Tag Archives | State Department

Trump administration’s first Tibet Negotiations Report to Congress reflects the absence of a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

June 6, 2018

The State Department has submitted a report to Congress detailing the steps taken by the Trump Administration in 2017 to encourage dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan issue, in line with the requirements of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

The report, a first by the Trump administration, says, “The U.S. Government remains concerned by the lack of meaningful autonomy for Tibetans within China, ongoing violations and abuses of the human rights of Tibetans in China, and efforts by Chinese authorities to eliminate the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of Tibetans. The United States believes the Chinese government must address these concerns to create conditions for a sustainable settlement, which is essential to the long-term stability of the region.”

Acknowledging Tibet’s importance on a regional level, the report states the U.S. government “believes that a negotiated outcome that results in meaningful autonomy for Tibetans, and ensures they are able to practice freely their religion, culture, and language, provides the best hope for long-term stability in the region.”

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State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 says China Continues to deny Religious Freedom in Tibet

May 29, 2018

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 states that in the Tibetan areas, the Chinese “authorities continued to engage in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. There were reports of forced disappearance, physical abuse, prolonged detention without trial, and arrests of individuals due to their religious practices. Travel restrictions hindered traditional religious practices and pilgrimages.”

The report, released in Washington, DC on May 29, 2018, by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom states that the “primary sources of grievances among Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns included the requirement that all monks under the age of 18, who are legally unable to join monasteries and Buddhist religious institutions, undergo “patriotic education”; strict controls over religious practice; and intrusive surveillance of many monasteries and nunneries, including the permanent installation of CCP and public security officials and overt camera surveillance systems at religious sites and monasteries.”

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State Department notes ‘severe’ repression in Tibet in 2017 Human Rights Report

April 20, 2018

The State Department’s latest Human Rights Report, released on April 20, 2018, documents pervasive repression and high levels of deployments by the paramilitary People’s Armed Police in Tibet. Among other issues, the report tracks the many fronts Chinese authorities have opened in their attacks on the Dalai Lama, including strengthened punishments for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members who secretly harbor religious beliefs, and the detention of Tibetans who express support for him.

“The U.S. report on the situation of human rights in Tibet confirms the information that the International Campaign for Tibet has been gathering about the deteriorating situation in Tibet,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. “This message from the Administration complements a series of legislations before the United States Congress, including the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, and their approval would strengthen the call for human rights in Tibet,” Mecacci added.

Examining the ethnic dynamics of Chinese rule in Tibet, the report notes that ethnic Chinese CCP members hold “the overwhelming majority of top party, government, police, and military positions” in Tibet, and that on the national level, none of the members of the CCP Politburo or the Standing Committee of the Communist Party are Tibetan.

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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.

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New US report says traditional monastic system continued to decline in Tibet

Reports of forced disappearance, physical abuse, prolonged detention, and arbitrary arrest of people due to their religious practice

August 15, 2017

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which was released on August 15, 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, says the Chinese “authorities engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries”.

The report says, “Across the Tibetan Plateau there were reports of forced disappearance, physical abuse, prolonged detention, and arbitrary arrest of people due to their religious practice, as well as forced expulsions from monasteries, restrictions on religious gatherings, and destruction of monastery related dwellings, according to media reporting and human rights organizations.”

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State Department International Religious Freedom Report, 2016

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which was released on August 15, 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, says the Chinese “authorities engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries”. Read the full report online at the U.S. Department of State’s website » China (includes […]

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Congress calls on Trump Administration to implement statutory obligation by appointing a US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

June 22, 2017

As the Trump Administration prepares to name the next level of officials for the State Department, 37 members of Congress have written to President Trump reminding him of his statutory obligation, established under the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, to appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. The letter begins: “As members of the United States Congress, we write to urge you to appoint the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the US Department of State as soon as possible.”

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China Strictly Curtailed Rights of the Tibetans in 2016 says State Department Human Rights Report

March 3, 2017

The State Department’s latest human rights report said China engaged in “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of the Tibetan population.” The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, released on March 3, 2017 said these rights included “ the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly, and movement” and that these were curtailed “under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, combating separatism, and extracting natural resources.” The report further said, China “routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai [Lama] clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating instability.”

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Secretary Tillerson says he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama

February 1, 2017

In response to written questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who received Senate’s confirmation as Secretary of State on February 1, 2017, has said that he will commit to encourage dialogue on Tibet and to receive the Dalai Lama.

Secretary Tillerson also expressed concern for the restrictions imposed by China on reporters, civil society actors, diplomats and others in accessing to Tibet, for the denial of visas to foreign journalists and the limitations to freedom of movement and information.

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Senate confirms nomination of Mr. Rex Tillerson as the next United States Secretary of State

February 1, 2017

Earlier today (February 1, 2017) the United States Senate voted to confirm Mr. Rex Tillerson as the next Secretary of State. In his prepared statement for the confirmation hearing on January 11, 2017, he said the following about China:

“We should also acknowledge the realities about China. China’s island building in the South China Sea is an illegal taking of disputed areas without regard for international norms. China’s economic and trade practices have not always followed its commitments to global agreements. It steals our intellectual property, and is aggressive and expansionist in the digital realm. It has not been a reliable partner in using its full influence to curb North Korea. China has proven a willingness to act with abandon in pursuit of its own goals, which at times has put it in conflict with America’s interests. We have to deal with what we see, not with what we hope.”

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State Department International Religious Freedom Report, 2015

The State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2015 on August 10, 2016. The following is its section on Tibet highlighting the state of religious freedom of the Tibetan people. The report says, “The U.S. government repeatedly pressed Chinese authorities at multiple levels to respect religious freedom for all faiths and to allow […]

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US asks China to address concerns regarding demolition at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute

The United States has asked China “to cease actions that may escalate tensions” on account of the demolition at a famed Tibetan Buddhist learning center, Larung Gar Buddhist Institute. During the Daily Press Briefing on August 8, State Department Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau responded to a question by expressing the United States’ concerns. Following is the […]

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U.S. State Department details rights abuses, raises concern on Tibet in 2015 Annual Human Rights Report

April 13, 2016

The U.S. State Department has detailed its concern about the “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage” in its annual human rights report covering 2015, released today by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This report gives comprehensive details on issues including lack of access to Tibet, disappearances and torture, sentencing of relatives of those who have self-immolated, and violations of rights of assembly, movement and expression, indicating clearly the continuous and strong concerns of the U.S. government.”

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US Tibet Coordinator Sarah Sewall Hosts Tibetan Losar reception at the State Department

February 23, 2016

On February 18, 2016, the State Department hosted a reception to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year, to an invited gathering of Tibetan Americans, diplomats, State Department officials, Congressional staffers and other dignitaries, including the Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama to the Americas. The first day of Losar fell on February 9 this year.

The program began with prayers by Shingza Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist master. Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, who is also the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, welcomed everyone saying, “Losar Tashi Delek.”

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US Governments highlights lack of religious freedom for Tibetans in its annual report

October 16, 2015

On October 14, 2015, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2014 Report on International Religious Freedom. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry stated: “The message at the heart of this report is that countries benefit when their citizens fully enjoy the rights to which they are entitled.” Kerry further urged “the release of men and women destined or imprisoned anywhere in the world for the peaceful expression and practice of their religious beliefs.”

The report’s section on Tibet states that in the TAR and other Tibetan areas, “authorities severely restricted religious freedom and engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries.”

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State Department International Religious Freedom Report, 2014

Read the full report online at the U.S. Department of State’s website » China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Tibet EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The constitution of the People’s Republic of China states citizens enjoy “freedom of religious belief;” however, it limits protections for religious practice to “normal religious activities” and does not define “normal.” […]

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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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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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