai Lama

Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, McAdams and other elected leaders join in Tibetan New Year celebrations

February 13, 2019

For Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a recent Tibetan New Year event was a chance not only to celebrate Tibetan heritage but also to extol the Tibetan-American community’s vital role in the country’s future.

“I believe that the Tibetan community in its integration and in its fellowship with the American community, as part of the American community, is part of charting our path forward together as a country,” the first-term Representative said at an event on Feb. 9, 2019 in her home district hosted by The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey. “So I’m so proud to work with the community and translate those values into Washington, DC and into the laws of our land.”

Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself playing with a Tibetan child to her Instagram account, garnering more than 216,000 likes and 2,200 comments by Feb. 12.

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US officials, Tibetan-Americans celebrate success at Tibetan New Year event at State Department

February 12, 2019

The recent and future successes of the Tibetan-American community were celebrated at a Tibetan New Year event at the State Department last week that sent strong messages about continued US support for Tibet.

The State Department’s Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues organized the gathering on Feb. 8, 2019 for Losar, the start of the Tibetan Year of the Earth Pig.

The event, which attracted dozens of US government officials, diplomats, civil society representatives, and Tibetan Americans, featured traditional Tibetan music and dance performances, Tibetan food and remarks by US and Tibetan leaders.

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Seeker Tibet video

Video quoting ICT exposes destruction of Tibetans’ landscape and way of life

February 8, 2019

The president of the International Campaign for Tibet is quoted in a new video that exposes China’s environmentally destructive policy of forcing Tibetan nomads off their land.

The video from Seeker Media, which is posted on Animal Planet’s Facebook page and on MSN.com, focuses on the Changtang National Nature Reserve in the northern Tibetan plateau. It adds to the growing number of revelations about how the Chinese government is removing Tibetan nomads from the lands they’ve tended for hundreds of years—even though scientists agree their stewardship is essential for protecting the environment.

“Nomadic farming techniques have helped preserve Tibet’s grasslands for centuries,” the video text says, “but now officials want regional cattle farmers to relocate to nearby Lhasa,” Tibet’s capital city.

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