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19th EU-China Summit: European Parliamentarians and NGOs call on President Tusk to raise the issue of Tibet

May 30, 2017

A rally by a coalition of NGOs urging the EU to raise the bleak human right situation in China will take place on June 2, 10.30 am – 12 pm at Schuman circle. The rally will include representatives from the Tibetan and Uyghur communities, the European Parliament, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and International Campaign for Tibet.

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ICT Inside Tibet: Tibetan New Year marked by security agenda; mass deployment of troops for prayer festival

March 7, 2017

The Chinese authorities used the Tibetan New Year (Losar) period last week, traditionally marked by devotional ceremonies, to focus on the security agenda of the Party state and warn of a continuing harsh fight against ‘separatism’, a politically charged term used to blame the Dalai Lama.

There was a major and intimidating deployment of military force at a prayer ceremony at Kumbum monastery, while in Lhasa regional leaders hosted a series of meetings in which monks and nuns were warned about the need to comply with Party policy, and – evidence of the strong Party and police presence in religious institutions – official delegations inspected ‘armed forces’ and cadres at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.

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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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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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counter terrorism cover

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

Special report by ICT & FIDHM

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ICT Inside Tibet: News and analysis of emerging developments in Tibet

November 8, 2016

  • Tibetan ‘Living Buddhas’ visit to Mao Zedong’s birthplace and military camp sends strong political signal of Party dominance
  • New alignment of Xinjiang and Tibet regional leadership in climate of intensified security, surveillance and ‘counter terror’
  • Report by Congressional-Executive Commission on China shows dramatic increase of Chinese in Tibetan areas linked to railway opening
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tashi wangchuk

Imprisoned Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk faces false ‘separatism’ charges

September 19, 2016

A Tibetan man imprisoned for his advocacy for Tibetan language depicted in a New York Times video interview still faces criminal charges, according to his lawyer, and police are pushing for a trial.

Tashi Wangchuk, 31, has been detained by police in his home area of Jyegudo (Chinese: Yushu) in Qinghai since January 27 (2016) following an interview with the New York Times on Tibetan culture and language, published as an article and video in November, 2015. He faces charges of ‘separatism’, although he has not advocated Tibetan independence, and has said that Tibet should have greater regional autonomy, especially in the issue of language, under Chinese governance. His lawyer, Liang Xiaojun said: “All he wants is to try to preserve Tibetan culture.”[1]

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New Party boss in Tibet Autonomous Region associated with hardline campaigns, anti-Dalai Lama struggle

September 2, 2016

  • A new Communist Party chief has taken over in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), using his first statement to underline the importance of the political ‘struggle’ against the Dalai Lama. Chinese official Wu Yingjie has spent almost his entire career in Tibet, unlike most of his predecessors, and is known for his involvement advancing hardline Party campaigns and crackdowns.
  • The appointment of the top Party boss in the region – a post that has never been held by a Tibetan – was announced following three high-level visits by Party leaders, including Yu Zhengsheng to the TAR in mid-August. The announcement, part of a reshuffle including the transfer of the outgoing TAR Party chief Chen Quanguo to Xinjiang, followed the highly secretive annual gathering of Party leaders at the seaside resort of Beidaihe in Hebei this summer.
  • Images have emerged of an intense military presence in Lhasa this week at the time of a religious festival controlled by the Chinese authorities.
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Snapshots from His Holiness’ Visit to Washington D.C.

June 28, 2016

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the International Campaign for Tibet’s Board Chairman Richard Gere discussed the Dalai Lama’s life experiences before a small, intimate gathering of ICT members on June 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

In one clip, you can see how His Holiness rejects the idea of religious terrorism and says that peace only comes through action, not prayer.

In the second clip, upon stepping on stage, His Holiness points to his room in the painting of the Potala Palace that served as the event’s backdrop—created by Tibetan contemporary artist Losang Gyatso.

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The ‘poisonous fruit’ of Tibet’s religious policy as China publishes ‘Living Buddha’ database

May 2, 2016

As China publishes its online database of Communist Party approved Tibetan Buddhist reincarnations, with more than 400 names added last week, a vibrant online debate among Chinese and Tibetan netizens has followed a scathing critique of policies on religion in Tibet focusing on the Party’s attempts to control reincarnation by a Tibetan scholar in the PRC.

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US Congress seal

11 Members of Congress Urge Secretary Kerry to Raise Cases of Tibetan Political Prisoners with Chinese Government

April 1, 2016

On March 31, 2016, as President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington, D.C., 11 Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him to raise the cases of three Tibetan political prisoners — Khenpo Karma Tsewang (also known as Khenpo Kartse), Lobsang Kunchok, and Thabkhe Gyatso—with the Chinese government.

The letter urged the United States “to raise their cases with the Chinese government, make every effort to obtain information about their whereabouts and health status, press for necessary medical treatment, and prioritize their release.”

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Nancy Pelosi makes unannounced visit to Tibet

November 12, 2015

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives and one of the most prominent supporters of the Dalai Lama worldwide, made an unannounced visit to Lhasa, Tibet, this week, meeting the Communist Party chief of the region.

Nancy Pelosi, who has been one of the most forceful critics of China’s policies and human rights record in Tibet, is leading a delegation of Congressional Democrats on a trip to China. The delegation has not yet made a statement about her visit or spoken to reporters, but prior to going into meetings today at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Ms. Pelosi said she had shared views on Tibet following her visit and hoped that “some of that conversation will be useful.”

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Sydney

Tibetan exiles participate in preliminary election for new leadership

October 20, 2015

The exile Tibetan communities around the world gathered on Sunday, October 18, 2015 to take part in the first stage of an election process that will determine the next Tibetan leadership in exile – including the Sikyong or Prime Minister and members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in exile. The elections are overseen by the Tibetan election Commission, an independent institution whose responsibilities includes supervising the elections and providing guidelines to the candidates as well as the voting public.

The Dalai Lama first introduced the democratic election system for the Tibetan Parliament in exile in 1960. Since 2002, Tibetans also began electing the Kalon Tripa or Chair of the Tibetan Cabinet. In 2011, after further developments in the devolution of political authority by the Dalai Lama to the elected leadership, the Kalon Tripa position was renamed as Sikyong. The current Sikyong, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, was elected in the 2011 general elections.

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State Department

US Governments highlights lack of religious freedom for Tibetans in its annual report

October 16, 2015

On October 14, 2015, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2014 Report on International Religious Freedom. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry stated: “The message at the heart of this report is that countries benefit when their citizens fully enjoy the rights to which they are entitled.” Kerry further urged “the release of men and women destined or imprisoned anywhere in the world for the peaceful expression and practice of their religious beliefs.”

The report’s section on Tibet states that in the TAR and other Tibetan areas, “authorities severely restricted religious freedom and engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries.”

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Tibetan writer released from prison after ten years

October 13, 2015

Tibetan writer Dolma Kyab was released from prison on October 8 after serving ten years and six months for ‘endangering national security’ for an unpublished book.

Dolma Kyab, who is 39, was released from Chushur (Chinese: Qushui) Prison in Lhasa on Thursday and taken back to his home town in the Tibetan area of Amdo, where he was welcomed by family and friends and draped with khatags (white blessing scarves).

Dolma Kyab, a well educated young Tibetan who did post-graduate study in Beijing and is highly respected among his peers, was arrested on March 9, 2005 in Lhasa, where he was teaching history at a middle school. He was tried in secret, and is believed to have been sentenced because of the ideas expressed on Tibet in his unpublished manuscript, written in Chinese and entitled ‘The Restless Himalayas’. A group of well-known Tibetan and Chinese writers wrote a letter calling for his release, but he served his full ten and a half year sentence prior to his release last week.

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Wave of solo peaceful protests in Ngaba: repression and further restrictions imposed

  • There has been a wave of solo peaceful protests in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), one of the most oppressive areas of Tibet, since an important political anniversary in August and the Dalai Lama’s birthday in July. The Tibetan monks and young women who have held their lone demonstrations have called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and freedom for Tibet. Several held up images of the exiled Tibetan religious leader or clasped their hands together in prayer.
  • Ngaba is the area where the self-immolations of Tibetans began in 2009, but it is notable that in a different pattern of protests, the young monks and women who demonstrated – and who have now disappeared – did not harm themselves.
  • Images have since reached ICT of stepped-up patrols of paramilitary police in riot gear on the streets of Ngaba county town, Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Amdo). The protesters’ actions are all the more striking given the political context; they know that the consequences of even mild expressions of dissent in Ngaba are likely to involve severe torture in custody and a possible prison sentence.
  • In nine protests since July, four were carried out by young women, with a further protest by a woman in her sixties. Four young monks from Kirti monastery in Ngaba carried out lone protests, with two of them having family connections to Tibetans who are already in prison.
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Major policy meeting on Tibet in buildup to sensitive anniversary

August 28, 2015

A major policy meeting on Tibet presided over by China’s top leader Xi Jinping concluded this week in Beijing, as security is tightened in Lhasa in advance of a political anniversary on September 1.

The Tibet Work Forum on August 24-25, setting out Tibet policy for the coming years, is the sixth such strategy meeting on Tibet to be held since the Chinese took over Tibet in 1949-50.

Attended by the entire Politburo, the Party leadership, the emphasis of the Work Forum was on ‘stability’, a political term associated with a dramatic expansion of military and police powers. According to the Chinese state media, the meeting also emphasized the struggle against ‘separatism’, above economic development, in contrast to the last Tibet Work Forum in January, 2010. The official Global Times reported: “Stressing that national unity, consolidating ethnic unity, and realizing long-term and comprehensive social stability should be regarded as the primary task for the region, Xi said that the country should “firmly take the initiative” in the fight against separatism, and adhere to the principle of governing Tibet under the rule of law.” (August 27, 2015, Global Times). The Chinese authorities state that the Dalai Lama is a prime cause of Tibetan ‘separatism’.

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Major troop movements in Tibet; hardline approach to Dalai Lama in key policy talks

August 12, 2015

  • Major troop movements, including tanks or heavy artillery in convoys of more than 200 vehicles, have been observed in different parts of Tibet in the buildup to the September 1 anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which will be attended by Chinese leaders from Beijing. The People’s Liberation Army held major live fire exercises this week led by the Chengdu military district that oversees Tibet and the border areas.
  • The importance of the Tibet issue at the highest levels in China was underlined by a meeting of the top Politburo led by Party Secretary Xi Jinping on July 30. The issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation was raised in the official media as a critical element of the PRC’s “sovereignty and national security”.
  • The formation of a powerful new central group for ‘United Front’ work – the Party department involved in dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives until talks stalled in January 2010 – is likely to indicate an upgrading of the department and a strengthening of control.
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