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Tibetan student in India self-immolates

July 14, 2017

A young Tibetan student in India set himself on fire today in the compound of his university in Varanasi, shouting ‘Victory for Tibet’.

Tenzin Choeying, aged around 20, survived but was badly burnt and is now in hospital, according to Tibetans and other eyewitnesses in Varanasi.

Tenzin Choeying doused himself with kerosene and set fire to himself at around 9 am in the entrance of a residential hall at the Central University for Tibetan Studies today, according to eyewitnesses.

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Images of Tibetan flag and tight security in Ngaba circulate online

July 14, 2017

A Tibetan flag was displayed briefly on July 12, 2017 from a building in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) from a street, which is being referred to by Tibetans as “Heroes” (or Martyrs) Street due to the high number of Tibetans who have self-immolated and demonstrated there.

Images and footage of the flag, which is banned in Tibet, circulated online, indicating a determination to send a message of resistance despite the crackdown in the area.

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European Parliament calls for the release of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and regrets that failure of the EU to deliver an Item 4 Statement at the UN’s Human Rights Council

July 7, 2017

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on July 6, 2017 calling on the Chinese government to immediately release the ailing Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and to seek medical treatment “wherever they wish”.

The resolution called “on the Chinese Government to release, immediately and unconditionally, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia from house arrest and allow him to obtain medical treatment wherever they wish.” It also urged “the Chinese authorities to allow Lui Xiaobo unrestricted access to family, friends, and legal counsel”.

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ICT Chairman Richard Gere visits Washington, D.C. to engage Members of Congress on Tibet; Attends observation of the Dalai Lama’s birthday on Capitol Hill

June 30, 2017

International Campaign for Tibet Board Chairman Richard Gere came down to Washington, D.C. for the third time this year to continue and deepen ICT’s engagement with Members of Congress on initiatives for Tibet, as well as to participate in a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday on Capitol Hill.

During this visit, which took place on June 27 and 28, 2017, Gere took the opportunity to brief the Members on the situation in Tibet, on the vision and efforts of the Dalai Lama to solve the Tibetan issue, and on the importance of continued United States support to the Tibetan people.

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Senator Feinstein asks China’s Global Times to retract its threat to UC San Diego for inviting Dalai Lama

June 22, 2017

Dianne Feinstein, the prominent and influential US Senator from California, said the recent Global Times editorial threatening the University of California San Diego and Chancellor Pradeep Khosla is unconscionable and asked it to retract the report earlier today (June 22, 2017). The Global Times is a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece and propaganda outlet.

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Congress calls on Trump Administration to implement statutory obligation by appointing a US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

June 22, 2017

As the Trump Administration prepares to name the next level of officials for the State Department, 37 members of Congress have written to President Trump reminding him of his statutory obligation, established under the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, to appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. The letter begins: “As members of the United States Congress, we write to urge you to appoint the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the US Department of State as soon as possible.”

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Mélanie Blondelle

UN Human Rights Council urged to call on China to grant independent and impartial access to Tibet

June 15, 2017

In a statement delivered at the 35th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, ICT’s Mélanie Blondelle, speaking on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR), expressed distress at the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet. She urged “the Council to call on China to grant independent and impartial monitors unfettered access to Tibet, as agreed to by China following its 2013 Universal Periodic Review”.

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Virginia Lt. Governor candidate reaches out to Tibetan Americans in the state

June 7, 2017

A candidate for Virginia’s Lt. Governor has issued a statement reaching out to the Tibetan-American community in Virginia. The race is reported to be especially tightly contested this year.

Gene Rossi, who is campaigning to be a Democratic candidate for the Lt. Governor race, has posted a statement on Facebook on June 6, 2017, in which he has said: “As Lt. Governor, I want to make sure we recognize the important contributions of our Tibetan-American neighbors. I look forward to inviting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit with us in Richmond, and plan to work with legislators to recognize a Tibet Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

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Tibetan Buddhist leader the Karmapa discusses climate change and Tibet Third Pole during first visit to UK

June 2, 2017

During his first visit to the UK from May 17 to 28, 2017, the Karmapa, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader, joined former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams together with scientists, scholars and cultural figures for a dialogue on the environment hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet and Inspire Dialogue Foundation.

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Young Tibetan monk becomes the 150th self-immolator in Tibet

May 23, 2017

A young Tibetan monk in Qinghai set fire to himself and died on Friday (May 19, 2017) in the 150th self-immolation by a Tibetan in People’s Republic of China since 2009.

Jamyang Losel, who was in his twenties, set fire to himself near the county hospital in Chentsa (Chinese: Jianzha) in Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai, according to Tibetan sources.

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ICT Inside Tibet: Use of “lie-detector” to test Communist Party members indicates escalation of control in Tibet

May 15, 2017

Officials in an area of eastern Tibet are being compelled to undergo a polygraph test, popularly known as a ‘lie-detector test,’ linked to an evaluation of their political loyalty to the CCP. The news, published in the state media, is evidence of a disturbing new level of intrusion into the private lives and thoughts of Tibetans, indicating the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia in the official sphere and the CCP’s insecurities over the erosion of its authority.

The state media report from Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) stated that the lie-detector test was being imposed in order to establish the “true feelings” of Party cadres in the region. While it stated that this is a matter of establishing their “psychological stability”, the priority of the authorities appears to be to ensure political loyalty to the CCP and compliance with CCP policy.

The introduction of lie-detectors to test even Communist Party officials represents an escalation of the CCP’s efforts to assert its dominance in a climate it has created of fear and mistrust. It is also an implicit acknowledgement that in the official sphere as well as in the wider society, many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama and maintain their strong sense of identity as Tibetans.

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UN human rights expert on poverty criticizes policies on “ethnic minorities”, and government obstruction to meaningful access to civil society in China

May 4, 2017

A United Nations human rights expert on poverty has criticized the Chinese government for exposing “ethnic minorities in China” to serious human rights challenges. In a newly published report on his country visit to China in August 2016, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, wrote that while the plights of Tibetans and Uighurs were “deeply problematic,” “most ethnic minorities in China are exposed to serious human rights challenges, including significantly higher poverty rates, ethnic discrimination and forced relocation”.

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U.S. Ambassador-Designate to China faces questions on Tibet and human rights at Senate confirmation hearing

May 2, 2017

On May 2, 2017, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to China and faced questions, including on Tibet and human rights.

In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said the U.S.-China relationship is one of the most consequential relationships for U.S. national interests. He added that we must be clear-eyed about China’s long-term goals, which are not necessarily aligned with U.S. national interests.

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Ros-Lehtinen

Representatives Jim McGovern and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Draw Attention to Tibet in U.S. House of Representatives

May 2, 2017

Representatives Jim McGovern (Democrat from Massachusetts) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican from Florida) spoke today in the House of Representatives to draw attention to the situation inside Tibet. Participating in the General Speeches period as the House began its session, they displayed a large portrait of the Dalai Lama, spoke about their support for the aspirations of the Tibetan people, the respect they have for the Dalai Lama, and about their work in the United States proactively promoting initiatives on Tibet.

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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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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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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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