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Ambassador Branstad

ICT statement on US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad’s visit to Tibet

May 23, 2019

Amb. Terry Branstad’s visit to Tibet this week is another sign of the support of the United States for the Tibetan people, who continue to live under the oppressive rule of the Chinese government. It also shows that Congressional and State Department actions do have an impact.

As the State Department’s recent report on access to Tibet exposed, Chinese officials twice cancelled the ambassador’s visit in 2018 without providing any reason or suggesting alternate dates. But at the end of last year, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act was signed into law, and despite China’s response to the legislation, it has now allowed Mr. Branstad to enter Tibet for the first visit there by a US ambassador since 2015.

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Damming Tibet’s rivers: new threats to Tibetan area under UNESCO protection

Evidence has emerged of plans to construct a damaging cascade of dams affecting a UNESCO-protected Tibetan area known as the “Three Parallel Rivers.” This construction will potentially lead to the relocation of local people and poses an unprecedented danger to this vitally biodiverse area. While the Chinese government gave only vague details of new dam […]

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March 10 rally in Brussels

As elections near, Belgian political parties pledge support for Tibet in response to ICT questions

May 21, 2019

As Belgians prepare for federal and regional elections on May 26, Belgian political parties have committed to supporting the Tibetan cause in response to questions from the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).

Seven parties contacted by ICT’s Brussels office replied to written queries about their positions on the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s environment and human rights in Tibet, as well as their plans to address the Tibetan issue on national and international levels if they are elected to power.

The Christian Democratic and Flemish Party (CD&V); the Democratic, Federalist and Independent party (Défi); Ecolo; Groen (Greens); the Reformist Movement (MR); the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA); and the Socialist Party Differently (sp.a) all replied to ICT’s 10 questions. The Socialist Party (PS); Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH); Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB); and Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats party (Open VLD) were also contacted but did not respond to the questionnaire.

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March 10 rally in Brussels

2019 Belgian Election Tibet questionnaire

May 21, 2019

The following is the Tibet questionnaire for the 2019 Belgian Elections, translated by ICT.

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Members of Congress urge Trump Administration to implement key Tibet legislation

May 13, 2019

A bipartisan letter signed by 32 members of Congress addressed to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo was released today by Reps. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) and Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), co-chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. The letter urges the Trump Administration to promptly implement key legislation passed by Congress to guide US policy on Tibet.

The letter expresses the Congress members’ “deep concern about the well-being of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule,” adding that “the repression in Tibet continues unabated.” The members of Congress say “It is therefore now more urgent than ever that the State Department fully implement current law on Tibet.”

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Senate letter to Brownback

Bipartisan group of senators ask State Dept. how US can prevent Chinese interference in religious freedom in Tibet

May 10, 2019

A bipartisan group of US senators sent a letter to US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback this week asking “how the US can best support Tibetan Buddhists, to include collaboration with the international community to uphold religious freedom, and to convey that religious traditions should not be subject to government encroachment.”

Led by Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the letter was signed by committee members Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-NM), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

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World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet

ICT’s Vincent Metten speaks about EU Tibet policies at World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet

May 9, 2019

Vincent Metten, Brussels-based EU Policy Director of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), at a panel discussion at the 7th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet in Riga, Latvia, on May 9, 2019. The panel session was moderated by Matteo Mecacci, ICT president. Other panelists were Jonathan Stivers, staff director of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; and Csaba Sógor, member of the European Parliament from Romania.

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Kelsang Gyaltsen German Parliament hearing

Dalai Lama’s former envoy tells German parliament “China wants to destroy the core of Tibetan identity”

May 8, 2019

China wants to destroy the core of Tibetan identity and replace Tibetan culture and religion with a state-approved and controlled version, Kelsang Gyaltsen, the former Special Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Europe said at a hearing in the German Bundestag in Berlin on May 8, 2019.

Gyaltsen was speaking as an expert on the situation of Tibetan Buddhism in a hearing called “Religious Freedom: The human rights situation of religious minorities in China” in the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the Bundestag.

Gyaltsen also touched on the issue of the succession of the Dalai Lama and said China does not have the authority to decide it. He said German politicians should make it clear they would not recognize a Dalai Lama appointed by the Chinese government.

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US federal commission says China sought “forced assimilation” of Tibetan Buddhism in 2018

April 29, 2019

The Chinese government tried to forcibly bring Tibetans’ Buddhist faith under state control in 2018, a new report from a US federal government commission says.

Released today, April 29, the 2019 annual report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) documents China’s strategy of “forced assimilation and suppression” of Tibetan Buddhism and calls on China to release Tibetan political prisoners.

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Sen. Richard Lugar, consistent supporter of Dalai Lama and Tibet, passes away

April 29, 2019

Sen. Richard Lugar, one of the Republican Party’s most influential voices on foreign policy, died on April 28, 2019 after a brief illness. He was 87. During his tenure in the Senate, he consistently supported the cause of Tibet, had several meetings with the Dalai Lama and challenged China’s misplaced policies toward the Tibetan people.

Lugar served as a Senator from Indiana from 1977 to 2013. Prior to that, he was the mayor of Indianapolis.

Lugar supported many of the bills on Tibet and the Dalai Lama that came up in the Senate since the early 1990s, including the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2007.

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Tibetan Association of Canada press conference

Setting up astroturf “Tibetan Associations” in the West is China’s latest ploy to mislead the world on Tibet

April 24, 2019

In April 2018, when Sweden charged a Tibetan residing in that country with espionage for the Chinese government, the international community became aware of a new Chinese propaganda tactic meant to influence foreign countries from within and disrupt Tibetan communities in exile.

At that time, a Tibetan from Amdo living in Europe told ICT: “No Tibetan living in Europe or America will be surprised to hear about this sad situation. Everywhere that Tibetans are settled – Brussels, Britain, Zurich or New York—it is known that the Chinese authorities are working behind the scenes, making threats, spreading suspicion, and damaging the lives of families back in Tibet related to those in exile.”

One year later, the so-called “Tibetan Association of Canada” was established in Toronto. The nature of its inaugural event, featuring the obvious involvement of pro-Chinese Communist Party organizations and a small number of Tibetans, made it clear this association is a Chinese government front group. The Tibetans present, who formed a minority of the audience at the gala despite the sizeable Tibetan community in Toronto, were all individuals publicly known to be involved with China’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), as well as Chinese consulates in New York and Canada.

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Panchen Lama age progression

As Panchen Lama turns 30, China must release him and stop interfering in Tibetan religious freedom

April 24, 2019

In 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year-old boy, as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second most well-known religious figure in Tibet.

Three days later, Chinese authorities abducted the Panchen Lama and his family, making him the world’s youngest political prisoner.

April 25, 2019 is the Panchen Lama’s 30th birthday. His whereabouts remain unknown, and he has not been seen in public since his kidnapping, although it is believed he is still alive.

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Meeting of the European Parliament [Plenary Chamber, Strasbourg, France, March 10, 2009]

New European Parliament resolution says China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists

April 18, 2019

In a resolution adopted at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament has singled out China for its persecution of Tibetans and other ethnic and religious groups and demanded that the Chinese authorities respect their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The resolution, adopted with a large majority of 505 voices (with only 18 against and 47 abstentions) expresses the European Parliament’s concerns about the increasing repression faced by many ethnic and religious “minorities” in China, in particular Tibetans, Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Christians. It calls amongst others on China to close the so-called “political reeducation camps” in Xinjiang (known to Uyghurs as East Turkestan) and to “uphold the linguistic, cultural, religious and other fundamental freedoms of Tibetans.”

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PAP in Tibet

Millions of Chinese students to be sent to “minority areas”; China doubles down on Tibet control during anniversary period

April 15, 2019

In a March 22 document, the Chinese Communist Youth League said it was sending more than 10 million vocational school and university students to rural areas as volunteers by 2022 in order to “increase their skills, spread civilization and promote science and technology.” The document was made public by Chinese state media as well as by international news agencies.

For some the deployment of millions of students to “spread civilization” evokes the excesses and chaos of the Cultural Revolution in 1966-76, when millions of Chinese intellectuals and others were sent to live in the countryside. According to an AFP report, which monitored reaction to the campaign on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform, a user, WangTingYu, posted “Has it started again?,” while another user with a Tibetan-sounding name, KalsangWangduTB, posted: “Sometimes history advances, sometimes it retreats.”

Xi Jinping, president of China and secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, spent seven years in a village in the northwestern province of Shaanxi starting at the age of 16. Xi has become known for reinvigorating Communist Party ideology to an extent unseen since the Cultural Revolution, and policy developments in Tibet indicate a doubling-down on strategies of control and securitization.

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After 20+ years in jail, Tibetan sentenced to 18 more years after demonstrating for world peace

April 10, 2019

A Tibetan man who carried out a solo protest for world peace shortly after being released from more than 20 years in prison has been sentenced to another 18 years in a case described as a “state secret.”

Lodoe Gyatso—also known as Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso because of his home area of Sog (Chinese: Suo) county, Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu), the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—is now in his mid-50s.

On the morning of Jan. 28, 2018, months after his release from a second two-year prison sentence, he published a video, broadcast by Voice of America, announcing his intention to hold a peaceful demonstration that would start his “campaign for world peace.”

Later that day, dressed in a white traditional Tibetan garment known as a chuba and a shirt, he was detained by police while marching around the Potala Palace carrying out his demonstration.

His wife, Gakyi, has also been sentenced to two years in jail, according to sources.

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Chairman Gardner

Congress will “never” recognize Chinese-appointed Dalai Lama, Senator says

April 9, 2019

A US Senator today strongly rejected the Chinese government’s claim it will decide the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.

“Let me be very clear: The United States Congress will never recognize a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said at a Senate subcommittee hearing today, April 9, 2019.

Gardner added: “His Holiness has laid out [his] succession. Only then will the US follow that succession.”

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Bhuchung Tsering testifying

Make Tibet part of Indo-Pacific strategy, ICT vice president tells Senate hearing

April 9, 2019

Tibet should be a key element in US strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, Bhuchung K. Tsering of the International Campaign for Tibet said at a Senate hearing today, April 9, 2019.

Tsering, ICT’s vice president, was testifying at “ARIA in Action, Part 1: Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law,” hosted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. ARIA is the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018, which ensures funds for Tibetan programs and highlights China’s human rights abuses against the Tibetan people.

Tsering delivered a written statement to the subcommittee and submitted three texts for the record: the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s March 2019 position paper on access to Tibet; an op-ed by more than 30 parliamentarians across Europe last month calling for access to Tibet; and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 2011 statement explaining Tibetan Buddhism’s reincarnation system and his plans for succession.

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Tibetans and Uyghurs to hold demonstration during EU-China Summit

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights its member organization International Campaign for Tibet and its partner organizations World Uyghur Congress and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation Joint press release Tibetans and Uyghurs to hold demonstration during EU-China Summit Brussels, 4 April 2019 – On the occasion of the EU-China Summit on 9 April 2019 […]

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