Tibetans in Nepal Urged Not to Observe March 10 Uprising Anniversary

Tibetans in Nepal Urged Not to Observe March 10 Uprising Anniversary
2020-03-06

The Tibetan Welfare Office in Nepal is urging Tibetan residents of the Himalayan country not to celebrate the March 10 anniversary of a 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, saying Tibetans must follow local laws to avoid a crackdown by police.

“Because the Nepali government tends not to allow Tibetans to observe the March 10 anniversary, we are asking all Tibetans to abide by the laws of the land,” the Welfare Office based in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu said in an announcement on Friday.

“Instead, Tibetans are encouraged to perform virtuous deeds by performing prayers and religious ceremonies on the anniversary date,” the Welfare Office, which is responsible for settling refugees and looking after the wellbeing of Tibetan residents of Nepal, said.

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service, Tulku Ngawang Choedrak—a settlement officer for the Choejor Tibetan Refugee Settlement in Kathmandu—said it is the Nepalese government’s policy to ban political activities by Tibetans deemed offensive to China.

“Nepali police have cracked down on Tibetan political activities for many years in the past,” he said.

“In the run-up to the March 10 anniversary, police are deployed to various Tibetan refugee settlements around the Kathmandu Valley to inspect and keep a watch on their activities,” Choedrak said, adding, “Security officials will also call on key figures in the refugee communities to ask about political events that may be planned.”

After consulting authorities, Tibetans are allowed to conduct religious observances, though, Choedrak said.

“They are more relaxed about anything related to culture and religion,” he said.

A tight grip on Tibet

On March 10, 1959, Tibetans in Lhasa rose up in protest of Beijing’s tightening political and military control of the formerly independent Tibet, sparking a rebellion in which thousands were killed.

Chinese authorities now maintain a tight grip on Tibet and on Tibetan-populated regions of western Chinese provinces, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identities, and subjecting Tibetans to imprisonment, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Nepal cites its growing economic ties with Beijing, with promises of millions of dollars of Chinese investment in Nepalese development projects, in cracking down on Tibetan activities in the country, including elections in the refugee community and birthday celebrations for exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Reported by Lobsang Chopel for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Tibetan Students Now Taught Mainly in Chinese: Report

Tibetan Students Now Taught Mainly in Chinese: Report
2020-03-05

A growing emphasis on Chinese-language schooling in Tibet, though facilitating greater participation in China’s modern economy, is slowly destroying the cultural identity of Tibetan schoolchildren, according to a report released on Thursday by Human Rights Watch.

China’s education policy in Tibetan areas in fact reflects “an assimilationist policy for minorities that has gained momentum under President Xi Jinping’s leadership,” the 91-page report titled “China’s ‘Bilingual Education’ Policy in Tibet: Tibetan-Medium Schooling Under Threat” says.

Drawn from interviews conducted in September 2019 with Tibetan parents and teachers in six rural townships in the Nagchu municipality in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the report reveals a pattern of pressure on local schools to give preference to classroom instruction in Chinese, even at the kindergarten level.

Thousands of non-Tibetan speaking teachers have now been hired from other parts of China to teach in Tibetan areas, with ethnically mixed classes promoted in the name of the unity of China’s “nationalities,” HRW says in its report, adding that authorities increasingly view local initiatives to promote use of the Tibetan language as “separatist” activities.

All of this makes the adoption by Tibetans of the Chinese language “largely inevitable, especially in urban areas, even without direct compulsion,” HRW said.

Assault on identity

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service in an interview, HRW China director Sophie Richardson said that when China’s “bilingual education” policy in Tibet went into effect around 2010, Tibetan schools were given the choice themselves of which language—Chinese or Tibetan—to teach in.

“But now, a decade later, we can look back and see that really now the majority of kindergarteners and primary school children are being exposed to primarily Chinese-medium instruction, largely at the expense of Tibetan-medium instruction,” she said.

The growing shift to classroom instruction mainly in Chinese appears to reflect a “perception on the Chinese Communist Party’s part that to speak a different language, to observe different cultural traditions, to have distinct religious practices, is somehow to be anti-central government,” Richardson said.

“And it’s worth pointing out that these policies are very  much in tension with Chinese law, and they’re clearly in violation of international law,” Richardson said.

Though many Tibetans agree that facility in the Chinese language is necessary in order to participate in parts of the country’s economy, “I think people feel very strongly that this lack of Tibetan-medium instruction really is an assault on their distinct cultural identity.”

Tibetans have a right not just to speak but to be educated in their own language, Richardson said, adding, “It’s not acceptable for a state to say you must, and from a very young age, only be or primarily be exposed to the majority language.”

“I think that this is yet another way that Beijing is essentially trying to eliminate distinct cultures. And I think the world needs to respond to that,” she said.

Reported by Tenzin Dickyi and Tashi Wangchuk for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Tibetan Online Chat Groups Shut Down in Qinghai for Spreading Virus ‘Rumors’

Tibetan Online Chat Groups Shut Down in Qinghai for Spreading Virus ‘Rumors’
2020-03-05

Authorities in a Tibetan-populated county in Qinghai have begun closing chat groups on the popular social media platform WeChat, accusing users of disrupting social order by spreading false information on the spread of China’s coronavirus, state media and other sources say.

Over 75 groups were closed and another 223 placed under supervision following a sweep of 16 villages and five monasteries in Mangra (in Chinese, Guinan) county in the Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a report by the official Guinan News on March 4.

“Those posting information and comments on the internet should abide by [Chinese] laws and regulations,” the county website said, while not specifying what information deemed inaccurate had been posted and shared online.

“The police will not tolerate and will investigate and punish illegal acts that fabricate and spread rumors and disrupt social order,” the Guinan News said in its report.

Meanwhile, on Feb. 20, three county residents identified by the surnames Suo, Leng, and Gong were detained for spreading “false information” online on the spread of the coronavirus, the Guinan Public Security Bureau announced on Feb. 28.

Suo and Leng were sentenced to 10 days of detention and fined 500 yuan (U.S. $72) each, and Gong—the manager of their group—detained for five days, the county bureau said.

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service, a Tibetan chat group member now living in Paris, but originally from Mangra, said he had learned from relatives back home that Chinese authorities were investigating the members of eight of the groups that were closed.

“The authorities are asking about the founders and users of the groups, and for what purpose those groups were created and where the group members currently live,” RFA’s source named Lophel said, adding, “I was forced out of two of those groups myself.”

“One of those groups was a group run by my brother, and I was kicked out of that one, too,” he said.

Official news not trusted

RFA was unable to confirm the content of the online postings leading to the closing of the WeChat accounts. Chinese official media meanwhile insist that only their own government-approved reports should be used for information on the coronavirus spread.

“There is no clear information regarding what ‘false information and rumors’ were shared on those Tibetan-created WeChat group communications,” the exile Tibet Times said in a March 4 article.

“But local Tibetans do not trust official Chinese news reports that much, and they try to get their news from outside sources,” the Times said.

Reported by Gaitho for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.

CTA President thanks the US House for passing the Tibet bill with overwhelming bipartisan support

CTA President thanks the US House for passing the Tibet bill with overwhelming bipartisan support
January 29, 2020

Published By Bureau Reporter

Dharamshala: “We hope that the bill gets signed into law by June this year,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the CentraI Tibetan Administration today during a brief press conference held at DIIR’s Lhakpa Tsering Memorial Hall.

At the press conference, Sikyong expressed the Central Tibetan Administration’s heartfelt gratitude to the U.S for its continued support on Tibet issue and for passing the landmark Tibet Policy and Support Act 2019 at the House with a supermajority of 392 votes in support.

Speaking to the media, Sikyong said, “I would like to thank the U.S House for passing the Tibetan Policy and support Act 2019 with an overwhelming majority of votes. This sends a very strong message to the Chinese government that the support for Tibet in America is as strong as it used to be in 2002 when the first Tibet Policy Act was passed.”

“I would also like to thank Hon. Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her leadership, Congressman Jim Mcgovern and Chris Smith for co-sponsoring the bill. Likewise, other Congressmen including Republican Congressman Ted Yoho who spoke strongly in support of the bill in the House as well as others,” he said while also acknowledging the efforts of International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan associations and individuals.

Sikyong said the bill includes new provisions such as environmental issues in Tibet, religious freedom, issue of reincarnation, CTA and democratization as per the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the funding for humanitarian projects for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.

“The way this bill was brought to the House, it took many years. In the initial discussion, there was an element of concern that if we bring the revised bill, the worst-case scenario, if it doesn’t get passed, would mean a major set back for Tibetan cause but we were able to overcome that hurdle and went ahead,” Sikyong said, sharing the success story.

In conclusion, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay announced today that he is willing to visit DC again in February to discuss with long time friends of Tibet at the Senate to intensify the lobbying.

Chinese Ambassador Threatens Small European Territory over Huawei 5G Contract

Chinese Ambassador Threatens Small European Territory over Huawei 5G Contract
December 16, 2019
Posted in News From Other Sites

BREITBART, 15 December 2019 Read original news here.

The Chinese Ambassador to Denmark threatened high-level officials in the Faroe Islands, warning the Communist country would cancel a free trade agreement if the islands refused to sign a contract with the controversial Chinese telecom company Huawei.

An audio recording in the Faroe Islands, a small territory of the Kingdom of Denmark north of Britain’s Shetland Islands, reveals that Mr Feng Tie, the Chinese ambassador to Denmark, is shown to have tied growing exports of salmon to China from the archipelago to the local telecoms operator Føroya Tele agreeing to let Huawei build the 5G network. Mr Feng said that if the contract was not granted, China would not enter into any trade agreement with the islands.

The recording shows that Bárður á Steig Nielsen, the leader of the Faroe Islands, rebuffed the Chinese ambassador’s demands, stating that the government would not interfere in the 5G network contract selection. The Danish Ministry of Defence is also advising against the selection of Huawei as the 5G network provider, reports the Danish newspaper Berlingske.

For more than a week, the Faroese government has tried to keep the audio recording a secret, placing reporting restrictions of the TV station Kringvarp Føroya from releasing the tape.

China buying Indian media for propaganda gimmick

China buying Indian media for propaganda gimmick
December 16, 2019

Published By Bureau Reporter
by T.G. Arya

Hindustan Times, one of the leading Indian dallies, has on its Friday issue [13/12/2019] carried a full-page supplement with two ostensible articles by some Yuan Shenggao under the sponsorship of China Watch Daily, a mouthpiece of the Chinese communist regime. The articles are titled “Decades of progress highlighted”1 and “Unparalleled change experienced within a space of generation”2.

The articles claimed great development, economic prosperity, social stability, good ecology, ethnic unity and religious freedom that Tibet and Tibetans have achieved since the 1950s under the Communist regime. It talked big of double-digit growth in gross domestic product, increased tourism and elimination of poverty.

The statements in the articles are totally misleading and erroneous. It is a deliberate attempt by the Chinese communist leadership to misinform the Indians and international community to justify its occupation of Tibet. It quotes Wu Yingjie and Qizhala, the two top officials of the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Regions), the Party secretary and Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Regions respectively. The first article is based on the statements by the two leaders on September 12 in Beijing during a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

The fact is, for Tibetans, the seventy years of Chinese invasion and the rule have been a long-dreaded seventy years of brutal occupation and repression. More than 1.2 million Tibetans died, more than 6000 monasteries and nunneries faced destruction, and millions of scriptures and cultural artefacts have been burnt under the communist regime.

All those talks on double-digit growth in GDP can be ascribed more to the massive militarization of the Tibetan plateau, mining and exploitation of mineral resources, road building and tunnelling of the hills, damming and changing the course of the river flows, and large scale migration of Han Chinese into Tibet. There may be increase in the harvest and food production, but this is a natural economic course. The external infrastructural developments that the Chinese communist party (CCP) leaders boast of have benefited the Chinese people more than the Tibetans. In any case, economic development cannot legitimize the brutal occupation of the land.

The articles talk of religious freedom in Tibet. But the reality is that most of the monasteries in Tibet are closely monitored by the Communist party members. Staff and children are banned from visiting monasteries. The ongoing destruction of and restriction at Larung Gar and Yachen Gar monasteries are clear evidence that there is no religious freedom in Tibet.

CCP does not believe in religion, but they claim authority in selecting the reincarnation of high Lamas, including the Dalai Lama. The special meetings of all Tibetans and International Support Groups in the month of October this year, and Tibetan High Lamas’ meeting in November have passed a unanimous resolution that Chinese interference in the selection of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation will not be tolerated by the Tibetans and the international communities.

The second article, “Unparalleled change experienced within space of a generation” where the personal story of three Tibetans, their achievements and happy life have been described. It is commendable that Kelzang Drolkar is a Party secretary of a community in Nachen sub-district of Lhasa and a three-time delegate to the National People’s Congress; Lhakpa Phantog, a successful entrepreneur; and Nyima Tashi, a professor and head of modern educational technologies center at Tibet University. But the important thing to consider here is do they really have the freedom in what they are doing, are they really happy?

Can Kelzang Drolkar, as a Tibetan, freely visit a local monastery for prayer and blessing? Can Lhakpa Phantog take his children to a monastery or travel around (in and outside the country) freely to conduct his business? Can Prof Nyima Tashi teach Tibetan language and Tibetan history freely to his students?

It talks about five airports with 92 air routes linking domestic and overseas destinations, highways and railways. But are the Tibetans allowed to travel? Are they allowed to hold passports? These are some basic questions that CCP leadership needs to answer to the Tibetans and the international communities.

On November 26, a young Tibetan by name of Yonten self-immolated himself to protest the repressive policy of the communist regime. Tashi Rabten, a language activist is still languishing in prison. A monk Sonam Palden from Kirti monastery was arrested recently for advocating Tibetan language rights. Highly respected Tibetan spiritual masters like Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and Tulku Tenzin Delek suffered arrest, torture and died under the regime. Since 2009, 154 Tibetans self-immolated to protest the Chinese repressive policy. How do Yuan Shenggao, for that matter, Wu Yingjie and Qizhala explain this side of the Tibetan story?

If the Chinese leadership is really serious about their claims of happy life and democratic freedom in Tibet, let the UN rapporteurs, international diplomats and media visit Tibet and freely assess the situation. Freedom House has listed Tibet as one of the most inaccessible regions in the world. So, what freedom and development are Wu Yingjie and Qizhala speaking about?

Lastly, paid advertisement or otherwise, Indian newspapers should be careful not to become a mouthpiece of one of the most repressive and aggressive regimes who has kept India on toes through its intermittent border incursions all these years.

*Mr. Tsewang Gyalpo Arya is the Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). He also holds the additional responsibility as Director of Tibet Policy Institute.

Disclaimer: The view expressed above is the author’s own.

14th Tibetan Religious Conference affirms the Dalai Lama’s sole authority in his reincarnation, illegitimizes China’s meddling in religious affairs

14th Tibetan Religious Conference affirms the Dalai Lama’s sole authority in his reincarnation, illegitimizes China’s meddling in religious affairs

Source:Tibet.net

Dharamshala: Ever since 1969, when asked about his next reincarnation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has told the international media that it was a matter to be decided by the Tibetan people. As it stands now, it is important for the Tibetan people to enact a legitimate stand on the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. In that light, a necessary special resolution on reincarnation was passed at the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference which began today at the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The conference is being organised by the Department of Religion and Culture, CTA.

The relationship between successive Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people has been akin to that between head and neck, or, as it were, between the body and its shadow, and therefore never ever separable. Hence it is only to be expected that the tradition of the continuance of the lineage of the Dalai Lamas through successive reincarnations based on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should remain for the sake of the Tibetan people.

As such, through this conference, Tibetan religious heads and representatives see it as imperative to adopt a special resolution which thus follows hereunder.

Dharamshala Declaration – Resolutions:

1 The Karmic bond between the Dalai Lamas and the Tibetan people have been inseparable and the present status of the Tibetan people being extremely critical, all Tibetans genuinely wish for the continuation of the Institution and Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama in the future. We therefore strongly supplicate to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama for the same.

2 The authority of decision concerning the way and the manner in which the next reincarnation of the XIV Dalai Lama should appear solely rests with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama himself. No government or otherwise will have such authority. If the Government of the People’s Republic of China for political ends chooses a candidate for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people will not recognize and respect that candidate.

3 Regarding the method of recognizing the future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, the same unique Tibetan traditional method, which has been continuously used until now, will be followed. This method conforms to be basic philosophy and tenets of the Buddhadharma and originated in Tibet over 800 years ago.

The three-day conference is administered by the heads and important figures of various traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and native Tibetan Bon tradition including H.E Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, H.E Gaden Tri Rinpoche, H.E Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, H.E Kyabje Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Kyabje Tsurphu Gorshe Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Representative of Gyalwa Karmapa), Rev. Taklung Matrul Rinpoche (Representative of H.E Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche), Namdroling Tulku Choedhar Rinpoche, Ven. Khenpo Ngedhon Tenzin (Representative of H.E Gyalwang Drukchen), and Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoche.

Other eminent Tibetan rinpoches and tulkus, representatives and lamas from the Himalayan region, Khen Rinpoches of major Tibetan Buddhist institutes in exile, heads and members of Tibetan monastic institutes and representatives of Tibetan nunneries were present among the 100-strong participants. Dignitaries of the Tibetan Administration including the heads of three pillars of Democracy, Kalons, and Members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile attended the inaugural ceremony.

The conference will focus on enabling extensive participation of the religious heads and other important figures of Tibetan Buddhism in the discussion and decision making on the overarching significance of Tibetan tradition of recognising the reincarnation of scholar-adepts with a particular emphasis on the discovery and recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay apprised on the resolutions passed in the recently held 3rd Special General Meeting of Tibetans whereby it was declared that the exclusive right and the power regarding the discovery and recognition of reincarnations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama lies in His Holiness himself and the Gaden Phodrang Trust of the Dalai Lama. And any effort being made by China via its Order no 5 will be outrightly considered as invalid as per the resolution adopted.

Sikyong then notified on the alarming meddling of China in the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama not only through its implementation of Order no 5 but by threatening and putting pressures on India against interfering in the selection of next Dalai Lama.

“China’s extreme hostility towards religious freedom in Tibet is totally unacceptable to us and likewise, we vehemently reject any advancement of China’s interferences in the process of the reincarnation system. If any, It should be for the Tibetans to decide and defend” said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay.

“Though China continues to put pressure on India, India’s consistent generosity and kindness towards Tibetans have always been the same” added Sikyong.

Remarking on the recent visit of Senator Brownback, US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sikyong said that the US fully supports and favours the Tibetan Buddhist system of selecting the successors.

“The US government has officially stated its support for the Tibetan people’s religious freedom to select, educate and venerate their religious leaders without state interferences,” said the democratically elected leader of the Tibetans in exile.

Kalon for Religion and Culture, Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, in his opening remarks, explained the recent steps taken to change the title of the conference. He expressed his appreciation and confidence that this conference in its optimum capacity will deliver fruitful results.

China Diplomat’s Article on Tibet ‘Misleading’: Exile Government

China Diplomat’s Article on Tibet ‘Misleading’: Exile Government
2019-11-11

A recent article by a senior Chinese diplomat that says Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and a happy life under Beijing’s rule is misleading and untrue, and distorts historical facts to support a false claim that Tibet has always been a part of China, Tibet’s India-based exile government said on Monday.

Writing on Nov. 6 in India’s Hindustan Times, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong said “Historical records prove that Tibet has always been part of China since ancient times,” citing the Himalayan region’s subordination to China’s 13th century Yuan dynasty and 16th to 20th century control by China’s Qing, or Manchu, emperors.

The Yuan dynasty was a Mongol dynasty, however, not Chinese, says Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, Information Secretary for Tibet’s exile Central Tibetan Administration. And China itself was ruled by the Mongols at the time as a conquered territory and was not the dynasty’s founder, Arya says.

“Therefore, it is preposterous on the part of China to claim Tibet because of the Mongol conquest. On that ground, Mongolia has a far better reason to claim Tibet and China,” Arya says, adding that the later Qing dynasty was a Manchu dynasty, and also not Chinese.

Nor was Buddhism introduced into Tibet from China, as Ambassador Sun says, Arya adds, writing, “Tibetan Buddhism has its source in India, not China.”

“Many Indian masters have visited Tibet to teach and many Tibetan masters have travelled to India to receive the teachings. Tibetan Lamas have visited China to teach Buddhism, but there is no record of Chinese Buddhist masters visiting Tibet to teach.”

False claims of freedom

Though Sun repeats official Chinese assertions of religious freedom in Tibet, “[Communist] party members and Tibetans working in the government offices are not allowed to visit Monasteries and Temples,” Arya says, adding that access to these places by children, too, is heavily restricted.

China’s claims of religious freedom are also disproved by the recent expulsion of thousands of monks and nuns and destruction of their dwellings at the Larung Gar and Yachen Gar Buddhist study centers in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Arya says.

Beijing’s assertions of authority over the identification of Tibetan reincarnate lamas, with Sun claiming that selections “must all comply with national laws and regulations,” are also unfounded, Arya says, pointing out that the line of Dalai Lamas over which China now claims control based on Qing-era protocols “precedes the Qing dynasty by 253 years.”

And despite Sun’s claims of rapid economic growth in Tibetan areas of China, the figures Sun presents are a “reflection of the massive militarization of the Tibetan plateau, investment in mining activities, construction of dams and tunnels, and increased employment and migration of Chinese workers and settlers in Tibet,” Arya says.

All of this, Arya says, has marginalized the Tibetan people and plunged the region into a climate crisis, threatening Tibet’s neighbors in Southeast Asian countries.

Promoting official narratives

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service on Nov. 11, Jawaharlal Nehru University China studies expert Geeta Kochhar described Sun’s article in the Indian paper as a typical example of China’s use of media to promote official narratives.

“Initially, they did this with their own media, but now it is more radically open with foreign media,” she said. “However, whether readers buy into the article or not will be up to them,” she said.

“The Indian government, Indian scholars, and Indian media do not necessarily support it.”

Also speaking to RFA, Jigme Yeshi, assistant professor of political science at Calcutta University, said “[Sun’s article] is complete propaganda, and historically the ambassador is wrong about the history of reincarnation.”

“And I would like to know the reason behind the large-scale demolitions at Larung Gar and Yachen Gar if China claims there is religious freedom inside Tibet,” Yeshi said.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Tibetan Man Detained For Sharing Photos, Relatives Fear Torture

Tibetan Man Detained For Sharing Photos, Relatives Fear Torture
2019-11-13

A Tibetan man detained in March for sharing photos on social media ahead of a sensitive political anniversary has been held incommunicado ever since, with his relatives fearing he may have been tortured in custody, an India-based Tibetan advocacy group said this week.

Pema Samdup, 26, was detained by police in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa on March 9, one day before the 60th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said in a Nov. 12 press release.

“Samdup had been detained due to ‘political reasons’ and for ‘sharing photos on his WeChat account,’” the rights group said, citing anonymous sources and adding that family members were never formally notified of his arrest.

News of detentions of Tibetans or of Tibetan protests against Chinese rule is frequently delayed in reaching outside contacts owing to strict communications clampdowns imposed by Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas.

Chinese authorities meanwhile typically block the sharing among Tibetans of photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama or of Tibetan protests.

Relatives now worry that Samdup, a college graduate and former resident of Chamdo prefecture’s Tengchen (in Chinese, Dengqen) county, may have been abused or harmed in detention, TCHRD said.

“[The detention officers] in Chamdo are notorious for using brutal torture methods on political detainees,” one source, a close relative living in exile, told the rights group.

“I now fear for his life,” Samdup’s relative said.

The detention and suspected torture of Pema Samdup are “flagrant violations of his human rights and fundamental freedoms,” TCHRD said, calling on China to grant Samdup “immediate and unhindered” access to his family members, along with any medical treatment he may require.

Language rights advocate held

Meanwhile, a Tibetan monk who vanished in Chinese custody in September after posting criticisms of China’s restrictions on the use of the Tibetan language has been located in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, TCHRD said in a separate statement.

Sonam Palden, 22 and a monk at Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, “is currently being held in the Ngaba County Public Security Bureau detention centre. His family members have not been able to contact him,” TCHRD said.

“TCHRD fears that the prolonged incommunicado detention of Sonam Palden will gravely endanger his life given the fact that the worst torture happens during pretrial detention and in the secrecy of Chinese detention facilities,” the rights group said.

“TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally and also provide him proper medical treatment without delay.”

Tibetans say Chinese authorities regularly restrict their political activities and peaceful expression of ethnic and religious identity in the Tibetan region, and subject them to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.

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

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Four Tibetan Monks are Detained After Calling for Tibet’s Independence

Four Tibetan Monks are Detained After Calling for Tibet’s Independence
2019-11-19

Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province arrested four Tibetan monks on Nov. 7 for scattering leaflets calling for Tibetan independence in the courtyard of a Chinese government office in Sershul county, RFA’s Tibetan Service has learned.

Identified as Kunsal, 20, Tsultrim, 18, Tamey, 18, and Soeta, 18, the four were seized in their rooms at Dza Wonpo Ganden Shedrub monastery in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Jampa Yonten—a monk at India’s Sera monastery—told RFA, citing sources in the region.

The group had allegedly scattered hundreds of leaflets in the courtyard of the Chinese administrative office in the Dza Wonpo village of Dza Mey township in Sershul, Yonten said.

“Besides calling for freedom for Tibet, the leaflets called for human rights in Tibet, and especially for respect for the rights of local Tibetans,” Yonten said, adding, “They also called for an end to the illegal acts of local officials and for an end to the stage-managed political campaigns that were disrupting the lives of the local people.”

Police later detained the monks’ religious instructor, Shergyam Yang, a teacher at Dza Wonpo Ganden Shedrub monastery in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but released him after holding him for 11 days, Yonten said.

Another monk, still unidentified, was taken into custody on Nov. 18 after posting online expressions of support for those still held.

Propaganda exercises

The monks’ protest is believed to have been prompted by propaganda performances imposed by local authorities on nomads who were moved off their grazing land and forced into resettlement towns, Yonten said.

“There, without their livestock, the nomads’ livelihoods have gone from bad to worse, and without other sources of income, they have to depend solely on government subsidies for their survival,” he said.

During tours to the area by Chinese officials, the resettled nomads are forced to put up pictures of Chinese national leaders and praise China’s ruling Communist Party in public speeches which are then filmed and distributed to Chinese mass media, Yonten said.

“But many nomads have also refused to participate  in these government propaganda exercises, saying they will not take part, even at the cost of their lives, and this has caused tensions between the Tibetans who take part and those who refuse,” he said.

“In this way, the Chinese have created divisions among Tibetans in the local community,” he said.

Police scrutiny

Already tightly restricted following widespread protests in Tibetan regions in 2008, Dza Wonpo monastery drew increased police scrutiny in 2012 when monks refused to hoist Chinese national flags on the monastery’s roofs,  and an ensuing crackdown led to scores of arbitrary detentions, arrests, and searches of Tibetan homes, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

Tibetans say Chinese authorities regularly restrict their political activities and peaceful expression of ethnic and religious identity in the Tibetan region, and subject them to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.

Reported by Pema Ngodup and Guru Choegyi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.