About International Campaign for Tibet

Author Archive | International Campaign for Tibet

ICT joins Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations on Capitol Hill as calls grow for his right to return to Tibet

July 16, 2018

The Dalai Lama turned 83 this month, and last week, the International Campaign for Tibet joined the celebration of his birthday with leaders from the US Congress and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

On July 11, the Office of Tibet—which represents the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in North America—hosted a reception for the Dalai Lama’s birthday that featured remarks from Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY).

The bipartisan group of congresspeople praised the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion and voiced support for his peaceful struggle on behalf of the Tibetan people, who are facing increasing repression at the hands of the Chinese government.

Read full story Comments are closed

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is working to ensure reciprocal access to Tibet

July 13, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is taking action to guarantee reciprocal access to Tibet—the principle that American citizens should be able to freely visit Tibet the way Chinese citizens are free to come and go in the United States.

Responding to a set of questions raised by the House Committee on Foreign Relations at a hearing on May 23, 2018, Pompeo wrote “I am working to ensure that US journalists, legislators, scholars, and members of civil society have unimpeded access to all areas [of] China, including the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas.”

Pompeo was specifically asked about the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which aims to end China’s restrictions on access to Tibet and currently has 51 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and seven in the Senate.

Read full story Comments are closed

Conference on Tibetan and Vietnamese Buddhism highlights need for cooperation to defend religious freedom

July 12, 2018

At a conference on July 11, 2018 about freedom of religion and foreign policy, Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, ran through a list of hardships imposed on the people of Tibet—from extensive surveillance by the Chinese government to restrictions on travel and the stationing of police officers in monasteries—then said that words alone were inadequate to address their plight.

“Simply noting injustice is not enough,” Dorjee said. “We must encourage the US government and others to do more.”

Dorjee’s statement provided an overall message for the conference, which was titled “Freedom of Religion or Belief & Human Rights: Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism under threat” and hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.

Read full story Comments are closed

China forces young Tibetan monks out of monastery into government-run schools as part of drive to replace monastic education with political propaganda

July 12, 2018

Young Tibetan monks were compelled to leave one of the biggest monasteries in the eastern Tibetan area of Kham, Sershul, this week as part of a drive by the Chinese government to replace monastic education with secular schooling that emphasizes Communist Party propaganda.

Images circulating in the last few days on social media show a large group of boys in lay clothing accompanied by monks leaving Sershul monastery in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan. According to reports from Tibetan sources, young monks in smaller monasteries in the area have been targeted as part of the same push for the ‘Sinicization’ of Tibetan Buddhism and political education in schools.

Read full story Comments are closed

ICT to launch Washington Internship Program for Tibetan Americans

July 6, 2018

On the occasion of the 83rd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is announcing the launch of the Washington Internship Program for Tibetan Americans (WIPTA).

Through this program, ICT will assist young Tibetan Americans by providing information, placement, and stipends for internship opportunities in Federal offices Washington, DC. Those eligible will be placed in the offices of Members of Congress, as well other Federal entities.

Through this program, Tibetan Americans will gain exposure to the functioning of the American federal government, develop skills needed to excel in their career, unleash their natural leadership abilities, and learn directly from officials and staff who are responsible for the governance of this country.

Read full story Comments are closed

ICT President Matteo Mecacci raises Tibet with UN and EU officials in Geneva and Brussels

June 28, 2018

On June 26, ICT President Matteo Mecacci attended the meeting between the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein and ICT Chairman of the Board, Richard Gere, in Geneva, where the human rights situation inside Tibet was discussed.

Following that, Matteo Mecacci was in Brussels on June 27 and 28 to meet with representatives from different national and European Institutions.

He first met with the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, a week before the start of Austria’s EU Presidency, and presented ideas and concrete recommendations for EU policy on Tibet.

Read full story Comments are closed

US Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback* to address Conference on Tibetan & Vietnamese Buddhism

June 27, 2018

A conference on “Freedom of Religion or Belief & Human Rights: Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism under threat” is being held in Washington, DC on July 11, 2018 to explore the importance of a proactive freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) component in US foreign policy, including transatlantic and international cooperation, with particular reference to the cases of Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism.

US policy makers, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and academics will participate in two panel discussions on “Religious Freedom and American Foreign Policy”, and “Strategies to Promote Freedom of Religion or Belief in Closed Societies: The Cases of Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism”.

Read full story Comments are closed

Freedom of Religion or Belief & Human Rights: Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism under threat

In Partnership with The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights Speakers include Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, USCIRF Chairman, Congressman Alan Lowenthal (tbc), Congressman Chris Smith (tbc), Kristina Arriaga, USCIRF Vice-Chair, Arjia Rinpoche, former abbot of Kumbum Monastery in Tibet and head of Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana, Vo Van Ai, President of VCHR, Matteo Mecacci, […]

Read full story Comments are closed

China identifies new ‘terrorist crimes’ strengthening legal stranglehold on Tibetans

June 26, 2018

  • China has identified “new crimes of terrorism” in a further escalation of oppressive measures that are focused less on protecting China’s citizens and more on the elimination of dissent and enforcement of compliance to Communist Party policies. Guidelines released to judges, prosecutors and security personnel on June 16 (2018) represent a chilling expansion of intrusive measures in which merely sending a text message, involvement in someone’s marriage, or wearing a slogan on a tee-shirt can constitute “extremist” activity or “terrorism”.
  • In a rare acknowledgement of enforcement of counter-terror policies, which have a strongly political application in Tibet linked to an expansion of militarization across the plateau, a Chinese state media article said that the cases of 42 people in one area of Qinghai had been “resolved” involving crimes against “social stability”. This is a reference to the focus on ensuring allegiance to the CCP authorities in order for the authorities to pursue their strategic and economic objectives on the plateau without impediment. The Tibet issue is framed by the Chinese authorities as a “security problem”, despite the absence of violent incidents against civilians or the Chinese government.
Read full story Comments are closed

‘Destruction, commercialization, fake replicas’: new report on Lhasa as UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets

June 25, 2018

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet reveals how Lhasa’s unique and precious remaining cultural heritage is at risk as China flouts its responsibilities under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The U.N. organisation for protecting the world’s heritage meets this week in Bahrain (June 24-July 4) and will vote on a decision requesting information from China about the state of conservation in Tibet’s historic and cultural capital.

In ‘Destruction, commercialization, fake replicas’, the International Campaign for Tibet reports:

  • Since the Dalai Lama’s former home, the iconic Potala Palace, and other significant buildings were recognized as UNESCO World Heritage, dozens of historic buildings have been destroyed and replaced by fake ‘Tibetan’-style architecture. Official Chinese planning documents obtained by the International Campaign for Tibet confirm that this is set to continue with the remaining historic buildings, which number around 50 as new construction continues at a staggering rate.
Read full story Comments are closed

Destruction, Commercialization, Fake Replicas: UNESCO Must Protect Tibetan Cultural Heritage

An ICT special report

Read full story Comments are closed
un human rights logo

International Campaign for Tibet statement on US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council

June 21, 2018

As an organization dedicated to working for human rights and democratic freedom of the Tibetan people, the International Campaign for Tibet regrets the US decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council. The United States has been among those countries that have consistently raised the issue of human rights of the Tibetan people in the UN Human Rights Council.

US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley, while explaining the US decision on June 19, 2018, said that it was the US position that reforms were needed to make the Human Rights Council a serious advocate for human rights. She said that the Human Rights Council has become a protector of human rights abusers, and listed China among the countries that “attempted to undermine our reform efforts this past year.”

Read full story Comments are closed

Mass migration program highlights contested nomads’ resettlement policies in Tibet

June 21, 2018

  • China has announced the displacement of more than 1,000 Tibetans from a nature reserve in northern Tibet to a settlement site in Lhasa, describing it as the first “high-altitude ecological migration”. Framing the removal of Tibetans – along with other mass relocations across the Tibetan plateau – in terms of “conservation and protection” fundamentally disregards the essential role of Tibetans in sustaining the wildlife, the long-term health of the ecosystems, and the water resources that China and Asia depend upon.
  • The state media also reported that fencing previously used to control and prevent movement of people across nomadic pastures in the reserve will now be removed – to ensure Tibetan antelopes can roam freely, not Tibetan herders. The fencing of the grasslands, an integral element of policy, had affected the mobility of the antelopes, which Tibetan nomads risked and sacrificed their lives to save in the 1990s when they were threatened with extinction due to poaching.
  • The “ecological migration” program is part of a new approach to set up national parks on the Tibetan plateau, contingent upon the removal of Tibetans from the land. National park status is imposed from the top-down, situating the state as the sole agency of control, and ignoring the concerns and expertise of local people. These policies are increasingly contested even within the PRC.
Read full story Comments are closed

Tibetan American Tenzin Dorjee Unanimously Elected as Chair of US Commission on International Religious Freedom

June 13, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet congratulates Dr. Tenzin Dorjee whose unanimous election as Chair of Bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was announced on June 12, 2018. USCIRF is a federal government commission established by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

In a statement, USCIRF said, “In a show of bipartisan collegiality and support for the new Chair, the Commissioners opted to hold the election openly, rather than following the Commission’s usual procedure of voting anonymously by closed ballot.”

Commissioners are appointed for two-year terms, and are eligible for reappointment. In December 2016, Dr. Tenzin Dorjee was first appointed as a Commissioner of USCIRF, having been nominated by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In May this year, the House of Representatives announced his appointment for another term at the Commission.

Read full story Comments are closed
TYLP 2018

Tibetan American Youths Learn about American Political Process during ICT’s 2018 Tibetan Youth Leadership Program

June 11, 2018

Ten Tibetan students from colleges in Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State participated in the International Campaign for Tibet’s 2018 Tibetan Youth Leadership Program (TYLP) held in Washington, DC from June 2 to 9, 2018.

During their program, they participated in workshops, team-building exercises, meetings with congressional leaders and Administration officials, and interaction with civil society advocates. Speakers talked to them about relevance of the Tibet Movement in the United States; Chinese perspective of the Tibetan issue; US-China relations; role of civil society in shaping American foreign policy; meditation, and work of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).

They spent a full day on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and staffers advocating for their support to initiatives on Tibet, including the Reciprocal Access to Tibet. They visited the State Department, as part of their exposure to the U.S. political and foreign policy process, understanding the Administration’s work on Tibet. They also met with the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.

Read full story Comments are closed

Secretary Pompeo reiterates US Commitment to urge China to engage in dialogue with envoys of the Dalai Lama and voices support for reciprocal access to Tibet for Americans

June 7, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who took charge of his office on May 2, 2018, has said in response to written questions from Members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will publicly ask China to engage in direct dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama, without preconditions, to resolve the Tibetan problem. He further said he is committed to pressing for respect for human rights for Tibetans, including freedom of religion and belief, in his conversations with Chinese officials, and advocating for the release of Tibetan political prisoners. He said he will also raise concerns about the lack of regular access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) for US journalists, diplomats, academics, and others.

“I will recommend that the United States express publicly, and at the highest levels of government,” Pompeo wrote, “that Chinese authorities need to engage in meaningful and direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to lower tensions and resolve differences.” Although President Donald Trump and then Secretary Rex Tillerson have met senior Chinese leaders several times, they have not publicly raised Tibet with their Chinese counterparts.

Read full story Comments are closed

Trump administration’s first Tibet Negotiations Report to Congress reflects the absence of a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

June 6, 2018

The State Department has submitted a report to Congress detailing the steps taken by the Trump Administration in 2017 to encourage dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan issue, in line with the requirements of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

The report, a first by the Trump administration, says, “The U.S. Government remains concerned by the lack of meaningful autonomy for Tibetans within China, ongoing violations and abuses of the human rights of Tibetans in China, and efforts by Chinese authorities to eliminate the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of Tibetans. The United States believes the Chinese government must address these concerns to create conditions for a sustainable settlement, which is essential to the long-term stability of the region.”

Acknowledging Tibet’s importance on a regional level, the report states the U.S. government “believes that a negotiated outcome that results in meaningful autonomy for Tibetans, and ensures they are able to practice freely their religion, culture, and language, provides the best hope for long-term stability in the region.”

Read full story Comments are closed

International Campaign for Tibet welcomes statements in support of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk – United Nations experts call for immediate release

June 6, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes recent statements by the United Nations experts, governments, parliamentarians worldwide and civil society organisations in support of the Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. Today, six United Nations human rights experts issued a statement, condemning the five-year jail sentence handed to Tashi Wangchuk by a Chinese court for his work promoting cultural and linguistic rights of the Tibetan people.

In their statement, the experts – five United Nations Special Rapporteurs and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – “strongly urge the Chinese authorities to comply with their international human rights commitments, to grant Mr. Wangchuk immediate release and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.” The experts further state: “Governments should under no circumstances undermine or repress legitimate human rights advocacy and action, such as in this case, using national security, public order or anti-terrorism discourses.”

Read full story Comments are closed