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Yabshi Takster

Former home of Dalai Lama’s parents demolished in Lhasa

July 30, 2018

  • The former home of the parents of the Dalai Lama, one of the largest and most important of the few remaining historic buildings in Lhasa, has been demolished and a new concrete structure is being built in its place.
  • The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed within weeks of Lhasa’s protection being discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO from June 24.

The Yabshi Taktser residence was close to the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama lived until his escape from Tibet in 1959. It had a particular significance as the home of the late parents of the Dalai Lama. Over many years, the building was neglected and had fallen into a state of disrepair. Tibetans were afraid to recommend maintenance or renovation work because of the building’s association with the Dalai Lama, according to expert sources.

The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed two months before Lhasa’s protection was discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO, beginning June 24.

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ICT Completes 30 Years of Service to the Tibetan People and Receives Video Message of Support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama

March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018 marks the 30th year of the International Campaign for Tibet’s service to the Tibetan people and we are marking the occasion releasing a strong message of support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama providing us with a roadmap on our future direction. On this occasion, we launch a new logo that encapsulates our past work as well as our preparation for future challenges.

In March 1988, the International Campaign for Tibet was established in Washington, D.C. to support the Tibetan people and the vision of H.H. the Dalai Lama. For us the 30th anniversary is not a celebration but a time to honor the dedication and support shown to the people of Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama through the dedication of our membership, Members of Congress, successive U.S. administrations and friends from all over the world.

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New fears for historic structure of Jokhang temple after major fire, as China covers up extent of damage

March 12, 2018

  • There is still no clarity over the extent of the damage caused by a major fire at the sacred Jokhang Temple in Lhasa on the second day of Tibetan New Year, February 17, largely due to China’s imposition of restrictions on the flow of information. There are now new fears that the authorities are engaged in inappropriate repair work to the historic structure – a UNESCO World Heritage site – in order to cover up the damage, which is likely to be extensive, based on assessment by experts of post-fire video footage and stills.
  • An apparent delay of half an hour in fighting the fire has not been explained, given that China told the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in December that the Jokhang Temple has its own fire brigade, based 24 hours at the building, “for the safety and protection of cultural relics.”
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US Members of Congress Introduce Resolutions to Commemorate Tibet’s 1959 Uprising as “Tibetan Rights Day”

February 15, 2018

Today, Senators Leahy (D), Feinstein (D), and Cruz (R) and Representatives McGovern (D) and Hultgren (R), introduced companion resolutions to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan Uprising as “Tibetan Rights Day” on March 10, and to support the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The resolutions recall that on March 10, 1959 the people of Lhasa rose to protect the residence of the Dalai Lama, fearing for his life, and that an estimated 87,000 were later killed during the ensuing violent crackdown orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore, the resolutions recalls that March 10, 2018 is also the tenth anniversary of the 2008 protests that started in Lhasa and then spread across the Tibetan plateau, which were brutally suppressed by Chinese authorities. At least 152 Tibetans have self-immolated inside the PRC in protest against Chinese rule since then.

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Hearing on U.S. Tibet policy hosted by Committee on Foreign Affairs, December 6

December 5, 2017

Richard Gere, Chair of the International Campaign for Tibet, will testify Wednesday, December 6 before the United States Congress on U.S. Tibet policy, hosted by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service, Radio Free Asia and Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy, will also testify at the hearing.

The Hearing is being held at a critical moment for evaluation of U.S. government Tibet policy following President Trump’s visit to China, where he failed to speak publicly about human rights and Tibet. It follows the introduction of a bipartisan Concurrent Resolution to the Senate on November 16, 2017 asking the Trump Administration to make Tibet an important factor in US-China relations, and calling upon the Trump Administration to fully implement the US Tibetan Policy Act, to promote access of US citizens to Tibet, and to encourage China to speak to the Dalai Lama leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.

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Major religious festival cancelled and new police checkpoints at Larung Gar

November 3, 2017

  • A major religious festival, the prayer gathering Dechen Shedrub, has been cancelled at Larung Gar institute despite earlier assurances that it would go ahead, according to Tibetan sources. The new development follows the demolition of monastic residences, expulsion of thousands of monks and nuns and the imposition of direct Communist Party control at one of the world’s leading Buddhist institutes in Serthar (Chinese: Serta), Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan.
  • Checkpoints have been set up on the approach to Larung Gar, indicating the tightened security following the wave of demolitions and the appointment of Chinese Communist Party members to key positions at the institute, the world’s largest center of Buddhist study and ethics, according to new information received by the International Campaign for Tibet.
  • Recent construction work confirms that the Chinese authorities are using the development of tourism as a tool to counter cultural resilience and monastic influence, as the CCP seeks to impose more stringent restrictions in its stated aim of ‘Sinicizing religion’, emphasized at the 19th Party Congress and following the imposition of new religious regulations across the PRC.
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China’s revised religious regulations threaten survival of Tibetan Buddhism

September 18, 2017

  • Revised Chinese government regulations on religion consolidate far-reaching powers of the Communist Party state over people’s lives and beliefs, and are a further threat to the continued survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.
  • The revised rules on religious activity, issued by the Chinese State Council on September 7, 2017, conflate peaceful religious practice with ‘threats’ to China’s security, creating a more dangerous political environment for monks, nuns, and lay Buddhists, isolating them further from their counterparts outside China.
  • According to a newly revised provision of the regulation – and in an apparent attempt to use religion to achieve political goals of the Communist Party – religious groups are now bound to practice “core socialist values.”
  • The Chinese state media also announced a focus on the ‘Sinicization’ of religion, stating: “The direction of religions is to integrate them with Chinese culture” (Global Times, September 7, 2017). The Buddhist community is one of the main targets of ‘Sinicization’ of religion, which represents a more far-reaching effort to mould and shape Tibetan Buddhism to the diktats of the Chinese Communist Party in line with a more entrenched regulatory framework that has already deepened religious oppression over the last decade.
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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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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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counter terrorism cover

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

Special report by ICT & FIDHM

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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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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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