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Meeting of the European Parliament [Plenary Chamber, Strasbourg, France, March 10, 2009]

New European Parliament resolution says China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists

April 18, 2019

In a resolution adopted at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament has singled out China for its persecution of Tibetans and other ethnic and religious groups and demanded that the Chinese authorities respect their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The resolution, adopted with a large majority of 505 voices (with only 18 against and 47 abstentions) expresses the European Parliament’s concerns about the increasing repression faced by many ethnic and religious “minorities” in China, in particular Tibetans, Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Christians. It calls amongst others on China to close the so-called “political reeducation camps” in Xinjiang (known to Uyghurs as East Turkestan) and to “uphold the linguistic, cultural, religious and other fundamental freedoms of Tibetans.”

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After 20+ years in jail, Tibetan sentenced to 18 more years after demonstrating for world peace

April 10, 2019

A Tibetan man who carried out a solo protest for world peace shortly after being released from more than 20 years in prison has been sentenced to another 18 years in a case described as a “state secret.”

Lodoe Gyatso—also known as Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso because of his home area of Sog (Chinese: Suo) county, Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu), the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—is now in his mid-50s.

On the morning of Jan. 28, 2018, months after his release from a second two-year prison sentence, he published a video, broadcast by Voice of America, announcing his intention to hold a peaceful demonstration that would start his “campaign for world peace.”

Later that day, dressed in a white traditional Tibetan garment known as a chuba and a shirt, he was detained by police while marching around the Potala Palace carrying out his demonstration.

His wife, Gakyi, has also been sentenced to two years in jail, according to sources.

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Chairman Gardner

Congress will “never” recognize Chinese-appointed Dalai Lama, Senator says

April 9, 2019

A US Senator today strongly rejected the Chinese government’s claim it will decide the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.

“Let me be very clear: The United States Congress will never recognize a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said at a Senate subcommittee hearing today, April 9, 2019.

Gardner added: “His Holiness has laid out [his] succession. Only then will the US follow that succession.”

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Bhuchung Tsering testifying

Make Tibet part of Indo-Pacific strategy, ICT vice president tells Senate hearing

April 9, 2019

Tibet should be a key element in US strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, Bhuchung K. Tsering of the International Campaign for Tibet said at a Senate hearing today, April 9, 2019.

Tsering, ICT’s vice president, was testifying at “ARIA in Action, Part 1: Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law,” hosted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. ARIA is the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018, which ensures funds for Tibetan programs and highlights China’s human rights abuses against the Tibetan people.

Tsering delivered a written statement to the subcommittee and submitted three texts for the record: the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s March 2019 position paper on access to Tibet; an op-ed by more than 30 parliamentarians across Europe last month calling for access to Tibet; and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 2011 statement explaining Tibetan Buddhism’s reincarnation system and his plans for succession.

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Journalists assoc. calls for media access to Tibet, adding to mounting international pressure on China

April 2, 2019

  • The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has released a position paper calling on China to give reporters unfettered access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas.
  • The paper builds on the success of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which was signed into law in December and targets China’s unfair closure of Tibet to the outside world.
  • The paper shows that China’s isolation of Tibet is becoming untenable, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said.
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Buddhists in Nepal unite in solidarity against a politician’s condemnation of traditional greeting scarves

April 2, 2019

The Buddhist community in Nepal has reacted strongly to a politician’s attempt to cast aspersion on their tradition of offering scarves known as khata, a tradition they share with other Himalayan communities such as Ladakhis, Bhutanese, Sikkimese, and Tibetans, among others. A Member of Parliament from Nepal’s Communist Party, Khaga Raj Adhikari, asserted at a public event that the use of the khata in Nepal “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” connecting it to Tibet issue and giving political color to a fundamentally spiritual and cultural tradition. The comments made by Adhikari, who is a former Minister, echoes China’s position in Nepal that “pro-Tibet” activities “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”

In reaction, the Buddhist community, under the banner of the Nepal Buddhist Federation, held large demonstrations by people from different ethnic groups, including monks and laypeople, to challenge Adhikari and called for the protection of their tradition while wearing khatas.

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State Dept on RATA

State Dept. pushes back on China’s criticism of Tibet access report

April 1, 2019

A State Department spokesperson pushed back against China’s criticism of the department’s new report, which says the Chinese government “systematically” prevents Americans from entering Tibet.

“This is a well-documented report,” Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said at a press briefing on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, adding “statistics were kept.”

The report, released on March 25, documents China’s outrageous attempts to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other officials; directly threatening to expel journalists; and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which China has brutally occupied for the past 60 years.

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TLD 2019

Momentum visible at Tibet Lobby Day 2019

March 27, 2019

If there’s one thing Tibet Lobby Day 2019 showed, it’s that there’s new and undeniable momentum in the effort to bring human rights and democratic freedoms to Tibet.

After a year in which the most important Tibet-related legislation in more than 15 years was signed into law, a larger-than-usual number of participants took part in the lobby day, which brought nearly 150 Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters from 24 states to Washington, DC on March 25 and 26, 2019.

In the nation’s capital, the participants met with members of Congress and their staff to request their support for programs and policies that help the Tibetan people.

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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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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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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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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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