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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Body of revered Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche cremated in remote high-security prison facility

July 16, 2015

  • The body of revered Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was cremated today (July 16) amid high security at a remote detention facility where he died in his 13th year of a life sentence. His ashes are being taken back to his home county and monastery by his sisters and other relatives, according to his relatives in exile, where prayer ceremonies are expected to be held.
  • When the authorities refused to allow the body to be returned to his family for traditional prayer ceremonies, it was negotiated for some members of his family to visit the body late last night. They were taken to a high-security detention facility in an isolated area several kilometers from Chengdu – not Chuandong Prison where they had thought he was being held. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s body, still in prison uniform, was in a bed in a cell. According to the same sources, his mouth and nails were stained black, and details of the circumstances of his death are still not clear.
  • Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s family had urged the authorities not to rush a cremation, citing a provision in Chinese law that allows families to appeal against hasty cremations of prisoners. In an appeal letter they have written to the authorities, translated in full into English below, one of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s sisters said: “2. The body of the deceased cannot be taken home. We suspect the cause of death has some connection to the Prison. Please tell us clearly, which legal article states that the body of the deceased cannot be returned home.”
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Sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche temporarily detained; sit-in outside prison where revered lama died

July 15, 2015

  • The two sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the revered Tibetan lama who died on July 12, were detained for some hours today (July 15) in the prison where their brother had died yesterday after they refused to sign a document purportedly about his health condition.
  • Around a hundred Tibetans gathered outside Chuandong Prison in Chengdu, Sichuan, yesterday (July 14) to hold a peaceful sit-in calling upon the Chinese authorities to release the body of the popular monk to his family and monastery after some Tibetans were refused permission to see the body.
  • The exile Tibetan administration in Dharamsala, India, released images of Tibetans who had been wounded when police opened fire at Tibetans anguished at Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death in his home county, Nyagchuka in Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Kham): http://tibet.net/2015/07/grievous-photos-emerge-of-tibetans-injured-in-chinese-firing/
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Richard Gere

Testimony of Richard Gere Chairman of the Board of Directors International Campaign for Tibet before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

July 14, 2015

Co-chairman McGovern and Co-chairman Pitts, and other Members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, thank you for holding this important hearing today, and for inviting me to speak on the human rights situation in Tibet.

I am here as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet (or ICT for short), which, since 1988, has been working to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. I feel that it’s particularly appropriate for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to be holding this hearing today in light of Tom Lantos’ steadfast commitment to Tibet, and his deep relationship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

It is with profound sadness that I give these remarks today. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was one of the most highly respected and revered Tibetan lamas. He was a teacher to tens of thousands of Tibetan and Chinese students. Arrested in 2002, Rinpoche spent the last 13 years of his life serving a life sentence for crimes he did not commit. After being tried in a closed session on charges of “terrorism and inciting separatism” and without due process of law, the worst possible outcome has arrived. Rinpoche has died in prison, while in the custody of the Chinese government. This is a profound tragedy for Tibetans and Buddhists throughout the world. The death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a tragic reminder of the injustices endured by Tibetans for exercising their right to religious freedom, and of the grim state of human rights in Tibet.

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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Chinese troops open fire, beat Tibetan protestors after death of revered lama in prison

July 14, 2015

The Chinese authorities responded to peaceful protests yesterday following the death of Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche by deploying armed police to fire tear-gas and use physical violence against Tibetans.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the influential and popular Tibetan lama who was one of Tibet’s most well-known political prisoners, died on July 12 in his 13th year of a life sentence in prison.

Around a thousand monks and local people gathered near his monastery in his home area of Nyagchuka (Chinese: Yajiang) in Kham to urge the local authorities to negotiate with the Sichuan Provincial Prison Management Bureau over returning the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche to his family and monastic community. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is believed to have passed away in Chuandong Prison, Chengdu, Sichuan, where he was being held, although the authorities have not provided information on the circumstances of his death.

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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Death in prison of revered Tibetan religious leader: armed forces deployed as Tibetans express their grief

July 13, 2015

  • An influential and much-loved Tibetan lama, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, died on July 12 in his 13th year of a life sentence in prison. Armed security forces have been deployed as hundreds of Tibetans gathered today to call for his body to be returned to his monastery and community in the home area of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who was one of the most high-profile Tibetan political prisoners.
  • Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison without his family being allowed access except for one visit in 13 years, despite requests for his release on medical parole being made by a number of Western governments. His relatives said that in 2013, they became aware that he was suffering from a heart condition, frequent unconsciousness and uncontrollable shaking of parts of his body. It is not known whether Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who was 64, had received any medical treatment in prison.
  • In distress at the news of his death, hundreds of Tibetans, both monks and laypeople, have been gathering today in his home area of Nyagchuka (the Tibetan area of Kham), calling for answers from the authorities about the circumstances of his death and the release of his body for traditional prayers. In response the Chinese authorities have deployed armed troops, set up police checkpoints, blocked major roads, and cut communications in the area, according to Tibetan sources in exile.
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EU and China must put human rights at the top of the EU-China summit agenda

June 29, 2015

JOINT PUBLIC STATEMENT
Amnesty International, FIDH, International Campaign for Tibet, Human Rights Watch

At today’s European Union (EU)-China summit in Brussels, Amnesty International, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch and International Campaign for Tibet call on EU and Chinese leaders to ensure that human rights are at the top of the agenda in discussions at the summit and beyond.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-EU diplomatic relations. Today’s summit should be an opportunity to develop a critical partnership which can concretely improve the human rights situation for people in China. With the adoption of the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy in 2012, the EU and its member states committed to place human rights at the centre of all external action. In line with that commitment, they must act to respect, promote and protect universal human rights in diverse aspects of the EU-China relationship, including security, trade, investment opportunities and other political cooperation.

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State Department

State Department Issues Annual Human Rights Reports for 2014

June 25, 2015

In its 2014 annual human rights reports, released on June 25, 2015, the U.S. State Department highlights the continuing egregious human rights violations in Tibet. “Under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, and combating separatism, the government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly, and movement,“ the report said. The report added, “The government routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai [Lama] Clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating instability.”

“We have always urged the United States to make human rights one of its core interests in its relations with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. “This report clearly indicates that it is in the interest of the U.S. and of all democratic countries that China’s rise is accompanied by significant political and rule of law reforms.”

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EU must include Tibet in upcoming Strategic Dialogue with China

April 30, 2015

Brussels – The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini must address the worsening human rights situation in Tibet during her upcoming visit to China on the occasion of the Strategic Dialogue to be held on 5 – 6 May.

In a recent letter addressing the High Representative, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) called on her to ensure that human rights, both in Tibet and mainland China, remain at the forefront of her agenda and meetings with the Chinese government.

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Lodi Gyari

My Personal Words of Gratitude

It is with humility and gratitude that I present these parting thoughts to the staff, members, supporters and friends of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). You have been the backbone of this organization and ICT would not have succeeded without you being a part of this effort. For almost 25 years I worked concurrently at ICT and as Special Envoy for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and I relied heavily on your support and assistance in discharge of my duties.

Since its founding in 1988 the ICT team has devoted itself to supporting the Tibetan people and the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I am honored to have played a leadership role in this endeavor, from the inception of the organization to the present day. Now as I step down as Executive Chair of ICT and from its Board of Directors, I cannot help but reflect on my work here with a deep sense of satisfaction in our accomplishments.

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