Archive | Spotlight RSS feed for this section

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.

Read full story Comments are closed

The United States, Canada and European government express concerns about Tibet at UN Human Rights Council

March 14, 2018

Geneva – The United States, Canada, the European Union and a number of European governments expressed strong concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet today in their item 4 statements to the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the countries specifically raising Tibet in their statements were Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany and the United States. Bulgaria’s statement – made on behalf of the European Union- was supported by a number of states, including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Slovenia.

Speaking under the key Item 4 “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention,” the governments delegations to the Human Rights Council expressed alarm at the ongoing violations of the fundamental rights of Tibetans, saying they were incompatible with China’s national and international commitments. Many also called on China to release all those detained solely for exercising or protecting fundamental rights –some explicitly mentioning the case of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk.

Read full story Comments are closed

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.”
Read full story Comments are closed

125 Participants from 21 states in the 10th Annual Tibet Lobby Day in Washington, DC

March 8, 2018

Tibet Lobby Day 2018 has concluded, following two days of meetings with the offices of Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. This year more than 120 participants came from 21 states, including from faraway places such as California and Oregon, to lobby their elected representatives in Washington DC to stand up for Tibet. Participants met with Members of Congress, legislative directors, and foreign policy staffers in meetings arranged by the International Campaign for Tibet and presented them with legislative and appropriation requests to benefit Tibet.

The foremost ask this year was for the passage of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a bipartisan bill designed to end China’s restrictive access policies, which prevent American journalists, diplomats, citizens (including Tibetan-Americans), and others from visiting Tibet. They also urged Congress to continue funding Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet. Finally, participants asked their Members of Congress to sign a bill calling on the Trump Administration to fully implement the US Tibetan Policy Act and nominate a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and thanked those who had already done so.

Read full story Comments are closed

International Campaign for Tibet’s 30 Years of Service to the Tibetan People

March 7, 2018

On March 6, 2018, a special event in the United States Congress marked the International Campaign for Tibet’s 30 years of service to the Tibetan people. Congressional leaders and staffers, State Department officials, members of the NGO community, Tibetan Americans, and Tibet supporters who were in town for the Tibet Lobby Day attended it.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Representative Ngodup Tsering of the Office of Tibet, ICT Board Member Kasur Tempa Tsering, former political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol, and ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere addressed the gathering.

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. Speakers and participants used the event as an opportunity to honor the dedication and support shown to the people of Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Members of Congress, successive U.S. administrations, and friends from all over the world.

Read full story Comments are closed

Tibetan man dies after self-immolation; oppressive measures intensified in March 10 anniversary week

March 7, 2018

A Tibetan man in his forties, Tsekho Tugchak, set fire to himself and died today (March 7) in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), eastern Tibet, the first self-immolation in Tibet this year. It is the 153rd self-immolation in Tibet, and happens at a time of intense securitization across Tibet in the buildup to the sensitive anniversary of the March 10 Uprising in 1959, and the tenth anniversary of protests that swept across Tibet in 2008 on the same date.

Graphic images circulated online of Tsekho Tugchak’s blackened body, lying on the ground, his arms outstretched. He was from a nomadic village in Meeruma township in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, the Tibetan area of Amdo. The last Tibetan to set fire to himself, Konpe, was also from Ngaba, and set himself on fire on December 23, 2017, close to the area of the first self-immolation in Tibet in February, 2009.[1]

Read full story Comments are closed

2018 Tibetan Youth Leadership Program (TYLP) in Washington, DC

March 7, 2018

The Tibetan Youth Leadership Program (TYLP) is a unique week-long leadership development program organized by the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, DC for Tibetan-American college students. It will be held from Saturday, June 2 to Saturday, June 9, 2018.

Are you interested in becoming a leader within the Tibetan community? Are you interested in the US political process and discourse around foreign policy vis-à-vis China and Tibet? The TYLP is designed to motivate and train young Tibetans to become effective leaders within the Tibetan community by providing meaningful exposure to the US political process and the discourse around foreign policy in the American capital. Through workshops, discussions and hands-on activities, participants will develop and sharpen their leadership skills. The program is a starting point for greater involvement as knowledgeable and responsible actors within the Tibetan community worldwide and is specifically geared to meet the need to carry the Tibet movement forward in the United States.

Read full story Comments are closed

‘Wall of steel’ in Tibet with major military drill in buildup to March 10 anniversary

March 5, 2018

On the same day as a major prayer festival in Tibet on March 2 (2018), the Chinese authorities held a major military drill in Lhasa termed as a ‘wall of steel’ in the buildup to the sensitive political anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day, March 10, in 1959. This week is also the tenth anniversary of a wave of overwhelmingly peaceful protests that swept across Tibet from March 10, 2008.

The joint military drill on March 2 (2018) consisted of a mass show of force of ‘combat-ready’ troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP), underlining the heavy militarization of Tibet and the political importance at the highest-levels in China of Tibet’s ‘stability’. In its extreme nature, this massive show of force – which has become an almost annual ritual at this time of year – is also an indicator of CCP anxieties over its authority in Tibet.

The military drills coincided with the mass presence of troops at prayer festivals in monasteries in eastern Tibet, giving the impression of a war zone. Despite the heavy show of force, thousands of Tibetan pilgrims still came to monasteries and religious sites to offer prayers.[1]

Read full story Comments are closed

Images of repression and resilience from Tibet on ‘Day of Miracles’

March 3, 2018

A major show of military force was in evidence today (March 2) during an important prayer festival at Kumbum monastery in eastern Tibet as Tibetan New Year (Losar) rituals draw to a close. Footage from Kumbum shows marching ranks of black-uniformed troops in riot gear, giving the impression of a war zone rather than a peaceful prayer festival, the Monlam Chenmo.

Footage and images circulating on social media showed celebrations of the Monlam Chenmo across the Tibetan area of Amdo over March 1 and 2 (2018), with a particularly strong military presence at the ancient Kumbum monastery (in present-day Qinghai), where thousands of devotees gather each year to offer prayers and view the famous butter sculptures.

Read full story Comments are closed

UN Human Rights Council informed that China’s revised regulations on religion are a further threat to survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet

March 2, 2018

In a statement delivered on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 2, 2018, ICT’s Kai Mueller drew the Council’s attention to China’s revised regulations on religion, in effect since February 1, 2018, are a further threat to the continued survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.

Speaking under Agenda Item 3 “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”, he said that in November 2016, six UN special mandate holders expressed their “grave concern” over the “serious repression of the Buddhist Tibetans’ cultural and religious practices and learning” in the Buddhist institutes of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.

He said that the Council should ask China to “refrain from intervening with religious activities that are protected by principles of freedom of religion or belief.”

Read full story Comments are closed

UN Rights Council Urged to Press China to Drop Charges against Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk

March 1, 2018

In a statement delivered on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 1, 2018, ICT’s Kai Mueller drew attention to the case of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk as a striking example for the repression against Tibetan Human Rights Defenders.

Speaking under Agenda Item 3 “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”, he welcomed the strong joint communication just issued by five UN Special Rapporteurs on the case of Tashi Wangchuk , as well as similar statements by a number of governments and parliaments calling for his release. He urged the Human Rights Council to join these calls and press China to drop all charges against Tashi Wangchuk and to release him immediately and unconditionally”.

Read full story Comments are closed

Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters gather in Washington, D.C. for Tibet Lobby Day

February 28, 2018

Over one hundred Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters from all over the United States are gathering in Washington, D.C., to urge their elected representatives in the government to increase their support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. The 10th annual Tibet Lobby Day will take place from March 4 to 6, 2018.

They will ask Members of Congress to pass legislation that support the aspirations of the Tibetan people, most notably the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017. They will also urge Congress to continue funding Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, promote access to Tibetan areas for journalists, citizens, and US officials, and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet.

Read full story Comments are closed

International NGOs urge Governments and UN to Act on China’s Human Rights Abuses, including in Tibet

February 26, 2018

A group of international NGOs, including the International Campaign for Tibet, has sent a private letter to a select UN member states about raising China’s human rights abuses at the UN Human Rights Council. The letter’s authors say, “The Human Rights Council should take further steps to show China that undermining key legal protections for freedoms of expression and association and the rights to a fair trial, not to mention disappearing or arbitrarily detaining dissenting voices, is unacceptable behaviour – especially for a would-be “global leader” “.

The letter highlighted five cases of human rights defenders, including that of Tibetan education advocate Tashi Wangchuk, which “show that the ferocious crackdown on human rights defenders, including lawyers, that has intensified since President Xi Jinping assumed power continues unabated’.

Read full story Comments are closed

U.S. committed to supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people, says Under Secretary Steve Goldstein at State Department Losar Reception

February 23, 2018

The State Department hosted its annual reception for Losar, the Tibetan New Year, on February 20, 2018. Under Secretary Steve Goldstein and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback, addressed the gathering of Administration and Congressional staff, diplomats, NGO representatives, and members of the Tibetan American community. Representative Ngodup Tsering offered greetings on behalf of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration while Capital Area Tibetan Association President Namka Tenzin spoke on behalf of the Tibetan American community. Khenpo Samdup of the Drikung Dharma Chakra center offered the opening prayers of auspiciousness. There was Tibetan cultural performance by Karma Gyaltsen and Tashi Yangzom, and observance of Losar rituals, including the offering of traditional Chemar, Dresil, Kapse, and Chang.

Read full story Comments are closed

Amnesty International Says Tibetans continued to face discrimination and restrictions in 2017

February 22, 2018

A new Amnesty International Report says Tibetans continued to face discrimination and restrictions on their rights to freedom of religion and belief, of opinion and expression, of peaceful assembly and of association.

The Amnesty International Report 2017/18, released on February 22, 2018, documents the state of the world’s human rights in 159 countries and territories during 2017. The report said, “Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan education advocate, remained in detention awaiting trial at the end of the year, without access to his family.”

The report said that the Chinese Government “continued to draft and enact new laws under the guise of “national security” that presented serious threats to human rights.” It continued, “Activists and human rights defenders were detained, prosecuted and sentenced on the basis of vague and overbroad charges such as “subverting state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Controls on the internet were strengthened. Repression of religious activities outside state-sanctioned churches increased.”

Read full story Comments are closed

ICT Welcomes UN experts call for immediate release of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk

February 21, 2018

Six UN human rights experts have called for the immediate release of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. In a statement released today, the experts “expressed serious concern over the ruling by a Chinese court to uphold charges of ‘incitement to separatism’ brought against a human rights activist who appeared in a documentary calling for linguistic and cultural rights in Tibet.” The experts from various fields of human rights expertise said “all of the charges levelled against Tashi Wangchuk (…) should be dropped”. In unusual strong language, the experts “condemn the continued detention of Mr. Wangchuk and the criminalization of his freedom of expression as well as his right to stand and speak up for what he perceives as human rights violations in his region and country”.

Read full story Comments are closed

ICT honors long-time activist Grace Spring with Light of Truth Award for being a symbol of activism for Tibet

February 20, 2018

On the auspicious second day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, which fell on February 17, 2018, ICT President Matteo Mecacci bestowed a special Light of Truth award on Grace Spring in recognition of her many decades of work putting a spotlight on Tibet. The event took place in Burlington, VT, near Grace’s current residence, and was held in conjunction with the Tibetan Association of Vermont’s celebration of the Tibetan New Year. The Mayor of Burlington, Miro Weinberger, was present on the occasion.

Grace Spring is an artist, an activist and a Tibetan supporter who, for more than 18 years, held a solo vigil every Friday morning in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington with a Tibetan national flag and a placard, drawing attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.

Read full story Comments are closed

Fears for extent of damage after major fire at sacred Jokhang Temple during Tibetan New Year

February 18, 2018

  • There are fears that a major fire might have damaged the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, one of the holiest and ancient sites in Tibet, on the second day of the Tibetan New Year (Losar). Videos posted online showed flames shooting from the direction of the roof of the seventh-century temple on Saturday (February 17); Tibetans could be heard weeping and praying.
  • Damage may be more widespread than the authorities acknowledge, and reports that communications are being blocked and posts about the fire on social media deleted, consistent with the oppressive political climate in Lhasa. Thousands of pilgrims are currently in Tibet’s capital for New Year.
Read full story Comments are closed