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U.S. Ambassador-Designate to China faces questions on Tibet and human rights at Senate confirmation hearing

May 2, 2017

On May 2, 2017, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to China and faced questions, including on Tibet and human rights.

In his opening remarks, Committee Chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said the U.S.-China relationship is one of the most consequential relationships for U.S. national interests. He added that we must be clear-eyed about China’s long-term goals, which are not necessarily aligned with U.S. national interests.

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Ros-Lehtinen

Representatives Jim McGovern and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Draw Attention to Tibet in U.S. House of Representatives

May 2, 2017

Representatives Jim McGovern (Democrat from Massachusetts) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican from Florida) spoke today in the House of Representatives to draw attention to the situation inside Tibet. Participating in the General Speeches period as the House began its session, they displayed a large portrait of the Dalai Lama, spoke about their support for the aspirations of the Tibetan people, the respect they have for the Dalai Lama, and about their work in the United States proactively promoting initiatives on Tibet.

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U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Highlights Tibet in 2017 Annual Report; Recommends Designating China as “Country of Particular Concern”

April 26, 2017

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 Annual Report on April 26, 2017, in which it said “…conditions for freedom of religion or belief and related human rights continued to decline.” Focusing on Tibet, the report highlights several major violations of religious freedom in Tibet, including the eviction of “thousands of monks and nuns from the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Tibet before demolishing their homes.” The report also noted the lack of accountability on China’s part regarding the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama.

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The 11th Panchen Lama

U.S. Religious Freedom Commissioner’s open letter to the Panchen Lama on his 28th birthday

April 25, 2017

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee has written an open letter to the Panchen Lama, to coincide with his April 25 birthday, in which he says, “my resolve to find you and restore you to your rightful role becomes stronger.”

The Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by the Dalai Lama in 1995, and soon thereafter he was taken away from his home by the Chinese authorities and has not been seen since. In his place, China selected another boy.

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Footage from Tibet depicts self-immolation of father of three in Kardze

April 18, 2017

Footage has emerged of a self-immolation on Saturday (April 15) of a Tibetan man, father of three Wangchuk Tseten, just a month after another self-immolation in the Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in eastern Tibet. Wangchuk Tseten was from the same area of Kardze Prefecture as 24-year old farmer Pema Gyaltsen, who set fire to himself on March 18 and who may have survived.

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Statement by the International Campaign for Tibet on the US-China Presidential Summit

April 10, 2017

The first summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held on April 6 and 7, 2017, in the United States ended without any detailed announcement of the outcome. Addressing the media briefly between meetings, President Trump said, “I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China” but no specifics were given. President Xi Jinping said, “(W)e have further built up understanding and established a kind of trust, and we have initially built up a working relationship and friendship.”

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Pelosi Asks Trump to Raise Violations of Human Rights in China and Tibet During Meeting with Xi Jinping

April 6, 2017

Ahead of a U.S. visit by President Xi Jinping of China, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Trump saying, “violations of human rights in China and Tibet challenge the conscience of the world”.

Leader Pelosi added, “I believe, Mr. President, that if we do not speak out clearly for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights anyplace in the world.”

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Senators Cardin and Rubio call on Secretary Tillerson to raise Tibet during Xi Jinping’s visit

April 5, 2017

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on democracy, human rights, and global women’s issues, have written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in connection with the upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping, calling on the US side, among others, to “urge China to do more to improve the cultural and spiritual plight of Tibetans, not just their economic status.”

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On Eve of Chinese President’s US visit, Congressional Bicameral Bill Calls for Americans to Receive the Same Access to Tibet that Chinese Citizens Enjoy in the United States

McGovern, Hultgren, Rubio, Baldwin introduce Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in both House and Senate of the US Congress to lift restrictions on US citizens’ access to Tibet

April 4, 2017

On the eve of the first summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a bipartisan legislation to promote access by Americans to Tibetan areas, which is routinely denied by Chinese authorities, has been introduced by Senator Rubio (R-FL) and Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate and by Congressmen McGovern (D-MI) and Hultgren (R-WI) in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress on April 4, 2017.

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Tibet Lobby Day 2017

“We’re here to speak for those who cannot”: Tibet Lobby Day sees hundreds advocating for Tibet in world capitals

March 29, 2017

Tibetan leaders and Tibet supporters from the United States, Europe, and Australia urged their governments and Parliaments to offer greater support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. In Washington, over a hundred and thirty Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters visited the offices of more than 250 Members of Congress over the course of the two-day program.

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Incense smoke rising

The Dalai Lama’s birthday: quiet tributes in Tibet, celebration broken up in Nepal

July 7, 2016

  • Tibetans across Tibet celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 81st birthday yesterday by burning incense and praying before his image placed on shrines. Celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday is not permitted in Tibet in the context of a virulent political campaign against the religious leader.
  • In Kathmandu, Nepal, a peaceful celebration by the Tibetan community that was also attended by some foreign diplomats was broken up by Nepalese police in riot uniform. Twenty-eight people, both Tibetans and Nepalese, were detained and held in police custody for several hours.
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International Campaign for Tibet Mourns the Passing Away of Elie Wiesel

July 5, 2016

The International Campaign for Tibet joins the international community in mourning the passing away of Prof. Elie Wiesel. In a message sent to Mrs. Marion Wiesel, ICT President Matteo Mecacci said, “We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to you and your family.”

The message said, “Mr. Wiesel was a voice and an activist for human dignity for all. He was able to transform the personal tragedy he experienced at a very early, in an indomitable and authoritative strength to speak on behalf of the voiceless.”

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Lobsang Tsering

Solo protest in Ngaba earlier this month continues trend of bold statements of loyalty to the Dalai Lama

July 1, 2016

A Tibetan man named Lobsang Tsering was detained following a solo protest in Ngaba earlier this month. Lobsang Tsering, who is a monk at Kirti monastery in his twenties, has been held incommunicado since then.

On the afternoon of June 7, [2016], Lobsang Tsering held a portrait of the Dalai Lama and called for freedom in Tibet and the long life of the Dalai Lama as he walked down the main street in Ngaba county town in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan (part of the Tibetan area of Amdo). According to monks from Kirti monastery in exile in India, Lobsang Tsering belongs to the Kalachakra College, one of the four main monastic colleges at Kirti.

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Tibetan Americans Gather in Washington, D.C. for ICT’s Tibetan Youth Leadership Program

June 30, 2016

Eleven young Tibetans and Tibetan Americans are participating in the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)’s Tibetan Youth Leadership Program (TYLP), which will be held in Washington, D.C. from July 4 to 10, 2015. The selected participants are coming from seven states: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Utah.

TYLP aims to nurture young leaders who could become leaders of the Tibetan-American community in the United States and internationally. Participants will hear from speakers on issues ranging from US policy formulation process, empowerment of Tibetans, US-China relations, American policy towards Tibet, and more. They will also learn the skills and tools in communicating their messages, including field visits to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

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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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