Tibetans Celebrate Dalai Lama’s Birthday in Defiance of Restrictions

Tibetans Celebrate Dalai Lama’s Birthday in Defiance of Restrictions
July 16, 2018

Radio Free Asia, July 11, 2018- Defying restrictions by Chinese authorities, Tibetans living in northwestern China’s Qinghai and Gansu provinces gathered privately last week to celebrate the birthday of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, burning incense and offering prayers in small groups, sources in the region said.

Some drove far from settled areas to evade scrutiny by the police, one source in Qinghai told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“Tibetans living in the towns and cities drove into the grasslands and pastures to hold picnics,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Others hiked up to hill-tops on their own to make offerings of incense and prayers for [the Dalai Lama’s] long life,” the source said.

The Dalai Lama, who turned 83 on July 6, fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of a failed national uprising against Chinese rule, and displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past.

Restrictions imposed ahead of this year’s birthday included warnings issued to the managers of social media chat groups, urging them to watch for attempts to organize celebrations for the Tibetans’ spiritual leader.

In Qinghai’s Tsolho (in Chinese, Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the Tibetan social media platform WeChat was nevertheless “buzzing with birthday greetings and good wishes on the morning of July 6,” the Dalai Lama’s birthday, RFA’s source said.

“Many WeChat users shared a customized birthday card showing a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he was very young and carrying the words, ‘Greetings to the Great Being!’” the source said.

“The reason for these covert communications was that other, more conventional, honorific names for His Holiness are banned and censored online,” he said. “And even this greeting could lead to punishment if the authorities catch the persons sending it.”

Also speaking to RFA, a Tibetan living in Machu (Maqu) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture said that the date of the Dalai Lama’s birthday is “well known by all Tibetans.”

“Therefore, they try to make religious offerings, including offerings of prayers and incense, and eat vegetarian food, according to their individual wishes,” he said.

Public celebrations of the spiritual leader’s birthday cannot now be seen anywhere in Tibetan areas of China, he said.

“The Chinese authorities’ ban is felt all over Tibet, and the Chinese have now deployed large numbers of armed police in the towns and cities where self-immolation protests and other demonstrations have taken place.”

“This is to prevent events like these from taking place again,” he said.

Speaking to RFA in an interview, Beri Jigme Wangyal, a Tibetan writer living in exile, said that for several days before July 6, he had seen “a flurry of birthday greetings on WeChat by Tibetans living in Tibet, composing and sharing poetry honoring the Dalai Lama’s wishes, accomplishments, and thoughts.”

“Their sentiments were so intense and deeply emotional that they brought tears to my eyes,” Wangyal said.

“I don’t want to share any of the details here out of concern for the writers’ safety,” he said.

China Forces Young Tibetan Monks From Their Monasteries

China Forces Young Tibetan Monks From Their Monasteries
July 16, 2018

Radio Free Asia, July 10, 2018- Chinese authorities in a Tibetan-populated region of Sichuan are forcing Buddhist monks aged 15 and under to leave their monasteries, placing them instead in government-run schools, Tibetan sources say.

The move has been backed by threats to punish monastery administrators and the monks’ parents and religious instructors in cases of noncompliance, a Tibetan living in New York told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday, citing reports in Tibetan social media.

“The Chinese government has ordered many monasteries in Dzachuka to enroll novice monks under the age of 15 in Chinese-run government schools, and they have started to expel the young monks from their respective monasteries,” RFA’s source named Kunga said.

“If these young monks refuse to abide by the order, China has threatened to shut the monasteries down,” Kunga said.

Around 20 novices have already been removed from Jowo Ganden Shedrub Palgyeling monastery in Dzachuka, an area in historic Tibet’s eastern region of Kham, Kunga said, citing a report by a resident circulating on social media.

Many had already enrolled in the monastery’s courses in Buddhist logic and philosophy, and some were top students in their class, the resident, quoted by Kunga, said.

“Many of the parents of these young monks are unhappy about what the Chinese are doing,” Kunga said.

Meanwhile, authorities forced around 200 novice monks from Dzachuka’s Dza Sershul monastery on July 10, according to a Tibetan social media report titled “Current News Under Red Chinese Oppression, Really Feel Like Dying,” Kunga told RFA.

“These young monks were seen leaving their monastery unwillingly and with tears in their eyes,” one blogger quoted by Kunga said.

“The scene was very disheartening.”

Chinese authorities have long sought to restrict the size and influence of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, traditionally a focus of Tibetan cultural and national identity, sources in the region say.

Authorities have strictly limited the numbers of monks and nuns enrolled there and forced those allowed to remain to take part in classes promoting loyalty to China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party, sources say.

What Future For Tibet? – OpEd

What Future For Tibet? – OpEd
July 16, 2018

EuroAsiaReview, July 9, 2018- As an ardent admirer of Tibet’s traditional and cultural values and a well wisher of Tibetan cause, I am submitting my loud thoughts in this article. This is not a criticism of state of affairs but a clarion call for redoubled efforts with sustained faith in the cause for liberation of Tibet from the stranglehold of unethical Chinese leadership.

It is a distressing fact that many countries in the world including India seem to have concluded that Tibet would stay as a part and province of China for all time to come. None of them seem to be concerned that a grievous wrong has been done to Tibet, by China aggressively occupying the Tibetan territory and holding on to the ill gotten region for several decades now. Leadership of several countries in the world know in their heart of hearts that China has occupied Tibet in violation of human rights and without respecting Tibet’s sovereignty but they are suppressing such views in their anxiety to keep China in good humor for the sake of their economic and political gains.

By ignoring the cause of Tibet, the world conscience has gone for a toss.

Since Tibet has been under China’s occupation for more than six decades now, the recent generations of Tibetans born and living in Tibet do not have the opportunity to enjoy the freedom that the Tibetans traditionally enjoyed and reap the benefits of the traditional culture and value system of Tibet. The aggressor China has been systematically brain washing the Tibetans now living in Tibet and making them think that Tibet is no independent entity and Tibetans are really Chinese nationals.

Thousands of Tibetans who left Tibet in the wake of Chinese occupation and aggression several decades back, have now spread themselves in different countries particularly in India, USA, Canada and West European region and quite a number of them have got citizenship in the countries, where they entered once as refugees. Most members of their families, born after Tibet’s occupation by China, have not seen Tibet, though it must be deep in their minds that they are Tibetans.

Of course, there are thousands of Buddhists living around the world belonging to different countries and these Buddhists too have not cared to speak effectively and forcefully for the liberation of Tibet from Chinese occupation. The glaring example is that of Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country, which has even refused to give a visa to the respected the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka, fearing incurring the wrath of China.

There are many Tibetans in India enjoying reasonable level of freedom and independence and are treated with dignity. Of course, the Tibetans now living in India and section of the people of Tibetan origin living in different countries have been voicing protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet, without making much impact on the world opinion. There is a Tibetan parliament and office bearers in exile operating in India and they too seem to be representing only a symbolic presence.

The recent view expressed by respected the Dalai Lama that he has no objection to Tibet being a part of China enjoying autonomy within China has created considerable uncertainty among the Tibetans living outside Tibet and friends of Tibet ,about the prospects of Tibet getting independence at any time soon. Many wonder how the ruthless Chinese leadership would agree to provide autonomy for Tibet and even in the unlikely event of agreeing to provide autonomy, will China refrain from suppressing freedom and liberty and really respect the autonomy status?

Under the circumstances, one has to think as to where Tibet stands now and what will be its future.

All said and done, Tibet is historically a respected traditional country, representing the best of Buddhist philosophy and culture. In spite of reckless efforts of Chinese leadership, the idea of Tibet as an in dependent country cannot be erased or destroyed.

What we need today is that the torch of freedom for Tibetans has to be kept lighted and the morale of the Tibetans living outside Tibet must be kept high to achieve independence for Tibet.

What is very important now is that greater efforts to spread awareness among the world community about the injustice done to Tibet by China must be continued with greater vigor. The voice of Tibet must be heard in all corners of the world.

While the governments in several countries may not come forward to support the cause of Tibet due to political reasons, there must be millions of people in these countries, who would raise their voice for Tibetan cause, if only they would be made aware of the ground realities.

Sustaining the torch of freedom is the most vital need today and Tibetans and their friends should keep their hopes and faith alive and move on to achieve the ultimate independence of Tibet without slackening the efforts. Every individual Tibetan and the friend of Tibet needs to play.

Tibetan migration into India down to a trickle

Tibetan migration into India down to a trickle
July 4, 2018

Voice of America, July 2, 2018- The sprawling Tibetan Reception Center for refugees built ten years ago by Tibetan exile authorities in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala wears a desolate look. Its big dormitories with bunk beds were meant to house 500, but in recent years they lie mostly unused.

This facility was meant to be a transit stop for the over 2500 Tibetans who every year clandestinely crossed over high mountains from China into Nepal and then onto Dharamshala, the home of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, since fleeing Tibet in 1959.

But the number of Tibetans coming to India has plummeted sharply over the last decade. In June, this center documented the arrival of only two young men in their early twenties who say they managed to cross over from Tibet.

Despite gentle persuasions by Tibetan officials at the center, they are still too scared to face the camera or share their names with this VOA reporter, but only say that they were Buddhist monks who have come to complete their monastic education, which they found difficult to do in Tibet. Fear and apprehension never leaves their faces during the 15 minutes they sit with us. “They are all fearful when they come,” says Karma Dolma, the deputy director of the Center.

Tibetan exiles attribute the plunging number of arrivals from Tibet to tighter surveillance, stricter border controls along mountain passes by the Chinese and more cooperation between Beijing and Nepal, whose relations have become friendlier in recent years.

Only 80 Tibetans came to India in 2017 and the number could be lower this year, according to officials of the Tibetan exile administration based in Dharamshala which represents the refugees. Its spokesman, Sonam Dagpo, attributes this to stricter policies by Beijing. “Now since 2008, China has brought very strict restriction in internal movement of Tibetan people. So now Tibetans cannot move freely in Tibet.”

The plunging numbers present a big challenge for second and third generation exiles in India campaigning for more political freedom for Tibetans, according to Tenzin Tselha, head of the Students for A Free Tibet in India. For Tibetans like her “a strong sense of imagination” about Tibet sustains their movements, but the “real perspective” brought by those who came from Tibet was always important.

“It is hard for us to get this sense of reality of what is happening inside Tibet because there are not many Tibetans coming,” says Tselha. “You talk to people from Tibet those who came ten years back, eight years back, five years back, but they are still further away from the reality because they are not not there right now.”

While the internet helps somewhat, the campaigners say it cannot compensate for first-hand accounts brought by newly-arrived Tibetan exiles about restrictions on movements, on Buddhist worship or a climate of fear inside the region had long given momentum to the Tibetan movement.

An ardent supporter of a freer Tibet, Gyaltsen, who crossed to India in 2004, also worries about the growing disconnect. “To connect with the Tibetans inside Tibet is really hard,” he says. “Only people who come from Tibet has the connections. Secondly people who come from Tibet they bring the culture things, not just their persons, they bring a lot of cultures, so it connects culture, people together. Once the people stop coming here, we are here but we [there] are no more any connections.”

The plunging refugee numbers means emptier infrastructure built by the exile community over six decades — there are fewer new entrants at Tibetan schools in Dharamshala, at Buddhist monasteries that dot the hillsides and at centers where they learn traditional arts such as Tibetan painting.

Even as the influx from Tibet stems, many young Tibetans in India are migrating for better opportunities. Among the many in Dharamshala who count friends who have left in recent times is Tselha from Students of a Free Tibet.

“I came six years back over here and now all my friends are gone. There is a mass migration that is happening now specially to the west, which I think the general assumption is [that it] is economic migration.”

Young Tibetans attending a workshop at a career counseling Center in Dharamshala say finding jobs in India is not easy. 23-year-old Lugya Dhondup crossed over in 2008 because he says his family thought he would get better opportunities to study in India. But he says “many of us don’t get appropriate job after school and since we don’t have anyone here to look after us, it is tough.” He would like to migrate if he can get a job overseas.

But while the numbers of young Tibetans in Dharamshala may be declining, the commitment to the cause of more freedom for Tibet remains unwavering in the home town of the Dalai Lama.

Chinese authorities detained two Tibetan businessmen for keeping the Dalai Lama photos.

Chinese authorities detained two Tibetan businessmen for keeping the Dalai Lama photos.
July 4, 2018

Radio Free Asia, June 27, 2018- Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province have detained two Tibetan businessmen found in possession of photos of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, amid a campaign begun earlier this year to combat “criminal gangs and bad elements” in the region, according to a Tibetan source.

The businessmen, both restaurant owners at a place called Rimakor in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Draggo county, were taken into custody earlier in June, a local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“One of the men is named Yama Tashi, but the other man’s name is unknown,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Both of them have been held in detention ever since the Chinese took them away,” the source said, adding that the images of the Dalai Lama were discovered during a police raid of the men’s homes.

Police sweeps have recently taken place throughout Draggo, RFA’s source said.

“Local government officials in Draggo have been carrying out a clean-up campaign against ‘criminal gangs’ and ‘bad social elements’ at the direction of higher authorities, and we are now seeing an intensified crackdown with tightened controls imposed on all Tibetans,” he said.

Chinese officials have announced a ban on photos of the Dalai Lama, and conduct surprise inspections of homes in the Tibetan villages and towns, the source said.

“They also order the Tibetans to cut any ties they may have to ‘separatist’ forces outside China,” he said.

“Separatism” is a charge often leveled against Tibetans calling for greater cultural or religious rights in their historic homeland, now ruled by China.

Other restrictions imposed in Kardze following the campaign’s launch in February include newly tightened controls over access to the internet and other communications channels, the source said.

“Chinese police have grossly interfered in the daily lives of local residents in several counties in Kardze, but the Tibetans have no one they can complain to.”

“And as the Dalai Lama’s birthday [July 6] is just around the corner, the Tibetans in Draggo have been warned against celebrating with religious observances such as prayer gatherings or offerings of incense,” he said.

The Dalai Lama, who will turn 83 this year, fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese rule, and displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights decries China’s refusal to give access to China and Tibet in his final address to the council.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights decries China’s refusal to give access to China and Tibet in his final address to the council.
June 27, 2018

Central Tibet Administration, June 19, 2018- In his final address made to the UN Human Rights Council’s 38th session on 18 June, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, rebuked China for not allowing his staffs “unfettered access” to China, including Tibet and Xinjiang, where the human rights situation is worsening.

Despite efforts by the Office of the High Commissioner to establish conditions essential for an effective dialogue, the high commissioner complained that his staff has not been given “unfettered access to the country, including to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the human rights situation is reportedly fast deteriorating”.

In the last five years, since 2014, China has “accumulated more than 15 pending requests for visits”, the statement further added. Only two mandate holders were allowed to visit China.

Expressing his dismay over China’s continued efforts to curb civil societies from engaging with international human rights mechanisms, including UN Treaty Body reviews, Universal Periodic Review and mandate-holders, the High Commissioner exhorted China to “allow all actors” to take part in the international human rights mechanisms, and “cooperate with them in a spirit of open and mutual partnership in order to improve respect for the rights and freedoms” of all people in China.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose term is ending this year said that at this point in time, “fearlessness” is required to defend human rights, He appealed to all his colleagues and like-minded “to do more”, “to speak louder and work harder for the common purpose and for universal human rights law” in order to achieve lasting global peace.

Tibet: Fear of Chinese Backlash Leads to Cancellation of Play in Nepal

Tibet: Fear of Chinese Backlash Leads to Cancellation of Play in Nepal
June 27, 2018

UNPO, June 21, 2018- On June 11 [2018], a week ahead of Prime Minister KP Oli’s scheduled visit to China, Shilpee Theatre in Kathmandu canceled two shows of Kora, a play depicting the woes of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal and India. The board of Shilpee Theatre had decided to shut the play on June 08 [2018], after the artistic director of Shilpee Theatre, Ghimire Yubaraj reported to the director of the play, Loonibha Tuladhar, that he had received warnings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). The play had begun staging from May 31 [2018 ]and was supposed to continue till June 14 [2018].

After Tuladhar took a stance on the issue, Shilpee allowed the continuation of the play for two more days on the condition that the play not be promoted on social media and other media outlets. Although Tuladhar wanted the play to continue, she was worried for the safety of the cast and crew. “Compared to China we are nothing,” Tuladhar quoted Ghimire Yubaraj as saying. “They could destroy the theatre house and the decade-long work we have put into it.”

Ghimire Yubaraj refused to disclose under whose pressure he shut down the play. Tuladhar stated that Ghimire promised to write about the incident in the papers, but only after the Premier’s official China trip was over.

The day Ghimire reported MoFA’s warning call to Tuladhar, she reached out to Timothy Aryal, a sub-editor at Kathmandu Post, pleading for the cancellation of a review that was scheduled for publication. The review did not make it to print. “The artist inside of me died. I was not able to sleep or eat,” Tuladhar said. “I chose to remain silent. I felt this was safe for everyone around me including my one baby boy.” Tuladhar was initially reluctant to go public with the story because she assumed that the future of Shilpee Theatre was at stake. She also thought news of intimidation would heighten the existing “sensitivity” of directors away from any topic that would be disliked by those in power. After a few days she collected herself and was willing to speak up on record.

Shilpee Theatre has done plays in the past that touch on political themes, making the closure of Kora all the more striking. In April, the theatre had staged Sakhi, a play that told the story of civilians caught in the tug of war between the Maoist guerrillas and the Nepal Army. A lot of the dialogues for Sakhi were in Maithili; Shilpee has been a champion of promoting theatre in the various mother tongues of Nepal. The theatre house also completed a Tamang theatre festival recently.

Shilpee had initially green-signaled Kora, but felt the need to stop the play when an acquaintance from MoFA called, saying that the Nepali government was resolute in the one China policy. Meanwhile, Ram Babu Dhakal, the assistant spokesperson for MoFA denied that the Ministry issued threats.

“It is very rare that plays are cancelled, if an actor is sick we find a substitute as soon as possible,” said Rajan Khatiwada, a theater veteran and the artistic director of Mandala Theatre. “After the dissolution of the Panchayat government, the only physical interruption of artistic expression was during the People’s movement in 2006/07 when police opened fire at a gathering of poets and theatre artists in Baneshwor. Other than that, the staging of Charan Das Chor had to be cancelled because of a week-long Bandh in the Valley that was called by the Maoists.”

Artists in Nepal have faced other threats in recent times as well. In January 2014, when Theatre Village was staging the Nepali adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s two act play Malinifor the first time, Nepali representatives of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), parent outfit of Hindu Nationalists in India, threatened the members of Theatre Village. “They were angry about certain Hindu imageries in the play,” Bimal Subedi of Theatre Village shared. “We continued and nothing happened.”

Don’t self-censor to please China in trading relationship, exiled Tibetan leader tells Canada

Don’t self-censor to please China in trading relationship, exiled Tibetan leader tells Canada
June 18, 2018

National Post, June 17, 2018- During a visit to Ottawa this week, Tibet’s exiled political leader was warning Canada not to fall into a trap as its trade relationship with China deepens.

Especially amid recent uncertainty with Canada’s biggest trade partner, the United States, it makes economic sense to engage with China, said Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Administration, a “government-in-exile” based in India that represents Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

But Canada should be careful not to self-censor or turn a blind eye to human rights abuses by the Chinese government, he said in an interview with the National Post. It’s a trend that he said he has watched in Australia, which entered into a free-trade agreement with China in 2015.

“One should enter into trade with China. You do business with China. You have to have a relationship with China. You can’t avoid it, you can’t ignore it and you should make money,” Sangay said. “But you know, what I’ve noticed is the moment there’s a trade agreement with China, all of a sudden these countries start resorting to self-censorship. First Tibet, then Tiananmen, then Taiwan and all of the environmental and labour issues and women’s rights issues in China.”

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has been inching closer to establishing free trade negotiations with China’s authoritarian government. But Trudeau’s “progressive” approach to trade is a non-starter with a government whose officials consider labour and gender issues to be “non-trade” concerns.

A former ambassador to China had told the Post that when Trudeau travelled to China in December, the reason free trade negotiations were not announced was that Canada wanted toinclude a reference to labour issuesin a press release but China wouldn’t allow it.

China’s officials typically point to the emergence of a huge middle class and the increase in economic prosperity as a sign that China is catching up to the rest of the world, and that the human rights, labour and gender equality situation will also improve with time. China has also tried in recent years to become an environmental leader, and is cited by Canada’s European allies — by French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Quebec, for example — as now a more trusted partner on such issues than the U.S. And proponents of free trade say that agreements could help push China to improve its record.

But the Tibetan leader said he worries that Western nations are too quick to take China at its word, or worry about offending the Chinese government. He described mass political repression, the arrest of peaceful protesters and environmental ravaging on the Tibetan plateau. Sangay said emerging concerns should get more notice from Western governments, such as China’s new “social credit” system, already being sold to other countries’ governments after successful piloting in Tibet, and its policing of behaviour by facial recognition. Freedom House considers Tibet the second-least-free place in the world after Syria.

“The Canadian government should speak out not necessarily as a criticism but as a matter of fact. The type of things that’s happening, if it’s wrong it’s wrong, if it’s right it’s right,” Sangay said. He explained that he wants Canada to advocate for a “middle way” approach — giving true autonomy to the region, but without challenging the national sovereignty of China with aspirations of independence. He likened this to provinces operating within Canada.

Parliamentary committees have heard testimony from delegations out of the Tibet Autonomous Region itself, governed by China. During a hearing last month, representatives of the Chinese government talked about the increase in per-capita GDP for the region and improved living conditions “much better than before.” They said the “middle way” is not viable because they believe the Dalai Lama is seeking sovereign independence. As Conservative MP Garnett Genuis pointed out, Canadian officials have had difficulty entering Tibet to assess the status even of projects funded by the Canadian government. “We have no ability to assess your claims, because your government doesn’t allow us access,” he said.

The Dalai Lama is an honorary Canadian citizen. A delegation representing him comes to Ottawa annually. During Sangay’s visit he testified to committees at the House of Commons and Senate. He hosted a reception thanking Canada for taking in Tibetan refugees — they now number more than 10,000, by his estimation — and it was attended by a cross-partisan group of MPs including a member of the Liberal cabinet, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

Sangay said he hopes the Canadian government can nudge the Chinese government in the right direction, and help encourage it to establish diplomatic talks with the exiled officials in India. A previous dialogue from 2002 to 2010, in which no particular breakthroughs took place, had its beginnings in Ottawa, he said, when a round of preliminary talks took place here. He suggested Canada, which China views as a “neutral” actor, could play some kind of “karmic” role again.

Swedish court finds man guilty of spying on Tibetans for China

Swedish court finds man guilty of spying on Tibetans for China
June 18, 2018

National Post, June 15, 2018- A Swedish court on Friday found a man guilty of spying for China by gathering information on Tibetans who had fled to Sweden, and sentenced him to 22 months in jail.

The Sodertorn District Court, near Stockholm, convicted Dorjee Gyantsan, a 49-year old Tibetan who worked for a pro-Tibetan radio station, of “gross illegal intelligence activity” carried out from July 2015 to February 2017.

Judge Daniel Eriksson said the Swedish intelligence service’s investigation had proven that Gyantsan “several times travelled to Poland to meet a Chinese intelligence officer” and that those meetings were “part of a comprehensive intelligence campaign aimed at people of Tibetan descent.”

The information passed on by Gyantsan “may have caused great damage to Tibetans both in Sweden and abroad,” Eriksson added.

The court said Gyantsan was paid for the information that included personal matters, ranging from where people lived and family relations to political activities, trips and meetings. Swedish media reported the man had received 50,000 kronor ($6,000) on at least one occasion and had his expenses paid.

His lawyer, Mikael Soderberg, told Swedish news agency TT that his client denies any wrongdoing, saying he didn’t know that he person he met was an intelligence officer. Soderberg said his client would appeal.

Gyantsan was arrested Feb. 26, 2017, in Sweden by the country’s security service, SAPO, which had him on their radar for some time. No further details were provided.

China has controlled Tibet for more than half a century. It sent troops to occupy the Himalayan territory following the 1949 communist revolution and contends that the region has been part of Chinese territory for centuries. Many Tibetans claim a long history of independence.

People exposed to this kind of spying “can be deterred from using their democratic rights,” said Daniel Stenling, head of SAPOs counterespionage. He said it was “a serious matter” that was solved “thanks to close co-operation with other European police authorities.” He didn’t identify any of the co-operation partners.

The verdict comes at a time of tense relations between Stockholm and Beijing.

China is holding a Chinese-born Swedish national on suspicion of leaking state secrets and has rebuked Sweden for demanding his release.

Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, 53, was taken off a train by police in eastern China on Jan. 20, while in the company of two Swedish diplomats with whom he was travelling to Beijin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanks Canada for its continued support to Tibet

His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanks Canada for its continued support to Tibet
June 18, 2018

Central Tibetan Administration, June 13, 2018- Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday thanked the Canadian government and people for its continued support for Tibet and Tibetan people.

In a 4-min video message, His Holiness thanked Canadian government and people for its significant contribution towards the Tibetan exile community and supporting it to become quite successful in the past 60 years.

His Holiness’ message was screened at the ‘Thank You Canada’ celebrations held on Wednesday at Parliament Hill, Ottawa. The event was jointly hosted by Office of Tibet, Parliamentary Friends of Tibet and Canada Tibet Committee.

Honorable Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly kindly graced the occasion. Members of Parliament from all major parties—the Liberal Party, Conservative Party, New Democratic Party, and the Green Party—attended the event. Many old and new friends of Tibet also joined the celebrations.

Below is the complete transcript of His Holiness’ message.

“Dear Canadian brothers and sisters and including leaders, I just want to express my thanks. For many decades, Canada has been one of the staunch supporters of Tibet. Also, a large number of Tibetan settlements accepted. Personally, you gave me honorary citizenship of Canada. Therefore I would like to express my deep appreciation. Then also Canada, it seems many refugees or people from the difficult area, you accepted quite easily. That also I feel is wonderful.

“I always emphasise the 7 billion human beings on this planet, we are same human being and we are social animal. Someone passing through a difficult period, then the other one has the moral responsibility to help them, to look after them. In the name of different nationality and religious faith and some other human brother and sister passing through a difficult period, but you more or less ignore, that’s immoral.

“I think according all major world religious traditions, the Indian tradition, some non-theistic religion, then we consider good action, compassionate action as a source of happiness. Then theistic religion, we are all created by one god, almost like our one father. That father infinite love, so we all 7 billion human being on this planet are actually brothers and sisters; same father.

“So all major religious traditions teach us the practice of love and compassion. It is not just lip service but actually when a group of people or individual (is) really passing through difficulty then help them. That is the implementation of God’s message; love. So I just want to express these things and thank your country, your government and people. We as a refugee, homeless, stateless, however, we survived with compassionate sense of caring, we survived. Now around 60 years, quite successful, so Canadian government and people really made a significant contribution for that. Thank you”.