Tibet Weekly Update – May 2, 2014

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

Two Tibetans stage bold solitary protests

Losang Tenpa

Losang Tenpa (Phayul)

A teenage monk from Kirti monastery carried out a lone protest holding an image of the Dalai Lama on April 26 on the same Ngaba street where many Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009. The monk, named Losang Tenpa, called out messages of protest against the Chinese government’s policy in Tibet until he was detained by police just moments later. Two weeks earlier a Tibetan man in Manikengo town, which is currently administered by Sichuan province’s Kardze prefecture, was detained after carrying out a similar protest. The man, whose name remains unknown, drew cries of support from onlookers before being detained. Please see the full ICT report here.
 

Religious teacher and fellow monks detained over prayers for the Dalai Lama

Lobsang Tenzin, a lama from Pasho monastery in eastern Tibet, was detained by police amid allegations that he and a number of fellow monks had helped fund a long-life ceremony for the Dalai Lama. A local source told RFA that the monks were “also accused of conducting special prayers in Pashoe monastery on March 16 for the long life of the Dalai Lama.” This follows a number of other incidents in the area, including the arrest of a monk in March 2014 for distributing the teachings of the Dalai Lama, and the fatal beating of another for the same.
 

Jigme Gyatso of Leaving Fear Behind honored by Reporters Without Borders

Jigme Gyatso, a monk who assisted Dhondup Wangchen film the short documentary Leaving Fear Behind and whose whereabouts are currently unknown, has been honored by Reporters Without Borders as one of their “100 Information Heroes.” Reporters Without Borders notes that following the filming of Leaving Fear Behind he was “immediately arrested, sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment, then beaten and tortured. He was released in October 2008. However, in 2012 Jigme Gyatso, described by fellow Tibetans as “monk of moral integrity and a sincere social worker”, was seized again by the authorities, who are holding him in secret. His family have had no news of him since September 2012.” In related news, there are indications that Dhondup Wangchen will be released on June 5, 2014, more than 6 years after he was imprisoned for his part in filming Leaving Fear Behind.
 

Norwegians rally to welcome the Dalai Lama after Norwegian prime minister declines to meet with His Holiness

Norwegian leader Erna Solberg bowed to Chinese pressure earlier this week and announced that she would not meet with the Dalai Lama during his upcoming visit to Norway. While this decision was met with approval by the Chinese foreign ministry, hundreds of Norwegians gathered outside the parliament building in Oslo to voice their objections. One of the rally organizers explained that “we want the Dalai Lama to know that he is warmly welcome in Norway, and we are proud that he’s coming,” while others suggested that the Dalai Lama should meet with Norwegian King Harald instead.
 

“The Monastery Cook”


A short film featuring a cook working in Namgyal monastery, India, has been released on Vimeo by Russell Avery, Kestrel Media, and the International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights. Tenpa Choeden, the eponymous monastery cook, discusses his decision to come into exile and the life he lives now in India. Namgyal monastery itself is sometimes called the “personal monastery of the Dalai Lama” due to its close relationship with the Dalai Lama lineage.
 

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