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Tibet Press Watch – Summer 2017

Top Story: Standing Tall for Tibet

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China’s revised religious regulations threaten survival of Tibetan Buddhism

September 18, 2017

  • Revised Chinese government regulations on religion consolidate far-reaching powers of the Communist Party state over people’s lives and beliefs, and are a further threat to the continued survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.
  • The revised rules on religious activity, issued by the Chinese State Council on September 7, 2017, conflate peaceful religious practice with ‘threats’ to China’s security, creating a more dangerous political environment for monks, nuns, and lay Buddhists, isolating them further from their counterparts outside China.
  • According to a newly revised provision of the regulation – and in an apparent attempt to use religion to achieve political goals of the Communist Party – religious groups are now bound to practice “core socialist values.”
  • The Chinese state media also announced a focus on the ‘Sinicization’ of religion, stating: “The direction of religions is to integrate them with Chinese culture” (Global Times, September 7, 2017). The Buddhist community is one of the main targets of ‘Sinicization’ of religion, which represents a more far-reaching effort to mould and shape Tibetan Buddhism to the diktats of the Chinese Communist Party in line with a more entrenched regulatory framework that has already deepened religious oppression over the last decade.
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ICT Vice President Bhuchung Tsering’s statement at the Roundtable on “Tibetan Buddhist Today”

September 15, 2017

Following is the prepared statement by ICT Vice President Bhuchung Tsering at the Roundtable on “Tibetan Buddhist Today” held by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the International Religious Freedom Roundtable at the United States Congress on September 15, 2017. Other participants of the Roundtable were Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, USCIRF Commissioner; Sarah Cook, Senior Research Analyst for East Asia, Freedom House; and Tina Mufford, Senior Policy Analyst, USCIRF. Judith Golub, Director of Congressional Affairs & Policy and Planning, USCIRF, moderated it.

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Nomads in ‘no man’s land’: how China’s policies risk the extinction of Tibetan pastoralism

September 15, 2017

Following is the English version of an article by ICT President Matteo Mecacci in Spanish that appeared in Newsweek En Español (September 11, 2017 issue). The issue’s cover story was on Tibet and included an interview with Dr. Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Nomads in ‘no man’s land’: how China’s policies risk the extinction of Tibetan pastoralism

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Australia Tibet Council’s New Report on Increased Chinese Influence in Australian Policy on Tibet and Dalai Lama

September 14, 2017

A new report by the Australia Tibet Council finds an increased Chinese influence in Australia’s political and educational institutions, leading to the Australian Government’s diminished engagement on Tibet. The report finds that the Australian silence on Tibet is notable, with not a single public statement issued for nearly a decade, and with no Australian Prime Minister meeting the Dalai Lama since 2009 although he has visited the country five times during that period.

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Inside Tibet: Dramatic video of slow-moving landslide in Tibet raises questions about climate change

September 13, 2017

A graphic video depicting a slow-moving landslide, looking like a lava flow, in a nomadic area of eastern Tibet has circulated online leading to questions about climate change and grasslands degradation on the world’s highest and largest plateau. The video shows the top layer of the grasslands sliding downhill in a steady stream, near livestock and nomadic dwellings, as Tibetans look on in distress.

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International Campaign for Tibet Statement on China’s revised religious regulations

September 8, 2017

China’s revised regulations on religious affairs passed by the State Council this week intensify controls over religious activity and present a further threat to Tibetan Buddhists.

The updated version of rules put in place in 2005 passed by the Chinese government on Thursday (September 7) should be assessed against the background of a series of laws that can be viewed as a systematic development of a security architecture. Among those are the 2015 Security Law, the NGO Law (in force January 2017), the 2016 Counter Terrorism Law, and the Cyber Security Law (in force May 2017). These laws represent the Chinese Communist Party’s will to gain maximum control over every aspect of people’s lives.

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Tibet Brief – August 2017 (ed. 60)

Top Story: UNESCO approves controversial World Heritage Tibet nomination

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ICT Inside Tibet: Tibetan nomads make rare appeal against removal from grasslands

September 5, 2017

  • Tibetan herders have made a rare appeal to the Chinese authorities after being banned from their traditional grazing grounds, saying that the orders are illegal in the context of Chinese law. The nomads, from a Tibetan area of Qinghai ( Amdo) were forced to leave their summer pastures, with large fines being imposed on those who refused and threats of imprisonment. Nomads have also been ordered to leave their grazing land in another area of Qinghai.
  • In their appeal, written by ‘the people of Dernang’ in a county in Golog and addressed to “The respected senior leaders of the People’s Republic of China, and concerned departments”, the Tibetan nomads write: “Taking away citizens’ rights to pastureland is against the constitution, against national and local laws, and a major cause of damage to People’s’ livelihood and way of life.” The appeal, and details about the order from Mangra county, are translated into English from Tibetan below.
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High-level Chinese visit to Nepal highlights difficulties for Tibetan community

August 28, 2017

A visit to Nepal by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang from August 14 to17, 2017 – the highest level Chinese visit to Kathmandu since Premier Wen Jiaobao visited in 2012 – further strengthened economic and political ties with the new Kathmandu government. Combined with an agreement last month between Nepal and China to ensure cooperation in border law enforcement, and Nepal formally joining Xi Jinping’s ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ plan, the developments point to a contracting space and dangers for Tibetans in Nepal as the Nepalese authorities deepen their relationship with their more powerful neighbor.

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New US report says traditional monastic system continued to decline in Tibet

Reports of forced disappearance, physical abuse, prolonged detention, and arbitrary arrest of people due to their religious practice

August 15, 2017

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which was released on August 15, 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, says the Chinese “authorities engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries”.

The report says, “Across the Tibetan Plateau there were reports of forced disappearance, physical abuse, prolonged detention, and arbitrary arrest of people due to their religious practice, as well as forced expulsions from monasteries, restrictions on religious gatherings, and destruction of monastery related dwellings, according to media reporting and human rights organizations.”

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State Department International Religious Freedom Report, 2016

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which was released on August 15, 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, says the Chinese “authorities engaged in widespread interference in religious practices, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries”. Read the full report online at the U.S. Department of State’s website » China (includes […]

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Inside Tibet: New crackdown on ‘hostile forces’ in Tibet in buildup to Party Congress

August 11, 2017

In an already oppressive political environment, restrictions on media, culture and communications in Tibet have been stepped up in the buildup to the 19th Party Congress, due to take place in the fall.

According to Tibet Daily, a crackdown on “illegal activity” has been launched in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in order to tighten security and ensure compliance to the Party state prior to the important Party meeting in Beijing, which could be held as early as October. The official report mentions that further actions will be taken to “prevent […] problematic information distributed by Dalai Clique and other Western hostile forces and track down online circulation of negative information, hyper-speculation and rumors.”

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‘Now the Lapis Lazuli vase is smashed’: Tibetan intellectuals on the death of Liu Xiaobo

August 10, 2017

Tibetan intellectuals have posted moving tributes online to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, whose death on July 13, 2017 was condemned worldwide. “In a free country, such a man would be cherished as dearly as the eyes on our foreheads and hearts in our chests, but instead […] he was smashed on the rocks and broken into pieces,” wrote one.

Immediately following his death, a number of Tibetan writers posted emotional tributes to Liu Xiaobo, whose wife Liu Xia, is still missing. Most of the writers refer to him by a Tibetan term meaning of ‘great’ or ‘noble’ birth, with one blogger likening him to a bodhisattva.

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Rowell Fund for Tibet to receive application for 2018 Grant Cycle

August 10, 2017

The Rowell Fund for Tibet seeks to support Tibetans who can make a significant contribution to their community and/or an international audience in the fields of visual arts and media, and environmental and women’s rights.

Grants applications are invited from Tibetans for the Rowell Fund for Tibet’s 2017-18 grant cycle for projects that focus on the following themes: environment/conservation; photography; humanitarian projects; journalism/literature; or women’s projects.

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Italian Government confirms the right of Tibetan refugees to travel to Italy

August 4, 2017

ICT joined with the Tibetan Community in Italy, the Italy Tibet Association, and the Italian Buddhist Union to reverse some decisions of the Italian authorities to deny visas to Tibetan refugees from India traveling to Italy. We will monitor the correct application of standards and against any inaccurate interpretations such as there have been in these last two months.

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First Tibetan self-immolation in Dharamsala

July 31, 2017

A charred body was found near the Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamsala on Saturday (July 29), with one eyewitness reporting seeing a man in flames near the pilgrimage route. It is the first self-immolation in Dharamsala, India, base of the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.

The man has been identified as Dhondup (also known as Passang Dhondup) a wood painter at Norbulingka Institute, near Dharamsala. The 49-year old man was born in Gyantse (Chinese: Jiangzi) in Tibet and had arrived in India in 1991 and had been working in Norbulingka institute from 2012, according to Tibetan media.

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Honoring Liu Xiaobo | Richard Gere on Capitol Hill | Dalai Lama’s Birthday

A listing of the recent top news developments in and around TibetJuly 21, 2017   A video message to ICT members from President Matteo Mecacci ICT President Matteo Mecacci shares updates on ICT’s recent efforts in support of Tibet, exclusively to and for ICT Members! – ICT Chairman Richard Gere meets with Members of Congress […]

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