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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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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was released from prison on October 8 after serving ten years and six months for ‘endangering national security’ for an unpublished book.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 He was tried in secret, and is believed to have been sentenced because of the ideas expressed on Tibet in his unpublished manuscript, written in Chinese and entitled ‘The Restless Himalayas’.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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Anniversary of UN women’s conference is opportunity to challenge Xi on lack of freedoms

September 26, 2015

China’s leader Xi Jinping’s attendance at the World Conference on Women in the UN [tomorrow], on the 20th anniversary of the same conference held in Beijing in 1995, should focus attention on the lack of freedoms of Tibetan, Uyghur and Chinese women in the PRC today.

To mark the anniversary, Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, has launched the #FreeThe20 campaign calling for the release of 20 female political prisoners from 13 countries including Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu. The International Campaign for Tibet supports this campaign, which aims to encourage global action around the Beijing Declaration’s call for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Many will remember the vivid images from Beijing 20 years ago of nine Tibetan exile women standing silently, gagged with silk scarves to symbolize China’s silencing of Tibetan women’s voices. This initiative – by the first Tibetan exiles to protest Chinese rule over Tibet on Chinese soil – highlighted the courage and spirit of Tibetan women, who have long been on the frontline of resistance, solidarity in their community, and preservation of Tibetan identity and culture.”

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President Xi Jinping meeting with US tech giants highlights challenges of doing business in China under censorship regime

September 23, 2015

The State visit of President Xi Jinping to the United States features today a major forum hosted by the Chinese leader involving the CEOs of leading US high tech firms including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and IBM.

Lu Wei, the highest official in the Chinese government in charge of Internet policy and cyber-security, who oversees a complex and aggressive system of online censorship, will also attend the U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum with the CEOs of Alibaba and Weibo.

The meeting will take place at a time of increased tensions between the United States and China regarding cyber espionage.

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As President Xi Jinping comes to Washington US Government says China puts “unattainable conditions” on the Dalai Lama to resume dialogue

September 22, 2015

As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to arrive in Washington DC, the U.S. State Department has submitted its 13th annual “Report on Tibet Negotiations” to Congress on August 5, 2015, in which it says that China puts unattainable conditions on the Dalai Lama to resume dialogue.

The report notes that the Tibetan and Chinese representatives have not met for talks since 2010 and says, “The United States continues to encourage both sides to engage in a substantive discussion that will work to achieve concrete results. The U.S. government believes the Dalai Lama or his representatives can be constructive partners for China as it deals with continuing tensions in Tibetan areas.”

The report expresses concerns at the Chinese attitude for lack of resumption of the dialogue process with the Tibetans. It says, “We are concerned Chinese officials continue to insist the Dalai Lama meet unattainable conditions in order for China to resume dialogue. We consider this position counter-productive and contrary to the expectations of the United States and the international community. We support dialogue without preconditions.”

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China cancels Jon Bon Jovi concerts raising concerns about freedom of expression

September 9, 2015

The first concerts in China by American rock star Jon Bon Jovi have been unexpectedly cancelled this week by a decision of the Ministry of Culture. While an official reason has not been given, and only “unforseen circumstances” have been mentioned to the press by the rock star’s management, on Chinese social media questions were raised about this decision having to do with the infamous censorship rules implemented by Beijing all over the country. In particular, images have been circulating of a picture of the Dalai Lama in the backdrop of a Jon Bon Jovi concert in Tokyo in 2010, as well as a video for the 2009 hit ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ featuring the iconic ‘Tank Man’ photograph of Tiananmen Square, as possible reasons.

Last month a planned concert by the US pop group Maroon 5 in China was cancelled, prompting speculation that the authorities refused permission because a band member met the Dalai Lama. The band later removed a Tweet by Jesse Carmichael, who plays both keyboard and rhythm guitar, about meeting the Dalai Lama at events for the leader’s 80th birthday.

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NGOs urge Obama to stand with Chinese civil society ahead of Xi Jinping’s Visit

September 9, 2015

A coalition of NGOs, including International Campaign for Tibet, have expressed concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in China and are urging President Obama to “visibly stand with independent Chinese civil society by inviting members of that community into the White House in advance of President Xi’s visit,” which will take place on September 24-25, 2015.

In a letter to President Obama, the NGOs wrote, “We believe that visibly demonstrating support and solidarity for that community may bring individuals or their organizations relief from persecution, and in turn also protect their efforts on legal reform, the freedom of expression and religion, and other issues critical to a healthy, predictable US-China relationship.”

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Tough warnings on ‘anti-separatism’ from Party leaders at political anniversary in Tibet

September 8, 2015

  • The Chinese leadership marked the anniversary of its establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) today in Lhasa with tough warnings of its resolve to crack down on the Dalai Lama’s influence and ‘anti-separatism’.
  • A 65-member delegation from Beijing led by top Chinese political advisor Yu Zhengsheng presided over a ceremony today (September 8) in front of the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s traditional winter residence, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Chinese government marked the anniversary by issuing a lengthy ‘White Paper’ on Tibet’s ‘autonomy’, although Yu Zhengsheng made it clear in his comments at the rally that this is on the Party state’s terms, saying Tibetans had to “stick to the Communist Party’s leadership”.
  • The Chinese authorities claimed that the theme of the anniversary was to follow the spirit of the ‘Sixth Work Forum’ in August, the first major policy meeting on Tibet to be presided over by Party leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. The meeting emphasized the importance of ‘stability’, political language for the elimination of dissent and enforcement of compliance to Chinese Communist Party policies, specifically blamed the Dalai Lama for ‘anti-separatist’ activities, and underlined the importance of the Tibet issue to the Beijing leadership.
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Self-immolation of ‘generous Buddhist devoted to her family’ in Tibet

September 4, 2015

New information has reached ICT about the self-immolation of Tashi Kyi, a Tibetan mother of four in her mid-fifties who set herself on fire on August 27 and died, apparently as a protest against China’s policies of relocation and demolition of housing. Tashi Kyi, described as a “generous Buddhist” who was “devoted to her family”, was a relative of a prominent monk who escaped into exile after a bold protest in 2008.

Although local Tibetans attempted to save her life by extinguishing the blaze, Tashi Kyi died hours after setting herself on fire in her housing compound, a nomad settlement site in Sangkok township, Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) in Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. Her body was taken away by the authorities. It is the 143rd self-immolation in Tibet since 2009.[1]

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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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Rowell Fund for Tibet to receive application for 2015-2016 Grant Cycle

August 11, 2015

The Rowell Fund for Tibet seeks to support Tibetans who can make a significant contribution to their community and/or an international audience in the fields of visual arts and media, and environmental and women’s rights.

The application form for the Rowell Fund for Tibet’s 2015-2016 grant is now available for download. Application materials will be accepted from September 1 to September 30, 2015 (midnight Eastern Standard Time).

The Rowell Fund for Tibet was initiated in memory of late Galen and Barbara Rowell, who were longtime friends of Tibet. Galen and Barbara cooperated with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to produce My Tibet, a touching book that captured the natural essence of Tibet. Their love and passion for photography and writing introduced the beauty of Tibet and its threatened ecosystem and culture to countless people around the globe. Following their tragic passing, ICT’s Board of Directors along with family and friends of the Rowells established the Rowell Fund for Tibet to help empower Tibetans and to honor and perpetuate the goals and ideals of Galen and Barbara in the Tibetan community.

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Runggye Adak

Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak released after eight years in prison for bold protest

July 31, 2015

Runggye Adak, one of Tibet’s most well-known political prisoners, was released today (July 31) after serving his eight year prison sentence after he made a bold statement of support for the Dalai Lama in front of an audience of thousands at a horse festival in 2007.

According to reports from Tibetan exiles in contact with the region, Runggye Adak was taken straight to his home today by the authorities. Officials may have done this without informing his family in order to prevent any public celebrations of his release.

According to other sources, the Lithang Horse Festival in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), Sichuan, has been cancelled this year as a crackdown in the area deepens following the death of revered religious leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on July 12.

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International Olympics Committee has the obligation to see China sticks to its ideals

July 31, 2015

Today the International Olympics Committee decided upon Beijing as the host for the 2022 winter Olympics.

The International Campaign for Tibet believes that in 2008, China had a historic opportunity to show the world that it is a worthy host of the Olympics. Both the International Olympics Committee and the Beijing Olympics Committee highlighted the potential positive impacts the 2008 Olympics would have on Chinese society, but today we know that there has only been increased trampling of human rights in China generally and in Tibet specifically in the post-2008 period.

Once again, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a video message relating to the 2022 Olympics that it would be “another opportunity to help advance the Olympic Movement and promote the Olympic Spirit“. He added, “We will honor all the commitments.”

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Fears for the safety of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s sister and niece detained after his cremation: home area ‘like a military zone’

July 23, 2015

  • There are fears for the safety of the sister of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Dolkar Lhamo, and her daughter, who are still being held by police following his cremation at a remote detention facility in his 13th year of imprisonment. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a revered religious teacher convicted on false ‘bombing’ charges, was one of the most prominent Tibetan political prisoners, and a number of governments urged the Chinese authorities to grant him medical parole.
  • Police acting on orders of higher authorities have seized the ashes of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche from Tibetan lamas who were carrying them back to his home monastery in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) after his cremation at a high-security detention facility where he apparently died.
  • There is a deepening crackdown in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s home area, with the deployment of increased numbers of troops.
  • The hardline position being taken by the Communist Party authorities is evident in a state media article published in China Daily on July 20 (2015) entitled ‘Separatist leader’s death not worthy of lament’. After a week’s delay, the Chinese authorities announced that the cause of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death was ‘sudden cardiac death’, according to a statement issued by Xinhua on July 18, 2015.
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Remarks by Leader Nancy Pelosi and Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett at Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday event

July 22, 2015

On July 10, 2015, the North American Tibetan Associations organized a public ceremony to offer gratitude to the Dalai Lama in celebration of his 80th birthday.

It was attended by Tibetans and from the broader American society, as well as from Mongolia, Tuva, Buryat & Kalmyk regions of Russian Federation, Bhutan, Himalayan regions in Nepal, India, etc.

Among those who addressed the gathering included President Barack Obama’s advisor Valerie Jarrett, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament Penpa Tsering, ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere, etc.
We are posting here the video and transcript of the remarks made by Ms. Jarrett and Leader Pelosi.

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Monk who self-immolated leaves note calling for the Dalai Lama’s return: context of imprisonment and demolition of family home

July 22, 2015

Sonam Topgyal, the monk who self-immolated on July 9 (2015) in the center of a city rebuilt by the Chinese authorities, had experienced imprisonment and the demolition of his family home before he set himself on fire.

Dzongsar monk Sonam Topgyal, who has died in hospital according to Tibetan sources, left a note tucked into his prayer book, saying that China’s policies are aimed at eradicating Tibet’s religion, culture and traditions, and destroying the environment. Tibetans have no recourse to express their views about the situation, he added in the note, which was discovered after his self-immolation.

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