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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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tashi wangchuk

ICT calls for the immediate release of Tashi Wangchuk

January 19, 2017

Tashi Wangchuk, an advocate for Tibetan language education reportedly indicted on charges of separatism earlier this month, should be released immediately and all charges against him should be dismissed. Mr. Wangchuk is currently awaiting trial in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Prefecture in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (in Qinghai province). He has been detained since January 27, 2016, following the release of a New York Times video (“A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice”) profiling his attempts to request additional Tibetan language classes at schools in the Yulshul region. Chinese authorities have charged him with inciting separatism but have provided no evidence in support.

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Kalachakra

Tibetan pilgrims compelled to return from Dalai Lama teaching in Bodh Gaya, India; China calls the teaching ‘illegal’

January 9, 2017

ICT is at the Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya and will provide further updates this week

Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims have been compelled by the Chinese authorities to return to Tibet after travelling to India to attend a major teaching by the Dalai Lama that is underway in Bodh Gaya, a sacred Buddhist site, India, this week. This follows systematic measures in Tibet to prevent them travelling out of the country at all, even though many had spent years obtaining passports for legal travel.

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CNN Report – Tibet: Tensions on the Roof of the World

December 30, 2016

CNN reporter Matt Rivers was given permission to report from Lhasa in September 2016- the first time a CNN team has been given access to the Tibet Autonomous Region since 2006. In the story he filed, Rivers compares the Chinese-imposed isolation in Tibet to that of North Korea, and notes that government minders followed him constantly and recorded the responses Tibetans gave to his questions. In a rare moment free of official oversight, he spoke to a young Tibetan laborer who complained about Tibetans receiving substantially lower wages than their Chinese counterparts for the same work.

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Benjamin Gilman

Congressman Benjamin Gilman, friend of Tibet passes away

December 19, 2016

Former Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, a friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a long-time supporter of the Tibetan people, passed away in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on December 17, 2016. He was 94.

Benjamin Gilman represented New York’s 20th congressional district for more than 30 years. From 1995 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee (now renamed as House Foreign Affairs Committee) and from his position regularly convened policy discussions on Tibet and introduced or helped pass key landmark legislation relating to Tibet, working with his colleagues in the House Charlie Rose, Tom Lantos, John Porter, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, and others.

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ICT Welcomes European Parliament Urgency Resolution on Larung Gar Demolitions and Ilham Tohti

December 15

Brussels, 15 December 2016 – The European Parliament today adopted an urgency resolution on breaches of human rights, democracy, and rule of law in China, in which it urged the Chinese authorities to stop the dismantling at Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist academy.

This resolution follows the September visit of the Dalai Lama to the European Parliament where he met former President Schulz and addressed the Foreign Affairs Committee in Strasbourg calling on Europe to engage in ‘constructive criticism’ of China[1].

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Tibetans sentenced to long prison terms for involvement in Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration

December 15, 2016

Nine Tibetans have been handed sentences ranging from five to 14 years in prison for their involvement in celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last year. Several of the Tibetans sentenced on December 6 in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) have been imprisoned and tortured before, linked to the protests and self-immolations that have occurred in the area since 2008. Three senior Kirti monks, including a scholar close to the completion of his Geshe degree and the manager of the medical college at the monastery, received the longest sentences of between 12 and 14 years each. Tibetans had been held incommunicado for months without family or friends knowing their whereabouts, according to two Kirti monks in Dharamsala, India.

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Tibetan man heard calling for return of Dalai Lama as he sets fire to himself

December 9, 2016

A Tibetan man was heard calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet as he set fire to himself on December 8 and died in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) in Gansu, the Tibetan area of Amdo.

The Tibetan man, who has been named as Tashi Rabten, self-immolated on the same street of the county town where his relative, 20 year old Tsering Kyi, set fire to herself and died on March 3, 2012, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.[1] Video and images depicted a body engulfed in flames with a young boy looking on, and a woman standing nearby reciting prayers. A second video circulating on social media shows police arriving to take away the body.[2]

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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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U.S. Congress passes groundbreaking legislation to fight the impunity of human rights abusers worldwide

December 8, 2016

Earlier today the U.S. Congress passed a groundbreaking human rights accountability bill aimed at acting as a deterrent to human rights abusers and corrupt officials worldwide. The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act expands the scope of the Magnitsky Act of 2012, which created targeted visa and financial sanctions on corrupt officials and human rights violators in Russia, to include the rest of the world.

A clause in the bill authorizes the U.S. President to form a list of foreign nationals whom he determines are responsible for acts of significant corruption or extrajudicial killings, torture, or other grave human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials.

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Penpa Tsering

Testimony of Mr. Penpa Tsering, Representative of the Dalai Lama to North America, to Congressional-Executive Commission on China on December 7, 2016

December 7, 2016

Thank you for this opportunity to testify before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China regarding on our recommendations to the next United States Congress and Administration on human rights in Tibet. This is my first testimony before the United States Congress following my appointment as Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama to the Americas. Therefore, I would like to begin with offering the gratitude of the Tibetan people to the United States Congress for your consistent and strong support to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan issue.

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