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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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Tibetan leaders and supporters gather in Washington D.C., Brussels, and Canberra for Tibet Lobby Day

March 24, 2017

Hundreds of Tibetan leaders and Tibet supporters from all over the United States, Europe, and Australia are gathering in Washington, Brussels and Canberra to urge their governments and Parliaments to increase their support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. Tibet Lobby Day will take place on March 27-29.

In Washington, over a hundred and thirty Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters will meet for the ninth annual Tibet Lobby Day, and will ask Members of Congress to continue to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people, to continue funding of Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, promote access to Tibetan areas for US officials, journalists, citizens and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet.

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China and Tibet in focus at Human Rights Council despite changing environment

March 21, 2017

As the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is coming to an end on March 24, the human rights situation in Tibet and China has once more been in the focus of civil society organizations and concerned governments. While facing a changing environment due to potential policy shifts of the U.S. government with regard to the Human Rights Council, advocates for human rights in the People’s Republic of China and also Tibet, among them the International Campaign for Tibet, sent a joint letter to Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, asking governments to sustain the call for accountability of the Chinese Government by making a joint statement, and by coordinating national statements, at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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Statement by the TEOM on their follow up visit on the 2016 Tibetan elections in exile

March 14, 2017

Tibetan Election Observation Mission Encouraged by Tibetan NGOs strong Engagement in the Democratic Process

The Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) returned to Dharamsala to follow up on their election observation mission conducted last year, and present the recommendations in their report on the 2016 Tibetan Elections in exile.

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ICT Joins in Commemoration of Tibetan Uprising Day Anniversary

March 13, 2017

Tibetans and Tibet supporters all over the world marked the 58th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule on March 10. The Tibetan Parliament and Cabinet leaders spoke at a function in Dharamsala (with Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol, Italy, as the chief guest) that was also attended by ICT President Matteo Mecacci. In his statement, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay declared that 2017 would be a year of campaign for Tibet.

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Shadow of dust across the sun: how tourism is used to counter Tibetan cultural resilience

March 13, 2017

Video footage of nuns weeping as they are expelled in convoys of buses while their wooden huts are demolished has drawn global attention to the extent of a crackdown at the world-famous Buddhist institute of Larung Gar in eastern Tibet.

A new report by ICT, ‘Shadow of Dust across the Sun’, reveals how the demolitions and expulsions at Larung Gar and Yachen Gar in the past six months are part of an unfolding political strategy involving more aggressive measures in order to curb and manage the growing influence and number of monks and nuns at these important monastic centers of study and Buddhist ethics in eastern Tibet, the largest such institutes in the world.

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March 10

Members of Congress Express Solidarity with Tibetans on National Uprising Day Anniversary

March 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today released this statement in observance of Tibetan Uprising Day, which commemorates resistance to occupation by Chinese government forces in Tibet on March 10, 1959:

“Each March 10th, we honor the determination of those who stood against the Chinese government’s brutal attack on Tibetans during the Lhasa Uprising. These people of faith, propelled by the longing to preserve their religion and culture stood defiant in the face of oppression. Refusing to be silenced by violence; they cried out for their just cause. And, around the world, we heard them and continue to hear their cause today.

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Rabi Ray, Tibet Supporter and Friend of ICT Passes Away

March 8, 2017

Mr. Rabi Ray, a noted Indian political leader and former speaker of the Indian Parliament, passed away on March 6, 2017 in India. He was a true friend and supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.

Mr. Rabi Ray involved himself with several Tibet-related organizations in India, including heading the India -Tibet Friendship Society. He was also a member of the International Campaign for Tibet’s International Council of Advisors.

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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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State Department

China Strictly Curtailed Rights of the Tibetans in 2016 says State Department Human Rights Report

March 3, 2017

The State Department’s latest human rights report said China engaged in “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of the Tibetan population.” The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, released on March 3, 2017 said these rights included “ the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly, and movement” and that these were curtailed “under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, combating separatism, and extracting natural resources.” The report further said, China “routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai [Lama] clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating instability.”

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Gelek Rimpoche

ICT Mourns the Passing of Tibetan Buddhist Scholar Gelek Rimpoche

February 15, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet was saddened to learn of the passing away of Gelek Rimpoche, a Buddhist scholar and an eminent master. In a message to Mrs. Colleen Smiley and to members of Jewel Heart (the organization Rimpoche established), ICT President Matteo Mecacci offered our heartfelt condolences.

Rimpoche was renowned for his scholarship, both within the Buddhist community and the broader society. He was a friend of the International Campaign for Tibet, having been kind enough to be on our Advisory Board and taking time whenever possible to provide counsel to us.

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ICT Chairman Richard Gere discusses Tibet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

February 9, 2017

Richard Gere, Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, met with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on February 9, 2017 and discussed the situation in Tibet. Gere updated the Chancellor on recent developments in Tibet and spoke about ways in which the international community could help mitigate the plight of the Tibetan people.

Gere is in Germany for the Berlin Film Festival where his latest film, “The Dinner” will premiere.

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China should not be allowed to interfere with US academic freedom

February 6, 2017

International Campaign for Tibet statement on Chinese students objection to UC San Diego’s invitation to the Dalai Lama

The objections raised by the University of California, San Diego chapter of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) about the University’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to be its commencement speaker this year are without merit, and instead raise important issues of academic freedom in the United States.

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State Department

Secretary Tillerson says he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama

February 1, 2017

In response to written questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who received Senate’s confirmation as Secretary of State on February 1, 2017, has said that he will commit to encourage dialogue on Tibet and to receive the Dalai Lama.

Secretary Tillerson also expressed concern for the restrictions imposed by China on reporters, civil society actors, diplomats and others in accessing to Tibet, for the denial of visas to foreign journalists and the limitations to freedom of movement and information.

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State Department

Senate confirms nomination of Mr. Rex Tillerson as the next United States Secretary of State

February 1, 2017

Earlier today (February 1, 2017) the United States Senate voted to confirm Mr. Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State. In his prepared statement for the confirmation hearing on January 11, 2017, he said the following about China:

“We should also acknowledge the realities about China. China’s island building in the South China Sea is an illegal taking of disputed areas without regard for international norms. China’s economic and trade practices have not always followed its commitments to global agreements. It steals our intellectual property, and is aggressive and expansionist in the digital realm. It has not been a reliable partner in using its full influence to curb North Korea. China has proven a willingness to act with abandon in pursuit of its own goals, which at times has put it in conflict with America’s interests. We have to deal with what we see, not with what we hope.”

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New Freedom House Report ranks Tibet as the least free among countries and territories

January 31, 2017

A new report by Freedom House has ranked Tibet as the least free territory among the countries and territories surveyed. According to Freedom in the World 2017, Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties, released on January 17, 2017, 67 countries, including China, suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016. The report says, “China received a downward trend arrow due to the chilling effect on private and public discussion, particularly online, generated by cybersecurity and foreign NGO laws, increased internet surveillance, and heavy sentences handed down to human rights lawyers, microbloggers, grassroots activists, and religious believers.”

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Message of courage and truth from Tibetan scholar monk who was tortured and imprisoned

January 30, 2017

A remarkable statement of courage and resilience by a respected scholar monk recently released from prison is circulating online.

Labrang Jigme, a monk from Labrang in Amdo, endured torture and nearly died following several periods in prison; he was released in October after serving nearly five years and immediately hospitalized. A popular writer and intellectual, he is the only known Tibetan to record on video in Tibet an account of his own imprisonment and views on Chinese policies against the Dalai Lama in which he gave his full identity.

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Tibet locked down and travellers banned during sensitive anniversary

Joint statement by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
January 27, 2017

Tour operators have announced the closure of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to tourists again next month, coinciding with the anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising in March 1959 and the related protests across Tibet in March 2008.

ICT’s President, Matteo Mecacci said: “This lockdown, taking place in an already restrictive political climate, has been imposed every year since 2008 but must not be accepted as ‘business as usual’. Chinese tourists travel in their millions across the world but foreigners are barred from seeing Tibet for themselves because of the Chinese Party’s counter-productive hardline security measures on the plateau. Foreign countries must call on China to abide to the principle of “reciprocity” and to stop limiting foreign and independent access to Tibet. This is unjustifiable and must be condemned.”

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