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Marriott Hotels’s statement on Tibet raises serious concerns for endorsing Chinese government’s propaganda

January 17, 2018

Following Chinese government’s objection to its labelling of Tibet (amongst others) on a survey drop-down menu under “countries” the President of Marriott, Arne Sorenson, issued a statement on January 11, 2018 in which it said, “…we don’t support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.”

The International Campaign for Tibet is seriously concerned and feels inappropriate for a multinational corporation to have a political position on a future of a community.

The right of people to self-determination is a cardinal principle that is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We have therefore written to Mr. Sorenson expressing our concern and saying that since he has opined on the political future of the Tibetan people, he should also state his position on the universally acknowledged human rights violations suffered by the Tibetan people under the rule of the Chinese government. Failing to do so would mean endorsing the Chinese government political propaganda on Tibet.

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French President Macron should raise situation in Tibet on upcoming visit to China

January 4, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron should use his first visit to China from 8-10 January to send a signal to the Chinese leadership that France will not remain silent in face of the Chinese government’s attacks to the fundamental rights and freedom of the Tibetan people, said the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) today.

“This visit, which will be the first of President Macron in China, will set the tone for the Franco-Chinese relationship in the next few years and is therefore crucial,” said ICT’s EU Policy Director Vincent Metten. “The French President must use this opportunity to take a clear and strong stand on the gross human rights violations in Tibet. He should convey to his Chinese interlocutors, including President Xi Jinping, that the only way to reach a peaceful, mutual and long-term solution for China and Tibet lies in the resumption of a constructive dialogue between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.”

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ICT fears for lack of fair trial for Tibetan language advocate

January 3, 2018

Tibetan shopkeeper Tashi Wangchuk, who has been in prison since January 2016 after he sought to defend Tibetans’ right to education in their own language, is due to be tried on January 4.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Tashi Wangchuk did nothing more than defend a cultural right to use one’s own language, protected under the Chinese Constitution and international human rights law. He should never have been arrested, and it is indefensible that he now faces criminal prosecution, and the lack of a fair trial, and should be released immediately.”

Tashi Wangchuk was critical of Chinese cultural and educational policies on Tibetans in an interview with The New York Times in 2015, published in both print media and as a video that circulated widely. According to a microblog posted by his attorney, Liang Xiaojun, the Yushu Intermediate Court in Qinghai Province has scheduled the trial for January 4, 2018.

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Dhondup Wangchen arrives safely in the United States

International Campaign for Tibet welcomes former political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen to freedom and safety

December 27, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet strongly welcomes the news that Tibetan filmmaker and former political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen has been able to leave his homeland and reunite with his wife and children in the United States.

Despite having served his prison sentence, Dhondup continued to be limited in his freedom of movement, but was finally able to overcome those challenges, leave Tibet and pursue his deeply held desire to reunite with his family.

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ICT Chair Richard Gere

Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing calls for reciprocal access, religious freedom, and human rights in Tibet

December 6, 2017

Richard Gere, Chair of the International Campaign for Tibet, testified today (December 6) at a Congressional hearing on U.S. Tibet policy in Washington, DC, saying that he was “knocked out” by the support and proposals from U.S. lawmakers during the nearly two-hour long session.

At the hearing, hosted by the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, members of the Committee and the witnesses who gave testimony called for substantive action to resolve the Tibet issue, in the context of a wide-ranging debate covering China’s place in the world, the Dalai Lama and the succession issue, the strategic importance of Tibet to the PRC, and other issues. The Subcommittee hearing came amid efforts to advance the bipartisan Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and a Concurrent Resolution in support of Tibet’s place in American foreign policy. Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia, and Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, also testified.

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Hearing on U.S. Tibet policy hosted by Committee on Foreign Affairs, December 6

December 5, 2017

Richard Gere, Chair of the International Campaign for Tibet, will testify Wednesday, December 6 before the United States Congress on U.S. Tibet policy, hosted by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service, Radio Free Asia and Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy, will also testify at the hearing.

The Hearing is being held at a critical moment for evaluation of U.S. government Tibet policy following President Trump’s visit to China, where he failed to speak publicly about human rights and Tibet. It follows the introduction of a bipartisan Concurrent Resolution to the Senate on November 16, 2017 asking the Trump Administration to make Tibet an important factor in US-China relations, and calling upon the Trump Administration to fully implement the US Tibetan Policy Act, to promote access of US citizens to Tibet, and to encourage China to speak to the Dalai Lama leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.

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ICT Chairman Richard Gere visits Washington, D.C. to engage Members of Congress on Tibet; Attends observation of the Dalai Lama’s birthday on Capitol Hill

June 30, 2017

International Campaign for Tibet Board Chairman Richard Gere came down to Washington, D.C. for the third time this year to continue and deepen ICT’s engagement with Members of Congress on initiatives for Tibet, as well as to participate in a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday on Capitol Hill.

During this visit, which took place on June 27 and 28, 2017, Gere took the opportunity to brief the Members on the situation in Tibet, on the vision and efforts of the Dalai Lama to solve the Tibetan issue, and on the importance of continued United States support to the Tibetan people.

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CODEL Press Conference

Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Hold Press Conference on Visit to Tibetan Communities in India & Nepal

May 16, 2017

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and members of the bipartisan Congressional Delegation to India and Nepal held a press conference on May 16, 2017 to discuss their support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and America’s continuing commitment to ensuring the protection of Tibetan religion, culture, language, and human rights. Click ‘Continue Reading’ to see a recording of the press conference by Radio Free Asia:

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Inside Tibet: Use of “lie-detector” to test Communist Party members indicates escalation of control in Tibet

May 15, 2017

Officials in an area of eastern Tibet are being compelled to undergo a polygraph test, popularly known as a ‘lie-detector test,’ linked to an evaluation of their political loyalty to the CCP. The news, published in the state media, is evidence of a disturbing new level of intrusion into the private lives and thoughts of Tibetans, indicating the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia in the official sphere and the CCP’s insecurities over the erosion of its authority.

The state media report from Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) stated that the lie-detector test was being imposed in order to establish the “true feelings” of Party cadres in the region. While it stated that this is a matter of establishing their “psychological stability”, the priority of the authorities appears to be to ensure political loyalty to the CCP and compliance with CCP policy.

The introduction of lie-detectors to test even Communist Party officials represents an escalation of the CCP’s efforts to assert its dominance in a climate it has created of fear and mistrust. It is also an implicit acknowledgement that in the official sphere as well as in the wider society, many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama and maintain their strong sense of identity as Tibetans.

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Reports on Tibet by Washington Post journalist win two major awards

May 15, 2017

A report by Washington Post China Bureau Chief Simon Denyer of a Tibetan woman’s death that was silenced by police won a Human Rights Award from the Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong (FCCHK) at an event on May 13, 2017.

Correspondent Simon Denyer’s article,“A woman’s gruesome hanging shocked Tibet — but police have silenced all questions,” was chosen in the English Spot News category. Simon had travelled to Tibet to follow the story of the death of 27-year-old Tsering Tso, who was found hanged by a small bridge near her home, and published the report in August 2016. Simon’s report followed the publication in English, translated by ICT, of a rare appeal to Xi Jinping by a group of Tibetan villagers in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) whose attempts to seek justice for the death of a local woman were met with a brutal crackdown by police acting in complicity with local officials.

The Human Rights Awards are jointly organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. According to a statement by FCCHK, they were ”the first such honours created in Asia and are the region’s top awards for human rights-related reporting.” There were 122 submissions from English-language print and broadcast media and 58 photojournalism entries.

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ICT writes to countries attending China’s Belt and Road Forum not to put trade before human rights issues

May 12, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet has written to governments in Europe that are sending delegates to China’s first Belt & Road Forum (BRF) not to put trade before human rights. The letter urged them to include the deteriorating human rights situation in China, and in particular in Tibet, in their bilateral talks with their Chinese counterparts, and to include references to human rights and the rule of law in any joint statement adopted at the summit.

The Belt and Road Forum, part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR), will be held on May 14 and 15, 2017 in Beijing. It aims to put China at the center of global economic affairs and to expand links between it and countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. However, given China’s political situation, there is fear that this will lead to strengthening the effort of countries that put trade before human rights and respect for a community’s culture and environment.

“While this initiative might benefit some countries’ economic development, the international community has an equally important responsibility in ensuring that human rights are not sidelined in the face of economic interests and trade relations with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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Dalai Lama and Congressional Delegation

Leader Nancy Pelosi Remarks at Public Ceremony Hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Honor of Bipartisan Delegation Visit

May 10, 2017

Dharamsala, India – U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a ceremony hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang Temple in honor of the visit by a bipartisan Congressional delegation.

“What we see here today in support of the Tibetan people – we have said, as we stayed here – we have said to the top leadership of the Chinese Government. We recognize that China weighs heavily on any country, any corporation, any person – Richard Gere can attest to that – who speaks out for the Tibetan people. China uses its economic leverage to silence the voices of friends of Tibet. But if we do not speak out against oppression in Tibet because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world.

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Emmanuel Macron and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

ICT congratulates French President-elect Emmanuel Macron

May 8, 2017

On Sunday May 7, 66.10% of voters in the second round of the French Presidential elections voted in favor of Emmanuel Macron, who becomes the eighth and youngest French President.

“The International Campaign for Tibet would like to congratulate Mr. Emmanuel Macron for being successfully elected as the new French President. While ICT appreciates some of the efforts made by previous French governments on Tibet at the national, EU and UN levels, we call on President-elect Macron to amplify them and put human rights and the respect of the rule of law at the center of French relations with China,” said Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director based in Brussels.

Mr. Macron met the Dalai Lama during his last visit to France in September 2016. Soon after, Mr. Macron posted on his Twitter account a photo of the Dalai Lama offering him a khata with the following comment: “J’ai vu le visage de la bienveillance” (“I have seen the face of kindness”). According to an aide of Mr. Macron, this meeting has allowed an exchange of views on “…freedom of religion and the role of religion in our societies.”

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UHRP letter

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urged to respect participant’s freedom of expression

May 8, 2017

A group of NGOs, including the International Campaign for Tibet has demanded that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) demanded that “the rights of indigenous peoples’ representatives to express themselves in this arena be unconditionally respected.”

In a statement on the forced expulsion on April 26, 2016 of Uyghur human rights activist Dolkun Isa from the UN premises where the forum was being held, the NGOS called on the UNPFII Secretariat to provide a full account of the causes of this incident.

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Gelek Rimpoche

ICT Mourns the Passing of Tibetan Buddhist Scholar Gelek Rimpoche

February 15, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet was saddened to learn of the passing away of Gelek Rimpoche, a Buddhist scholar and an eminent master. In a message to Mrs. Colleen Smiley and to members of Jewel Heart (the organization Rimpoche established), ICT President Matteo Mecacci offered our heartfelt condolences.

Rimpoche was renowned for his scholarship, both within the Buddhist community and the broader society. He was a friend of the International Campaign for Tibet, having been kind enough to be on our Advisory Board and taking time whenever possible to provide counsel to us.

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ICT Chairman Richard Gere discusses Tibet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

February 9, 2017

Richard Gere, Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, met with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on February 9, 2017 and discussed the situation in Tibet. Gere updated the Chancellor on recent developments in Tibet and spoke about ways in which the international community could help mitigate the plight of the Tibetan people.

Gere is in Germany for the Berlin Film Festival where his latest film, “The Dinner” will premiere.

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State Department

Secretary Tillerson says he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama

February 1, 2017

In response to written questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who received Senate’s confirmation as Secretary of State on February 1, 2017, has said that he will commit to encourage dialogue on Tibet and to receive the Dalai Lama.

Secretary Tillerson also expressed concern for the restrictions imposed by China on reporters, civil society actors, diplomats and others in accessing to Tibet, for the denial of visas to foreign journalists and the limitations to freedom of movement and information.

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Message of courage and truth from Tibetan scholar monk who was tortured and imprisoned

January 30, 2017

A remarkable statement of courage and resilience by a respected scholar monk recently released from prison is circulating online.

Labrang Jigme, a monk from Labrang in Amdo, endured torture and nearly died following several periods in prison; he was released in October after serving nearly five years and immediately hospitalized. A popular writer and intellectual, he is the only known Tibetan to record on video in Tibet an account of his own imprisonment and views on Chinese policies against the Dalai Lama in which he gave his full identity.

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