China sentences a Tibetan monk for 5 years without any known charges in a closed door trial

China sentences a Tibetan monk for 5 years without any known charges in a closed door trial
April 2, 2018

Radio Free Asia, March 30, 2018 – Authorities in a Tibetan area of China’s western Sichuan province have sentenced a Kirti monastery monk to five years in prison on charges related to a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule, according to sources in the region.

Lobsang Sangye, 36, was handed the jail term on March 28 “in a closed trial” conducted by the People’s Court of Barkham, in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county, a source familiar with the situation told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A second source, who also declined to be named, told RFA that Sangye—who is originally from Chigdril (Jiuzhi) county, in Qinghai province’s Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture—had been “charged with an offense related to a Tibetan self-immolation, and for engaging in political activities.”

The monk had been subjected to a lengthy detention beginning in August 2012 “but he was released afterwards,” the source said, without providing details.

“He was then rearrested in August 2017, and has been held incommunicado since,” he added.

The source confirmed that Sangye’s trial on Wednesday was held “in secret.”

“If he is really guilty of a crime, then his family and relatives would have been told about it, but the Chinese authorities didn’t inform them about either the trial or the sentence.”

According to the source, local authorities have increased control and monitoring of internet traffic, and warned Tibetans from making contact with people outside of China, making “open discussion about happenings in Tibet very difficult.”

“The public has remained tight-lipped, even on the case of monk Lobsang Sangye’s arrest and sentencing,” he added.

Fiery protests

Earlier this month, a Tibetan man named Tsekho Tukchak self-immolated in Ngaba county in an apparent protest against Chinese rule and policies in the far-western region of China.

Sources told RFA at the time that Tukchak likely self-immolated because he assumed the heavy security presence would have made it difficult to carry out his plan on March 10, referring to the 59th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation of the formerly self-governing region.

Security forces had spread throughout the region in the run-up to the anniversary of the incident, which saw thousands of Tibetans killed amid a crackdown by Chinese authorities and led to the 1959 flight into exile of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

Tukchak’s protest brought to 153 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans living in China since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009.

Most protesters who have set themselves on fire have called for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet in 1959.

India expresses support for the Dalai Lama’s struggle to return to Tibet

India expresses support for the Dalai Lama’s struggle to return to Tibet
April 2, 2018

Hindustan Times, April 01, 2018 – The Tibetan government-in-exile on Saturday kicked off the year-long celebrations as part of the ‘Thank You India’ campaign to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India in 1959 after his escape from Lhasa.

Union minister of state for culture Mahesh Sharma, who was joined by BJP general secretary Ram Madhav at the event, extended support to the Tibetan cause.

“Refugee is not a right term for the Tibetans. Every one of them is a respected guest of India. Tibetans preserved the Indian culture. Our relationship is like flower and fragrance and considering this emotion the word ‘Thank You’ does not hold meaning,” Sharma said.

Ram Madhav said Tibetans and Indians share a spiritual bond. “India has always welcomed refugees with open arms and heart. We know what life is for a refugee. But you are not refugees. Indians and Tibetans are spiritual cousins,” he said expressing gratitude to the then Jawahar Lal Nehru-led government for providing asylum to the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The BJP leaders said though India endorses ‘One China’ policy, but its relation with Tibet is deeper, driven by religion and culture.

Wishing good luck to “Tibetan friends”, Madhav expressed hope that Tibetans will soon find it convenient to go back to their homeland. “For some people it took thousands of years. But I am optimistic that it will not take that long for you to be back home,” he said.

Addressing audience at the event, the 82-year-old spiritual leader, meanwhile, said being refugees Tibetans faced many problems, but have preserved their cultural and identity with the support of Indian government. “We have lived with a lot of self-confidence and holding values of humanity and brotherhood,” the Dalai Lama said.

He said that when he came to India he thought the two countries had the relationship of guru (teacher) and shishya (disciple) and that spirit was still present.

Naren Chandra Das, retired solider, who had received the Dalai Lama when he stepped onto Indian soil, was also present as a special guest.

Tibetan government-in-exile president of Lobsang Sangay expressed gratitude to the Indian government and people for giving shelter and support to Tibetans for 60 years. “His Holiness calls himself the son of India and we are the grandchildren,” he said.

Sangay slammed China and said, “Past 60 years were of destruction of Tibetan culture, religion and identity and exploitation of Tibetan resources by China.”

“But the Tibetan spirit has remained unbreakable and with resilience. They were able to revive their culture and identity,” he added.

The event, which was earlier planned in New Delhi, was shifted to Dharamshala after a note issued by the cabinet secretary advised Indian functionaries and political leaders to stay away from the events being organised by CTA and had cited ‘sensitive’ phase of the Indo-China ties.

Tibetans organize ‘Thank You India’ event to celebrate India’s support for Tibet

Tibetans organize ‘Thank You India’ event to celebrate India’s support for Tibet
April 2, 2018

Reuters, March 31, 2018 – The Dalai Lama called on his people to remain united as the Tibetan community gathered on Saturday in a small hill town to mark 60 years of political asylum in India – although just one federal minister appeared at the event.

The “Thank You India” event had been scheduled for India’s capital, New Delhi, but was shifted to Dharamsala, a small town in the country’s north where Tibetans run a government in exile, as India tries to avoid a confrontation with China, which views the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Officially, New Delhi says its policy toward the Dalai Lama remains the same, and the Tibetan government in exile says it moved the event to Dharamsala out of respect for India’s foreign policy needs. India’s culture minister was the only minister present at the event.

“Today we are celebrating 60 years in exile and we are confident, and we can see how our future shapes up,” the Dalai Lama said at the event.

He emphasized the “strong bond between India and Tibet”, saying the two shared a “deep connection of culture and literature”.

China took control of Tibet in 1950 in what it called a “peaceful liberation”. In March 1959, the Dalai Lama, then 23 years old, fled to India along with his followers.

Then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru welcomed the monk and allowed him to make Dharamsala his seat. But the ties have weakened as India tries to improve relations with China and avoid a standoff such as a 73-day military face-off along a stretch of their disputed border last year.

“From Nehru to Modi, we have followed a one-China policy,” Ram Madhav, the general secretary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party said. The links between India and Tibet were “very little political but more spiritual, religious and cultural,” he added.

Earlier this month, India issued an unprecedented ban on Tibetans holding a rally with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama also canceled a visit to the Indian border state of Sikkim this week, hosted by authorities there, officials say, lest it offended China.

That is in contrast to the Dalai Lama’s free movement within India, including the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own.

Lobsang Sangay, the head of the Tibetan government in exile, was critical of China’s Tibet policy at Saturday’s event.

“It’s been 60 years since China’s illegal invasion and occupation of Tibet, 60 years of destruction of Tibetan civilization, Tibetan culture and Tibetan identity,” Sangay said, thanking India for its support.

China to install hundreds of thousands of fuel burning chambers in Tibet to induce rainfall and address water scarcity in China

China to install hundreds of thousands of fuel burning chambers in Tibet to induce rainfall and address water scarcity in China
March 26, 2018

South China Morning Post, March 26, 2018 – China is testing cutting-edge defence technology to develop a powerful yet relatively low-cost weather modification system to bring substantially more rain to the Tibetan plateau, Asia’s biggest freshwater reserve.

The system, which involves an enormous network of fuel-burning chambers installed high up on the Tibetan mountains, could increase rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres a year – about 7 per cent of China’s total water consumption – according to researchers involved in the project.

Tens of thousands of chambers will be built at selected locations across the Tibetan plateau to produce rainfall over a total area of about 1.6 million square kilometres (620,000 square miles), or three times the size of Spain. It will be the world’s biggest such project.

The chambers burn solid fuel to produce silver iodide, a cloud-seeding agent with a crystalline structure much like ice.

The chambers stand on steep mountain ridges facing the moist monsoon from south Asia. As wind hits the mountain, it produces an upward draft and sweeps the particles into the clouds to induce rain and snow.

“[So far,] more than 500 burners have been deployed on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang and other areas for experimental use. The data we have collected show very promising results,” a researcher working on the system told the South China Morning Post.

The system is being developed by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation – a major space and defence contractor that is also leading other ambitious national projects, including lunar exploration and the construction of China’s space station.

Space scientists designed and constructed the chambers using cutting-edge military rocket engine technology, enabling them to safely and efficiently burn the high-density solid fuel in the oxygen-scarce environment at an altitude of over 5,000 metres (16,400 feet), according to the researcher who declined to be named due to the project’s sensitivity.

While the idea is not new – other countries like the United States have conducted similar tests on small sites – China is the first to attempt such a large-scale application of the technology.

The chambers’ daily operation will be guided by highly precise real-time data collected from a network of 30 small weather satellites monitoring monsoon activities over the Indian Ocean.

The ground-based network will also employ other cloud-seeding methods using planes, drones and artillery to maximise the effect of the weather modification system.

The gigantic glaciers and enormous underground reservoirs found on the Tibetan plateau, which is often referred to as Asia’s water tower, render it the source of most of the continent’s biggest rivers – including the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Brahmaputra.

The rivers, which flow through China, India, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar and several other countries, are a lifeline to almost half of the world’s population.

But because of shortages across the continent, the Tibetan plateau is also seen as a potential flashpoint as Asian nations struggle to secure control over freshwater resources.

Despite the large volume of water-rich air currents that pass over the plateau each day, the plateau is one of the driest places on Earth. Most areas receive less than 10cm of rain a year. An area that sees less than 25cm of rain annually is defined as a desert by the US Geological Survey.

Rain is formed when moist air cools and collides with particles floating in the atmosphere, creating heavy water droplets.

The silver iodide produced by the burning chambers will provide the particles required to form rain.

Radar data showed that a gentle breeze could carry the cloud-seeding particles more than 1,000 metres above the mountain peaks, according to the researcher.

A single chamber can form a strip of thick clouds stretching across more than 5km.

“Sometimes snow would start falling almost immediately after we ignited the chamber. It was like standing on the stage of a magic show,” he said.

The technology was initially developed as part of the Chinese military’s weather modification programme.

China and other countries, including Russia and the United States, have been researching ways to trigger natural disasters such as floods, droughts and tornadoes to weaken their enemies in the event of severe conflict.

Efforts to employ the defence technology for civilian use began over a decade ago, the researcher said.

One of the biggest challenges the rainmakers faced was finding a way to keep the chambers operating in one of the world’s most remote and hostile environments.

“In our early trials, the flame often extinguished midway [because of the lack of oxygen in the area],” the researcher said.

But now, after several improvements to the design, the chambers should be able to operate in a near-vacuum for months, or even years, without requiring maintenance.

They also burn fuel as cleanly and efficiently as rocket engines, releasing only vapours and carbon dioxide, which makes them suitable for use even in environmentally protected areas.

Communications and other electronic equipment is powered by solar energy and the chambers can be operated by a smart phone app thousands of kilometres away for through the satellite forecasting system.

The chambers have one clear advantage over other cloud-seeding methods such as using planes, cannons and drones to blast silver iodide into the atmosphere.

“Other methods requires the establishment of a no-fly zone. This can be time-consuming and troublesome in any country, especially China,” the researcher said.

One of the chambers in operation in Xiang autonomous region. Photo: xjqx.cn

The ground-based network also comes at a relatively low price – each burning unit costs about 50,000 yuan (US$8,000) to build and install. Costs are likely to drop further due to mass production.

In comparison, a cloud-seeding plane costs several million yuan and covers a smaller area.

One downside of the burning chambers, however, is that they will not work in the absence of wind or when the wind is blowing the wrong direction.

This month, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation signed an agreement with Tsinghua University and Qinghai province to set up a large-scale weather modification system on the Tibetan plateau.

In 2016 researchers from Tsinghua, China’s leading research university, first proposed a project – named Tianhe or Sky River – to increase the water supply in China’s arid northern regions by manipulating the climate.

The project aims to intercept the water vapour carried by the Indian monsoon over the Tibetan plateau and redistribute it in the northern regions to increase the water supply there by five to 10 billion cubic metres a year.

The aerospace corporation’s president, Lei Fanpei, said in a speech that China’s space industry would integrate its weather modification programme with Tsinghua’s Sky River project.

“[Modifying the weather in Tibet] is a critical innovation to solve China’s water shortage problem,” Lei said. “It will make an important contribution not only to China’s development and world prosperity, but also the well being of the entire human race.”

Tsinghua president Qiu Yong said the agreement signalled the central government’s determination to apply cutting-edge military technology in civilian sectors. The technology will significantly spur development in China’s western regions, he added.

The contents of the agreement are being kept confidential as it contains sensitive information that the authorities have deemed unsuitable to be revealed at the moment, a Tsinghua professor with knowledge of the deal told the Post.

Scientists at Tsinghua University in Beijing first devised the plan for the “Sky River”. Photo:

Climate simulations show that the Tibetan plateau is likely to experience a severe drought over the coming decades as natural rainfall fails to replenish the water lost as a result of rising temperatures.

“The satellite network and weather modification measures are to make preparations for the worst-case scenario,” the Tsinghua researcher said.

The exact scale and launch date for the programme has not been fixed as it is pending final approval from the central government, he said.

Debate is also ongoing within the project team over the best approach for the project, he added. While some favour the use of the chambers, others prefer cloud-seeding planes as they have a smaller environmental footprint.

Ma Weiqiang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, said a cloud-seeding experiment on such a scale was unprecedented and could help answer many intriguing scientific questions.

In theory, the chambers could affect the weather and even the climate in the region if they are built in large enough numbers. But they might not work as perfectly in real life, according to the researcher.

“I am skeptical about the amount of rainfall they can produce. A weather system can be huge. It can make all human efforts look vain,” Ma said.

Beijing might not give the green light for the project either, he added, as intercepting the moisture in the skies over Tibet could have a knock-on effect and reduce rainfall in other Chinese regions.

Tibet can exist with China like ‘European Union’: Dalai Lama

Tibet can exist with China like ‘European Union’: Dalai Lama
March 19, 2018

Reuters, March 16, 2018 – Tibet can exist within China in the same spirit as the European Union sticks together, the territory’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, considered a dangerous separatist by Beijing, said.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule and set up a government in exile in the foothills of Dharamsala. Chinese troops had seized control of Tibet nine years earlier.

He says he only seeks autonomy for his homeland, not outright independence. He has also expressed a desire to return to Tibet.

“I always, you see, admire the spirit of (the) European Union,” the Dalai Lama said in a video message to the International Campaign for Tibet on the Washington D.C.-based group’s 30th anniversary on Thursday.

“Common interest (is) more important rather than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word, “gongheguo” (republic), shows some kind of union is there.”

China says Tibet in an integral part of its territory and has been for centuries. Beijing also says its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region, and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.

Beijing insists that the Dalai Lama is a “splittist” in a monk’s robes and has warned foreign leaders against meeting him, even in a personal capacity.

Donald Trump has not met with the Dalai Lama since become president in January last year. All recent U.S. presidents before Trump had held meetings with the Dalai Lama.

While the Dalai Lama reiterated his desire for reconciliation as Xi Jinping begins his second five-year term as China’s president, he also said the Tibetan issue was not about to go away.

“Among the Chinese hard-liners, in their mind, it seems some kind of dilemma is there about their present policy – whether, you see, it can solve Tibetan problem or not,” he said.

I never attended modern university, my knowledge came from India: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I never attended modern university, my knowledge came from India: His Holiness the Dalai Lama
March 19, 2018

Central Tibetan Administration, March 18, 2018 – Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama today said India’s ancient knowledge is very relevant in today’s world to achieve a peaceful 21st century and that India can play a major role to achieve this goal.

He gave these remarks while addressing a crowd of hundreds at the first convocation of the Central University of Jammu.

“I never attended school, university and modern institutions Our knowledge came from India. India is our teacher and we are its reliable pupil,” he said, hailing India’s 1,000-year-old tradition of secularism, non-violence and religious harmony.

“Jammu and Kashmir is a state in which Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in complete harmony. This state presents the true harmony of India,” His Holiness said.

While lamenting how the world was plagued by violence and a swelling crisis of emotions, he noted that India can play a major role in bringing together a curriculum that ensures both physical and inner wellbeing. “Modern education, which is too much oriented to material values, has failed to help reduce violence. India is the only nation that can combine modern education and its ancient knowledge”.

He added, “Modern knowledge has given us physical comfort but ancient Indian knowledge has the power to provide inner comfort and peace. You can combine the two. Ancient Indian knowledge is very relevant in todays world”.

“The ancient Indian knowledge must be revived in India, it is not ancient but most relevant to today’s needs,” said the 82-year-old nobel laureate.

He further stressed on resolving differences through means of dialogue and how the basic human nature is scientifically proved to be compassionate.

“Young children, six months, four months old, smile at each other. Compassion comes to a child from his mother. Even the mischief mongers have basically the same compassion… It is the duty of our educational system to further that basic character of compassion so that the world has hope”.

His Holiness was the chief guest of the event; he presented gold medals and merit certificates to students of the Central University of Jammu. This was the first convocation of the University.

Prominent Tibetan writer Shokang released after three years of imprisonmen

Prominent Tibetan writer Shokang released after three years of imprisonment
March 19, 2018

Canada Tibet Committee, March 19, 2018 – A prominent Tibetan blogger Shokjang (Druklo) has been released today after three years of imprisonment for writing against China’s repressive policies in Tibet. In February 2016, Shokjang was wrongfully sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “inciting separatism” and “disturbing social stability” following his arrest on 19 March 2015, making him due for release today, 19 March 2018.

Shokjang has a history of activism. As a student of Tibetan literature at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou, Shokjang organised student protests calling for greater freedom for Tibetans during the mass Tibetan uprisings in March 2008. He was later detained and held arbitrarily for a month for his involvement in the 2008 Tibetan Uprisings, and for publishing a literary magazine that criticized China’s policies.

On 17 February 2015, Shokjang was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting separatism”; Shokjang insisted his innocence throughout. According to the Court, Shokjang committed “crimes” through his writings, including an essay on freedom of religion and a blogpost recounting the events of 16 March 2015 when gun-wielding armed police officers conducted a search at his hotel room.

Shokjang is a highly regarded Tibetan poet, lyricist, short story writer, and essayist. He is the author of four books: The Courageous Path, The Might of the Pen, For Liberty, I Have No Regrets, and Rangdrol’s Courage. Numerous governments and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Pen America, Human Rights in China, have raised his case since his arrest in 2015.

Shokjang’s arrest and false imprisonment expose a larger systemic issue of repression of all aspects of life in Tibet, including the freedom of expression. It also underlines the increasing insecurity of the occupying regime of China. As a result of these crackdowns and Xi Jinping’s increasingly oppressive regime in Tibet and other Chinese-occupied territories, resistance inside Tibet is stronger today than it ever has been.

Sherap Therchin of the Canada Tibet Committee, Ottawa said: “We like to thank all governments and human rights organizations for pressing China on immediate release of Shokjang, and we request a continued support for immediate and unconditional release all other prisoners of conscience.”

Canada expresses concerns about Tibet at UN Human Rights Council

Canada expresses concerns about Tibet at UN Human Rights Council
March 19, 2018

International Campaign for Tibet, March 14, 2018 – The United States, Canada, the European Union and a number of European governments expressed strong concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet today in their item 4 statements to the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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

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

Concerns about Tibet were also raised on a number of other occasions during this session -which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the 2008 protests in Tibet-including by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who noted that his office “continues to receive urgent appeals regarding arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and discrimination” of Tibetans. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis also raised the case of Tashi Wangchuk during the High Level Segment.

In addition to official statements today, ICT’s Policy and Advocacy Officer Mélanie Blondelle delivered a statement on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) under item 4, highlighting the dramatic deteriorating of the human rights situation in Tibet since 2008. She said that the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet was “clear evidence” that Tibetans inside Tibet were still suffering from China’s disrespect for their fundamental rights and freedoms, and urged the Council’s members to “strengthen their individual and joint efforts to address the Chinese government’s harmful policies and human rights abuses in Tibet” in the year of China’s third Universal Periodic Review.

Following are the full remarks of States who raised specific concerns about the situation in Tibet, as well as the full text of Mélanie Blondelle’s statement.

Canada: “The government of China’s ongoing persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet, is incompatible with its international obligations, as well as its Constitution. We urge authorities to immediately release all individuals detained for exercising their human rights, including their right to freedom of religion and expression, and to protect advocates for linguistic and cultural rights. The lack of transparency and due process in the cases of thousands of Uyghurs detained in so-called “re-education camps”, and in the cases of detained human rights defenders throughout the country, continues to call into question China’s commitment to the rule of law.”

European Union: “While acknowledging the progress made on a number of areas of social and economic rights in China, the EU is concerned about detentions and trials of human rights defenders and lawyers Wang Quanzhang, Li Yuhan, Huang Qi, Yu Wensheng, Wu Gan and Tashi Wangchuk. The EU urges China to release all detained human rights defenders and to thoroughly investigate reported cases of mistreatment and torture while in detention. The EU is also concerned about the continued detention of the Swedish citizen Gui Minhai. The EU demands that he be allowed to meet Swedish diplomatic and medical staff and that he be released. The EU calls upon China to respect the rights of freedom of expression offline and online, and of religion, as well as cultural diversity, not least in Tibet and Xinjiang.”

France (unofficial translation by ICT): “(…) civil society actors and political opponents are too often arrested, repressed, harassed and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of opinion and expression are too often, in contravention to our collective commitments. It is also the case in China, where we are also concerned by the human rights situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, where we call for dialogue with local populations.”

Germany: “We remain deeply worried about China’s widespread abuses, including infringements on the freedoms of religion, expression and association, and the right to a fair trial, manifest in the secret detention called “residential surveillance in a designated location”. We urge China to immediately release all human rights defenders, including Yu Wensheng, Li Yuhan, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Quanzhang, Wu Gan, Liu Feiyue, Huang Qi, Lu Yuyu, Tashi Wangchuk, Ilham Tohti, and EU-citizen Gui Minhai, and to allow visits of UN Special Procedures, including in Tibetan and Uyghur areas.”

United States: “We remain troubled by reports that lawyers and activists, including [Wang Quanzhang, Jiang Tianyong, Li Yuhan, Yu Wensheng, and Huang Qi; and] foreign nationals, [including Swedish citizen Gui Minhai,] in China are being arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to confess to political charges on state media, and that in many cases, authorities have retaliated against their families. Additionally, we are concerned about harsh conditions akin to martial law that have been imposed in Xinjiang and some Tibetan areas.”

US state of Wisconsin adopts Tibetan as official minority language

US state of Wisconsin adopts Tibetan as official minority language
March 5, 2018

The Tibet Post, March 5, 2018 – According to reports from the United States, Tibetan has been officially adopted as a minority language in the state of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Tibetan Association announced on Wednesday, February 28, “We are very happy to announce here that the Common Council has unanimously adopted Tibetan being one of the official minority language! This has been a big achievement to the community.” announced the WTA Facebook page on Wednesday.

Madison’s city common council held a meeting on February 27th, with regard to the approval of compressive language access plan by the City of Madison where representatives of the Tibetan community presented cases on the “importance as well as the need to have the Tibetan language recognized due to the increase in its usage in this city.”

The capital city of the State, Madison city, has a long history with the Tibetan immigrant community dating back a few decades. On Thursday (March 1), the Tibetan community commemorated the 25th anniversary of the US-Tibetan Resettlement Project. There is a sizable Tibetan community in the city of Madison which is the second-most-populous municipality in Wisconsin state.

Tibetan leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay: It’s either China transforms you, or the world transforms China

Tibetan leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay: It’s either China transforms you, or the world transforms China
March 5, 2018

The Japan Times, February 28, 2018 – Japan and the international community should pressure China to find a peaceful solution to its long-standing conflict with Tibet, the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile told The Japan Times in a recent interview in Tokyo.

“It’s either China transforms you, or the world transforms China,” Lobsang Sangay said.

“It’s important that the international community … coordinates (its) approach on China,” said the 49-year-old leader, who was on a weeklong visit to Japan in February.

Sangay said China, which controls Tibet, is a threat to “real democracy and freedom of speech,” while noting that many Tibetans, including monks, have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing’s rule over their homeland.

When he spoke to Japanese lawmakers during the visit, Sangay expressed concern that more and more countries are shying away from the Tibet issue amid China’s increasing economic clout, as exemplified by its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to build networks of trade and infrastructure in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, according to Jiji Press.

The interview with the most powerful Tibetan leader after the Dalai Lama was held on Feb. 20, just days before the Communist Party of China said it plans to abolish the two-term limit on the presidency. The ruling party’s proposal, announced on Sunday, paves the way for Xi Jinping, 64, to stay in office beyond the end of his second five-year term in 2023.

As China continues to insist that Tibet has always been part of its territory —while Xi further cements his grip on power — Sangay believes the next five years will be critical for his cause.

He has been traveling the world in an attempt to win support for the nonviolent struggle of the Tibetan people.

“Xi Jinping is on a second term. Normally on a second term, you try to do something big, something for your legacy,” Sangay said. “That’s why it is the next five years that the international community should press China to find a peaceful solution on the issue of Tibet.”

China claims Tibet has been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, while many Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of their history.

The Dalai Lama and a large number of his followers have been living in exile in India since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Sangay, born in a refugee camp in 1968, became the head of the Central Tibetan Administration in 2011, the same year the Dalai Lama stepped down as head of the government-in-exile. Sangay was re-elected in 2016.

The Harvard-educated leader said there is also a plan to find a successor to the Dalai Lama, who is 82. Speaking also on Tibet’s vision for the next 50 years, he said, “We must start brainstorming as to how to preserve our identity, our culture, our language, our religion.”

He said his people must also consider how to provide improved education to younger generations “so they become more sophisticated” and learn how to become effective leaders.

He said the 50-year plan also needs to address “how we make ourselves economically sustainable — in exile or inside Tibet.”

The latest visit to Japan by Sangay was his fourth as Tibetan president. He first visited Japan in 2012 and then once a year since 2016.

To deepen ties with Japan, which has the world’s largest parliamentary support group for Tibet, he said, “I promise that I will keep coming back every year.”