Tibet Weekly Update – April 24, 2015

A listing of the top news developments in and around Tibet during the previous week.

 

Tibetan man sets fire to himself beside shrine with religious offerings

Neykyab

Neykyab, who self-immolated on April 15.

Harrowing images are circulating on Tibetan social media of a Tibetan man who set fire to himself and died in Ngaba on April 16. Neykyab (also known as Damkar) was a former monk from the Soruma nomadic area who was married and a father to 7 children. At the site of his self-immolation, in a village in Ngaba, Neykyab displayed a photo of the Dalai Lama and the Tenth Panchen Lama along with butter-lamps, flowers, and a family photograph. For more please see our report.

 

China attempts to legitimize its Panchen Lama through a major speech as the real Panchen Lama’s birthday approaches

Panchen LamaOn March 4, 2015 Gyaltsen Norbu, whom Beijing refers to as the Panchen Lama following their enforced disappearance of the real Panchen Lama, delivered a speech in Beijing at a meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in which he addressed a variety of issues related to religious policies in Tibet, and stated that Tibetans “enjoy religious freedom.” The speech later pivoted into an attack on Chinese policies which greatly restrict the number of monks in Tibetan monasteries, in what might have been an attempt to bolster his legitimacy among Tibetans. For more please see our report.

 

ICT President Matteo Mecacci: Chinese claims about Tibet lack credibility without access for international observers

The following is part of a statement issued by ICT President Matteo Mecacci in response to the release of a Chinese paper which asserted a hard-line position on Tibet and viciously libeled the Dalai Lama:

The easiest way for the ‘anti-separatist’ bureaucratic power bloc to exonerate themselves from taking responsibility for their policy failures in Tibet is to blame the Dalai Lama and ‘hostile forces’ outside Tibet. The misleading arguments made in this White Paper serve only to underline that failure and the insecurity of the CCP over its legitimacy in Tibet.

For his full statement, please click here. Matteo Mecacci also recently spoke during a Tibet briefing hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, telling the assembled congressional staffers and members of Congress that “the rhetoric of a happy and thankful Tibetan people loyal to the Chinese Communist Party must be flatly rejected.” The other speakers at the briefing were Tenzin Tethong and Lama Kyap Gazan- their statements can be read here and here, respectively.

 

US Government believes “resumption of dialogue” on Tibet is “critical”

In its most recent annual Tibet Negotiations Report to Congress, the State Department notes that “The Dalai Lama’s representatives and Chinese officials from the United Front Work Department have not met directly since the ninth round of dialogue in January 2010.” The report adds that the Chinese government’s failure to address problems in Tibet “will continue to be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States.” ICT’s report on the State Department report can be read here.

 

Tibetan wedding photos ‘captivate’ China

tibetan-wedding
A photo album uploaded to the internet by two Tibetan newlyweds has gone viral in China, racking up potentially hundreds of millions of views across several platforms. The photos show the couple in both Western and Tibetan clothing, in a variety of settings. For more please see this BBC report, or view the photo album itself here.

 

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