Tibet Weekly Update – March 6, 2015

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

 

Seventh annual Tibet Lobby Day held in Washington, D.C.

President of ICT Matteo Mecacci, along with Tibet Lobby Day participants, meet with Representative Lois Capps from California.

President of ICT Matteo Mecacci, Vice President Bhuchung Tsering, and Tibet Lobby Day participants, meet with Representative Lois Capps from California.


The seventh annual Tibet Lobby Day was held in Washington, D.C. from March 2 to 3, 2015. Around 100 Tibetan-Americans and friends of Tibet converged from 15 different states to urge the U.S. Congress to support concrete actions to solve the Tibet crisis and support Tibetans in their effort to protect their culture, religion and identity.

“As a former Tibetan political prisoner who benefited from international support during my imprisonment by the Chinese authorities, the Tibet Lobby Day provided me, as a Tibetan American now, with the opportunity to do something concrete for the Tibetan people,” said Ngawang Sangdrol from Massachusetts, who has been a regular participant of the Tibet Lobby Day. “From my own experience, I can vouch for the fact that any such actions taken internationally do positively impact the Tibetans in Tibet,” Sangdrol added. For more please see our full report.

 

New ICT report documents endemic torture in Tibet and climate of impunity

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet documents a pattern of torture and mistreatment by Chinese prison officials of Tibetans, including 14 of them who have died, as a consequence, between 2009 and 2014.

This report, “Torture and Impunity – 29 Cases of Tibetan Political Prisoners” details specific cases of the 14 Tibetans, from an educated Tibetan in his early forties to a Buddhist teacher, who died as a result of torture in custody as well as the 15 others who survived but are still suffering. It also details the impact of imprisonment – whether extra-judicial, interrogation or a formal sentence – on the lives of Tibetan political prisoners released over the past two years whose ordeals have become known to the outside world, despite rigorous controls on information flow. The special report is available here.

 

ICT welcomes introduction of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act to the US Congress by Representatives McGovern and Pitts

On February 26, 2015 Members of Congress re-introduced a bipartisan legislation to promote travel by Americans to Tibetan areas where access is routinely denied by Chinese authorities.

“The Bill conveys a clear message to the Chinese leadership that if they don’t allow American citizens into Tibet, then Chinese officials with oversight on Tibet should not be allowed into the United States,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. “For decades, restricted access to Tibet for independent observers, journalists and diplomats has raised serious concerns as it has allowed the Chinese government to oppress Tibetans without accountability,” added Mecacci.

The bill, H.R. 1112, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act 2015, was introduced by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) on February 26, 2015. The legislation would deny access to the United States by Chinese officials who are responsible for creating or administering policies on travel to Tibetan areas until China eliminates discriminatory restrictions on access by Americans to Tibet. For more please see our report.

 

Chinese security forces arrange show of force in Amdo

Tibetans attending a festival at Labrang monastery. (Image: RFA)

Tibetans attending a festival at Labrang monastery. (Image: RFA)


The northern Tibetan areas currently administered by Gansu and Qinghai provinces have seen increased levels of security during recent festivals and before the upcoming anniversaries of the March 10 Tibetan Uprising Day, including checkpoints and vehicular inspections, according to this RFA story. A source in Labrang told RFA that “many armored police vehicles have now moved into the area, bringing several hundred police armed with rifles,” while a source in Golog spoke of barracks being established in three key counties. For more please see the RFA story.

 

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