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China’s claims about easing Tibet travel are an insufficient response to Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

January 11, 2019

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’s two lead sponsors in Congress have challenged the Chinese government to show through concrete action that it is opening up Tibet to the outside world.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were reacting to reports in Chinese state media from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa that China was changing its policy regarding access to Tibet, a historically independent country that China has occupied for 70 years.

A China Daily report on Jan. 10, 2019 says, “Overseas tourists will find it easier and faster to apply for a travel permit to Tibet this year as the regional government makes efforts to boost tourism.”

In response, Sen. Rubio tweeted on Jan.11, 2019: “Seems the new Reciprocal Access to #Tibet law has gotten the attention of the Chinese Gov’t. Time will tell if they open up Tibet & stop brutally repressing the Tibetan people.”

Rubio also had a message for the Trump Administration. His tweet said, “In the meantime, @StateDept should swiftly implement the bill.”

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ICT hails passage of Asia Reassurance Initiative Act that references Tibet

January 2, 2019

The International Campaign for Tibet applauds the passage of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (S.2736) by the United States Congress. The Act was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 31, 2018 and includes a reference to Tibet.

The Act, known as ARIA, aims to “develop a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United States policy for the Indo-Pacific region.” It says, “The United States has a fundamental interest in defending human rights and promoting the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Act includes a reference to supporting “activities preserving cultural traditions and promoting sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities” in the region. The Act expresses grave concerns with Chinese actions that seek to further constrain space for civil society within China and to undermine a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

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ICT responds to Chinese ministry’s distortions on US Tibet legislation

Statement by Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet

December 15, 2018

“The Chinese Government’s reaction on Dec. 14, 2018 to the passing of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act is a gross distortion of Congress’ intention to give Americans the same rights of access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the US. In fact, as revealed by the Washington Post on Oct. 11, 2018, the Chinese government “interfered” in the American legislative process when it wrote to some Senators urging them not to support the bill.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act is about Americans getting the same rights from China that the US accords to Chinese visiting this country.”

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Mourning the loss of George H.W. Bush, first President to meet the Dalai Lama

December 3, 2018

President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on Nov. 30, 2018, was the first American President to meet with the Dalai Lama, paving the way for successive Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama to follow.

George H.W. Bush and the Dalai Lama met on April 16, 1991, during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Washington, D.C. Although the Dalai Lama started visiting the United States in 1979, during the time of President Jimmy Carter, it took 11 years for an American President to receive him.

Recalling this, the Dalai Lama told President George W. Bush, in a condolence message on Dec. 1, 2018, “I am saddened by the passing away of your father, President George H.W. Bush. I offer my profound condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

November 28, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act passed another milestone today, Nov. 28, 2018, when it was unanimously approved by the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Act, which the House of Representatives passed in September, aims to end China’s isolation of Tibet and the Tibetan people from the outside world by calling on the Chinese government to allow American journalists, diplomats and tourists into Tibet, just as their Chinese counterparts are able to travel in the US.

“The unanimous support expressed today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) once again reflects the widespread concern of the American people for the situation inside Tibet and for the lack of access for US citizens,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet. “We wish to thank in particular the main sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Sen. Rubio, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the SFRC, Sen. Corker and Sen. Menendez, for their steadfast and principled stance in support of reciprocity in US-China relations.”

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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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