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Dalai Lama letter

Dalai Lama’s message to global climate summit shows need for urgent action in Tibet

December 6, 2018

As a native of one of the world’s most beautiful and endangered landscapes, the Dalai Lama has sent his prayers and advice to the largest annual global climate change summit.

“We have to take serious action now to protect our environment and find constructive solutions to global warming,” the Tibetan spiritual leader wrote in a message to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as the COP24 Climate Conference.

The event, taking place now in the Polish city of Katowice, has brought together delegates from nearly 200 countries to create a roadmap for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

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State Dept. supports reciprocal access to Tibet, and Congress rejects China’s authority to choose new Dalai Lama

December 4, 2018

The US Department of State supports the goals of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and will take steps to implement the bill if it becomes law, a department official said at a hearing today.

During the same hearing, a US Senator stated that Congress would reject a Chinese-appointed reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

“I think it’s clear that this Congress would not recognize a Chinese imposition” of a new Dalai Lama, said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who presided today, Dec. 4, 2018, over the hearing titled “The China Challenge, Part 3: Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.”

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The illegality of everything: China’s new campaign offers rewards for information on ‘illegal content’

December 3, 2018

In a nationwide campaign in China against so-called “illegal content,” Chinese authorities are offering rewards to those who inform on others suspected of reading or speaking about, for instance, foreign newspaper articles or broadcasts about Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Coinciding with the campaign, a series of graphic cartoons were distributed in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, including one of a closed fist smashing into two people marked with the Chinese characters for “black (illegal)” and “evil.” The Dalai Lama is characterized as a leader of such “evil forces” by the Chinese authorities.

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Palden Gyatso, Tibetan monk who was tortured and jailed for 33 years, passes away

November 30, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet mourns the loss of Ven. Palden Gyatso, who endured more than 30 years of torture and imprisonment in Chinese prisons and labor camps in Tibet and died today, Nov. 30, in Dharamsala, India, at the age of 85.

The Dalai Lama described Palden’s life as “one of the most extraordinary stories of suffering and endurance,” saying that he was “an inspiration to us all.”

“Individuals like Palden Gyatso,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a foreword to Palden’s book “Fire Under the Snow,” “reveal that the human values of compassion, patience and a sense of responsibility for our own actions that lie at the core of spiritual practice still survive. His story is an inspiration to us all.”

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ICT launches debate in Europe on reciprocity and access to Tibet

November 26, 2018

BRUSSELS — At a conference it helped organize last week inside the European Parliament on November 21, 2018, the International Campaign for Tibet led a discussion on the need for Europe to expand the notion of reciprocity—which is often invoked by European leaders as a key principle in economic and trade relations with China—to ensure the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and to promote unfettered access to Tibet.

The conference, “Access to Tibet and the Practice of Reciprocity,” which was organized in collaboration with International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), followed the publication in May of an ICT report revealing China’s strategies of weaponizing access to Tibet in order to prevent international scrutiny of its human rights abuses there.

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Tibetan man calls for Dalai Lama’s long life as he sets himself on fire

November 8, 2018

A young Tibetan man named Dorbe set himself on fire on Nov. 4 in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), Amdo, saying “May the Dalai Lama live long! May we soon behold his golden countenance!” before he died.

Images that emerged depicted the young Tibetan man beside a nomad tent in traditional Tibetan dress.

According to Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshe, two Kirti monks in exile in India who passed on the news of the self-immolation, Dorbe was 23 and from Jakorma (Chinese: Xiakunma) village in the pastoral Choejema (Chinese: Qiujima) township of Ngaba county in present-day Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province. Ngaba is the area where the wave of Tibetan self-immolations began. Dorbe had been living at the house of his uncle. The Kirti monks said that no further details were known, due to intense restrictions on information flow in the area and grave dangers for Tibetans in speaking to those in exile.

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As China faces critical UN review, its appalling human rights record must not become the new normal

November 5, 2018

Washington/Geneva – As the Chinese government is scrutinized at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, the international community needs to challenge China’s appalling human rights record and prevent it from becoming the new normal, the International Campaign for Tibet said today.

“In its own country, the Chinese government is systematically violating the most basic standards of human rights, and it seeks to weaken those rights in the international discourse. China undermines the work of international rights bodies, denies access, seeks to restrict civil society globally and exports its authoritarian model to countries susceptible to such tendencies,” said Kai Mueller, Head of UN advocacy for ICT and Executive Director of ICT Germany.

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Larung Gar

Prayer festival cancelled amid tightening control at famous Tibetan Buddhist institute

October 25, 2018

Chinese officials have canceled the prayer festival of Dechen Shedrub at the famous Larung Gar institute in eastern Tibet, according to an official notice stating that there would be no more large religious gatherings held there. Religious teachings at Larung Gar, the world’s largest center of Tibetan Buddhist study and ethics, used to attract thousands of Chinese and Tibetan devotees as well as visitors from all over the world. The announcement of the ban states that Larung Gar is a place for religious study rather than religious practice, and that devotees from other areas are not welcome there.

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Video footage shows attack on Tibetans protesting arrival of Chinese work team in grasslands

October 19, 2018

Video footage has emerged of Tibetans being attacked after protesting the intrusion of a Chinese work team into a grassland area of Amdo (Qinghai) to set up a solar panel installation. The footage, received by Radio Free Asia Tibetan service, shows one of the Tibetans being dragged by a truck before being left injured on the ground.

The incident occurred on October 11 when Chinese work crews arrived in Choeje village in the Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Chabcha (Chinese: Gonghe) county, according to a source and reported by Radio Free Asia (October 17, Tibetan Land Protesters Attacked, Beaten in Qinghai).

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Supporters of reciprocal access to Tibet take their message to Senate offices on special Lobby Day

United States Senate offices on Capitol Hill and across the country were buzzing on Wednesday as supporters of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act came out en masse to lobby for the bill. The special Lobby Day organized by the International Campaign for Tibet brought together ICT members, Tibetan associations and other activists who urged […]

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Brave solo protests show Tibetans’ remarkable courage and steadfast loyalty to the Dalai Lama

October 11, 2018

  • Peaceful solo protests last month by three monks in the Tibetan region of Amdo who have now disappeared are the most recent occurrences of an act of remarkable courage that has become a trend in eastern Tibet since around 2014. This trend seems linked to a wish by protestors to make a strong statement about freedom and loyalty to the Dalai Lama without undertaking the more extreme act of self-immolation.
  • Most of the solo protests documented by the International Campaign for Tibet have occurred in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), Sichuan, since 2014—the same area where the wave of self-immolations began in 2009 when Tapey, a monk of Kirti Monastery, set himself on fire. Not only were most of the self-immolations carried out in the same county town, but also in the same road—which has come to be known as Heroes, or Martyrs, Street—by monks from the same monastery.
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Three Tibetan monks in Ngaba hold peaceful protests in a resurgence of solitary demonstrations

September 25, 2018

  • Three monks in Ngaba, where the wave of self-immolations began in Tibet, have staged solo protests this month, that became prominent in 2014-5.
  • Some of those monks sentenced for the same solo protests, which have often involved the demonstrator carrying a photograph of the Dalai Lama, are now being released. But according to two Kirti monks in exile, village police stations are then taking them back into detention for a week or so for ‘re-education’.

On September 5 (2018), Dorje Rabten, aged about 23, staged a public protest in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county town, shouting pro-Tibet slogans, according to Kanyag Tsering and Lobsang Yeshe, from the Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala, India. Dorjee Rabten, a monk of Kirti Monastery in Tibet, was arrested by police and is now in detention. He is from Me’uruma township.

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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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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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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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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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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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Yabshi Takster

Former home of Dalai Lama’s parents demolished in Lhasa

July 30, 2018

  • The former home of the parents of the Dalai Lama, one of the largest and most important of the few remaining historic buildings in Lhasa, has been demolished and a new concrete structure is being built in its place.
  • The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed within weeks of Lhasa’s protection being discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO from June 24.

The Yabshi Taktser residence was close to the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama lived until his escape from Tibet in 1959. It had a particular significance as the home of the late parents of the Dalai Lama. Over many years, the building was neglected and had fallen into a state of disrepair. Tibetans were afraid to recommend maintenance or renovation work because of the building’s association with the Dalai Lama, according to expert sources.

The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed two months before Lhasa’s protection was discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO, beginning June 24.

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