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New State Dept. report shows US is serious about ending isolation of Tibet for Americans

March 25, 2019

A new State Department report denouncing China for “systematically” impeding Americans’ travel to Tibet shows the US government is serious about implementing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. The report also clearly shows that the widespread discrimination, and in some cases amounting almost to harassment, perpetrated by Beijing against Americans to enforce the complete isolation of Tibet from the outside world, won’t be accepted any longer in Washington.

The report, released March 25, 2019, documents outrageous attempts by Chinese authorities to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other US officials, directly threatening to expel journalists and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which has been in the grips of a brutal Chinese occupation for the past 60 years.

The report is the first significant outcome of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2018 and takes aim at China’s double standard of denying US diplomats, reporters and tourists entry to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas under Chinese control even though Chinese bureaucrats, state media and ordinary citizens are free to travel throughout the US.

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European Demonstration for Tibet

Germany: Human Rights Committee condemns repression in Tibet, calls for support of Tibetans

Berlin, March 25, 2019

In a rare Joint Statement made public today, the Human Rights Committee of the German parliament called on the “Chinese Government to immediately stop the repression of the Tibetan people and resume dialogue with the legitimate representatives of the Tibetans”. The statement, passed on the anniversary of the “brutal suppression of the Tibetan people’s uprising” in March 1959, expressed concern that “culture, language, identity and religion of the Tibetans are threatened in their existence.” It declared the “peaceful resistance of the Tibetan people to the deprivation of rights through the Chinese authorities deserves more support,” adding the “despair of the people, over 150 self-immolations in recent years and the outcry of the monks must shake up the international community.” The committee expressed “its deep respect for the Tibetan culture and its sympathy for and solidarity with the peaceful, oppressed Tibetan people.”

The statement also acknowledges that “the secular and spiritual leadership of the Tibetans has repeatedly chosen the path of peace, during many decades of extensive oppression.” It views, “the third way of the Dalai Lama, with a broad autonomy of Tibet within China, as an opportunity to avoid possible conflicts for the future.” The statement was supported by the governing CDU/CSU and SPD, as well as by the liberal FDP and the Greens.

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China’s response to Dalai Lama reincarnation statements shows Beijing’s insecurity and lack of legitimacy

March 20, 2019

As the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is given sole authority by the ancient traditions of his faith to select the manner of his reincarnation.

But when His Holiness made this clear in a recent interview, a spokesman for the foreign ministry of China’s atheist, authoritarian government claimed that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation must comply with Chinese law, specifically the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” and “Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas.”

Not only do the Chinese government’s claims completely disregard centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition; they also obviously violate the universal principle of religious freedom.

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Friends and family of Lodi Gyari at a memorial event.

Congressional Leaders, former US president and fellow activists remember late ICT chairman at Capitol Hill event

March 15, 2019

The sun was radiant, and it was surrounded by a glowing ring.

That breathtaking image was blown up and put on an easel at a service on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2019 where Sen. Dianne Feinstein —alongside fellow friends , colleagues and family members of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari—paid tribute to the remarkable Tibetan leader who helped the Dalai Lama make his people’s struggle for justice and human rights a major priority for the United States and governments around the world.

Lodi Gyari, the retired special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, senior official of the Central Tibetan Administration and executive chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, passed away in San Francisco on Oct. 29, 2018.

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united nations geneva

China’s response to UN rights review blatantly ignores its persecution of Tibetans

March 14, 2019

Geneva—China’s response to a United Nations review of the country’s human rights record represents a blatant denial of the human rights crisis in Tibet and other regions, the International Campaign for Tibet said today.

China’s conduct at the Universal Periodic Review session in Geneva is a mockery of this important UN mechanism and shows that China has no intention of respecting international human rights principles and the credibility of the human rights protection system as a whole, ICT said.

At Friday’s session, the UN Human Rights Council will discuss China’s response to more than 350 recommendations by member and observer states. China accepted those recommendations that applauded and whitewashed its policies and rejected those that called for improvement with regard to the rule of law and the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and religion.

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State Department 2018 Human Rights report exposes “severe” and “significant” restrictions in political participation and freedom of movement in Tibet

March 13, 2019

The people of Tibet face immense discrimination under Chinese rule, severe restrictions on their most basic rights and increasing isolation from the outside world, according to the US State Department’s Human Rights Report for 2018.

In the report, released March 13, 2019, the department “documents substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; severe restrictions of religious freedom; significant restrictions on freedom of movement; and restrictions on political participation” for the people of Tibet.

The report highlights several areas of discrimination faced by Tibetans. It says the top Communist Party positions in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as well as in all other Tibetan areas, are held by ethnic Chinese.

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Potala Tibet Brief

China tightens control and surveillance measures for 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising

March 8, 2019

Tibetans are preparing to observe the 60th anniversary of the March 10 anniversary of Tibet’s National Uprising in 1959, which coincides this year with high-level political meetings in Beijing known as the “Two Sessions.”

The Tibet Autonomous Region has experienced an unusually long closure to foreign tourists, spanning from January 30 until April 1. This year marks the significant 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, the Dalai Lama’s escape, and 60 years of the Tibetan diaspora in exile – and also the 70th anniversary year of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The tightened controls in place for the anniversary period reflect the Chinese leadership’s efforts to obliterate loyalty to the Dalai Lama and replace it entirely with allegiance to the Communist Party, with a particular focus on the “Sinicization” of Tibetan Buddhism. In the buildup to March, the Chinese authorities have sought to enforce the display of images of Xi Jinping and Chinese leaders – in some areas compelling Tibetans even to prostrate to those images – and there have been “clean-up” campaigns targeting images of the Dalai Lama.

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Potala Tibet Brief

China bans foreigners from visiting Tibet Autonomous Region until April

February 19, 2019

Tibet tour operators have announced that the ‘annual closure’ of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to foreigners began this year on Jan. 30 and will last until April 1, with one operator recommending that foreigners plan to “begin the Tibet trip no earlier than April 1 because of the Tibet permits restriction policy recently.”

Every year since 2008, the TAR has been closed off to tourists for at least one month, coinciding with the anniversary of the March 10 Uprising in 1959 and protests in 2008.

In 2018, authorities closed the TAR to foreigners from Feb. 10 to April 1, according to tour operators.

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Thank You America

As Tibetans thank America for 60 years of support, US leaders pledge continued commitment

February 13, 2019

The Tibetan people thanked the United States for 60 years of friendship at a celebration on Tuesday night—and US leaders responded by pledging to maintain their support until justice and human rights come to Tibet.

“Bipartisan support for the rights of the Tibetan people is strong and is not going away. I hope the Chinese government is able to hear that message,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), one of several members of Congress honored at the lively “Thank You, America” event on Feb. 12 in the US Capitol, where gratitude was shared through prayers, songs and speeches.

The event, hosted by the Office of Tibet, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and the Capital Area Tibetan Association, was held to express gratitude to the United States government and people for steadfastly supporting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan.

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AOC and Dalai Lama

Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, McAdams and other elected leaders join in Tibetan New Year celebrations

February 13, 2019

For Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a recent Tibetan New Year event was a chance not only to celebrate Tibetan heritage but also to extol the Tibetan-American community’s vital role in the country’s future.

“I believe that the Tibetan community in its integration and in its fellowship with the American community, as part of the American community, is part of charting our path forward together as a country,” the first-term Representative said at an event on Feb. 9, 2019 in her home district hosted by The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey. “So I’m so proud to work with the community and translate those values into Washington, DC and into the laws of our land.”

Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself playing with a Tibetan child to her Instagram account, garnering more than 216,000 likes and 2,200 comments by Feb. 12.

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US officials, Tibetan-Americans celebrate success at Tibetan New Year event at State Department

February 12, 2019

The recent and future successes of the Tibetan-American community were celebrated at a Tibetan New Year event at the State Department last week that sent strong messages about continued US support for Tibet.

The State Department’s Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues organized the gathering on Feb. 8, 2019 for Losar, the start of the Tibetan Year of the Earth Pig.

The event, which attracted dozens of US government officials, diplomats, civil society representatives, and Tibetan Americans, featured traditional Tibetan music and dance performances, Tibetan food and remarks by US and Tibetan leaders.

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Seeker Tibet video

Video quoting ICT exposes destruction of Tibetans’ landscape and way of life

February 8, 2019

The president of the International Campaign for Tibet is quoted in a new video that exposes China’s environmentally destructive policy of forcing Tibetan nomads off their land.

The video from Seeker Media, which is posted on Animal Planet’s Facebook page and on MSN.com, focuses on the Changtang National Nature Reserve in the northern Tibetan plateau. It adds to the growing number of revelations about how the Chinese government is removing Tibetan nomads from the lands they’ve tended for hundreds of years—even though scientists agree their stewardship is essential for protecting the environment.

“Nomadic farming techniques have helped preserve Tibet’s grasslands for centuries,” the video text says, “but now officials want regional cattle farmers to relocate to nearby Lhasa,” Tibet’s capital city.

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MM Heritage Panel

Repression of Tibetan Buddhism engineered by Beijing must be confronted, ICT president says at panel discussion in Washington, DC

February 7, 2019
The president of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) told a panel discussion at a major think tank in Washington, DC that it is time for democratic governments and international institutions to go after high-ranking Chinese officials who design policies that violate human rights.

Speaking at the panel discussion “Evaluating Threats to Religious Freedom in China” at The Heritage Foundation on Feb. 5, 2019, ICT President Matteo Mecacci said that while specific human rights violations against one person or a small group are tragic, more attention should be paid by democratic governments and international institutions to the Chinese leaders whose policies make those violations possible.

“What’s important is also to look at the architects of the policies that are being implemented on the larger scale,” Mecacci said, adding that “These individuals should be individually targeted,” whether by freezing their financial assets or denying them visas to enter other countries.

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Choekyi Released

Fears for health of Tibetan monk jailed for celebrating Dalai Lama’s birthday

January 30, 2019

There are growing fears about the welfare of a Tibetan monk who was released from prison this month after spending three-and-a-half years in jail for wearing a t-shirt that celebrated the Dalai Lama’s birthday.

The monk named Choekyi (Chinese:Queji), who was the subject of a European Parliament emergency resolution calling for his release last year is suffering from serious ill-health and pain that was exacerbated by hard labor and solitary confinement in prison. He was denied health care in custody, and, even since his release, he has not been allowed to receive medical treatment.

Choekyi was detained in June 2015 after he wore a t-shirt with Tibetan writing celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday that year and posted messages of good wishes on social media.

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Lawyer denied access to imprisoned Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk on eve of arrest anniversary

January 23, 2019

The lawyer of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk, who marks three years in a Chinese prison on Jan. 27, 2019, was denied access to him last week despite Tashi Wangchuk’s request to meet him to discuss making a new petition about his case.

Wangchuk was sentenced to five years in prison on May 2, 2018, accused of ‘separatism’ after appearing in a New York Times video speaking about the importance of protecting Tibetans’ ‘mother tongue.’ Court documents later showed his prosecution to be a sham.

One of Wangchuk’s lawyers, Lin Qilei, travelled to Dongchuan Prison in Xining City, Qinghai Province, on Jan. 15 in order to ascertain Wangchuk’s current situation and his wish to file a new petition for his release, according to a posting by China Human Rights Defenders. Wangchuk’s first, unsuccessful appeal against his sentence was heard in August 2018. According to PRC law, prisoners are entitled to file a petition if they are not satisfied by the judgement against them. According to Article 22 of this law, the prison should “without delay” handle these petitions.

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Personal thanks from ICT Chairman Richard Gere

January 22, 2019

A message from Richard Gere to ICT Supporters

As Chairman of your International Campaign for Tibet, it gives me great pleasure to share with you the good news of our most extraordinary recent success.

Against huge obstacles, including a formidable Chinese lobbying effort, a transitional Congress, and a Washington that continues to be divided, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act was passed unanimously in the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Trump on December 19th, 2018.

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Chinese response to Tibet reciprocity bill signals its fear of US support for Tibet

January 7, 2019

Giant thangka painting of mass murderer Mao is assertion of ‘red culture’ in Tibet

  • As Chinese authorities reacted angrily against President Trump signing into law the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, they stepped up criticism of the Dalai Lama, republishing baseless negative articles that exposed China’s fear of the new law, which received strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the US.
  • Local authorities in an area of eastern Tibet launched a “clean-up” drive to eliminate pictures of the Tibetan religious leader and replace them with pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.
  • In a development that would be unthinkable in Chinese cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, a massive image of Mao Zedong has been created in a Tibetan area in the form of a Tibetan thangka (a Buddhist religious painting), involving 12,000 people in its production and costing more than 4 million yuan ($580,000). It is a move apparently designed to assert Tibetan subjugation to the image of Mao, who was responsible for the invasion of Tibet in 1949-50. Its announcement coincided with statements from Xi emphasizing the Communist Party’s dominance at important meetings in Beijing in December 2018.
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Americans rank Dalai Lama among most admired men in the world, showing continued US support for both him and Tibet

The Tibetan spiritual leader is eighth on Gallup’s 2018 Most Admired Man list, marking his ninth appearance in the top 10.

The list, released today, is based on a survey that asked more than 1,000 adults across the United States which living person they admired most. Former US President Barack Obama came up first for the 11th consecutive year, while his wife, former first lady Michele Obama, topped the list of most admired women.

As a leader who for decades has advocated a peaceful solution to the Tibetan crisis—earning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989—and as an eloquent voice of compassion and tolerance across religions and cultures, the Dalai Lama is often voted as one of the most respected figures around the globe.

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