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Sens. Sanders and Gardner cosponsor Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, signaling strong support for its approval this year

November 14, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act continues to gain steam with United States Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) cosponsoring the bill, signaling strong support for it to be approved in the Senate and signed into law before 2018 ends.

Sanders, considered a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and Gardner, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee as well as the Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cosponsored the bill on Nov. 13, the first day Congress was back at work following the midterm elections.

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China’s false denials at UN human rights council must be challenged, ICT says

November 6, 2018

The Chinese government aggressively denied its human rights violations during today’s Universal Periodic Review of its record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite China’s false claims, a number of countries rightly pointed out China’s systematic abuse of basic freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang, among other serious concerns.

“The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is deeply concerned by the responses of the Chinese government during today’s UN hearing,” said Kai Mueller, head of ICT’s UN advocacy team and executive director of ICT Germany. “It should be clear to everyone that this was not just about the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs or Chinese human rights defenders, but also about promoting to the world the Chinese system, which quite obviously discards human rights and the rule of law,”.

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Lodi Gyari

Lodi Gyari, a lifetime of service to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people

October 29, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet is deeply saddened by the passing of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and wishes to express our condolences to his family and all those who knew him.

Mr. 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 today, October 29, 2018 in San Francisco. He was 69.

Mr. Gyari was a seasoned and skilled diplomat who spent the majority of his professional career working directly for and on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was an impassioned advocate for the Tibetan people, universal human rights and global democratic reform.

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Special Lobby Day on October 17 will combat China’s efforts to block Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

October 16, 2018

With the clock quickly ticking down before the United States Senate departs for the end of the legislative year, the International Campaign for Tibet will hold an urgent Lobby Day this Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The action comes in response to China’s efforts to stop the Senate from passing the bill, as documented by The Washington Post.

Participants will call on their Senators to cosponsor and support the bill through in-person meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and in Senate state offices across the nation. They will also reach out to their Senators through online advocacy.

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ICT welcomes the establishment of Parliamentary groups on Tibet in France and in the Czech Republic

October 15, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes the recent establishment of two parliamentary groups on Tibet in France and the Czech Republic, an important sign of the continuous support for the Tibetan people in Europe.

The new Czech Parliamentary Group for Tibet, which was created at the initiative of Dana Balcarová (Pirate Party) and Marek Benda (Civic Democratic Party) in September, was officially launched this week, coinciding with the visit to Prague of the Central Tibetan Administration’s President Lobsang Sangay. It brings together over fifty representatives from both Chambers of the Czech Parliament, making it the largest parliamentary group for Tibet in Europe.

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US China commission calls for reciprocal access to Tibet, dialogue between China and Dalai Lama

October 10, 2018

United States lawmakers and the Trump Administration should push for reciprocal access to Tibet and renewed dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama’s representatives, according to a new report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC).

The commission’s Annual Report 2018, released today, documents the deteriorating human rights situation inside China—including in Tibet, a historically independent nation that China annexed in the 1950s.

The report was discussed at a press conference today in the US Congress led by the commission’s chairs, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).

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ICT report uses satellite images to reveal prison state in Tibet’s capital

October 4, 2018

On one side is a luxury hotel with a pyramid design and the word “Paradise” in its title.

On the other side, there’s hell on earth: a prison where Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople are tortured and sexually abused.

It’s the perfect illustration of China’s double-edged drive to remake Lhasa, Tibet’s ancient capital, into a dream tourist destination while using nightmarish police tactics to crush the Tibetan people.

And it’s just one of several startling images in the International Campaign for Tibet’s new report, “China’s Control State in Lhasa.”

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US House passes Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

September 25, 2018

In a major development on the status of Tibet and US-China relations, the US House of Representatives passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act on September 25, 2018.

The bipartisan bill promotes access to Tibet for United States officials, journalists, NGOs and citizens. Under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, the Chinese officials who deny Americans entry to Tibet will be denied entry to the US.

“Today is a great day for human rights,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass), who introduced the legislation alongside Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.). “The United States must continue to stand squarely for human rights and speak openly against China’s human rights violations in Tibet.”

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Dalai Lama to take part in conversation with Richard Gere to honor ICT’s 30 years of service

September 14, 2018

The Dalai Lama, who arrived today in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on the second leg of his European trip, will take part in a conversation with International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere on Sept. 16, 2018 about how ICT can continue to advance the Dalai Lama’s work.

The discussion is part of the 30th anniversary events of ICT, which was established on March 15, 1988 to support the Tibetan people and the vision of the Dalai Lama.

Over the past three decades, ICT has made significant contributions as a champion of human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. The ICT community, now over 100,000 strong and spread across the United States and Europe, is a vibrant collection of individuals who are not only an effective support base for the people of Tibet, but also a powerful voice for resolving conflicts through dialogue instead of violence. Having started with just one office in Washington, DC, today ICT also has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels.

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New European Parliament Report Calls on China to Review its Policies in Tibet, Asks EU to Raise the Issue of Access

September 12, 2018

Brussels – The European Parliament, at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, adopted a new report on EU-China relations that urges China to review its policies in Tibet and review and amend laws, regulations and measures passed in recent years that severely limit the exercise of civil and political rights of Tibetans. It further urges the EU institutions to take the issue of access to Tibet into serious consideration in the discussions on the EU-China visa facilitation agreement

The report, which was prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bastiaan Belder (ECR, Netherlands) and was passed by 530 votes to 53 with 55 abstentions, gives a rather detailed and in-depth overview of the state of EU-China relations. It tackles issues such as trade exchanges, China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 16+1 format, digital surveillance, climate change and sustainable development and the human rights situation in the country, and urges the European Union to rebalance its relationship with China, and to press Beijing to improve the overall human rights situation, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.

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Escaped political prisoner tells ICT that repression in Tibet has gotten worse

September 5, 2018

“Basically, under the Chinese Communist authoritarian rule, under [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, the situation has become much worse.”

That’s how Golok Jigme, a Tibetan activist and former political prisoner, described the current state of his homeland during a recent interview with the International Campaign for Tibet. Video of the interview can be seen below.

Jigme, who fled Chinese-occupied Tibet in 2014 after surviving imprisonment and torture, visited ICT’s headquarters in Washington, DC this summer. He was in town for the US State Department’s first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, during which US Vice President Mike Pence praised Jigme by name.

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UN experts urge China to prevent discrimination against Tibetans, Uyghurs and other ethnic groups

August 30, 2018

Geneva – United Nations experts on racial discrimination today urged the Chinese government to review policies and laws that discriminate against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made this recommendation in its concluding observations from its review of China at a hearing last month in Geneva. The committee issued a number of recommendations while highlighting torture and ill-treatment against ethnic groups, the use of anti-terror and anti-separatism laws to stifle dissent and the diminishing space for civil society in China. The committee also issued detailed recommendations with regard to the human rights of Mongols, Tibetans and Uyghurs.

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Senator John McCain, friend of the Tibetan people, passes away

August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain, a sincere supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, passed away on August 24, 2018. He was 81.

“I offer my condolences to you and all the members of your family at this sad time,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain, the Senator’s widow.

“I had the pleasure of meeting your husband in 2008 in Aspen after long admiring his many years of dedicated service to the American people,” the Dalai Lama added.“I appreciated his genuine concern for democracy, human rights and the environment in general and particularly in Tibet, for which I remain grateful.”

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Chinese court’s decision to uphold Tashi Wangchuk’s prison sentence is a travesty of justice, ICT says

August 23, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet today said that a Chinese court’s decision to reject the appeal of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk is a travesty of justice—and that Wangchuk should be released immediately.

On August 23, 2018, Wangchuk’s lawyer, Liang Xiaojun, announced via social media that the Qinghai Higher People’s Court had rejected “both the argument from Tashi Wangchuk himself and the defending statement from the lawyers.”

The court document stating that Wangchuk’s appeal had been denied is dated July 30, 2018. Xiaojun said the ruling was announced in the Yushu City Detention Center on August 13 and that Wangchuk’s “family was not allowed to hear the sentence.”

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ICT urges UNESCO to look into the destruction of Dalai Lama’s parents’ home in Tibet

August 21, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet has asked for information from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) about the destruction of the historic home of the Dalai Lama’s parents in Tibet.

In a letter addressed to Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, head of ICT’s UN Advocacy Team and Executive Director of ICT Germany Kai Mueller draws attention to ICT’s report on the demolition of Yabshi Taktser, the former residence of the Dalai Lama’s now-deceased parents.

Yabshi Taktser had been one of the most important sites in Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, but earlier this year, the building was reportedly demolished, with a new, concrete structure rising in its place.

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International Campaign for Tibet’s oral statement at the UN CERD 96th session in Geneva on August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Following is the statement by the International Campaign for Tibet at the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD) session in Geneva, which was delivered by ICT Germany Executive Director Kai Mueller on August 7, 2018. This CERD session began on August 6 and it will consider China’s state report on August 10, 2018. ICT submitted a report to CERD on China’s policy towards Tibetans.

The International Campaign for Tibet wishes to draw attention to discriminatory policies, regulations and measures, as well as to discriminatory public narratives against Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.

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. Official Chinese propaganda 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. In this context, I would like to mention the introduction of a so-called “Serfs Emancipation Day” in 2009.

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Rowell Fund for Tibet to receive application for 2019 Grant Cycle

August 6, 2018

The Rowell Fund for Tibet seeks to support Tibetans who can make a significant contribution to their community and/or an international audience in the fields of visual arts and media, and environmental and women’s rights.

Grants applications are invited from Tibetans for the Rowell Fund for Tibet’s 2018-19 grant cycle for projects that focus on the following themes: Environment/Conservation; Photography; Humanitarian Projects; Journalism/Literature; or Women’s projects.

The application form is now available for download. Application materials will be accepted between September 1, 2018 and October 15, 2018 (midnight Eastern Standard Time).

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VP Pence and Golok Jigme

Vice President and Secretary of State meet Tibetan activist, discuss China’s human rights violations

July 26, 2018

The aspirations of the Tibetan people were heard at the highest levels of the United States government this week when a well-known Tibetan activist was among a select group of survivors of religious persecution who met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Golok Jigme, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was jailed and tortured by Chinese authorities for speaking out against their oppressive rule in Tibet, talked with the two American leaders in the sidelines of the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. The three-day event in Washington D.C. was a first-of-its-kind gathering of elected officials, international organizations, religious leaders and civil society members to advocate for greater religious freedom around the globe.

Jigme told Pence and Pompeo that the people of Tibet—a historically independent nation that China has occupied for nearly 70 years—are prevented from receiving teachings from the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, Tibetans can be punished simply for having portraits of the Dalai Lama.

Jigme urged Pence to encourage China’s leadership to work with the Dalai Lama to resolve the Tibetan issue and allow the Tibetan people to have true religious freedom.

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