Human Rights in Tibet Took Downward Turn in 2018: Report

Human Rights in Tibet Took Downward Turn in 2018: Report
By Richard Finney

The human rights situation in Tibet took a sharp downward turn last year with tightened restrictions on travel by Tibetans and the introduction by China of a campaign against “organized crime” targeting Tibetan civil society and cultural practices, an India-based rights group said in an annual report released on Thursday.

Calling 2018 a “pivotal year” for human rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas of China, the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that new policies and regulations have led to “an increased restriction on human rights and lives of the Tibetan people.”

A nationwide campaign against “crime” and “black and evil forces” introduced at the beginning of the year resulted in the detention, arrest, and torture of human rights and environmental activists and of ordinary Tibetans promoting the use of the Tibetan language, the rights group said in its report.

“Peaceful dissent of any kind and degree was met with harsh penalties,” TCHRD said.

The right to freedom of movement was similarly restricted during the year, with Tibetans coming from outside the TAR required to obtain temporary passes when visiting the regional capital Lhasa, and others forced to surrender their passports to prevent travel to India and Nepal on pilgrimage, the rights group said.

Religious rights restricted

Tibetan schoolchildren and government workers were meanwhile banned from taking part in public religious observances and from paying visits to monasteries during the year, and young monks were removed from their religious communities and forcibly enrolled in Chinese government schools.

Over 200 novice monks were forced in this way from their monasteries in July in Sershul county in Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, TCHRD said, adding “Many of the evicted monks were students of Buddhist logic and philosophy, and some were exceptional students.”

“Tibetan religious institutions were also targeted for their role in promoting Tibetan language education,” TCHRD said, citing local directives forbidding monasteries from conducting language workshops for Tibetan students during their holidays from school.

Arbitrary arrests, detentions

Meanwhile, “the arbitrary arrest and detention of peaceful Tibetan protesters and other human rights activists continued unabated,” TCHRD said, adding that restrictions by China on the peaceful assembly of Tibetans remained “severe.”

Especially targeted for harsh suppression were protests, by individuals or by groups, calling for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, TCHRD said.

In December, two young Tibetans set themselves ablaze in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in Sichuan province in opposition to China’s rule, as well as political and religious repression in the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

They raised to 157 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans since the wave of fiery protests against nearly 70 years of Chinese rule of their homeland began in 2009.

China maintains that it peacefully liberated Tibet from feudal rule, and that Tibetans enjoy the economic development it has brought to the region.

US Ambassador Raises Concerns About Religious Freedom in Rare Tibet Visit

US Ambassador Raises Concerns About Religious Freedom in Rare Tibet Visit

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad urged China to open “substantive dialogue” with exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama and give the Himalayan region’s Buddhists freedom to practice their religion in a rare week-long visit to Tibet, the State Department said on Saturday.

During his May 19-25 visit, the first such trip by a U.S. envoy to China since 2015, Branstad met religious leaders and toured historic sites in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, the department said in a statement.

“The Ambassador raised our long-standing concerns about lack of consistent access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region,” it said.

“He also expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to organize and practice their religion,” added the statement.

“He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences,” it said.

Branstad visited sites of importance to Tibetans, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka, and Sera Monastery. He also met with senior Tibetan religious and cultural leaders, said the statement.

The Dalai Lama fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, nine years after Chinese troops marched into Tibet.

Beijing considers the 83-year-old monk a separatist and has refused to meet with his representatives for more than a decade.

Branstad’s visit was the first by a U.S. official to Tibet since the approval by U.S. lawmakers in December of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which requires Washington by the end of this year to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access for foreigners to Tibet.

A report by the State Department in March said that China “systematically” impedes access to Tibet for U.S. diplomats and officials, journalists, and tourists, and when visits to the region are granted, they are “highly restricted. China dismissed the report as biased.

Last week the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) issued a report that said the human rights situation in Tibet took a sharp downward turn last year with tightened restrictions on travel by Tibetans and a new campaign against “organized crime” targeting Tibetan civil society and cultural practices.

Calling 2018 a “pivotal year” for human rights in the TAR and other Tibetan areas of China, TCHRD  said that new policies and regulations have led to “an increased restriction on human rights and lives of the Tibetan people.”

A nationwide campaign against “crime” and “black and evil forces” introduced at the beginning of the year resulted in the detention, arrest, and torture of human rights and environmental activists and of ordinary Tibetans promoting the use of the Tibetan language, the rights group said in its report.

In December, two young Tibetans set themselves ablaze in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in Sichuan province in opposition to China’s rule, as well as political and religious repression in the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

They raised to 157 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans since the wave of fiery protests against nearly 70 years of Chinese rule of their homeland began in 2009. Many of the protesters also called for the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama.

China maintains that it peacefully liberated Tibet from feudal rule, and that Tibetans enjoy the economic development it has brought to the region.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

Setting up astroturf “Tibetan Associations” in the West is China’s latest ploy to mislead the world on Tibet

Setting up astroturf “Tibetan Associations” in the West is China’s latest ploy to mislead the world on Tibet
May 2, 2019

ICT, April 24, 2019 - In April 2018, when Sweden charged a Tibetan residing in that country with espionage for the Chinese government, the international community became aware of a new Chinese propaganda tactic meant to influence foreign countries from within and disrupt Tibetan communities in exile.

At that time, a Tibetan from Amdo living in Europe told ICT: “No Tibetan living in Europe or America will be surprised to hear about this sad situation. Everywhere that Tibetans are settled – Brussels, Britain, Zurich or New York—it is known that the Chinese authorities are working behind the scenes, making threats, spreading suspicion, and damaging the lives of families back in Tibet related to those in exile.”

One year later, the so-called “Tibetan Association of Canada” was established in Toronto. The nature of its inaugural event, featuring the obvious involvement of pro-Chinese Communist Party organizations and a small number of Tibetans, made it clear this association is a Chinese government front group. The Tibetans present, who formed a minority of the audience at the gala despite the sizeable Tibetan community in Toronto, were all individuals publicly known to be involved with China’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), as well as Chinese consulates in New York and Canada.
A press conference announcing the foundation of a Chinese front group calling itself the Tibetan Association of Canada.

In a more telling sign, the Chinese national anthem was played at the event, and the head of this new entity praised the Chinese government for its “support and help” in changing Tibet and bringing “economic development and religious rights.” A Chinese Communist-inspired song that refers to Tibetans and Chinese as “members of one family” was sung, making the political agenda of the organization clear.

The Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations (CTCCO), which was involved with this event, is publicly known in Canada to be an entity that works closely with the Chinese government.

A report in a Chinese-language news website about the event claimed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Federal Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen “sent a special congratulatory letter for the establishment of the Canada Tibetan Compatriots Association.” Copies of the messages were also shared on social media. However, the Canadian Prime Minister’s office has denied providing such a message.

Amreet Kaur, a spokesman for Prime Minister Trudeau told The Globe and Mail, “A letter of greeting was not sent by the Prime Minister to the Tibetan Association of Canada. Our office is looking into this matter further.”

Arif Virani, a Canadian member of Parliament and chair of its Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, tweeted: “Alarmed to learn that the ‘letter of support’ from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the newly created ‘Tibetan Association of Canada’ is a forgery. This matter has been reported to officials who are looking into this further.”
A forged letter presented by a Chinese front group calling itself the Tibetan Association of Canada.

Six legitimate Tibetan Canadian organizations in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia released a joint letter on April 23, 2019 saying this China-supported association does not represent Tibetan Canadians.

“We are appalled that a fake letter of support from the Prime Minister of Canada is being used to mislead Canadians,” the joint letter said. “As well, it is misleading senior Canadian officials into thinking that this new group actually represents Tibetans in Canada.”

The Canada Tibet Committee said in a statement that the aim in setting up such an association “seems to be to divide the Tibetan community in Canada.”

Tsering Shakya, associate professor in contemporary Tibetan studies in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, told the media he feels the Chinese action is meant to confront the increasing Tibetan Canadian voice.
Attendees of the “Tibetan Association of Canada” gala sing a Chinese Communist Party-inspired song about Tibetans being part of ‘one family’ with Chinese while wearing khatas.

“Articulate, social-media savvy younger Tibetan Canadians are participating in politics and getting high positions in society, so I think the Chinese government thinks, ‘Oh my God, we need an alternative voice on Tibet in Canada,” Shakya said.

The “Tibetan Association of Canada” was registered on April 12, 2019, with its address being listed as 7181 Yonge Street Unit 110, Markham ON L3T 0C7. The address seems to be that of a vacant commercial unit.

In February 2019, another entity made news in the Tibetan community in New York when a float under the name of a hitherto unknown “Tibetan Association of North America” participated in the Chinese New Year parade in New York’s Chinatown. Some of the people seen in New York were also involved in the Canadian event. A subsequent statement by several legitimate Tibetan associations in the United States on March 20, 2019 rejected the claim of this association to represent them.

The Chinese front group in New York registered as a nonprofit on March 26, 2019, and its registered address (37-25 64th Street, Apt 2D, Woodside, New York, 11377) appears to be a residential address.

The Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department is likely the organization behind these activities. A 2018 Hoover Institute report said that the main tasks and objectives of the United Front outside China are laid out in Article 31 of the CCP Guidelines on United Front Work, issued in 2015. The UFWD seeks to manipulate the diaspora community and encourage them to “contribute to the modernization and reunification of the motherland, advance the cause of opposing (Taiwanese) independence and promoting reunification, inherit and propagate China’s outstanding culture, and promote the friendship between the Chinese people and the peoples of the other countries in the world.” Interestingly, even though the issue of Tibet has nothing to do with “reunification,” the person who is identified as heading the Chinese-supported association said in his remarks that “the purpose and aim of our organization is to persist in reunification and oppose separation.”

China’s UFWD has assigned Tibetan-speaking officials in the Chinese Embassy and consulates of other countries, including in Canada, whose sole task is to infiltrate the Tibetan community and create dissension.

In their statement in March 2019, the legitimate Tibetan associations in the United State said followers of a fringe group within Tibetan Buddhism were being used by the Chinese government. “Shugden followers such as Dechen Tulku frequently visit China without any issues as they have connections with the New York Chinese consulate,” the statement says. Dechen Tulku is a leader of this group and participated in both the New York parade and the Toronto event.

Shugden followers have been attacking the Dalai Lama and siding with the Chinese government ever since the Dalai Lama described Shugden as having harmful aspects and urged Tibetan Buddhists who participate in his teachings to cease Shugden-related practice. In the past, Shugden groups have organized protests during the Dalai Lama’s visits to different countries. In December 2015, Reuters reported on the Shugden group following an investigation in which it found that the Shugden group “has the backing of the Communist Party.” Reuters said, “The group has emerged as an instrument in Beijing’s long campaign to undermine support for the Dalai Lama” and that its members “attend government functions in China, and have contact with Chinese diplomats at Beijing’s embassies and consulates.”

China’s long-term strategy on Tibet

China has made great efforts to spread confusion about Tibet in the international community. In 2000, China outlined its “Tibet-related external propaganda and Tibetology work in the new era”which said, “In the struggle for public opinion on the issue of Tibet, our adversary is an organized international anti-China force. To counter this united force, we have to build an effective organization and network. The external propaganda struggle for public opinion should be treated as an important work, requiring relentless attention. We should launch a coordinated assault on different fronts.”

The strategy said, “We should nurture several groups of hard-working people, who, as well as understanding our government policies and strategies, have good knowledge of Tibetology and foreign languages, and have expertise in external propaganda work. This is the need of our external propaganda.” The setting up of these so-called Tibetan associations is very much part of this long-term strategy.

In the United States, China’s attempt to influence operations within the country has gained much attention, and currently there is a bicameral and bipartisan legislation (S.480 and H.R.1811) in the Congress known as “Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act.”

The bill says:

“The Government of China and the Communist Party of China employ an array of government entities, friendship and exchange organizations, private entities and businesspeople, and government-funded foundations, think tanks, educational and other projects to carry out political influence operations, which is often referred to as united front work.”

“These political influence operations violate national sovereignty, and as such, are fundamentally different from traditional efforts by states to shape international policy debates and improve their public image through public diplomacy and strategic communications campaigns.”

The legislation aims to ensure that “United States citizens, particularly Chinese Americans and members of the Chinese, Uyghur, and Tibetan diaspora who are who are often the victims and primary targets of malign political influence operations, are protected.”

China is attempting a large-scale rewriting of history

China is attempting a large-scale rewriting of history
May 2, 2019

Telegraph India, April 29, 2019 – On March 26, the Press Trust of India reported that the People’s Republic of China has destroyed some 30,000 old maps. Printed in China, the allegedly “incorrect” maps had depicted Taiwan as a separate state and Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. Such unprecedented, large-scale map burning mimics State-sponsored rewriting of history textbooks. The burning of maps has, incidentally, occurred after China’s foisting of a ‘nine-dash line’ map of the South China Sea a few years ago. What lies behind China’s cartographic aggression?

While Taiwan is a case of the ‘One China’ policy endorsed by the government, China’s claim on Arunachal stems from the Cultural Revolution in Tibet. The Panchsheel treaty that China and India signed in 1954 had advanced bilateralism as the preferred method of conducting Sino-Indian conversations. During the Cultural Revolution, China purged Buddhism, leading to Tibetans fleeing to India. Jawaharlal Nehru’s welcoming of the Dalai Lama in 1959 irredeemably soured Sino-Indian ties.

Significantly, the burning of the maps in China occurred a week after the 14th Dalai Lama expressed the possibility of finding his successor in India. Consequently, the Dalai Lama said, one could witness the emergence of two spiritual heads; one ritually anointed and the other appointed politically by Beijing. A week before the Dalai Lama spoke, China had vetoed India’s request to list Masood Azhar as a terrorist recognized by the United Nations.

What binds maps to China’s relationships with its Asian neighbours? In the Temple of Preah Vihear case of 1962 between Cambodia and Thailand, the International Court of Justice declared maps, accurate or otherwise, to be part of treaty interpretation. That ruling had the political impact of making maps suspect for states such as China and Thailand. They were for China disposable evidence to push for territorial consolidation.

New weapon

Within a month of the Temple decision, India’s then legal advisor, K. Krishna Rao, wrote that the Temple case shall act as a binding precedent on the China-India boundary dispute. Four months later, a war between China and India erupted in the Himalayas. China had then accused India of dodging direct negotiations for Western and, therefore, suspect international law. Then came the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, which made the renunciation of boundary establishing treaties illegal. The Temple precedent, together with the suspect nature of Western law during the Cultural Revolution, offered China an excuse against third-party arbitration of territorial disputes. Today, Beijing has chosen cartographic aggression, which subverts the UN principles of territorial stability and peace with slow and measured map-related actions.

Cartographic aggression might have begun when China submitted a nine-dash line map to the UN. This map had unilaterally put nine dotted lines in the South China Sea, going beyond China’s entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The dots infringed upon the Philippines’s ownership of the sea granted under the UNCLOS. In 2016, the South China Sea arbitration, started at the behest of the Philippines, rejected the Chinese claims. But China continues with its artificial island-making programme in the South China Sea.

China, unlike India, has for long rejected European treaties as a sign of colonialism. In 2009, China clarified that only blue-water colonialism spawned by European states is the kind of colonialism that should be renounced by the UN charter and other general assembly resolutions. Having ‘defined’ European colonialism, China is now attempting a large-scale history rewriting project. Map burning, which is instrumental to China’s actions in the future, is an inseparable part of this project.

Report: Religious freedom conditions worsening in China

Report: Religious freedom conditions worsening in China
May 2, 2019

Freebeacon, April 30, 2019 – The 2019 annual report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) highlights worsening religious freedom conditions in China over the past year.

The report observes that “religious freedom conditions in China trended negative,” especially after new regulations “effectively banned ‘unauthorized’ religious teachings and required religious groups to report any online activity.” China’s government “continued to persecute all faiths in an effort to ‘sinicize’ religious belief, a campaign that attempts not only to diminish and erase the independent practice of religion, but also the cultural and linguistic heritage of religious and ethnic communities, particularly Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims.”

The report focuses on the persecution of Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and the Falun Gong.

Over the past two years, China has detained up to more than two million Uighurs and other Muslims in “internment camps,” which the Chinese government initially denied existed, but has since defended “as a means to combat terrorism and provide vocational training.” Former prisoners say those in the camps had to renounce their faith and swear loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.

The government has taken other steps to interfere in the lives of Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, “including discriminatory profiling at armed checkpoints and police stations; travel restrictions both within and outside of China; and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking systems, facial and iris recognition, DNA sampling, and voice pattern sampling to monitor Muslims.” USCIRF also received “credible reports” Chinese security services tried to harass Uighur Muslims living outside of China, including those in the United States.

Anurima Bhargava, one of USCIRF’s commissioners, said the situation for China’s Uighurs has worsened more rapidly in recent years, although the apparent increase in persecution could be a result of the fact that abuse was not documented as closely in past years.

“We are certainly building off of what is an increased sense of awareness of the scope, how many people, the ways in which people are being [treated]…. There’s a sense that it’s getting worse, that we’re in sort of an internment camp situation,” Bhargava told the Washington Free Beacon.

In Tibet, Chinese officials “continued to pursue a strategy of forced assimilation and suppression of Tibetan Buddhism.” The government imprisoned monks and nuns who would not renounce the Dalai Lama and confiscated the Chinese passports of several hundred Tibetans who attended teachings given by the Dalai Lama in India.

The Chinese government and Catholic Church reached a provisional agreement in September 2018 whereby “the pope would rehabilitate seven bishops from the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) who had been excommunicated, in return for a veto over any future appointments by the Chinese government.” China’s government used the deal to justify pressuring clergy and underground church members to join the CCPA. There were many reports of Chinese officials closing underground churches and destroying crosses.

Protestants also suffered under an intensified crackdown, as thousands of Christians were arrested and thousands of churches or religious sites were demolished.

Chinese authorities also arrested practitioners of Falun Gong, and many reportedly “suffered physical violence, psychiatric abuse, sexual assault, forced drug administration, and sleep deprivation.”

Three Tibetans Are Detained For Calling For Panchen Lama’s Release

Three Tibetans Are Detained For Calling For Panchen Lama’s Release
May 2, 2019

Radio Free Asia, April 30, 2019 – Four Tibetans were detained in western China’s Sichuan province on Monday after calling for the release of Tibetan spiritual leader the Panchen Lama, who disappeared into Chinese custody as a child in 1995 after being authorized in his role by the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibetan sources said.

Three of the four Tibetans are still being held, while the fourth, who is physically disabled and unable to speak, has now been released, sources said, adding that those still in detention will be tried by a local court in about 15 days.

Wangchen, aged 20 and the group’s leader, had recited prayers and shouted slogans while taking part in a clean-up drive on April 29 on a hill behind a monastery in Sershul county in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“During an offering ceremony and the hanging of prayer flags on the hill behind Sershul monastery, he shouted slogans calling for the release of the Panchen Lama and for the reunion of the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama in Tibet,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Only Wangchen recited the prayers and shouted the slogans, the source said.

“But the three others—Lobsang, Yonten, and another person who was physically disabled—were also detained as his accomplices,” he said.

Other Tibetans present on the hillside to collect caterpillar fungus, an important source of local income valued for its supposed medicinal qualities, had advised Wangchuk not to shout the politically sensitive slogans, fearing he might be arrested by police, the source said.

“But he replied that over 150 Tibetans have already self-immolated [in protests opposing Chinese rule in Tibetan areas], and that all Tibetans should share their burden and responsibility,” he said.

Wangchen, an unschooled local resident who made his living in horse-riding competitions, then returned to the base of the hill and was taken into custody with his friends, the source said, adding that police quickly confiscated the men’s cell phones to prevent the spread of news of their arrest.

“Wangchen and two others are now being held at the People’s Court in Sershul, though the other man was released. No one is allowed to meet with them until the court issues a verdict within 15 days,” he said.

Taken away

Tibet’s Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was recognized on May 17, 1995 at the age of six by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama-—the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama.

Tibetan tradition holds that senior Buddhist monks are reincarnated in the body of a child after they die.

Three days later, the young Panchen Lama and his family were taken away by Chinese authorities, who then installed another boy as their own candidate in his place.

Speaking last week on the eve of the Panchen Lama’s 30th birthday, a Tibetan advocacy group said China should immediately free the Panchen Lama from custody and allow him to return to his monastery to assume his role as the second most well-known religious figure in Tibet.

While the religious leader’s whereabouts remain unknown and he has not been seen in public since his disappearance, “it is believed he is still alive,” Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said in a statement marking his April 25 birthday.

“As the Panchen Lama turns 30, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) calls on China to immediately free him and allow him to return to his monastery, Tashi Lhunpo, and assume his vital role as a religious leader,” the statement said, noting that enforced disappearance is defined as a crime by the United Nations.

Chinese authorities detain Tibetan student who decried lack of government jobs for Tibetans

Chinese authorities detain Tibetan student who decried lack of government jobs for Tibetans
April 18, 2019

Radio Free Asia, April 16, 2019 – Chinese authorities have detained a Tibetan student after an essay he wrote for his civil service exam lamenting a declining number of government job opportunities for Tibetans in Tibetan regions of China went viral on social media, according to sources.

Sonam, a Tibetan master’s degree candidate at Northwest Minzu University in Gansu province’s Lanzhou city, was hauled out of classes earlier this month, according to a source inside Tibet, speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service on condition of anonymity.

“In the beginning of April, the Tibet Education Bureau in China forcefully took Sonam away from the school,” the source said.

“Chinese officials have held him since then,” he added.

RFA could not independently verify whether officials from the Tibet Education Bureau, under China’s Ministry of Education, or authorities acting on their behalf had arrested Sonam.

A second source told RFA that Sonam was targeted because of the content of the essay he wrote for his civil service exam.

“Tibetan university student Sonam wrote the essay in Chinese about the annually declining number of seats [for Tibetans] for the Chinese government civil service exams,” said the source, who also asked to remain unnamed.

“His essay was widely shared on social networking sites, including WeChat.”

The source added that Tibetan students at Northwest Minzu University—a school formerly known as Northwest University for Nationalities which was the first minority institution for higher learning founded after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949—who maintain contact with Tibetan exiles in India “are particularly under surveillance by Chinese authorities.”

The sources noted that Tibetans in Tibetan regions of China have increasingly expressed frustration over a lack of coveted government jobs in recent years, despite claims by local officials to have increased employment opportunities.

“Although the Chinese government claims to have created many [government] jobs in Tibet, only 210 [Tibetan] graduates were selected out of 70,000 to sit for the entrance test for the civil service exams this year,” one source told RFA.

“Many Tibetan university graduates say it is increasingly difficult to find jobs in Tibet, and many of those who graduated in 2018 are still left without jobs.”

Increased competition

In February, sources told RFA that Tibetan university graduates are facing increasing difficulty finding jobs in Tibetan regions of China, with Han Chinese flooding job markets and civil service exams slanted more and more toward Han applicants.

The sources said that in 2018, there were 40,000 applicants in the Tibet Autonomous Region alone who sat for the entrance exam for positions in the Chinese civil service, but only about 3,000 passed their exams to become eligible to be considered for government positions.

With more Chinese university graduates now coming into Tibetan areas to compete for jobs, they said, ethnic Tibetans are allowed fewer opportunities and have lost their competitive edge.

The majority of Tibetan applicants are unable to find work in private companies and corporations, including high-tech firms or industry, in Tibet, making well-paying jobs in the civil sector a top priority.

But in addition to competing with an increased number of Chinese applicants, requirements for proficiency in Mandarin Chinese in testing and consideration for employment have further disadvantaged Tibetan students, as China seeks to promote the dominance of Chinese culture and language in Tibetan areas, sources say.

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.

Monks at Tibet’s Sera Monastery forced to show ‘Gratitude’ to China

Monks at Tibet’s Sera Monastery forced to show ‘Gratitude’ to China
April 18, 2019

Radio Free Asia, April 9, 2019 - Tibetan monks belonging to Lhasa’s Sera monastery are being ordered to strictly follow Chinese laws and “stand against separatism” in a new campaign aimed at strengthening the restive region’s ties to Beijing, according to Chinese media reports.

Speaking on March 13 at a news conference in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, Monastery Management Committee director Lhakpa Tsering, a Tibetan official working for China’s government in Tibet, told participants that monks should now practice their faith “by standing against separatism.”

“Monks must feel grateful to the Chinese government and show their loyalty to the nation by obeying the country’s laws,” Tsering said, addressing an audience of 320 including monks, management staff, police officers, and security team members.

Also speaking at the conference, Tsetan Dorje, a Tibetan official managing Sera monastery, ordered conference attendees to also carefully watch their behavior online.

Citing a set of rules called “20 Prohibitions” introduced in February, Dorje urged the audience to abide by the listed restrictions in their postings on popular media platforms WeChat and Weibo, taking care not to spread information or other material deemed politically sensitive.

Jampa Kelsang, Sera monastery Media and Education Committee Director, meanwhile cautioned those gathered at the meeting to always “re-pay China’s generosity” in Tibet with loyalty to Beijing and love for the top leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party.

In a move aimed at suppressing Tibetan protests and other challenges to rule from Beijing, Chinese authorities in Tibet began in early 2012 to set up management committees in most Buddhist monasteries, placing them under the direct control of government officials.

Under a previous policy, Tibetan monasteries had been administered by so-called democratic management committees, whose members were monks nominated by government and local Communist Party officials and then elected by their own communities.

As Tibetans both inside Tibet and outside the region marked the 60th anniversary this year of a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese rule, China’s Global Times newspaper reported that over 30,000 monks and nuns in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region have now been tested on Chinese laws and regulations in a bid to strengthen “social stability.”

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service, Sonam Dakpo-—spokesperson for the Dharamsala, India-based Central Tibetan Administration, Tibet’s government in exile—said however that China uses law in Tibet only to restrict and suppress Tibetan national identity, language, culture, and religious freedom.

“China is responsible for the thousands of Tibetans who have lost their lives under the Chinese regime,” Dakpo said, adding, “China’s claim that it has ‘democratized’ Tibet is a complete lie.”

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.