Tibet Weekly Update – June 26, 2015

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

 

Resolution calls on the People’s Republic of China to enter into meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama

Jim McGovern

One of the sponsors of the resolution, Rep. Jim McGovern, with the Dalai Lama.

As the Dalai Lama celebrates his 80th birthday, a resolution praising his efforts to advance greater understanding, tolerance, harmony and respect among religious faiths has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ), Chairman of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee, along with co-Chairmen of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Representatives Joseph Pitts (PA) and James McGovern (MA). In their words:

“All Americans should support freedom and autonomy for the Tibetan people, who, though they respect human rights, are denied their inalienable rights by an occupying power.” – Rep. Joe Pitts

“The Dalai Lama’s leadership has been central to preserving Tibetan culture and heritage worldwide, despite continued and escalating restrictions on Tibetan religious practices and linguistic heritage.” – Rep. Matt Salmon

“This resolution reaffirms the unwavering friendship between the Tibetan people and the United States, and I’m proud to offer it.” – Rep. Eliot Engel

“His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has been a powerful voice in advancing the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people.” – Rep. Jim McGovern



 

Open celebrations of Dalai Lama’s birthday despite Chinese threats

A shrine set up to wish the Dalai Lama a happy birthday and long life in eastern Tibet.

A shrine set up to wish the Dalai Lama a happy birthday and long life in eastern Tibet.

Images of Tibetans inside Tibet celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday have emerged around the world, despite efforts by Chinese officials to prevent the festivities. Radio Free Asia has reported events taking place in Kardze, Golog, Ngaba, and Kanlho prefectures, including groups of over 500 monks praying for his long life. RFA also has a video of one such ceremony taking place.


 

State Department Issues Annual Human Rights Reports for 2014

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.”


 

US Envoy says “dialogue in good faith” will pave the right path for Tibet and China

Ambassador Keith M. Harper

Ambassador Keith M. Harper, US Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council speaking at the side event “Lockdown in Tibet“, on June 15, 2015 in Geneva.

Ambassador Keith M. Harper, Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council, has said that he believes that sitting down to dialogue in good faith will be the starting point for finding the right path between Tibet and China.

In his remarks at the at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’s side event, “Lockdown in Tibet“, on June 15, 2015 in Geneva, to coincide with the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Ambassador said, “As an indigenous person – a citizen not only of the United States but my tribal nation – the Cherokee Nation – I have a particular affinity for the issues faced by Tibetans. In the history of our people, we faced times in the country I now represent, when our right to forge our own destiny and practice our own religion and speak our mines were too often denied or restricted. So the stories which emerge out of Tibet have always rung with a certain familiarity. It is a familiarity borne from the many stories I heard from my own relatives about our own history.”


 

Artists offer songs to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday

The Art of Peace Foundation, with artists including Sting, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Elbow, has created a collection of songs for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. The album is a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s philosophy of peace, non-violence and compassion.

The collection, entitled The Art of Peace (#SongsForTibet), is in harmony with Tibet’s rich culture, in which Tibetan singers traditionally express their devotion to the exiled religious leader the Dalai Lama through song despite the oppressive political climate and lack of freedoms.

Proceeds of ‘Songs for Tibet’ will go towards Tibetan cultural-preservation projects and a unique scheme providing vocational education to Tibetans.


 

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