Tibet Weekly Update – December 5, 2014

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

 

ICT urges U.S. officials and think tanks to challenge China’s policies on Tibet while official delegation visits Washington, DC

Lobsang Gyaltsen

Lobsang Gyaltsen

The International Campaign for Tibet called on the United States Congress and Administration to use the visit this week of a Chinese Government delegation from Tibet to challenge China’s policies on Tibet through direct and frank dialogue with the group. The delegation is headed by Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Lobsang Gyaltsen (Chinese: Luosang Jiangcun).

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This visit is part of an assertive and systematic approach by the Chinese government to project an impression that the situation in Tibet is normal and harmonious. The American people, and Congress and Administration, are not so easily fooled. The reality is that more than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire and died in agony to protest Chinese policies in Tibet and to call for the return of the Dalai Lama. Instead of addressing Tibetans’ genuine grievances, and continue a political dialogue with the Tibetan leadership, the Chinese response has been to intensify the military buildup and strengthen their aggressive campaign against the Dalai Lama. This is deeply counter-productive and must be addressed with the visiting delegation.”

The U.S. Government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions, as it stated in 2012: “Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans. Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those who have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.”

Monk stages solo protest in Sershul, Tibet; quickly arrested

Monk protestMultiple reports from Tibet have alerted us to a protest by a monk named Sonam Yarphel. Sonam reportedly walked down the main street in Sershul town holding a banner with an image of the Dalai Lama while calling for freedom and the long life of His Holiness. The monk was arrested, and Tibet Post alleges that Chinese security forces are moving in on his home monastery, identified as Mang-ge. For more see their report.

China Human Rights Defenders reports on lengthy sentences for Tibetans

Noting an uptick in sentencing for Tibetan monks and singers lately, CHRD reports that “the punishments, with the longest being 12 years, were issued in apparent retaliation against the men for exercising their freedom of religion and expression.” The cases singled out by CHRD include monks Tsangyang Gyatso, Lobsang Tenpa, and Lobsang Gyatso, and singers Kelsang Yarphel and Pema Rigzin. For more please see their report.

Two Tibetan artists receive harsh sentences, severe fines for creation of Tibetan music

Focusing on the same two singers as CHRD, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy writes:

Two prominent members of the Tibetan folk music industry have been given harsh prison sentences and heavy fines for their involvement in the making of Tibetan folk music in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, according to sources in Tibet.

On 27 November, well-known folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin and famed singer Kelsang Yarphel were sentenced together to lengthy prison sentences and given severe fines by the Intermediate People’s Court in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

They go on to lay out their backgrounds and cases in greater detail while noting that China is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which obliges it to refrain from arresting people for exercising their freedom of expression.

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