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Tibet locked down and travellers banned during sensitive anniversary

Joint statement by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
January 27, 2017

Tour operators have announced the closure of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to tourists again next month, coinciding with the anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising in March 1959 and the related protests across Tibet in March 2008.

ICT’s President, Matteo Mecacci said: “This lockdown, taking place in an already restrictive political climate, has been imposed every year since 2008 but must not be accepted as ‘business as usual’. Chinese tourists travel in their millions across the world but foreigners are barred from seeing Tibet for themselves because of the Chinese Party’s counter-productive hardline security measures on the plateau. Foreign countries must call on China to abide to the principle of “reciprocity” and to stop limiting foreign and independent access to Tibet. This is unjustifiable and must be condemned.”

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tashi wangchuk

ICT calls for the immediate release of Tashi Wangchuk

January 19, 2017

Tashi Wangchuk, an advocate for Tibetan language education reportedly indicted on charges of separatism earlier this month, should be released immediately and all charges against him should be dismissed. Mr. Wangchuk is currently awaiting trial in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Prefecture in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (in Qinghai province). He has been detained since January 27, 2016, following the release of a New York Times video (“A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice”) profiling his attempts to request additional Tibetan language classes at schools in the Yulshul region. Chinese authorities have charged him with inciting separatism but have provided no evidence in support.

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Kalachakra

Tibetan pilgrims compelled to return from Dalai Lama teaching in Bodh Gaya, India; China calls the teaching ‘illegal’

January 9, 2017

ICT is at the Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya and will provide further updates this week

Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims have been compelled by the Chinese authorities to return to Tibet after travelling to India to attend a major teaching by the Dalai Lama that is underway in Bodh Gaya, a sacred Buddhist site, India, this week. This follows systematic measures in Tibet to prevent them travelling out of the country at all, even though many had spent years obtaining passports for legal travel.

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CNN Report – Tibet: Tensions on the Roof of the World

December 30, 2016

CNN reporter Matt Rivers was given permission to report from Lhasa in September 2016- the first time a CNN team has been given access to the Tibet Autonomous Region since 2006. In the story he filed, Rivers compares the Chinese-imposed isolation in Tibet to that of North Korea, and notes that government minders followed him constantly and recorded the responses Tibetans gave to his questions. In a rare moment free of official oversight, he spoke to a young Tibetan laborer who complained about Tibetans receiving substantially lower wages than their Chinese counterparts for the same work.

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Benjamin Gilman

Congressman Benjamin Gilman, friend of Tibet passes away

December 19, 2016

Former Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, a friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a long-time supporter of the Tibetan people, passed away in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on December 17, 2016. He was 94.

Benjamin Gilman represented New York’s 20th congressional district for more than 30 years. From 1995 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee (now renamed as House Foreign Affairs Committee) and from his position regularly convened policy discussions on Tibet and introduced or helped pass key landmark legislation relating to Tibet, working with his colleagues in the House Charlie Rose, Tom Lantos, John Porter, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, and others.

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ICT Welcomes European Parliament Urgency Resolution on Larung Gar Demolitions and Ilham Tohti

December 15

Brussels, 15 December 2016 – The European Parliament today adopted an urgency resolution on breaches of human rights, democracy, and rule of law in China, in which it urged the Chinese authorities to stop the dismantling at Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist academy.

This resolution follows the September visit of the Dalai Lama to the European Parliament where he met former President Schulz and addressed the Foreign Affairs Committee in Strasbourg calling on Europe to engage in ‘constructive criticism’ of China[1].

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Tibetans sentenced to long prison terms for involvement in Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration

December 15, 2016

Nine Tibetans have been handed sentences ranging from five to 14 years in prison for their involvement in celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last year. Several of the Tibetans sentenced on December 6 in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) have been imprisoned and tortured before, linked to the protests and self-immolations that have occurred in the area since 2008. Three senior Kirti monks, including a scholar close to the completion of his Geshe degree and the manager of the medical college at the monastery, received the longest sentences of between 12 and 14 years each. Tibetans had been held incommunicado for months without family or friends knowing their whereabouts, according to two Kirti monks in Dharamsala, India.

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Tibetan man heard calling for return of Dalai Lama as he sets fire to himself

December 9, 2016

A Tibetan man was heard calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet as he set fire to himself on December 8 and died in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) in Gansu, the Tibetan area of Amdo.

The Tibetan man, who has been named as Tashi Rabten, self-immolated on the same street of the county town where his relative, 20 year old Tsering Kyi, set fire to herself and died on March 3, 2012, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.[1] Video and images depicted a body engulfed in flames with a young boy looking on, and a woman standing nearby reciting prayers. A second video circulating on social media shows police arriving to take away the body.[2]

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Dr. Tenzin Dorjee

First Tibetan American to be appointed a Commissioner of the US International Religious Freedom Commission

December 8, 2016

In a historic first, Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, a Tibetan American, has been appointed as a Commissioner of the bipartisan US International Religious Freedom Commission. This federal government commission was created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

Dr. Dorjee is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University at Fullerton (CSUF).

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U.S. Congress passes groundbreaking legislation to fight the impunity of human rights abusers worldwide

December 8, 2016

Earlier today the U.S. Congress passed a groundbreaking human rights accountability bill aimed at acting as a deterrent to human rights abusers and corrupt officials worldwide. The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act expands the scope of the Magnitsky Act of 2012, which created targeted visa and financial sanctions on corrupt officials and human rights violators in Russia, to include the rest of the world.

A clause in the bill authorizes the U.S. President to form a list of foreign nationals whom he determines are responsible for acts of significant corruption or extrajudicial killings, torture, or other grave human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials.

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Penpa Tsering

Testimony of Mr. Penpa Tsering, Representative of the Dalai Lama to North America, to Congressional-Executive Commission on China on December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

Thank you for this opportunity to testify before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China regarding on our recommendations to the next United States Congress and Administration on human rights in Tibet. This is my first testimony before the United States Congress following my appointment as Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama to the Americas. Therefore, I would like to begin with offering the gratitude of the Tibetan people to the United States Congress for your consistent and strong support to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan issue.

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ICT Inside Tibet: Rare admission of psychological impact on troops involved in counter-terror, oppressive policies

December 5, 2016

A rare admission of psychological problems among police officers involved in implementing oppressive policies in the PRC, including trauma linked to the imposition of ‘stability maintenance’ and counter-terror policies, is made in a document obtained by ICT and published by a People’s Armed Police University College.

The document, published by the Department of Military Psychology at the college in Xian earlier this year,[1] expresses alarm at the dangers of long-term trauma, debilitating fear and anxiety and combat shock that arise from the policies of ‘stability maintenance’, which has involved the dramatic expansion of the powers of military and police in both Tibet and Xinjiang backed by grass roots propaganda work and electronic surveillance. “Studies have shown that during the normal carrying out of anti-terror and stability maintenance duties, psychological problems readily arise among officers,” the paper states, adding: “There is cruelty in the anti-terror struggle.”[2]

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Chinese troops in Tibet

Tibet Weekly Update – December 2, 2016

A listing of the top news developments in and around Tibet during the previous week.   Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia draws enormous crowds His Holiness the Dalai Lama spent four days in Mongolia in late November, prompting huge crowds at his public events. The Dalai Lama gave religious teachings, participated in a Buddhism and […]

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Testimony of Nyima Lhamo before the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament – 28 November 2016

November 28, 2016

My name is Nyima Lhamo and I am the niece of late Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. I was born in Kham Lithang in eastern Tibet. I am 26 years old and am the second born of five siblings. I have a six-year old daughter and her name is Dawa Dolma. My father Thupten Kalsang is no more. With my mother Dolkar Lhamo are elder sister Tenzin Palmo who has a nine-year old son and two younger brothers. My youngest sister has also passed away.

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Parliamentarians on Tibet Applaud Mongolia on Dalai Lama’s Visit

Statement by International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet
November 23, 2016

“The International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) welcomes the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Mongolia. We are pleased that the Mongolian Buddhists were able to receive teachings from the Dalai Lama, as they rightly should be able to do in a free country.

We applaud the Mongolian Government for enabling the Dalai Lama to make this pastoral visit. It is indeed encouraging to see that Mongolia is able to stand up for its values and that is certainly something that many of our own countries with Buddhist practitioners can and should emulate.”

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ICT Inside Tibet: Tightened controls before Kalachakra; new Chinese Interpol President

November 17, 2016

  • Tightened controls and fear as Dalai Lama teaching in India approaches: passports confiscated, Tibetans on pilgrimage warned
  • Chinese security official prominent in ‘counter-terror’ drive in Tibet is appointed Interpol President

Tightened restrictions before Dalai Lama teaching

The Chinese authorities have tightened controls on Tibetans, in some areas going from house to house to confiscate people’s passports, in the buildup to a major religious ceremony to be held by the Dalai Lama in the pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya, India.

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protest video

Two young Tibetan women stage peaceful demonstration with Dalai Lama image in Ngaba

November 16, 2016

Two young Tibetan women staged a bold and peaceful demonstration yesterday (November 15) in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county town. The two women were filmed walking calmly down the street, dressed in traditional Tibetan chubas, bearing photographs of the Dalai Lama aloft and calling “Long live the Dalai Lama!”

No information is yet known of the identity of the two Tibetan women, although footage is circulating online of their demonstration. Two Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala, India, said: “We have not heard from anyone who saw them being arrested, but we know that the local authorities in Ngaba have never ever spared any peaceful demonstrators in the streets since 2008. Even on the remote chance that they weren’t arrested at the time, armed forces would be deployed to hunt down those protesters. Tensions are still very high in Ngaba.”

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counter terrorism cover

Dangers of China’s counter-terrorism law for Tibetans and Uyghurs

Special report by ICT & FIDHM

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