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ICT writes to countries attending China’s Belt and Road Forum not to put trade before human rights issues

May 12, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet has written to governments in Europe that are sending delegates to China’s first Belt & Road Forum (BRF) not to put trade before human rights. The letter urged them to include the deteriorating human rights situation in China, and in particular in Tibet, in their bilateral talks with their Chinese counterparts, and to include references to human rights and the rule of law in any joint statement adopted at the summit.

The Belt and Road Forum, part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), will be held on May 14 and 15, 2017 in Beijing. It aims to put China at the center of global economic affairs and to expand links between it and countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. However, given China’s political situation, there is fear that this will lead to strengthening the effort of countries that put trade before human rights and respect for a community’s culture and environment.

“While this initiative might benefit some countries’ economic development, the international community has an equally important responsibility in ensuring that human rights are not sidelined in the face of economic interests and trade relations with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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Dalai Lama and Congressional Delegation

Leader Nancy Pelosi Remarks at Public Ceremony Hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Honor of Bipartisan Delegation Visit

May 10, 2017

Dharamsala, India – U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a ceremony hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang Temple in honor of the visit by a bipartisan Congressional delegation.

“What we see here today in support of the Tibetan people – we have said, as we stayed here – we have said to the top leadership of the Chinese Government. We recognize that China weighs heavily on any country, any corporation, any person – Richard Gere can attest to that – who speaks out for the Tibetan people. China uses its economic leverage to silence the voices of friends of Tibet. But if we do not speak out against oppression in Tibet because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world.

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Emmanuel Macron and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

ICT congratulates French President-elect Emmanuel Macron

May 8, 2017

On Sunday May 7, 66.10% of voters in the second round of the French Presidential elections voted in favor of Emmanuel Macron, who becomes the eighth and youngest French President.

“The International Campaign for Tibet would like to congratulate Mr. Emmanuel Macron for being successfully elected as the new French President. While ICT appreciates some of the efforts made by previous French governments on Tibet at the national, EU and UN levels, we call on President-elect Macron to amplify them and put human rights and the respect of the rule of law at the center of French relations with China,” said Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director based in Brussels.

Mr. Macron met the Dalai Lama during his last visit to France in September 2016. Soon after, Mr. Macron posted on his Twitter account a photo of the Dalai Lama offering him a khata with the following comment: “J’ai vu le visage de la bienveillance” (“I have seen the face of kindness”). According to an aide of Mr. Macron, this meeting has allowed an exchange of views on “…freedom of religion and the role of religion in our societies.”

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UHRP letter

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urged to respect participant’s freedom of expression

May 8, 2017

A group of NGOs, including the International Campaign for Tibet has demanded that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) demanded that “the rights of indigenous peoples’ representatives to express themselves in this arena be unconditionally respected.”

In a statement on the forced expulsion on April 26, 2016 of Uyghur human rights activist Dolkun Isa from the UN premises where the forum was being held, the NGOS called on the UNPFII Secretariat to provide a full account of the causes of this incident.

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Pelosi Dalai Lama

Leader Nancy Pelosi Leads Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Dharamsala

Part of trip to Asia & Europe focusing on national security, global economy, bilateral and multilateral relations, and human rights

May 5, 2017

A bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is visiting Dharamsala in India on May 9 and 10 to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration, and representatives of Tibetan civil society.

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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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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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