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U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Highlights Tibet in 2017 Annual Report; Recommends Designating China as “Country of Particular Concern”

April 26, 2017

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 Annual Report on April 26, 2017, in which it said “…conditions for freedom of religion or belief and related human rights continued to decline.” Focusing on Tibet, the report highlights several major violations of religious freedom in Tibet, including the eviction of “thousands of monks and nuns from the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Tibet before demolishing their homes.” The report also noted the lack of accountability on China’s part regarding the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama.

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The 11th Panchen Lama

U.S. Religious Freedom Commissioner’s open letter to the Panchen Lama on his 28th birthday

April 25, 2017

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee has written an open letter to the Panchen Lama, to coincide with his April 25 birthday, in which he says, “my resolve to find you and restore you to your rightful role becomes stronger.”

The Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by the Dalai Lama in 1995, and soon thereafter he was taken away from his home by the Chinese authorities and has not been seen since. In his place, China selected another boy.

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ICT Inside Tibet: The four loves and the enemy within: new ideological campaign in Tibet reflects heightened agenda of control in 19th Party Congress year

April 20, 2017

The Chinese authorities have launched a new ideological campaign in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) aimed at “diluting the negative impact of religion” and promoting loyalty to Xi Jinping as part of an intensified control agenda in the year of the 19th Party Congress.

The new propaganda effort is focused around the “four loves”, which are defined as “core interests” of the Chinese Communist Party; the motherland; one’s home town, and one’s livelihood – and was promoted in numerous meetings around the region over the last two weeks.[1]

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Footage from Tibet depicts self-immolation of father of three in Kardze

April 18, 2017

Footage has emerged of a self-immolation on Saturday (April 15) of a Tibetan man, father of three Wangchuk Tseten, just a month after another self-immolation in the Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in eastern Tibet. Wangchuk Tseten was from the same area of Kardze Prefecture as 24-year old farmer Pema Gyaltsen, who set fire to himself on March 18 and who may have survived.

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Statement by the International Campaign for Tibet on the US-China Presidential Summit

April 10, 2017

The first summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held on April 6 and 7, 2017, in the United States ended without any detailed announcement of the outcome. Addressing the media briefly between meetings, President Trump said, “I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China” but no specifics were given. President Xi Jinping said, “(W)e have further built up understanding and established a kind of trust, and we have initially built up a working relationship and friendship.”

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Pelosi Asks Trump to Raise Violations of Human Rights in China and Tibet During Meeting with Xi Jinping

April 6, 2017

Ahead of a U.S. visit by President Xi Jinping of China, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Trump saying, “violations of human rights in China and Tibet challenge the conscience of the world”.

Leader Pelosi added, “I believe, Mr. President, that if we do not speak out clearly for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights anyplace in the world.”

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Senators Cardin and Rubio call on Secretary Tillerson to raise Tibet during Xi Jinping’s visit

April 5, 2017

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on democracy, human rights, and global women’s issues, have written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in connection with the upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping, calling on the US side, among others, to “urge China to do more to improve the cultural and spiritual plight of Tibetans, not just their economic status.”

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On Eve of Chinese President’s US visit, Congressional Bicameral Bill Calls for Americans to Receive the Same Access to Tibet that Chinese Citizens Enjoy in the United States

McGovern, Hultgren, Rubio, Baldwin introduce Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in both House and Senate of the US Congress to lift restrictions on US citizens’ access to Tibet

April 4, 2017

On the eve of the first summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a bipartisan legislation to promote access by Americans to Tibetan areas, which is routinely denied by Chinese authorities, has been introduced by Senator Rubio (R-FL) and Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate and by Congressmen McGovern (D-MI) and Hultgren (R-WI) in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress on April 4, 2017.

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Tibet Lobby Day 2017

“We’re here to speak for those who cannot”: Tibet Lobby Day sees hundreds advocating for Tibet in world capitals

March 29, 2017

Tibetan leaders and Tibet supporters from the United States, Europe, and Australia urged their governments and Parliaments to offer greater support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. In Washington, over a hundred and thirty Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters visited the offices of more than 250 Members of Congress over the course of the two-day program.

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Security crackdown follows first Tibetan self-immolation in 2017

March 28, 2017

  • Security has been intensified in an area of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) where a 24-year old Tibetan farmer, Pema Gyaltsen, set fire to himself on March 18 near a monastery.
  • A video has emerged from another area in Kardze, Serthar (Chinese: Seda), which appears to show Tibetan pedestrians in traditional clothes being attacked and brutally beaten by police. A voice over removed from the video footage, circulated by Voice of America, reflects shock and sadness among onlookers, with one voice saying over and over again, “They are doing this for no reason at all.”
  • Tensions are high in the Serthar area, which is close to the religious institute of Larung Gar, also in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, the Tibetan area of Kham. Images and video of more demolitions at the religious institute over the last few days are circulating on social media.
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Tibetan leaders and supporters gather in Washington D.C., Brussels, and Canberra for Tibet Lobby Day

March 24, 2017

Hundreds of Tibetan leaders and Tibet supporters from all over the United States, Europe, and Australia are gathering in Washington, Brussels and Canberra to urge their governments and Parliaments to increase their support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. Tibet Lobby Day will take place on March 27-29.

In Washington, over a hundred and thirty Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters will meet for the ninth annual Tibet Lobby Day, and will ask Members of Congress to continue to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people, to continue funding of Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, promote access to Tibetan areas for US officials, journalists, citizens and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet.

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China and Tibet in focus at Human Rights Council despite changing environment

March 21, 2017

As the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is coming to an end on March 24, the human rights situation in Tibet and China has once more been in the focus of civil society organizations and concerned governments. While facing a changing environment due to potential policy shifts of the U.S. government with regard to the Human Rights Council, advocates for human rights in the People’s Republic of China and also Tibet, among them the International Campaign for Tibet, sent a joint letter to Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, asking governments to sustain the call for accountability of the Chinese Government by making a joint statement, and by coordinating national statements, at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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Statement by the TEOM on their follow up visit on the 2016 Tibetan elections in exile

March 14, 2017

Tibetan Election Observation Mission Encouraged by Tibetan NGOs strong Engagement in the Democratic Process

The Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) returned to Dharamsala to follow up on their election observation mission conducted last year, and present the recommendations in their report on the 2016 Tibetan Elections in exile.

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ICT Joins in Commemoration of Tibetan Uprising Day Anniversary

March 13, 2017

Tibetans and Tibet supporters all over the world marked the 58th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule on March 10. The Tibetan Parliament and Cabinet leaders spoke at a function in Dharamsala (with Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol, Italy, as the chief guest) that was also attended by ICT President Matteo Mecacci. In his statement, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay declared that 2017 would be a year of campaign for Tibet.

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Shadow of dust across the sun: how tourism is used to counter Tibetan cultural resilience

March 13, 2017

Video footage of nuns weeping as they are expelled in convoys of buses while their wooden huts are demolished has drawn global attention to the extent of a crackdown at the world-famous Buddhist institute of Larung Gar in eastern Tibet.

A new report by ICT, ‘Shadow of Dust across the Sun’, reveals how the demolitions and expulsions at Larung Gar and Yachen Gar in the past six months are part of an unfolding political strategy involving more aggressive measures in order to curb and manage the growing influence and number of monks and nuns at these important monastic centers of study and Buddhist ethics in eastern Tibet, the largest such institutes in the world.

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March 10

Members of Congress Express Solidarity with Tibetans on National Uprising Day Anniversary

March 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released this statement in observance of Tibetan Uprising Day, which commemorates resistance to occupation by Chinese government forces in Tibet on March 10, 1959:

“Each March 10th, we honor the determination of those who stood against the Chinese government’s brutal attack on Tibetans during the Lhasa Uprising. These people of faith, propelled by the longing to preserve their religion and culture stood defiant in the face of oppression. Refusing to be silenced by violence; they cried out for their just cause. And, around the world, we heard them and continue to hear their cause today.

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Rabi Ray, Tibet Supporter and Friend of ICT Passes Away

March 8, 2017

Mr. Rabi Ray, a noted Indian political leader and former speaker of the Indian Parliament, passed away on March 6, 2017 in India. He was a true friend and supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.

Mr. Rabi Ray involved himself with several Tibet-related organizations in India, including heading the India -Tibet Friendship Society. He was also a member of the International Campaign for Tibet’s International Council of Advisors.

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ICT Inside Tibet: Tibetan New Year marked by security agenda; mass deployment of troops for prayer festival

March 7, 2017

The Chinese authorities used the Tibetan New Year (Losar) period last week, traditionally marked by devotional ceremonies, to focus on the security agenda of the Party state and warn of a continuing harsh fight against ‘separatism’, a politically charged term used to blame the Dalai Lama.

There was a major and intimidating deployment of military force at a prayer ceremony at Kumbum monastery, while in Lhasa regional leaders hosted a series of meetings in which monks and nuns were warned about the need to comply with Party policy, and – evidence of the strong Party and police presence in religious institutions – official delegations inspected ‘armed forces’ and cadres at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.

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