Archive | Spotlight RSS feed for this section

New European Parliament Report Calls on China to Review its Policies in Tibet, Asks EU to Raise the Issue of Access

September 12, 2018

Brussels – The European Parliament, at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, adopted a new report on EU-China relations that urges China to review its policies in Tibet and review and amend laws, regulations and measures passed in recent years that severely limit the exercise of civil and political rights of Tibetans. It further urges the EU institutions to take the issue of access to Tibet into serious consideration in the discussions on the EU-China visa facilitation agreement

The report, which was prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bastiaan Belder (ECR, Netherlands) and was passed by 530 votes to 53 with 55 abstentions, gives a rather detailed and in-depth overview of the state of EU-China relations. It tackles issues such as trade exchanges, China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 16+1 format, digital surveillance, climate change and sustainable development and the human rights situation in the country, and urges the European Union to rebalance its relationship with China, and to press Beijing to improve the overall human rights situation, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Read full story Comments are closed

China tightens screws on Tibetan Buddhism

Top Communist Party officials emphasize ‘Sinicization’ of Buddhism while the China-appointed Panchen Lama visits lake associated with search for the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation

September 11, 2018

  • Wang Yang, the fourth highest ranking official in the Politburo hierarchy and head of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), stressed the importance of tighter controls over religion and the new official goal of ‘Sinicizing’—or bringing under Chinese control—Tibetan Buddhism during an ‘inspection tour’ of the Tibetan cities of Lhasa and Chamdo on August 24-26.
Read full story Comments are closed

Escaped political prisoner tells ICT that repression in Tibet has gotten worse

September 5, 2018

“Basically, under the Chinese Communist authoritarian rule, under [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, the situation has become much worse.”

That’s how Golok Jigme, a Tibetan activist and former political prisoner, described the current state of his homeland during a recent interview with the International Campaign for Tibet. Video of the interview can be seen below.

Jigme, who fled Chinese-occupied Tibet in 2014 after surviving imprisonment and torture, visited ICT’s headquarters in Washington, DC this summer. He was in town for the US State Department’s first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, during which US Vice President Mike Pence praised Jigme by name.

Read full story Comments are closed

European Parliament’s Intergroup on Religious Freedom reports “severe restrictions” against Tibetan Buddhists

September 4, 2018

In its fourth annual report released today in Brussels, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has ranked China among the worst violators of freedom of religion worldwide, noting specific concerns regarding the oppression of Uyghur and Tibetan religious practitioners.

The report assesses the state of religious freedom in 34 countries and suggests ways that the EU could be more effective in promoting the protection of this right. The report labels the situation in China as “severe violations”—the worst rank in the study—and calls on the EU to push China “to ensure that policies used to oppress minorities are reversed and that international human rights law is respected.”

Read full story Comments are closed

UN experts urge China to prevent discrimination against Tibetans, Uyghurs and other ethnic groups

August 30, 2018

Geneva – United Nations experts on racial discrimination today urged the Chinese government to review policies and laws that discriminate against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made this recommendation in its concluding observations from its review of China at a hearing last month in Geneva. The committee issued a number of recommendations while highlighting torture and ill-treatment against ethnic groups, the use of anti-terror and anti-separatism laws to stifle dissent and the diminishing space for civil society in China. The committee also issued detailed recommendations with regard to the human rights of Mongols, Tibetans and Uyghurs.

Read full story Comments are closed

Translated court documents expose China’s sham prosecution of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk, raise fears about use of torture

August 29, 2018

A Chinese court document reveals the reasons for the rejection of the appeal by Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk, imprisoned for five years after he appeared in a New York Times video about the importance of protecting the Tibetan language.

The document, translated into English below by the International Campaign for Tibet, states that Wangchuk “attacked the state’s policies” and does not deny that a confession may have been made under torture.

Four out of six pages of the document, dated July 30, 2018, were posted on social media last week, stating that Wangchuk, an entrepreneur from Yushu in Qinghai, “distorted the facts, attacking the state’s policies on ethnic minorities, making remarks that undermine ethnic unity and national unity.”

Wangchuk, 33, had appealed the decision by the Yushu Intermediate People’s Court on May 22, 2018 to sentence him to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “incitement to separatism.”

Read full story Comments are closed

Senator John McCain, friend of the Tibetan people, passes away

August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain, a sincere supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, passed away on August 24, 2018. He was 81.

“I offer my condolences to you and all the members of your family at this sad time,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain, the Senator’s widow.

“I had the pleasure of meeting your husband in 2008 in Aspen after long admiring his many years of dedicated service to the American people,” the Dalai Lama added.“I appreciated his genuine concern for democracy, human rights and the environment in general and particularly in Tibet, for which I remain grateful.”

Read full story Comments are closed

Chinese court’s decision to uphold Tashi Wangchuk’s prison sentence is a travesty of justice, ICT says

August 23, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet today said that a Chinese court’s decision to reject the appeal of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk is a travesty of justice—and that Wangchuk should be released immediately.

On August 23, 2018, Wangchuk’s lawyer, Liang Xiaojun, announced via social media that the Qinghai Higher People’s Court had rejected “both the argument from Tashi Wangchuk himself and the defending statement from the lawyers.”

The court document stating that Wangchuk’s appeal had been denied is dated July 30, 2018. Xiaojun said the ruling was announced in the Yushu City Detention Center on August 13 and that Wangchuk’s “family was not allowed to hear the sentence.”

Read full story Comments are closed

ICT urges UNESCO to look into the destruction of Dalai Lama’s parents’ home in Tibet

August 21, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet has asked for information from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) about the destruction of the historic home of the Dalai Lama’s parents in Tibet.

In a letter addressed to Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, head of ICT’s UN Advocacy Team and Executive Director of ICT Germany Kai Mueller draws attention to ICT’s report on the demolition of Yabshi Taktser, the former residence of the Dalai Lama’s now-deceased parents.

Yabshi Taktser had been one of the most important sites in Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, but earlier this year, the building was reportedly demolished, with a new, concrete structure rising in its place.

Read full story Comments are closed

Denials, smokescreens and misleading information: Chinese government attempts to distort its record on Tibet at UN committee hearing on August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

GENEVA — Today at the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination, the Chinese government flatly denied its human rights violations in Tibet and other areas of the People’s Republic of China, instead painting a rosy picture of personal freedoms that left the body of independent human rights experts in disbelief.

“To state, as the Chinese delegation did today, that it ‘has taken good care of Tibetan culture and religion’ when more than 150 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 is beyond ignorant,” Kai Mueller, Head of UN Advocacy for the International Campaign for Tibet, said at the conclusion of the hearing in Geneva, which began with questions from the experts on Friday, Aug. 10 and ended today with responses by the Chinese government.

Read full story Comments are closed

China’s claims in new White Paper about protecting Tibet’s environment are contradicted by increased production of bottled water from shrinking Tibetan glaciers, more dams

August 8, 2018

Highlights of this report:

  • As the Chinese government released a new white paper claiming it supports “ecological conservation” in Tibet, state media announced that China has stepped up production of bottled water from Tibet’s endangered glaciers, and news emerged of more major hydropower schemes in central Tibet, financed by the state.
  • Visiting Tibet from July 25-27, 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced increased funding of infrastructure construction despite ongoing environmental challenges, such as the dramatic degradation of permafrost on the Tibetan plateau, and major floods and landslides in the capital city of Lhasa and central Tibet this summer.
  • China’s detailed white paper, released in July, focuses on the imposition of top-down policies that are contested even within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and erases the role of Tibetans as vital stewards of Tibet’s fragile high-altitude landscape and wildlife. It reflects a more strategic approach toward Tibet’s environment emerging from concerns over Tibet’s importance as an essential water source for China.
Read full story Comments are closed

International Campaign for Tibet’s oral statement at the UN CERD 96th session in Geneva on August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Following is the statement by the International Campaign for Tibet at the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD) session in Geneva, which was delivered by ICT Germany Executive Director Kai Mueller on August 7, 2018. This CERD session began on August 6 and it will consider China’s state report on August 10, 2018. ICT submitted a report to CERD on China’s policy towards Tibetans.

The International Campaign for Tibet wishes to draw attention to discriminatory policies, regulations and measures, as well as to discriminatory public narratives against Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.

Tibetans cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist. Official Chinese propaganda has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008. In this context, I would like to mention the introduction of a so-called “Serfs Emancipation Day” in 2009.

Read full story Comments are closed

UN committee should pressure China to end discrimination against Tibetans, International Campaign for Tibet says in new report

August 7, 2018

The United Nations committee that fights racism should press China to abolish laws and policies that discriminate against Tibetans, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said today ahead of the Chinese government’s presentation to the committee on Aug. 10.

In a report delivered to the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD), ICT says that Tibetans “cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist.”

ICT’s report highlights the official Chinese propaganda that has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008.

Read full story Comments are closed

Rowell Fund for Tibet to receive application for 2019 Grant Cycle

August 6, 2018

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.

Grants applications are invited from Tibetans for the Rowell Fund for Tibet’s 2018-19 grant cycle for projects that focus on the following themes: Environment/Conservation; Photography; Humanitarian Projects; Journalism/Literature; or Women’s projects.

The application form is now available for download. Application materials will be accepted between September 1, 2018 and October 15, 2018 (midnight Eastern Standard Time).

Read full story Comments are closed
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.

Read full story Comments are closed

Senior American officials call for international coalition to press China on religious freedom in Tibet

July 27, 2018
Describing the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom as “just the beginning,” Vice President Pence and other U.S. government officials repeatedly raised China’s human rights violations in Tibet as they promised ongoing new efforts to combat religious freedom violations around the world. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who recently re-affirmed America’s commitment to seeing the release of the Panchen Lama, answered a question about religious freedom in Tibet by describing a new multi-lateral effort to end China’s assault on Tibetan Buddhism:

We had a number of Tibetan Buddhists testify and speak here, and people that have experienced the persecution that’s taken place for years in Tibet… What we are working on doing and pulling together is an international consortium to press China about religious freedom… It’s Tibetan Buddhists, it’s Uighur Muslims, Christian house church leaders, Falun Gong – there’s a whole series, and this has been going on for some period of time. We’re trying to do is get that international coalition pulling together to push on the Chinese Government to let people practice their faith freely as they see fit.

Read full story Comments are closed
VP Pence and Golok Jigme

Vice President and Secretary of State meet Tibetan activist, discuss China’s human rights violations

July 26, 2018

The aspirations of the Tibetan people were heard at the highest levels of the United States government this week when a well-known Tibetan activist was among a select group of survivors of religious persecution who met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Golok Jigme, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was jailed and tortured by Chinese authorities for speaking out against their oppressive rule in Tibet, talked with the two American leaders in the sidelines of the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. The three-day event in Washington D.C. was a first-of-its-kind gathering of elected officials, international organizations, religious leaders and civil society members to advocate for greater religious freedom around the globe.

Jigme told Pence and Pompeo that the people of Tibet—a historically independent nation that China has occupied for nearly 70 years—are prevented from receiving teachings from the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. In fact, Tibetans can be punished simply for having portraits of the Dalai Lama.

Jigme urged Pence to encourage China’s leadership to work with the Dalai Lama to resolve the Tibetan issue and allow the Tibetan people to have true religious freedom.

Read full story Comments are closed
Judiciary Committee

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

July 25, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act took a big step forward today when the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously. The next step is for the act to move to the floor of the House of Representatives.

One by one, committee members spoke up at this morning’s hearing in support of the bipartisan legislation, which seeks to ensure that Americans are given the same access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the United States.

“Moving this bill is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the committee. “It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions.”

Read full story Comments are closed