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U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Highlights Tibet in 2017 Annual Report; Recommends Designating China as “Country of Particular Concern”

April 26, 2017

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2017 Annual Report on April 26, 2017, in which it said “…conditions for freedom of religion or belief and related human rights continued to decline.” Focusing on Tibet, the report highlights several major violations of religious freedom in Tibet, including the eviction of “thousands of monks and nuns from the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Tibet before demolishing their homes.” The report also noted the lack of accountability on China’s part regarding the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama.

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The 11th Panchen Lama

U.S. Religious Freedom Commissioner’s open letter to the Panchen Lama on his 28th birthday

April 25, 2017

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee has written an open letter to the Panchen Lama, to coincide with his April 25 birthday, in which he says, “my resolve to find you and restore you to your rightful role becomes stronger.”

The Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by the Dalai Lama in 1995, and soon thereafter he was taken away from his home by the Chinese authorities and has not been seen since. In his place, China selected another boy.

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Footage from Tibet depicts self-immolation of father of three in Kardze

April 18, 2017

Footage has emerged of a self-immolation on Saturday (April 15) of a Tibetan man, father of three Wangchuk Tseten, just a month after another self-immolation in the Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) in eastern Tibet. Wangchuk Tseten was from the same area of Kardze Prefecture as 24-year old farmer Pema Gyaltsen, who set fire to himself on March 18 and who may have survived.

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Senators Cardin and Rubio call on Secretary Tillerson to raise Tibet during Xi Jinping’s visit

April 5, 2017

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on democracy, human rights, and global women’s issues, have written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in connection with the upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping, calling on the US side, among others, to “urge China to do more to improve the cultural and spiritual plight of Tibetans, not just their economic status.”

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Tibet Lobby Day 2017

“We’re here to speak for those who cannot”: Tibet Lobby Day sees hundreds advocating for Tibet in world capitals

March 29, 2017

Tibetan leaders and Tibet supporters from the United States, Europe, and Australia urged their governments and Parliaments to offer greater support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. In Washington, over a hundred and thirty Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters visited the offices of more than 250 Members of Congress over the course of the two-day program.

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Security crackdown follows first Tibetan self-immolation in 2017

March 28, 2017

  • Security has been intensified in an area of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) where a 24-year old Tibetan farmer, Pema Gyaltsen, set fire to himself on March 18 near a monastery.
  • A video has emerged from another area in Kardze, Serthar (Chinese: Seda), which appears to show Tibetan pedestrians in traditional clothes being attacked and brutally beaten by police. A voice over removed from the video footage, circulated by Voice of America, reflects shock and sadness among onlookers, with one voice saying over and over again, “They are doing this for no reason at all.”
  • Tensions are high in the Serthar area, which is close to the religious institute of Larung Gar, also in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, the Tibetan area of Kham. Images and video of more demolitions at the religious institute over the last few days are circulating on social media.
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UN logo

China and Tibet in focus at Human Rights Council despite changing environment

March 21, 2017

As the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is coming to an end on March 24, the human rights situation in Tibet and China has once more been in the focus of civil society organizations and concerned governments. While facing a changing environment due to potential policy shifts of the U.S. government with regard to the Human Rights Council, advocates for human rights in the People’s Republic of China and also Tibet, among them the International Campaign for Tibet, sent a joint letter to Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, asking governments to sustain the call for accountability of the Chinese Government by making a joint statement, and by coordinating national statements, at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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INPaT logo

Statement by the TEOM on their follow up visit on the 2016 Tibetan elections in exile

March 14, 2017

Tibetan Election Observation Mission Encouraged by Tibetan NGOs strong Engagement in the Democratic Process

The Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) returned to Dharamsala to follow up on their election observation mission conducted last year, and present the recommendations in their report on the 2016 Tibetan Elections in exile.

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ICT Joins in Commemoration of Tibetan Uprising Day Anniversary

March 13, 2017

Tibetans and Tibet supporters all over the world marked the 58th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule on March 10. The Tibetan Parliament and Cabinet leaders spoke at a function in Dharamsala (with Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol, Italy, as the chief guest) that was also attended by ICT President Matteo Mecacci. In his statement, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay declared that 2017 would be a year of campaign for Tibet.

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State Department

China Strictly Curtailed Rights of the Tibetans in 2016 says State Department Human Rights Report

March 3, 2017

The State Department’s latest human rights report said China engaged in “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of the Tibetan population.” The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, released on March 3, 2017 said these rights included “ the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly, and movement” and that these were curtailed “under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, combating separatism, and extracting natural resources.” The report further said, China “routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai [Lama] clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating instability.”

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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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New Freedom House Report ranks Tibet as the least free among countries and territories

January 31, 2017

A new report by Freedom House has ranked Tibet as the least free territory among the countries and territories surveyed. According to Freedom in the World 2017, Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties, released on January 17, 2017, 67 countries, including China, suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016. The report says, “China received a downward trend arrow due to the chilling effect on private and public discussion, particularly online, generated by cybersecurity and foreign NGO laws, increased internet surveillance, and heavy sentences handed down to human rights lawyers, microbloggers, grassroots activists, and religious believers.”

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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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Kalachakra

Tibetan pilgrims compelled to return from Dalai Lama teaching in Bodh Gaya, India; China calls the teaching ‘illegal’

January 9, 2017

ICT is at the Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya and will provide further updates this week

Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims have been compelled by the Chinese authorities to return to Tibet after travelling to India to attend a major teaching by the Dalai Lama that is underway in Bodh Gaya, a sacred Buddhist site, India, this week. This follows systematic measures in Tibet to prevent them travelling out of the country at all, even though many had spent years obtaining passports for legal travel.

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Tibetans sentenced to long prison terms for involvement in Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration

December 15, 2016

Nine Tibetans have been handed sentences ranging from five to 14 years in prison for their involvement in celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last year. Several of the Tibetans sentenced on December 6 in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) have been imprisoned and tortured before, linked to the protests and self-immolations that have occurred in the area since 2008. Three senior Kirti monks, including a scholar close to the completion of his Geshe degree and the manager of the medical college at the monastery, received the longest sentences of between 12 and 14 years each. Tibetans had been held incommunicado for months without family or friends knowing their whereabouts, according to two Kirti monks in Dharamsala, India.

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Tibetan man heard calling for return of Dalai Lama as he sets fire to himself

December 9, 2016

A Tibetan man was heard calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet as he set fire to himself on December 8 and died in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) in Gansu, the Tibetan area of Amdo.

The Tibetan man, who has been named as Tashi Rabten, self-immolated on the same street of the county town where his relative, 20 year old Tsering Kyi, set fire to herself and died on March 3, 2012, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.[1] Video and images depicted a body engulfed in flames with a young boy looking on, and a woman standing nearby reciting prayers. A second video circulating on social media shows police arriving to take away the body.[2]

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protest video

Two young Tibetan women stage peaceful demonstration with Dalai Lama image in Ngaba

November 16, 2016

Two young Tibetan women staged a bold and peaceful demonstration yesterday (November 15) in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county town. The two women were filmed walking calmly down the street, dressed in traditional Tibetan chubas, bearing photographs of the Dalai Lama aloft and calling “Long live the Dalai Lama!”

No information is yet known of the identity of the two Tibetan women, although footage is circulating online of their demonstration. Two Kirti monks in exile in Dharamsala, India, said: “We have not heard from anyone who saw them being arrested, but we know that the local authorities in Ngaba have never ever spared any peaceful demonstrators in the streets since 2008. Even on the remote chance that they weren’t arrested at the time, armed forces would be deployed to hunt down those protesters. Tensions are still very high in Ngaba.”

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