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China forces young Tibetan monks out of monastery into government-run schools as part of drive to replace monastic education with political propaganda

July 12, 2018

Young Tibetan monks were compelled to leave one of the biggest monasteries in the eastern Tibetan area of Kham, Sershul, this week as part of a drive by the Chinese government to replace monastic education with secular schooling that emphasizes Communist Party propaganda.

Images circulating in the last few days on social media show a large group of boys in lay clothing accompanied by monks leaving Sershul monastery in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan. According to reports from Tibetan sources, young monks in smaller monasteries in the area have been targeted as part of the same push for the ‘Sinicization’ of Tibetan Buddhism and political education in schools.

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ICT to launch Washington Internship Program for Tibetan Americans

July 6, 2018

On the occasion of the 83rd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is announcing the launch of the Washington Internship Program for Tibetan Americans (WIPTA).

Through this program, ICT will assist young Tibetan Americans by providing information, placement, and stipends for internship opportunities in Federal offices Washington, DC. Those eligible will be placed in the offices of Members of Congress, as well other Federal entities.

Through this program, Tibetan Americans will gain exposure to the functioning of the American federal government, develop skills needed to excel in their career, unleash their natural leadership abilities, and learn directly from officials and staff who are responsible for the governance of this country.

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US Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback* to address Conference on Tibetan & Vietnamese Buddhism

June 27, 2018

A conference on “Freedom of Religion or Belief & Human Rights: Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism under threat” is being held in Washington, DC on July 11, 2018 to explore the importance of a proactive freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) component in US foreign policy, including transatlantic and international cooperation, with particular reference to the cases of Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism.

US policy makers, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and academics will participate in two panel discussions on “Religious Freedom and American Foreign Policy”, and “Strategies to Promote Freedom of Religion or Belief in Closed Societies: The Cases of Vietnamese and Tibetan Buddhism”.

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‘Destruction, commercialization, fake replicas’: new report on Lhasa as UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets

June 25, 2018

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet reveals how Lhasa’s unique and precious remaining cultural heritage is at risk as China flouts its responsibilities under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The U.N. organisation for protecting the world’s heritage meets this week in Bahrain (June 24-July 4) and will vote on a decision requesting information from China about the state of conservation in Tibet’s historic and cultural capital.

In ‘Destruction, commercialization, fake replicas’, the International Campaign for Tibet reports:

  • Since the Dalai Lama’s former home, the iconic Potala Palace, and other significant buildings were recognized as UNESCO World Heritage, dozens of historic buildings have been destroyed and replaced by fake ‘Tibetan’-style architecture. Official Chinese planning documents obtained by the International Campaign for Tibet confirm that this is set to continue with the remaining historic buildings, which number around 50 as new construction continues at a staggering rate.
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International Campaign for Tibet statement on US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council

June 21, 2018

As an organization dedicated to working for human rights and democratic freedom of the Tibetan people, the International Campaign for Tibet regrets the US decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council. The United States has been among those countries that have consistently raised the issue of human rights of the Tibetan people in the UN Human Rights Council.

US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley, while explaining the US decision on June 19, 2018, said that it was the US position that reforms were needed to make the Human Rights Council a serious advocate for human rights. She said that the Human Rights Council has become a protector of human rights abusers, and listed China among the countries that “attempted to undermine our reform efforts this past year.”

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Secretary Pompeo reiterates US Commitment to urge China to engage in dialogue with envoys of the Dalai Lama and voices support for reciprocal access to Tibet for Americans

June 7, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who took charge of his office on May 2, 2018, has said in response to written questions from Members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will publicly ask China to engage in direct dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama, without preconditions, to resolve the Tibetan problem. He further said he is committed to pressing for respect for human rights for Tibetans, including freedom of religion and belief, in his conversations with Chinese officials, and advocating for the release of Tibetan political prisoners. He said he will also raise concerns about the lack of regular access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) for US journalists, diplomats, academics, and others.

“I will recommend that the United States express publicly, and at the highest levels of government,” Pompeo wrote, “that Chinese authorities need to engage in meaningful and direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to lower tensions and resolve differences.” Although President Donald Trump and then Secretary Rex Tillerson have met senior Chinese leaders several times, they have not publicly raised Tibet with their Chinese counterparts.

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International Campaign for Tibet welcomes statements in support of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk – United Nations experts call for immediate release

June 6, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes recent statements by the United Nations experts, governments, parliamentarians worldwide and civil society organisations in support of the Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. Today, six United Nations human rights experts issued a statement, condemning the five-year jail sentence handed to Tashi Wangchuk by a Chinese court for his work promoting cultural and linguistic rights of the Tibetan people.

In their statement, the experts – five United Nations Special Rapporteurs and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – “strongly urge the Chinese authorities to comply with their international human rights commitments, to grant Mr. Wangchuk immediate release and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.” The experts further state: “Governments should under no circumstances undermine or repress legitimate human rights advocacy and action, such as in this case, using national security, public order or anti-terrorism discourses.”

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ICT President Speaks at UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet discussion on Access to Tibet

May 10, 2018

Yesterday afternoon (9 May 2018), the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet[1] hosted a roundtable discussion on the issue of access to Tibet, led by Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), who presented a new ICT report to the group.

The group, which is co-chaired by Chris Law, MP for Dundee West and Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, saw one of its largest turnouts in over five years.

The issue of access to Tibet has long been a sore point of discussion for the Chinese authorities. Despite claims to the contrary by government officials in Beijing, Tibet remains largely closed to foreign visitors[2]. The detention and subsequent expulsion of two New York Times journalists who were visiting Eastern Tibet in February 2018 is but one of China’s more recent attempts to limit who enters the territory and control what kind of information reaches the outside world.

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New ICT report reveals China’s strategies of weaponizing access to Tibet

Access Denied: China’s enforced isolation of Tibet, and the case for reciprocity

May 8, 2018

A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet calls for a more robust international approach on Tibet, based on the principle of reciprocity and an emerging awareness that China’s increasing authoritarian influence under Xi Jinping has extended beyond the borders of the PRC. This influence threatens to subvert and reshape our democracies in ways that pose a serious threat to our shared future.

China promotes Tibet as being open to the world, and tells foreign governments and journalists that they should see the world’s highest and largest plateau for themselves. But multiple requests by governments to visit Tibet have been refused in recent years, in contravention of usual diplomatic practice between countries and international organizations, and journalists reporting on Tibet have been threatened, detained, and expelled from the PRC. While Tibetans are “locked in” to Tibet and international observers are locked out, there has been an upsurge in the number of Chinese official delegations that have been sent abroad to “tell the world the story of Tibet in China.”

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Panchen Lama

United States government commemorates birthday of the Panchen Lama

April 27, 2018

In a statement linked to the 11th Panchen Lama’s 29th birthday, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert delivered a statement calling on Chinese authorities to release him. The Panchen Lama has not been seen in public since he was taken away by Chinese authorities in 1995 at age six, making him the world’s youngest political prisoner. Earlier this week United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to call on the Chinese government to release the Panchen Lama and provide the truth on his wellbeing and whereabouts, as well as ensuring the respect of religious freedom for the Tibetan people.

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US Senate passes unanimous resolution calling on China to end interference in Tibetan Buddhism

April 26, 2018

Yesterday, on the 29th birthday of the Panchen Lama, the US Senate unanimously passed Resolution 429, which expresses support for the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhists. The resolution specifically references their right to identify reincarnate lamas without Chinese government interference, and recognizes March 10, 2018 as Tibetan Rights Day.

The resolution, which was introduced by Senators Leahy, Cruz, Feinstein, and Rubio, also recalls the abduction of the Panchen Lama by the Chinese government in 1995. The Panchen Lama has not been seen since then, and the Chinese government has repeatedly refused to provide information regarding his whereabouts.

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ICT meets US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom to reiterate call for release of Panchen Lama disappeared since 1995

April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018 marks the 29th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama, who has not been seen in public since he was taken away by Chinese authorities in 1995 at age 6.

In a meeting with United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, ICT President Matteo Mecacci discussed the important role the United States government can play in securing the Panchen Lama’s release. Ambassador Brownback reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to call on the Chinese government to release the Panchen Lama and provide the truth on his wellbeing and whereabouts, as well as ensuring the respect of religious freedom for the Tibetan people.

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Grace Spring

Long-Time Activist for Tibet Grace Spring Passes Away

March 30, 2018

Grace Spring, artist, long-time Tibet supporter and a Board member of the International Campaign for Tibet passed away in Middlebury, VT, on March 29, 2018. She had Alzheimer’s.

A resident of Washington, DC for many years, Grace relocated, in early 2017, to Middlebury in Vermont, close to where her daughter Cassandra Corcoran resides. Corcoran said that in the period before her passing away, Grace was in an incredibly happy mood.

In a message of condolence, the Board of Directors and staff of the International Campaign for Tibet expressed deep sadness and sent their thoughts and prayers to her family. Board Vice Chairman Gare Smith said, “Grace was a steadfast, loyal, and creative supporter of the cause and her spirit will be missed.”

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China: Dramatic deterioration of human rights situation in Tibet detailed in report for UN review

March 29, 2018

Brussels, Paris: In a joint report submitted today for the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) documented a dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. The joint FIDH-ICT report also offers a set of concrete recommendations that United Nations (UN) member states should make during the third UPR of China, which is scheduled to be held in November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“China’s relentless attacks on the fundamental rights, identity, and culture of the Tibetan people have intensified under President Xi Jinping. The impact of these attacks is sadly manifested in the number of self-immolations of Tibetans that has reached 150 since 2009. It is imperative that China proves it is a responsible global leader and adheres to its human rights obligations with regard to Tibet,” said ICT President Matteo Mecacci.

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US Congress Confirms Support For Funding For Tibet programs in 2018 Budget

March 23, 2018

The United States Congress continued its steady support for Tibet through the provision of approximately $20 million for Tibet programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 1625). The House of Representative approved the legislation on March 22, 2018 with a vote of 256 to 167, and the Senate passed it early on March 23 by a vote of 65-32. The Bill will now need to be signed by President Donald Trump.

“Through this legislation the United States Congress once again confirms its decades-long support for Tibetans’ efforts to preserve their culture and identity,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. He added, “While these programs are but a minuscule part of the overall foreign aid budget, this investment yields big dividends for Tibetans and their efforts to preserve their culture and identity.”

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Tibetan writer Shokjang released upon completion of prison sentence

March 20, 2018

Shokjang, a popular Tibetan intellectual, blogger, and writer, has been released after spending three years in prison linked to his writings. According to Tibetan sources, upon the expiry of his sentence on March 19 (2018), he was returned to his hometown of Gangya village in Sangchu country (Chinese: Xiahe) in the Amdo region of Tibet (currently administered by Gansu province). The Tibetan language service of Radio Free Asia quoted a Tibetan source saying that Tibetans “from many different areas” came to welcome him home (RFA, March 19, 2018).

Shokjang, also known as Druklo, was originally detained by police in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Qinghai, on March 19, 2015, and sentenced to three years in prison. Known for his reflective and thought-provoking articles on issues of ethnic policy in the People’s Republic of China, Shokjang wrote an eloquent letter from detention appealing against his prison sentence:

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ICT Completes 30 Years of Service to the Tibetan People and Receives Video Message of Support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama

March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018 marks the 30th year of the International Campaign for Tibet’s service to the Tibetan people and we are marking the occasion releasing a strong message of support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama providing us with a roadmap on our future direction. On this occasion, we launch a new logo that encapsulates our past work as well as our preparation for future challenges.

In March 1988, the International Campaign for Tibet was established in Washington, D.C. to support the Tibetan people and the vision of H.H. the Dalai Lama. For us the 30th anniversary is not a celebration but a time to honor the dedication and support shown to the people of Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama through the dedication of our membership, Members of Congress, successive U.S. administrations and friends from all over the world.

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The United States, Canada and European government express concerns about Tibet at UN Human Rights Council

March 14, 2018

Geneva – The United States, Canada, the European Union and a number of European governments expressed strong concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet today in their item 4 statements to the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the countries specifically raising Tibet in their statements were Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany and the United States. Bulgaria’s statement – made on behalf of the European Union- was supported by a number of states, including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Slovenia.

Speaking under the key Item 4 “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention,” the governments delegations to the Human Rights Council expressed alarm at the ongoing violations of the fundamental rights of Tibetans, saying they were incompatible with China’s national and international commitments. Many also called on China to release all those detained solely for exercising or protecting fundamental rights –some explicitly mentioning the case of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk.

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