Statement of the President of the Central Tibetan Administration on the 60th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Statement of the President of the Central Tibetan Administration on the 60th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day
March 10, 2019

When the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China first marched into Tibet, they promised to build “One Road” which would bring “peace and prosperity” for the Tibetan people. However, once the Road was completed, the PLA’s tanks, guns and more soldiers came and occupied the entire Tibetan Plateau.

Sixty years ago, on this very day in 1959, the Tibetan people rose up against the occupying Chinese army. With their fists raised in the air, our brothers and sisters marched together to make it clear that the Land of Snow is a Tibetan territory. “Tibet belongs to Tibetans,” they shouted. Standing steadfast in unity, they protected and ensured the safety of our root guru, our tsawai lama, His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama.

Over the last six decades, the government in Beijing has brutally repressed the Tibetan people, denied us our basic rights and has consistently pursued systematic policies to crackdown on Tibetan language, culture, unique identity, and spiritual practices. In essence, China has deliberately aimed to eradicate Tibet’s civilization from the face of this earth.

In this year’s annual report, Human Rights Watch states that the Chinese authorities have used a “nationwide anti-crime campaign to encourage people to denounce members of their communities on the slightest suspicion of sympathy” for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Furthermore, crackdown on human rights defenders has intensified in recent years. Language advocate Tashi Wangchuk is currently serving an arbitrary five-year jail sentence. His only crime was advocating for the Tibetan people’s cultural and linguistic rights as enshrined in the PRC’s own Constitution. Recently, China has also banned Tibetan children from attending informal language classes held at their local monasteries.

As a prelude to its ambition to control the global surveillance network, China uses Tibet as a testing ground for high-tech surveillance methods. Using a “grid system of social management,” the Communist Party strengthens its Orwellian control over both the electronic and physical surveillance of Tibet. Additionally, since 2008, road blocks and check points have increasingly dotted all major roads in urban areas as well as in remote areas of the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese authorities have assigned at least one officer for every 20 Tibetans in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). In a dystopian world it has created, often a son is pitted against his father, a daughter against her mother, and sibling against sibling.

Commonly known as the “Third Pole”, the Tibetan Plateau holds the world’s largest reservoir of glaciers apart from the two poles. Tibet, therefore, is the source of some of the largest rivers in Asia with over one billion people depending on these waters. Consequently, rising temperatures on the high plateau endangers the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people in Asia and also negatively amplifies global climate change. China’s deeply flawed environmental policies have already turned the Tibetan Plateau into destructive mining hubs, and the unbridled damming of rivers makes the situation even more dangerous.

The assaults on Tibet and her people have always been multi-pronged. Over two million Tibetans, particularly nomads, have been forcibly removed from their ancestral land and relocated into large-scale ghettos without any alternative opportunities to lead a dignified and traditional life.

As a resentment to these harsh and repressive policies, 153 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 with the most recent one committed by a 23-year-old man named Dopo on November 4, 2018. While committing self-immolation, the protestors have called to restore freedom for Tibetans and the return of His Holiness to Tibet.

Freedom House has listed Tibet as the world’s second least free region for the last four consecutive years. Likewise, Reporters Without Borders expressed “outrage over the systematic violation of press freedom” and has stated that it is harder for journalists to get access to Tibet than to North Korea.

My Tibetan brothers and sisters around the world, in spite of living through the darkest period in our history, we have stood together in unity and achieved a great many things against all odds. Our journey over the past six decades has also been that of hope, resilience, and resistance.

Beginning in the early 1950s in Eastern Tibet, each of China’s tyrannical policy has been met with resolute defiance. The Tibetan National Uprising in March 1959; brave resistance in prisons and concentration camps in the 1960s and 1970s; and the large-scale demonstrations in the 1980s have all shown that the Tibetan people have consistently and collectively fought for their rights, freedom, and justice.

In 2008, the whole world witnessed a new generation of Tibetans in a nationwide uprising against the Chinese occupation and ignited a spark of unwavering courage to assert for their identity and dignity. They declared: “Our voices will not be suppressed; our commitment will not falter.” This resolute resistance continues.

Similarly, in exile, we have not only rebuilt ourselves but also become a successful and thriving community. When our grandfathers and grandmothers first arrived in India 60 years ago, their fate was uncertain and their future unknown. But under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, they re-established themselves. Shovel by shovel and brick by brick, they built schools, monasteries, nunneries, and settlements. Families formed communities to sow seeds of hope in their corn fields. Men and women renewed their skills to weave carpets and pave a better future for their children.

Through these institutions and communities, we have managed to restore and revive our language, culture and most importantly, our identity. The depth of our history, traditions, spirituality and determination enabled us to transform our narrative from that of victims to survivors. The strength of our cause and our ability to efficiently implement development programmes over the decades have won us continued support and admiration from our friends, supporters, and aid groups around the globe.

Under His Holiness’ leadership, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has evolved into a robust democracy in exile based on the rule of law, gender equality and universal suffrage. In 2011, His Holiness devolved his political authority to a democratically-elected leader. The CTA today represents the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet and Tibetans-in-exile scattered over 40 countries around the world. It oversees 71 Tibetan settlements; 276 monasteries and nunneries, 68 schools – having a literacy rate higher than many countries in South-and Southeast Asia – hospitals, clinics, and old age homes. All of these institutions and centres cater to the needs of Tibetan refugees in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Our thirteen Offices of Tibet serve as official liaison channels in as many countries.

However, our success is not confined to our communities alone. The Tibetan freedom movement has garnered insurmountable international support with Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) in 54 different countries and 40 countries hosting Parliamentary Support Groups. Today, Japan hosts the largest All-Party Parliamentary TSG comprising of 90 members. Similarly, the Czech Parliamentary Group for Tibet is the largest in Europe with over 50 representatives from both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

In 2018, some of the most powerful Member States at the UN Human Rights Council called upon China to stop the gross human rights violations in Tibet. We are both inspired and encouraged by support for Tibet from countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States at China’s Third Cycle of Universal Periodic Review.

Just as importantly, in December last year the United States took an unprecedented step by passing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. This bi-partisan law denies entry to America to Chinese officials deemed responsible for restricting American officials’ and journalists’ access to Tibet. The President of the United States further strengthened support for Tibet with the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which secures special economic support to promote and preserve Tibetan culture, education, and environmental conservation as well as sustainable development.

We are aware that the Chinese government pays only lip service to words like “co-operation” and “dialogue”. If indeed it earnestly believes that “co-operation can bring world peace,” it should renew its dialogues with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As we have stated repeatedly, the envoys are ready to talk and peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through the Middle Way Approach.

Instead of looking to end the 60 years of repression in Tibet, the Chinese government has come out with a “Zero and 100 strategy.” Under this new strategy, zero news from international media and exile Tibetans will be allowed into Tibet and projects 100 percent official propaganda about Tibet to the outside world and the Tibetan community in exile. Hence, we must remain vigilant.

The Chinese government assumes that the issue of Tibet will fade with time. But our experience of over half-a-century makes us believe otherwise. The young Tibetans in Tibet experience repression and resistance, whereas, young Tibetans live in exile and learn about freedom and democracy. Together, the young generation in Tibet and in exile are determined in seeking truth and justice. This new generation of Tibetans is committed to preserving their unique identity and pursuing their dignity. They are prepared to carry forward the baton of the struggle until the Tibet issue is resolved. Ultimately, it is for the Tibetan people to decide their own destiny and that of Tibet.

To honour and offer our deep gratitude for the support we have received for the last 60 years, the Kashag dedicated 2018 as the “Year of Gratitude.” Accordingly, we began with “Thank You, India” and ended with “Thank You, America” with programmes in many other countries in between to express our profound appreciation to old and new friends of Tibet. I once again want to convey our sincere thank you to our dear friends in India and all around the world.

My friends, the tragic case of Tibet is a stark reminder of how much work is left to be done. Sixty years of the occupation of Tibet and the repression of Tibetans is far too long.

To ensure that Tibet’s freedom struggle marches forward, the Kashag today officially declares 2019 as the “Year of Commitment.” I want to call upon freedom-loving people of the world to commit to end oppression in Tibet and to commit to fight against impunity. To Tibetan people everywhere, let us continue our commitment to struggle for justice. Let us continue to strengthen our resilience so we can be united with our brothers and sisters in Tibet in freedom. Let us commit to the return of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama to the Potala Palace in Lhasa – where he rightfully belongs.

Long Live His Holiness!

Long Live Tibet!

Our Presence Here is Testament that the Spiritual Struggle for Free Tibet Lives On and Victory is Certain: Former Botswana President Ian Khama

Our Presence Here is Testament that the Spiritual Struggle for Free Tibet Lives On and Victory is Certain: Former Botswana President Ian Khama

March 10, 2019

Published By Tenzin Saldo

DHARAMSHALA: In an unprecedented first, the Kashag of Central Tibetan Administration convened a historic gathering of leaders from 11 nations, ten parliaments and 60-member Chinese intellectuals from Taiwan, proper China and abroad to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

Sixty years ago on this day in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, thousands of Tibetans-united by the indomitable Tibetan spirit- staged a defiant, yet peaceful nationwide uprising against the illegal occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China. In the following days and weeks, the Chinese military brutally suppressed the peaceful uprising resulting in the death of tens of thousands of Tibetans.

This years’ and the 60th commemoration of the Tibetan Uprising Day at the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration was graced by His Excellency Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, former President of the Republic of Botswana and participated by a galaxy of Parliamentarians and Chinese intellectuals from across the world.

“Our own presence here today is testament to the fact that while the March 10 patriots were physically defeated, the spiritual struggle for a Free Tibet lives on in the hearts and minds not only of Tibetans at home and in exile, but also among growing numbers within the international community,” said the Chief guest and former President of Botswana HE Seretse Khama Ian Khama speaking at the CTA’s official ceremony earlier today.

Extolling the Central Tibetan Administration’s Middle Way Approach and its active global engagement on drawing attention to the severity of environmental deterioration in Tibet, he said, “The fact that the Tibetan struggle, as reflected in the teachings and diplomacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as manifested in the political outreach of the Central Tibetan Administration, continues to be based on the “Middle Way” doctrine of non-violence and dialogue ultimately aimed at reconciliation with the Chinese state is truly remarkable given the extreme repression Tibetans have endured, in both the Maoist and post-Mao eras.”

“I welcome the fact that Central Tibetan Administration has for its part actively engaged the world community on environmental issues through Ten Point Action document, which urges the international community through the United Nations, as well as the Chinese government, to focus on measures to protect it as the “Roof of the World” for the good of humanity.”

The former President delivered a sharp rebuke to China for charging threats over the proposed but unsuccessful visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Botswana in 2017.

He said, “While the authorities in Beijing may have the power to suppress basic freedoms within their own jurisdiction they should not be allowed to exercise the same repressive authority outside of their borders including illegal territorial claims in the South China Sea.”

“It was for this reason that in 2017 when I was still President of Botswana, we refused to give in to Chinese government pressure when they threatened us if we failed to bar His Holiness the Dalai Lama from entering Botswana.

“Unfortunately, notwithstanding our principled stand, in the end, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was unable to attend the gathering, which otherwise attracted esteemed participants from the region and beyond.”

In further rebuke, he said, “It therefore defies logic that some still believe that his influence can be diminished by seeking to deny others the opportunity of his physical presence.”

“In this way, the persistent efforts to block the Dalai Lama from ever coming to Africa have merely raised his profile across our continent.”

Concluding his address with what he called “a message of hope for the people of Tibet,” HE Khama said, “While your own struggle has been long and painful, you can take solace in the fact that in your hearts you remain undefeated, in your minds you are already liberated. With such a mindset and the power of your collective determination, your own victory is ultimately certain.”

“The struggle continues, but victory is certain and Power is ours.”

Other distinguished guests who spoke at the commemorative event are Hon Shri Shanta Kumar, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, sitting Member of Indian Parliament; Mr. Michael Brand, Member of the German Bundestag; Mr Thomas Mann, Member of European Parliament, President of the Tibet Interest Group; Mr. Garnett Genuis, member of Parliament from Alberta representing Conservative Party of Canada; Mrs. Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, Deputy Chairman of the Slovak National Council; Ms. Mei Nu Yu, MP, Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan; Ms Sandy Kalyan, MP, Democratic Alliance, South Africa; Mr Alberto de Belaunde, MP, Liberal Party, Peru; Ms Antonella Incerti and Dr Yang Jianli, Citizen Power Initiatives for China.

NGOs urge UN to adopt resolution on China’s human rights abuses

NGOs urge UN to adopt resolution on China’s human rights abuses
February 7, 2019

Nikkei, January 30, 2019 – Nongovernmental organizations from around the world are urging the United Nations and the international community to take concrete action in response to what they see as increasingly severe human rights abuses in China.

In an open letter published Wednesday, 37 NGOs, including PEN America, Free Tibet, the World Uyghur Congress and the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, pressed members of the U.N. Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution condemning Chinese human rights violations. The 47-member council opens its 40th session on Feb. 25 in Geneva.

The letter calls for member nations to “express collective concern about worsening rights abuse in China, and the government’s failure to follow through on its obligations and commitments.” The global community has heard reports of mass detention centers where ethnic Uighurs and other minorities are held in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, and serious abuses against Tibetans, human rights lawyers and civil rights activists, the organizations say.

Although the U.N. issued at least two reviews and a number of expert comments last year, declaring Xinjiang a “no-rights zone” for Muslim minorities and urging Beijing to respect minority rights, the letter points out that China has continued to “suppress dissent and undermine efforts to hold it accountable to its obligations under international agreements.”

The NGOs are seeking a resolution that urges member states to demand “prompt, unfettered and independent access” to China by independent human rights experts, particularly in Xinjiang, Tibet and other minority regions. The letter also calls for an end to abuses against human rights defenders under the pretext of national security and the immediate release of all people held in unlawful detention.

A resolution is regarded as a consensus statement by the international community and is virtually the strongest measure the Human Rights Council could take. It would be a first step by the international community toward further U.N. action, such as putting the country under the monitoring and reporting system of the office of the high commissioner for human rights. The council has recently adopted resolutions against Yemen, Myanmar and Venezuela.

The last time the council took concerted action against China was in 2016, when 16 member nations issued a joint statement voicing concern over deteriorating human rights in the country, namely the arrest and detention of activists and the disappearance of Chinese and foreign citizens outside mainland China, following the abduction of booksellers in Hong Kong and Thailand.

The U.S., which pushed for the adoption of that statement, has withdrawn from the council at the direction of President Donald Trump, who accused it of anti-Israel bias, while China is among the 13 members representing the Asia-Pacific region.

China has strongly rejected to the joint statement and to recent reviews and comments on its human rights record by the U.N. and experts, saying it has a different understanding of human rights.

Communist party members in Tibet irk Beijing by engaging with religion

Communist party members in Tibet irk Beijing by engaging with religion
February 7, 2019

Taiwan News, February 3, 2019 – According to reports, the Chinese communist party is having trouble trying to keep party members in Tibet from engaging in religious activities and adopting attitudes sympathetic to local religious traditions.

The officially atheist communist party has been attempting to suppress Tibetan Buddhism for decades in order to eradicate the ethno-religious identity of the Tibetan people, however some of the local beliefs seem to be influencing communist party members.

Recently a whistleblower in the local government released video evidence of CCP members in violation of party rules on religious activities. The video footage has been crafted into a 45 minute video that will be broadcast on state television as an part of China’s far reaching “anti-corruption” campaign under the regime of Xi Jinping.

Party investigators from a commission established in Tibet in 2018 have identified 215 communist party members who are charged with “worshipping gods and observing religious rites,” reports AFP.

State backed tabloid the Global Times released an article entitled “Taking religious beliefs, sympathizing separatists violate party rules.”

Participating in religious activities in Tibet also counts as engaging in “separatist activities” since permitting or engaging in Buddhist rituals amounts to implicit promotion of Tibetan independence in the eyes of the CCP.

Those found guilty of betraying the official Marxist doctrine of the party will be expelled from the CCP, and possibly fined or imprisoned if they are deemed to be guilty of promoting “separatist elements” in the region.

Despite the best efforts of the communist party to eradicate religion and folk tradition, it appears such efforts have been far from successful.

The Global Times quotes a party member and an official at Tibet Television as saying the party must pay ever more attention to even the most trivial actions in order to keep party members from being “corrupted by wrong political ideas.”

An unnamed official from the Tibetan party commission is also quoted in the report, and seems to indicate a belief that the Dalai-Lama is somehow responsible for the lapse in party discipline.

“We must wage a tit-for-tat battle with the Dalai Lama and his group. If any CCP member has the wrong attitude on this subject, it would be a serious problem,” said the official.

Canadian Foreign Minister reiterates support for human rights in Tibet

Canadian Foreign Minister reiterates support for human rights in Tibet
January 28, 2019

Ottawa, January 28, 2019 - Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a written statement issued Monday that Canada remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation affecting Tibetans, including restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, as well as the protection of linguistic and cultural rights. Freeland’s statement came in response to a petition submitted to the House of Commons by MP Randall Garrison and his intern Ms. Khando Langri. [1]

The statement also mentions that Canada has raised concerns regarding human rights practices directly with Chinese authorities on numerous occasions. According to the statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had a frank and open discussion on human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion as part of the third Canada-China Annual Leaders’ Dialogue on November 14, 2018. In the same year, Canada raised concerns about Tibet issues at a Ministerial Meeting to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, and at the 3rd Universal Periodic Review of China in Geneva.

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for continuing to raise concerns about human rights violations in Tibet,” said Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of Canada Tibet Committee. “We call upon the Government of China to respect the cultural, linguistic, religious and economic rights of Tibetans.”

In her statement, Minister Freeland also said that “Canada will continue to raise its concerns about the human rights situation in China and Tibet, and we will continue to call on China to live up to its international obligations.”

In November 2018, the Government of Canada announced $5.4 million funding to promote the preservation of Tibetan language and culture through gender-responsive teaching practices in Tibetan schools in India and Nepal. [2]

# # #

[1] Minister Freeland’s statement is found here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/ePetitions/Responses/421/e-1743/421-03025_GAC_E.pdf

[2] Canadian funding for Tibet education: https://tibet.net/2018/11/canadian-government-announces-5-4-million-in-funding-for-tibetan-education/

Americans rank Dalai Lama among most admired men in the world, showing continued US support for both him and Tibet

Americans rank Dalai Lama among most admired men in the world, showing continued US support for both him and Tibet
January 9, 2019

International Campaign for Tibet, December 31,2018 – The Dalai Lama says Americans love Tibet. A new survey shows they feel pretty good about him, too.

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.

He is greatly beloved in the United States, where his popularity and the righteousness of his cause has helped gain the American public’s support for Tibet, a historically independent country that China has occupied and ruled with an iron fist for nearly 70 years.

The news that the Dalai Lama was once again on Gallup’s list came just days after he spoke about America’s commitment to Tibet during an interview with the Hindustan Times of India.

The interviewer asked the Dalai Lama for his reaction to the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a new law in the US that takes aim at China’s isolation of Tibet.

The bipartisan law—which requires the State Department to deny US visas for Chinese officials who are responsible for keeping Americans out of Tibetan regions—was unanimously approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed into law earlier this month by President Trump.

The Dalai Lama, who retired from his political role in 2011 but remains the head of Tibetan Buddhism, said he was not in a position to comment.

However, he said, “both the US houses [of Congress] have been strong supporters of Tibet over the decades and so has been the American government. American people love Tibet.”

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the most beloved figures in the United States–and in the world—and the great reverence for him shows that enthusiasm for Tibet remains strong among the American people,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet. “The unanimous approval of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act demonstrates that the US government has a strong interest not only to address the lack of reciprocity in US-China relations, but also to keep Tibet at the center of it. The Dalai Lama’s appearance on Gallup’s list shows that the people of the United States continue to support this Nobel Peace Laureate’s peaceful advocacy of the Tibetan people’s right to preserve their own identity and culture.”

China forbids Tibetan students from participating in winter break activities, fearing exposure to perspectives different than communist ideology

China forbids Tibetan students from participating in winter break activities, fearing exposure to perspectives different than communist ideology
January 9, 2019

Radio Free Asia, January 4, 2019
-Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Lhoka Tsethang city have ordered Tibetan students not to enroll in workshops or other outside activities during their winter break from classes, according to Tibetan sources.

The order also forbids students in the large municipality southeast of the regional capital Lhasa from taking part in religious events while they are away from school, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing sources in Lhoka.

Local Tibetans believe the order is a measure aimed at guarding students from ideas and influences not approved by state authorities, RFA’s source said, named Jampa, said.

“The Tibetan students are taught communist ideology in the schools, so it is feared that any exposure to different perspectives may affect and endanger the students’ impressionable minds,” Jampa said, adding, “This ban on Tibetan students’ extracurricular activities has caused problems and concerns for the local Tibetans.”

The order, which forbids participation in “outside programs and religious activities” during winter vacation, was included at the top of Lhoka-area students’ end-of-term report cards in a copy seen by RFA.

No explanation for the ban was given on the sheet.

The restriction on religious activity in particular “exposes the lie of Chinese propaganda that Tibetans enjoy freedom of religion,” Jampa said.

Further information on the ban is difficult to obtain due to Chinese authorities’ strict control of social media channels, he said.

This winter’s ban on outside enrollments in Lhoka continues a trend of restrictions reported elsewhere in Tibet last year.

In May 2018, Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Chamdo city ordered Tibetan students and their parents to avoid religious gatherings and festivals during the Buddhist holy month of Saga Dawa, threatening them with unspecified punishments if they were caught ignoring the ban.

The order, set out in a May 14 document that circulated widely on social media, stressed the need to remove Tibetan children from religious influence in order to promote “critical thinking” in their education.

17-year old Tibetan monk arrested after calling for freedom in Tibet

17-year old Tibetan monk arrested after calling for freedom in Tibet
December 21, 2018

CTA, December 15, 2018- A 17-year old monk named Sangay Gyatso was detained by local Chinese authorities on 10 December this year for staging a peaceful protest calling for ‘Freedom in Tibet.’ The protest took place on the main street of Ngaba County town in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the Tibetan province of Amdo (Incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province).

10 December is a significant date as it marks the World Human Rights Day and the 29th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize upon His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

According to our sources at Kirti Jeypa monastery based in Dharamshala, Sangay Gyatso carried out the protest shouting slogans calling for “Freedom for Tibet”. The local Chinese police immediately arrived at the protest site, manhandled him and took him away to an undisclosed location. Sangay was severely beaten up before he was detained. Sources said the incident was witnessed by local passersby. His current whereabouts is unknown.

Sangay Gyatso hails from a nomadic family in Soruma village in Choejema Township of Ngaba County. His father’s name is Jekar Soepa and mother’s Wangkho. Sangay is a monk at the local Kirti Monastery and a 9th-grade student of elementary Buddhist studies in the monastery.

The news of two self-immolations in Amdo Ngaba doing rounds cannot be confirmed as of now.

Elderly Tibetans go back to school to learn to read and write

Elderly Tibetans go back to school to learn to read and write
December 21, 2018

Radio Free Asia, December 18, 2018- In a move aimed at improving their command of the Tibetan language, elderly residents of a Tibetan-populated county in Qinghai have launched a series of classes to learn basic skills, a source living in the area says.

The Tibetans, ranging in age from 50 to 80 years old, gather each week in Gatoe town in the Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Tridu (in Chinese, Chenduo) county for classes where they are taught writing and reading.

“There, they start by learning the Tibetan alphabet, beginning their education even at such an advanced age,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Though they all grew up speaking Tibetan, and are strongly familiar with their culture, they had been deprived of a basic education in the language since there were no schools, either state-run or private, in that area to cater to their needs in childhood,” the source said.

That so many residents are taking an interest in mastering the Tibetan language even in their older years is much appreciated by the Tibetan community, the source said.

Tridu county’s Zilkar monastery has now taken the lead in providing resources to support the classes, with senior monks showing “particular interest in promoting Tibetan literacy among the elderly Tibetans,” RFA’s source said.

“The promotion and preservation of Tibetan language and culture is being emphasized in all Tibetan communities, but in reality Tibetans now depend on [Chinese] culture and language for their own survival,” he said.

Writers, singers, and educators promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, with many handed long jail terms, following region-wide protests against Chinese rule that swept Tibetan areas of China in 2008.

Language rights have become a particular focus for Tibetan efforts to assert national identity in recent years, with informally organized language courses often deemed “illegal associations” and teachers subject to detention and arrest, sources say.

On May 22, 2018, a Qinghai court sentenced Tibetan shopkeeper and language activist Tashi Wangchuk, 33, to a five-year prison term for promoting “separatism” following his efforts to preserve and promote the use of his native language in Tibetan-populated regions of China.

The US State Dept. supports reciprocal access to Tibet, and Congress rejects China’s authority to choose new Dalai Lama

The US State Dept. supports reciprocal access to Tibet, and Congress rejects China’s authority to choose new Dalai Lama
December 11, 2018

International Campaign for Tibet, December 4, 2018- The US Department of State supports the goals of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and will take steps to implement the bill if it becomes law, a department official said at a hearing today.

During the same hearing, a US Senator stated that Congress would reject a Chinese-appointed reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

“I think it’s clear that this Congress would not recognize a Chinese imposition” of a new Dalai Lama, said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who presided today, Dec. 4, 2018, over the hearing titled “The China Challenge, Part 3: Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.”

The hearing brought together members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, as well as representatives from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mentioning the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, which requires American officials to visit Tibet on a regular basis, Gardner said very few American diplomats have been able to enter Tibet—a historically independent country that China has occupied for almost 70 years—because the Chinese government refuses to give them access, just as it also denies access to Tibet for American journalists and tourists, as well as citizens from around the world.

Gardner asked Laura Stone, acting deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, what level of access to Tibet her agency has received over the past three years.

While Stone said she would have to look into that and get back to him, she told Gardner that: “I do want to state very clearly that I do understand the Senate is considering the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. We do want to continue to work very closely with Congress and with your staff with the goal of seeing that Americans do have access to Tibet.”

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act—which takes aim at China’s unfair policy of banning Americans from Tibet, even though Chinese officials travel freely throughout the US—was unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. It now needs to pass the full Senate and be signed into law by President Trump.

The bill requires the State Department to identify the Chinese officials responsible for keeping Americans out of Tibet. The Secretary of State will then ban those officials from receiving visas to enter the US.

Gardner, one of 14 Senate cosponsors of the bill, noted that “Chinese officials who purport to represent Tibet have been freely coming to the United States.”

He asked Stone if the State Department shares the goals of the legislation. She said yes, and when Gardner asked if the department would work to implement the bill, she replied, “Of course.”

According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, when the current Dalai Lama passes away, he will reincarnate as another person.

In a gross subversion of religious freedom, the Chinese government has claimed that it alone has the right to decide who the reincarnated Dalai Lama is.

Along with saying that Congress would reject China’s choice, Gardner asked Stone how the US government would respond.

Stone said the US has a clear position that religious decisions should be made by religious organizations, not by political regimes. She added that there is wide support for that position among the US public.

Stone told Gardner: “The fact that you’re asking that question is an important signal in itself to the Chinese government that this is the kind of issue that we are watching very closely and at very senior levels.”

In addition to Gardner, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) all spoke at the meeting in support of the Tibetan people and their struggle for democracy and human rights.

Gloria Steele, acting assistant administrator in the Bureau for Asia at USAID, told the hearing that her agency partners with Tibetans to help them preserve their culture, sustain their livelihoods and conserve their environments.

USAID has helped preserve nearly 7 million Tibetan cultural heritage items; trained teachers in modern methods, benefiting more than 21,000 students at 75 Tibetan schools in India and Nepal; and bolstered the public leadership skills of more than 330 Central Tibetan Administration staff, Steele said.

USAID has also launched a pilot program to help government vendors sustain or grow their businesses through small, low-interest loans.

In the 2017 fiscal year, the program helped more than 800 microenterprises with a 100 percent on-time repayment rate, Steele said.