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Dalai Lama commends ICT’s 30 years of service and calls for preservation of Tibetan culture

September 17, 2018

Supporters and friends from across the world gathered in the Netherlands this weekend for a heartfelt public conversation between the Dalai Lama and International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere in honor of ICT’s 30th anniversary.

The event, which took place on Sept. 16, was held inside a packed stadium of more than 12,000 people in Rotterdam. It ended with ICT President Matteo Mecacci announcing a new grant by ICT to support the Dalai Lama’s vision of secular ethics.

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Dalai Lama to take part in conversation with Richard Gere to honor ICT’s 30 years of service

September 14, 2018

The Dalai Lama, who arrived today in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on the second leg of his European trip, will take part in a conversation with International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere on Sept. 16, 2018 about how ICT can continue to advance the Dalai Lama’s work.

The discussion is part of the 30th anniversary events of ICT, which was established on March 15, 1988 to support the Tibetan people and the vision of the Dalai Lama.

Over the past three decades, ICT has made significant contributions as a champion of human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. The ICT community, now over 100,000 strong and spread across the United States and Europe, is a vibrant collection of individuals who are not only an effective support base for the people of Tibet, but also a powerful voice for resolving conflicts through dialogue instead of violence. Having started with just one office in Washington, DC, today ICT also has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels.

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Zam dam

Photo-op for China-appointed Panchen Lama exposes China’s strategic interests in Tibet

Profile of Acting Governor of Qinghai highlights China’s focus on damming and diverting Tibet’s water – despite earthquake risks

September 13, 2018

  • China’s religious policies and authoritarian control in Tibet emerge from the leadership’s strategic and economic imperatives, and those interests converged in a visit last month by the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama to Zam (Chinese: Zangmu) dam, which supports the largest hydropower project in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • The Acting Governor of Qinghai, Liu Ning, has a career in hydrology and is a former senior member of the official committee for the massive Three Gorges dam, the world’s largest hydropower project and most notorious dam, described by environmentalists as a “model for disaster.” His appointment highlights the high-level focus on exploiting Tibet’s water as a ‘strategic asset’ for China, including in the expansion of the South-North Water Transfer Project.
  • China is planning more hydropower dams on Tibet’s major rivers, despite a proven connection between earthquakes and dams on the Tibetan plateau, one of the most seismically active areas in the world.
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New European Parliament Report Calls on China to Review its Policies in Tibet, Asks EU to Raise the Issue of Access

September 12, 2018

Brussels – The European Parliament, at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, adopted a new report on EU-China relations that urges China to review its policies in Tibet and review and amend laws, regulations and measures passed in recent years that severely limit the exercise of civil and political rights of Tibetans. It further urges the EU institutions to take the issue of access to Tibet into serious consideration in the discussions on the EU-China visa facilitation agreement

The report, which was prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bastiaan Belder (ECR, Netherlands) and was passed by 530 votes to 53 with 55 abstentions, gives a rather detailed and in-depth overview of the state of EU-China relations. It tackles issues such as trade exchanges, China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 16+1 format, digital surveillance, climate change and sustainable development and the human rights situation in the country, and urges the European Union to rebalance its relationship with China, and to press Beijing to improve the overall human rights situation, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.

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China tightens screws on Tibetan Buddhism

Top Communist Party officials emphasize ‘Sinicization’ of Buddhism while the China-appointed Panchen Lama visits lake associated with search for the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation

September 11, 2018

  • Wang Yang, the fourth highest ranking official in the Politburo hierarchy and head of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), stressed the importance of tighter controls over religion and the new official goal of ‘Sinicizing’—or bringing under Chinese control—Tibetan Buddhism during an ‘inspection tour’ of the Tibetan cities of Lhasa and Chamdo on August 24-26.
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Escaped political prisoner tells ICT that repression in Tibet has gotten worse

September 5, 2018

“Basically, under the Chinese Communist authoritarian rule, under [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, the situation has become much worse.”

That’s how Golok Jigme, a Tibetan activist and former political prisoner, described the current state of his homeland during a recent interview with the International Campaign for Tibet. Video of the interview can be seen below.

Jigme, who fled Chinese-occupied Tibet in 2014 after surviving imprisonment and torture, visited ICT’s headquarters in Washington, DC this summer. He was in town for the US State Department’s first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, during which US Vice President Mike Pence praised Jigme by name.

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European Parliament’s Intergroup on Religious Freedom reports “severe restrictions” against Tibetan Buddhists

September 4, 2018

In its fourth annual report released today in Brussels, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has ranked China among the worst violators of freedom of religion worldwide, noting specific concerns regarding the oppression of Uyghur and Tibetan religious practitioners.

The report assesses the state of religious freedom in 34 countries and suggests ways that the EU could be more effective in promoting the protection of this right. The report labels the situation in China as “severe violations”—the worst rank in the study—and calls on the EU to push China “to ensure that policies used to oppress minorities are reversed and that international human rights law is respected.”

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The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet

A film by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam | A White Crane Films Production for BBC Television When: Thursday, September 13, 2018 Doors open at 6:00pm Film begins at 6:30pm Screening to be followed by Q&A with Filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam Location: The International Campaign for Tibet 1825 Jefferson Place NW Washington, DC […]

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UN experts urge China to prevent discrimination against Tibetans, Uyghurs and other ethnic groups

August 30, 2018

Geneva – United Nations experts on racial discrimination today urged the Chinese government to review policies and laws that discriminate against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made this recommendation in its concluding observations from its review of China at a hearing last month in Geneva. The committee issued a number of recommendations while highlighting torture and ill-treatment against ethnic groups, the use of anti-terror and anti-separatism laws to stifle dissent and the diminishing space for civil society in China. The committee also issued detailed recommendations with regard to the human rights of Mongols, Tibetans and Uyghurs.

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Translated court documents expose China’s sham prosecution of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk, raise fears about use of torture

August 29, 2018

A Chinese court document reveals the reasons for the rejection of the appeal by Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk, imprisoned for five years after he appeared in a New York Times video about the importance of protecting the Tibetan language.

The document, translated into English below by the International Campaign for Tibet, states that Wangchuk “attacked the state’s policies” and does not deny that a confession may have been made under torture.

Four out of six pages of the document, dated July 30, 2018, were posted on social media last week, stating that Wangchuk, an entrepreneur from Yushu in Qinghai, “distorted the facts, attacking the state’s policies on ethnic minorities, making remarks that undermine ethnic unity and national unity.”

Wangchuk, 33, had appealed the decision by the Yushu Intermediate People’s Court on May 22, 2018 to sentence him to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “incitement to separatism.”

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Senator John McCain, friend of the Tibetan people, passes away

August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain, a sincere supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, passed away on August 24, 2018. He was 81.

“I offer my condolences to you and all the members of your family at this sad time,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain, the Senator’s widow.

“I had the pleasure of meeting your husband in 2008 in Aspen after long admiring his many years of dedicated service to the American people,” the Dalai Lama added.“I appreciated his genuine concern for democracy, human rights and the environment in general and particularly in Tibet, for which I remain grateful.”

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Chinese court’s decision to uphold Tashi Wangchuk’s prison sentence is a travesty of justice, ICT says

August 23, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet today said that a Chinese court’s decision to reject the appeal of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk is a travesty of justice—and that Wangchuk should be released immediately.

On August 23, 2018, Wangchuk’s lawyer, Liang Xiaojun, announced via social media that the Qinghai Higher People’s Court had rejected “both the argument from Tashi Wangchuk himself and the defending statement from the lawyers.”

The court document stating that Wangchuk’s appeal had been denied is dated July 30, 2018. Xiaojun said the ruling was announced in the Yushu City Detention Center on August 13 and that Wangchuk’s “family was not allowed to hear the sentence.”

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ICT urges UNESCO to look into the destruction of Dalai Lama’s parents’ home in Tibet

August 21, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet has asked for information from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) about the destruction of the historic home of the Dalai Lama’s parents in Tibet.

In a letter addressed to Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, head of ICT’s UN Advocacy Team and Executive Director of ICT Germany Kai Mueller draws attention to ICT’s report on the demolition of Yabshi Taktser, the former residence of the Dalai Lama’s now-deceased parents.

Yabshi Taktser had been one of the most important sites in Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, but earlier this year, the building was reportedly demolished, with a new, concrete structure rising in its place.

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Denials, smokescreens and misleading information: Chinese government attempts to distort its record on Tibet at UN committee hearing on August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

GENEVA — Today at the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination, the Chinese government flatly denied its human rights violations in Tibet and other areas of the People’s Republic of China, instead painting a rosy picture of personal freedoms that left the body of independent human rights experts in disbelief.

“To state, as the Chinese delegation did today, that it ‘has taken good care of Tibetan culture and religion’ when more than 150 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 is beyond ignorant,” Kai Mueller, Head of UN Advocacy for the International Campaign for Tibet, said at the conclusion of the hearing in Geneva, which began with questions from the experts on Friday, Aug. 10 and ended today with responses by the Chinese government.

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Tibet Brief

Tibet Brief – June/July 2018 (ed. 64)

Top Story: New ICT report reveals China’s strategies of weaponizing access to Tibet

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China’s claims in new White Paper about protecting Tibet’s environment are contradicted by increased production of bottled water from shrinking Tibetan glaciers, more dams

August 8, 2018

Highlights of this report:

  • As the Chinese government released a new white paper claiming it supports “ecological conservation” in Tibet, state media announced that China has stepped up production of bottled water from Tibet’s endangered glaciers, and news emerged of more major hydropower schemes in central Tibet, financed by the state.
  • Visiting Tibet from July 25-27, 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced increased funding of infrastructure construction despite ongoing environmental challenges, such as the dramatic degradation of permafrost on the Tibetan plateau, and major floods and landslides in the capital city of Lhasa and central Tibet this summer.
  • China’s detailed white paper, released in July, focuses on the imposition of top-down policies that are contested even within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and erases the role of Tibetans as vital stewards of Tibet’s fragile high-altitude landscape and wildlife. It reflects a more strategic approach toward Tibet’s environment emerging from concerns over Tibet’s importance as an essential water source for China.
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International Campaign for Tibet’s oral statement at the UN CERD 96th session in Geneva on August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Following is the statement by the International Campaign for Tibet at the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD) session in Geneva, which was delivered by ICT Germany Executive Director Kai Mueller on August 7, 2018. This CERD session began on August 6 and it will consider China’s state report on August 10, 2018. ICT submitted a report to CERD on China’s policy towards Tibetans.

The International Campaign for Tibet wishes to draw attention to discriminatory policies, regulations and measures, as well as to discriminatory public narratives against Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.

Tibetans cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist. Official Chinese propaganda has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008. In this context, I would like to mention the introduction of a so-called “Serfs Emancipation Day” in 2009.

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UN committee should pressure China to end discrimination against Tibetans, International Campaign for Tibet says in new report

August 7, 2018

The United Nations committee that fights racism should press China to abolish laws and policies that discriminate against Tibetans, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said today ahead of the Chinese government’s presentation to the committee on Aug. 10.

In a report delivered to the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD), ICT says that Tibetans “cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist.”

ICT’s report highlights the official Chinese propaganda that has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008.

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