Foreign journalists say China blocked independent reporting in Tibet

Foreign journalists say China blocked independent reporting in Tibet
By International Campaign for Tibet|March 1, 2021
The Chinese government restricted foreign journalists’ ability to report in Tibet last year while obstructing coverage of COVID-19 and carrying out the largest expulsion of foreign journalists from China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Those are some of the troubling findings in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s 2020 annual report, “Track, Trace, Expel: Reporting on China Amid a Pandemic.”
The report, released March 1, 2021, evaluates reporting conditions in China, which annexed Tibet more than 60 years ago.
The FCCC based the report on a survey of 150 journalists representing news organizations from 30 countries and regions.
Access to Tibet
The report notes the Chinese government restricts access to the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is the only region that China requires foreign journalists to apply for permission before entering. China often denies that permission, however.
The report says China’s State Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs occasionally organize government-supervised trips to the TAR, which spans most of central and western Tibet. However, they “carefully choose which journalists and organizations are allowed to participate,” the report says.
During one of those trips to the TAR last year, journalists were not able to report independently, with government handlers tightly controlling their schedules and police following them if they tried to visit places on their own.
“Our minders in Tibet became very nervous when some foreign media journalists tried to use their drones,” one foreign journalist told the FCCC. “They said, ‘Tibet is a restricted area’ when asked why reporters could not fly their drones in Tibet, which does not geofence drones. Our minders said that ‘you still have to have special permission’ to fly drones there.”
Restrictions on US journalists
Another state-run trip last year stopped in the TAR and Tibetan areas of Qinghai province. However, US journalists and outlets said they were not able to join, with officials telling several correspondents the trip was “full,” according to the FCCC report.
The report notes the US passed a law in 2018 designed to pressure the Chinese government to give Americans journalists, diplomats and ordinary citizens the same level of access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the United States.
As part of the law, called the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, the State Department announced in July 2020 that it had banned Chinese officials from entering the US over their role in keeping Americans out of Tibet.
In addition, President Biden said in his campaign that he would “insist that the Chinese government restore access to Tibet for US citizens, including our diplomats and journalists.”
That promise was part of Biden’s longer statement on Tibet, in which he said that the “Biden-Harris administration will stand up for the people of Tibet.”
Restrictions by China
The FCCC report states that 6 of 8 correspondents who tried to report from Tibetan areas—such as in Sichuan and Gansu provinces—said they faced restrictions and prohibitions from the Chinese government.
Overall, Chinese officials “dramatically stepped up efforts” to limit the work of foreign correspondents across the country in 2020, the report says.
“All arms of state power—including surveillance systems introduced to curb coronavirus—were used to harass and intimidate journalists, their Chinese colleagues, and those whom the foreign press sought to interview,” the report says.
The disturbing developments include:
China expelling at least 18 foreign journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. The Chinese government also cancelled press credentials and denied visa renewals, leading to “the largest expulsion of foreign journalists since the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre more than three decades ago,” the report says.
Chinese officers preventing two Australian journalists from leaving the country. One of the journalists said the move showed “the old precedents no longer apply.”
Chinese authorities obstructing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in China and has since claimed the lives of more than 2.5 million people around the world.
China using the coronavirus as a pretext for denying reporters access to certain areas and for preventing them from re-entering China altogether.
ICT quote
International Campaign for Tibet Interim Vice President Tencho Gyatso said:
“As we’ve seen from the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, the cost of China’s press restrictions and secrecy is too much for the world to bear. Yet even as the Chinese government has intensified its crackdowns on foreign journalism and human rights in every area under its control, it has continued to treat Tibet—especially the Tibet Autonomous Region—as a special case.
“We are grateful to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China for reporting on the media’s lack of access to Tibet. What the Tibetan people need now is for foreign journalists to be able to report from inside Tibet. We at the International Campaign for Tibet will continue to work with governments around the world to try to make that possible.”

New clergy regulations hurt Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics

New clergy regulations hurt Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics
By International Campaign for Tibet|February 25, 2021
The Chinese government will soon have even more power to control religious clergy under new regulations that will undermine the authority of Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Catholic Church.
The Measures for the Administration of Religious Clergy (Order No. 15) will go into effect May 1, 2021. The State Administration of Religious Affairs—renamed the National Religious Affairs Administration in English in recent years—passed the measures in January.
Among other things, the measures standardize state management of clergy, require clergy to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and legally underpin the “Sinicization” of religion. Sinicization is an effort led by Chinese President Xi Jinping to bring aspects of society, including non-Chinese ethnic groups and religions, under the control of the Chinese government.
Adding to the government’s already vast powers to monitor, control and limit religious practice, the new measures help institutionalize the suppression of Tibetan Buddhism, the primary faith in Chinese-occupied Tibet and a growing spiritual practice in the United States and other countries.
State selection of clergy
The measures reaffirm the state’s role in managing and approving reincarnate Tibetan lamas under the 2017 Regulation on Religious Affairs, the 2007 Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism and other regulations.
Under the regulations, the Chinese government requires Tibetan Buddhist monks to get the state’s approval before reincarnating.
China plans to use this authority to control the succession of the Dalai Lama, with the intent to select an impostor who will be loyal to the Chinese Communist Party.
US policy
However, at the end of 2020, the US government enacted the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, which made it official US policy reaffirming the sole authority of the current Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist community on his succession.
Under the TPSA, if any Chinese officials try to name their own Dalai Lama in the future, the US will sanction them.
The new law also requires the State Department to work at the international level to build support for Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to choose their own leaders without government interference.
In addition, article 16 declares that state-run entities will approve and ordain Catholic bishops.
Article 12 says religious personnel shall not accept control by foreign forces or the unauthorized appointment of clergy by foreign religious groups and institutions.
These provisions would appear to target the influence of the Dalai Lama—who has lived in India since China forced him into exile in 1959—and the Vatican.
“Love the motherland”
The measures also create new requirements for clergy to serve the state.
According to the measures, clergy must “love the motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, support the socialist system.”
Clergy must also “maintain national unity, ethnic unity, religious harmony and social stability.”
The measures also include a long list of things clergy cannot do, including “endanger national security,” “undermine national unity” and “divide the country.” The Chinese government often portrays any attempt by Tibetans to express their unique culture and religion as a threat to national unity and security.
Expanding bureaucracy and surveillance
The measures will also expand the role of bureaucracy and surveillance in religious management.
As part of this system, the government will assign 12-digit numerical codes to clergy members.
In addition, the State Administration of Religious Affairs will establish a database for all religious personnel.
Religious organizations will have to create records on clerical personnel and report them to government religious affairs departments.
Religious organizations will also have to develop evaluation systems to inform decisions on appointments, rewards and punishments for clergy members.
For a clergy member to do something as simple as engage in religious activities across jurisdictions, they must get approval ahead of time.
If clergy members or religious facilities violate the state’s edicts, they can lose their credentials and face other punishments.
ICT quote
International Campaign for Tibet Interim President Bhuchung K. Tsering said:
“With these new measures, the Chinese Communist Party is not only harming people of faith and endangering the survival of Tibet’s unique and beautiful Buddhist religion. It is also making a mockery of the very idea of faith by turning it into just another tool to prop up the totalitarian Communist regime. From its persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, to its genocide of Uyghur Muslims, to its affronts against the Catholic Church, the Chinese government is waging war on religion. As with the recently enacted Tibetan Policy and Support Act in the United States, governments around the world must continue to push back against China and protect the universal right to religious freedom of all people, including those living under China’s authoritarian rule.”

A Tibetan tour guide dies from prison injuries in Driru, Tibet

A Tibetan tour guide dies from prison injuries in Driru, Tibet
Staff Reporter
February 17, 2021
Dharamshala: A Tibetan tour guide serving a 21-year sentence in Chinese jail died earlier this month due to prison injuries, reported Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Kunchok Jinpa, 51, passed away on 6 February in a hospital in Lhasa after being transferred there from prison. He had suffered a brain hemorrhage and was paralyzed. According to HRW, Kunchok Jinpa was detained by the Chinese authorities on 8 November 2013 without his family’s knowledge. In 2013, hundreds of Tibetans were detained from Driru county after a series of peaceful protests against China’s compulsory flag-flying campaign where the local Tibetans were forced to fly Chinese flags from every house. Kunchok was one of those detained. He was later convicted of leaking state secrets for sharing information to foreign media on protests in his region and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Expressing deep sadness and concern, President of Central Tibetan Administration, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay remarked, “the tragic news of Kunchok Jinpa’s death due to torture and mistreatment while in Chinese prison comes barely a month after a similar death of 19-year-old Tenzin Nyima. China’s pervasive use of torture on prisoners of conscience is not unknown to the world. There are hundreds of Tibetans illegally held and tortured for their defiance of China’s rule over Tibet.” Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay urged for international intervention and said, “The international community and UN human rights experts must intervene and investigate these cases of arbitrary detention, conviction without due process, torturing and killing of Tibetans by the Chinese government”.
According to HRW, in November 2020, the authorities moved him from prison to a hospital in Lhasa in serious condition. On 29 January, his family members learned of his serious condition when six of his family members were called to the hospital to donate blood, according to our source. However, they were not allowed to meet him in the hospital.
Kunchok Jinpa died on 6 February. He was a resident of Village No. 5 in Chaktse township in Driru county, about 300 kilometers north of Lhasa. He was a former monk at the Gom Gonsar monastery(Choekor Jampaling) in Driru. After traveling to India in October 1989, he studied at the Jangchubling monastery in Dehradun for 18 months. Later, he studied at Tibetan Children’s Village School, Suja, and graduated in 1996. He returned to Tibet in about 1998. Proficient in four languages; Tibetan, English, Hindi and Chinese as well, he worked as a tour guide. He was a strong advocate of education and economic development.
According to Human Rights Watch, his final communication on WeChat was in April 2013 where he wrote: “I am now at the bank of a river. There are many people behind me watching me, and I am sure to be arrested. Even if they arrest me, I am not afraid, even if they kill me, I have no regrets. But from now on, I will not be able to give reports. If there is no word from me, that means I have been arrested.”
Last month, Tenzin Nyima, a teenage monk from Dza Wonpo, Sershul county, Karze (Ch:Ganzi) died on 19 January after he was severely beaten and tortured by the Chinese authorities.
In August 2020, Lhamo, a 36-year-old mother of three from Driru county, Nagchu died due to torture in Chinese custody.
– Filed by UN, EU & Human Rights Desk/DIIR

ICT calls for investigation after Tibetan dies following torture

ICT calls for investigation after Tibetan dies following torture
February 17, 2021
The International Campaign for Tibet urges the UN Human Rights Council to investigate growing reports of torture in Tibet after Human Rights Watch reported the death of a Tibetan tour guide whom Chinese authorities tortured and abused.
In a report on Feb. 16, 2021, HRW said 51-year-old tour guide Kunchok Jinpa succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Feb. 6, 2021 after being transferred from custody without his family’s knowledge less than three months earlier. The report said he was paralyzed after a brain hemorrhage.
Jinpa was detained on Nov. 8, 2013 and subsequently charged with forwarding “state secrets” about environmental protests and other protests in his home region to foreign media. The court sentenced him to 21 years in prison.
He was one of several hundred Tibetans from Driru County in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) City who peacefully protested several times in October 2013 against official orders that every house must fly the Chinese flag. HRW’s report said Jinpa may have also informed Tibetans outside the People’s Republic of China in May 2013 about protests against planned mine projects on the holy mountain “Naklha Dzamba.” He also might have passed on the names of Tibetans imprisoned in this context, HRW said.
During the 2013 Driru protests, there were reports of mass arrests and security forces shooting at unarmed demonstrators, HRW said.
Jinpa was a monk in the Gom Gonsar Monastery (also known as Choekor Jampaling) in Driru, and later, in the 1990s, studied for some years in India at the Changchubling Monastery, the main center in exile of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and also in two other educational institutions for Tibetan studies. He returned to his homeland in 1998 and worked as a travel guide.
HRW reported that Jinpa’s family had no knowledge about his whereabouts for years.
ICT calls on the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into the range of human rights violations in Tibet, as UN human rights experts already called for in June 2020.
Those responsible in the Chinese state and party apparatus for the death of Kunchok Jinpa must be held accountable for the system of torture and ill-treatment against Tibetans.

Beijing’s repression deepened across the country in 2020: Human Rights Watch Report

Beijing’s repression deepened across the country in 2020: Human Rights Watch Report
January 15, 2021
Published By Bureau Reporter
Dharamshala: China had a grim year for human rights in 2020, according to the World Report 2021 by Human Rights Watch. The report on China highlighted human rights issues ranging from the “National Security Law” in Hong Kong, repression of the Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs in forced labour camps to the censorship of reporting on the Coronavirus outbreak. Chinese government’s record of human rights violations, one of the worst in the world, has only deteriorated for the dismay of those concerned, including human rights defenders and activists.
Human Rights Watch noted that in 2020 authorities in Tibetan areas continued to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly, and failed to redress popular concerns about the mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involves intimidation and unlawful use of force by security forces.
The Chinese state has used the coronavirus pandemic to deepen its advance into the private and devotional lives of Tibetans. Tibetans in Tibet were told by the Chinese authorities to refrain from celebrating Losar, Tibetan New Year, celebration last year as a preventive measure to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the history and magnitude of the festival, the ban has major consequences on many freedoms of the Tibetan people from religious rights to cultural practices. Major monasteries still remain closed for public abstaining the religious Tibetan people from practicing their religion.
The report also sheds light on Adrian Zenz’s case study on China’s militarised vocational training system in Tibet. According to Zenz’s report, Chinese government, under the guise of alleviating poverty in the TAR region and as part of the 13th Five year plan for Tibet, has coerced half-a-million Tibetans into mass labour through a militarised system in the first 7-months of 2020. With this system, Chinese government aims to produce discipline and obedience; transform labourer’s thinking and identity; reform “backwardness”: teach law and Chinese by depreciating Tibetan Language; weaken the perceived negative influence of religion.
Moreover, with regulations for the promotion of “Nationality Unity Model Areas”, the Communist party encouraged economic migration from other parts of China and phased out Tibetan-medium instruction in primary schools. Public protests were withdrawn from the minds of the public through constant surveillance and intimidation, a goal emphasised repeatedly by leading officials.
Detention and sentence of Tibetan into prison continues to exist even today. Every citizen is made to sacrifice their freedom to act according to the policy of the Party. If found acting in opposition to the Party line, severe punishment will ensue.
At the start of the year the Chinese government faced two major challenges; an unknown disease that threatened to tear through its population and a wave of voices online telling the world what was happening. It was clear from the thousands of messages of public outrage appearing on Chinese social media that the government was covering up the Covid-19 virus.
Amid all the confusion, Li Wenliang, known internationally as the “whistleblower” doctor, died on 7 February after it came to light that he had been investigated for “disturbing social order” by “making false comments”. In another case, several citizen journalists were arrested for coverage that threatened the official narrative of Beijing’s response. The Committee to Protect Journalists says three are still in prison.
China imposed national security legislation in Hong Kong on the eve of the anniversary of its British handover to China on July 1. Last week, 53 of Hong Kong’s most prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians were arrested in morning raids, in the biggest crackdown since its imposition. The law is the most aggressive assault on Hong Kong people’s freedoms since the handover from British in 1997.
“Overnight, Beijing robbed the Hong Kong people of their human rights,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Long used to freedoms, Hong Kong people now face the prospect of lengthy prison terms for possessing banners or chanting slogans that the authorities dislike.”
According to the HRW report, since early 2017, the authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in a vast network of internment camps. The Communist Party’s efforts to erase the identity of Uyghurs and other Muslims in the region persisted, citing reports from the satellite imagery that concluded that over 100 traditional Uyghurs cemeteries had been destroyed and 260 “massive” detention structures had been built since 2017.
“The forced labour of Uyghurs in Xinjiang doesn’t have a strong international response that it needs, as compared to that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’, said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
– Filed by UN, EU and Human Rights Desk/DIIR

US Mission hosts talk on ‘Religious Freedom in Tibet and the Appointment of Buddhist Leaders and the Succession of the Dalai Lama’

US Mission hosts talk on ‘Religious Freedom in Tibet and the Appointment of Buddhist Leaders and the Succession of the Dalai Lama’
December 8, 2020
Published By Bureau Reporter
Geneva: The Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva hosted a virtual panel discussion on “Religious Freedom in Tibet: The Appointment of Buddhist Leaders and the Succession of the Dalai Lama” on 4 December 2020.
The talk was hosted by the US Permanent Representative to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva Ambassador Andrew Bremberg and had US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Robert A. Destro; US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback; Director of Outreach of the International Campaign for Tibet Tencho Gyatso and President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay as speakers in the panel.
Ambassador Bremberg opening the talk referred to the recent communication by the Five UN Independent Human Rights Experts which criticized China’s interreference in the religious practices of the Tibetan Buddhists including their right to select their own religious leaders. Noting that the right to practice one’s own religion is a fundamental human rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on China’s interference, Ambassador Bremberg said, “it is important to remember and address the long suffering of the Tibetan Buddhist community and their legitimate aspirations to openly practice their culture and worship freely.” He further noted that, “The issue of reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist lamas is one of the most pressing concerns facing Tibet today, one which the CCP has also attempted to interfere with and cynically use for its own political purposes. While His Holiness the Dalai Lama defends the rights of Tibetan Buddhists, Beijing- an explicitly atheist regime has forcible asserted its claims to control Buddhist reincarnation in Tibet in contravention of Tibetan religious traditions” and called upon all the UN Member States to defend the right of freedom of religion of Tibetans.
The US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Mr. Robert A. Destro recognized the golden threads which knit the Tibetan culture together: the Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. Secretary Destro called ou China for engaging in “Information Warfare” with the Chinese communist party aiming “to control not only the information landscape but the very thoughts of all whose perspectives and approaches to life and community differ from those of the communist party.” He noted how China is trying to sinicize Tibetan Buddhism especially refering to the case of Panchen Lama who was abducted by the Chinese Communist Party when he was merely six-years-old. He categorically noted that Tibetan Buddhism does not belong to China, it belongs to Tibetans and only Tibetan Buddhists have the right to select their religious leaders. Secretary Destro assured that “the united states is committed to helping Tibetan safeguard their way of life not just in Tibet but also in India, Nepal, Bhutan and everywhere that it flourishes” and called upon like-minded friends and partners “to pass their own versions of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. Together we must force the issue by continuing to press the people’s republic to respect the unique language and culture of Tibetans.”
Calling China’s desire to appoint the next Dalai Lama an “absolute ludicrous”, the US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback highlighted the destruction carried out by the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet denying Tibetans their basic right to practice religion. He noted that with China’s war on faith “the beautiful fabric that intertwines the Tibetan Buddhist faith with Tibetan language and culture is at risk.” Ambassador Brownback assured that “the US government stands with Tibetan Buddhists” and called on other countries to join the US in “supporting Tibetans religious freedom and this fundamental human right.”
Thanking the organizers, Director of Outreach of the International Campaign for Tibet Tencho Gyatso welcomed the “international diplomatic efforts to support a sustainable political solution” to the issue of Tibet. She noted that “the Dalai Lama symbolizes Tibetan religion culture and identity. The institution of the Dalai Lama and the current 14th reincarnation in particular has been the lifeline of the Tibetan people. There is a strong historical bond that goes back five centuries between the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet which will be broken if we allow Chinese communist authorities to dictate and impose their will on this sacred tradition concerning the search confirmation and installation of Tibetan religious leaders including that of a future Dalai Lama.” She called on the international community to support the call of the UN independent experts to establish independent mechanism on China and continue to issue joint calls on China’s human rights situation.
President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay President Sangay dedicated the talk to Tibet’s longest serving political prisoner who passed away recently and whose 49th day prayer service since his funeral coincided on the same day as the talk. President Dr. Sangay broadened the discussion by reiterating his earlier statement that “when it comes to China either we transform china or china will transform you. Hence the challenge before us is whatever china says or the communist party of china says the underlying deception and underlying threat to the universal values of democracy and human rights and religious freedom ought to be recognized and confronted.”. He noted that the poverty alleviation for China means herding the Tibetans and Uyghurs in force labour camps and concentration camps. President Dr. Sangay further highlighted that China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council undermines the body with the world’s worst human rights abuser becoming the judge of human rights violations.
Speaking on religious freedom in Tibet, President Dr. Sangay noted with irony that on the one hand Mao Tse-tung called religion a poison and on the other hand the Chinese Communist Party is issuing “reincarnation certificate” for Tibetan Buddhist lamas. Highlighting the larger implication, President Dr. Sangay said, “Today they claim authority over Tibetan Buddhist Lamas, tomorrow they will claim to have authority to appoint Bishops, Pope, Imams and Rabbis.”
In his concluding remarks, President Dr. Sangay called upon the world leaders and governments to join together and recommended the countries to use multilateral coordination while tackling China. “So unless we get our act together and fight for our values that’s democracy and human rights and religious freedom they will impose your pope on you your imam on you your rabbi on you and your lamas on you and your Hindu priests on you.”
Just as anticipated, the Chinese wolf warrior diplomacy became active after the talk and the Chinese Mission in Geneva issued a statement criticizing the US for hosting the event calling it a “gross interference.”
-Report filed by Tibet Bureau Geneva

Tibetan govt-in-exile visit to White House may escalate tensions

Tibetan govt-in-exile visit to White House may escalate tensions
22nd November 2020, 22:03 GMT+11
Washington [US], November 22 (ANI): In a historic feat for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of Tibetan government-in-exile on Friday formally entered the United States White House, a move which could escalate existing tensions between the US and China over Tibet.
Last month, Dr Sangay was invited to the US State Department for the first time in six decades.
The New York Post reported that Beijing has asserted control over Tibet since 1950, and has accused the US of trying to destabilise the region.
In October, after Sangay was invited by the State Department, the Chinese government had asked the US to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs or undermining the development and stability of the Tibet region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing in Beijing had said that US Assistant Secretary and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Robert Destro “violated the commitment and the policy stance of the US side on not supporting Tibet’s independence and not acknowledging this government in exile”.
Slamming and opposing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement of appointing the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Zhao had said: “The US appointment of so-called ‘special coordinator for Tibetan issues’ is a political manipulation to interfere in China’s domestic affairs and undermine Xizang’s (Tibet) development and stability”. “China firmly opposes it and has never acknowledged it.”The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman had also warned of possible diplomatic retaliation, saying, “China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its interests.”Several critics, including the exiled spiritual leader Dalai Lama, have termed China’s control over Tibet as a ‘cultural genocide’.
In July, Pompeo had accused China of violating Tibetan human rights, stating that the US-supported ‘meaningful autonomy’ for the region, reported The Hill.
In the same month, Pompeo had announced visa bans targeting Chinese officials involved in restricting foreign access to Tibet, since which Beijing officials have accused the United States of using Tibet to try to promote “splittism” in China.
The US, time and again, has expressed concerns with the People’s Republic of China’s repression of the Tibetan community and severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China.
According to a release from the office of Tibet in Washington, Dr Sangay became the first Sikyong (President of CTA) to be formally invited to the US State Department to meet Destro.
For the last six decades, the head of CTA was denied entry to the US State Department and White House, as the US government does not recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile. (ANI)

Biden says he will meet Dalai Lama, sanction China over Tibet

Biden says he will meet Dalai Lama, sanction China over Tibet
The nominee also vowed to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet and “step up” support for Tibetans.
Sep 05, 2020, 08:06 IST
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden has accused Trump of maintaining a “deafening silence” on Chinese actions in Tibet.(REUTERS PHOTO.)
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has said that as president he will meet the Dalai Lama, continuing a decades-old practice followed by American presidents with the exception of President Donald Trump, and press China to resume talks with Tibetans for “meaningful autonomy”.
The nominee also vowed to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet and “step up” support for Tibetans.
Biden accused Trump of maintaining a “deafening silence” on Chinese actions in Tibet and focussing instead on an “empty trade deal” and nurturing his “very good friendship” with China’s President Xi Jinping.
“As President, I’ll put values back at the center of American foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement Thursday. “I’ll meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama; appoint a new Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues.”
The nominee called out Trump for not meeting the Tibetan leader yet, saying “It’s disgraceful, though not surprising, that Trump is the first American president in three decades who has not met or spoken with His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.
The appointment of a special coordinator is mandated by the US Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 — “to promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representative”. The position has been vacant since January 2017, when President Trump took office.
Biden went on to say: “I’ll work with our allies in pressing Beijing to return to direct dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people to achieve meaningful autonomy, respect for human rights, and the preservation of Tibet’s environment as well as its unique cultural, linguistic and religious traditions.”
He will also “step up” support for the Tibetan people, he said, by, among things, expanding Tibetan language services at Radio Free Asia and Voice of America to get information from the outside world into Tibet.
But the Trump administration has not been soft exactly on China over Tibet, as charged by Biden. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions in July on some Chinese officials because of Beijing’s restrictions on US diplomats, journalists and tourists from travelling to Tibet and for “human rights abuses” there.

Tibetan Woman Dies in Custody | Two Detained for Sending Money to India

Tibetan Woman Dies in Custody | Two Detained for Sending Money to India
(New York) – Chinese authorities should investigate the death of a Tibetan woman in custody and release her wrongfully detained cousin, Human Rights Watch said today. Lhamo, a herder from Driru county in Nagchu, Tibet Autonomous Region, died in a local hospital in August 2020 shortly after being transferred there from police custody. Charges against her cousin Tenzin Tarpa should be immediately dropped.
In June, the authorities detained Tarpa, a 39-year-old entrepreneur from Chaktse township in Driru dealing in medicinal herbs and other local products, apparently on charges of having sent money to family members or other Tibetans in India, a common practice. Lhamo, a 36-year-old mother of three, was detained two days later, apparently on the same charges. She had been in good health before her detention. In August, her family members were summoned to the hospital, where they found her badly bruised and unable to speak. She died two days later, and her body was immediately cremated, which prevented a medical examination.
“The death of Lhamo, a Tibetan herder, is the latest in a pattern of apparent torture and death in Chinese state custody,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “Tibetan regional authorities should be held accountable for serious violations, including arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment, and deprivation of the right to life.”
Although sending money outside the country is not formally a crime under Chinese law, the authorities regard contact between Tibetans in Tibet and those abroad as “endangering national security.”
The cases also illustrate the Chinese government’s long-running mistreatment of Tibetans, Human Rights Watch said. Tarpa, a former monk, had been under suspicion by local authorities since 2012, when he was among a number of monks from the Tibet Autonomous Region forced out of the famous Larung Gar monastery in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province. Tarpa then started a Tibetan-medium school for children in Chaktse, but the authorities closed it down, contending that it was “illegal.” After that, he started the Local Produce Trading Company, which became successful.
Due to the government’s extreme restrictions on communications for minority populations in China, reports of cases like Lhamo and Tarpa’s rarely become known outside the country. This is particularly true of Driru county, where local authorities crushed peaceful protests in 2013-2014, and restrictions on basic freedom are among the most severe in the region.
United Nations standards adopted by the General Assembly set out that all death-in-custody cases should be subjected to “prompt, impartial, and effective investigations into the circumstances and causes” of the death. As the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions has noted, since there is a presumption of state responsibility due to the custodial setting and the government’s obligation to ensure and respect the right to life, the government has to affirmatively provide evidence to rebut the presumption of state responsibility. Absent proof that it is not responsible, the government has an obligation to provide reparations to the family of the deceased.
The Chinese government also has rules dealing with deaths in custody. These require the police to “immediately conduct” an investigation into the cause of death by viewing and preserving the surveillance video of the detention cell and questioning fellow detainees, doctors, and guards, among other measures.
A collective statement from UN human rights experts in June underlined the need for independent investigation of the range of human rights violations by the Chinese government. They expressed grave concern over China’s failures to respect human rights and abide by its international obligations, and recommended establishing an impartial and independent UN mechanism to monitor and report on abuses “in view of the urgency of the situations” in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet.
“For decades Chinese officials have gotten away with detaining people without justification and mistreating them, including to the point of death,” Richardson said. “Those officials cannot be relied on to investigate these violations, creating an urgent need for independent, international investigations by UN human rights experts.”

China’s Narrow Win of UN Human Rights Council Seat Signals Eroding Support

China’s Narrow Win of UN Human Rights Council Seat Signals Eroding Support
China narrowly won a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council Tuesday, prompting a rights group to call the vote “embarrassing” for a country that has worked overtime to whitewash its image and used its growing power to stifle criticism of its persecution of ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans. The Asian power secured only 139 votes during a secret ballot at the 75th U.N. General Assembly in Geneva from among 193 member-nations, placing fourth out of five countries vying for four seats in the Asia-Pacific region.
China beat out only Saudi Arabia, which has faced its own share of condemnation over its rights record. Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Nepal also won seats in the race to represent Asia-Pacific countries on the 47-member council. Fifteen nations in total secured seats on the council Tuesday—including Russia and Cuba, whose rights records the U.S. called “abhorrent”—and will serve for three years from January next year. The vote marks the fifth time China was elected to the council, after winning seats in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016.
Sophie Richardson, China director for New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), called China’s vote tally “a significant drop” from the support it received when it was elected to the council in 2016. “It’s an incredibly embarrassing loss for China—it got 11 fewer votes than Nepal and it came in fourth out of five for that regional group, doing better only than Saudi Arabia,” she said. “That’s a pretty bad standard.” Richardson noted that in 2016, China’s Foreign Ministry said that the 180 votes the country received in 2016 reflected “global support” for its position on human rights issues. “I’m extremely eager to hear how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tries to spin having hemorrhaged support at this year’s vote,” she said. “I want to be very clear that Human Rights Watch called for China not to be elected to the council. But seeing this drop in support is significant and I think it tells us a lot about what we can try to accomplish at the Human Rights Council, even though China is a member again.” Richardson said that having a seat at the council is a “two-way street,” noting that member governments “are also subject to greater scrutiny themselves.” “And so, in that sense, I think we can probably reasonably hope to see more discussion of Beijing’s appalling human rights violations against Tibetans and against Uyghurs,” she added.
Eroding support
A press release issued by China’s mission to the United Nations welcoming its election to the council said Beijing “attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights” and suggested that “following a path with Chinese characteristics, China has made great achievements in human rights development.” In addition to working to promote international exchange and cooperation, the mission said China will use its seat on the council to “oppose the politicization of human rights issues and wrong practices of double standards to make greater contributions to the healthy development of international human rights.”
Last week, the U.K. and Germany led a group of 39 member states at the U.N. General Assembly in condemning China’s policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities since early 2017. The two nations—as well as the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and several members of the European Union—insisted that China also respect human rights in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), where Tibetans have similarly seen their freedoms eroded under Beijing’s rule and are facing forced labor and other abuses seen in the XUAR. The condemnation marked a significant increase in the number of countries willing to stand up to China’s threats of cutting off trade with nations that support such statements. A similar resolution last year received only 23 backers.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration—which withdrew the U.S. from the Human Rights Council in 2018 in part for what it has said are membership rules that “allow the election of the world’s worst human rights abusers to seats on the Council”—condemned the General Assembly vote in a statement issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Prior to making this decision, and after our exit, the United States has urged U.N. member states to take immediate action to reform the Council before it became irreparable,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, those calls went unheeded, and today the U.N. General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records, including China, Russia, and Cuba.” The administration has sanctioned Chinese officials for rights abuses in both the XUAR and the TAR, despite Beijing’s claims that its policies in the regions protect the country against “terrorism,” “religious extremism,” and “separatism.”
Exile groups dismayed
Uyghur and Tibetan exile groups expressed dismay over Tuesday’s vote, saying China’s re-election must serve as a means by which member states can hold China to account for its rights violations. “Governments committing genocide shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Human Rights Council,” said Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) executive director Omer Kanat,” in a reference to a June report about a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of forced sterilizations and abortions targeting Uyghurs. Author Adrian Zenz believes the campaign may amount to government-led genocide under United Nations definitions. “It’s clear from the vote, however, that China has been losing the confidence of the international community over time,” Kanat added.
Rushan Abbas, executive director of Campaign For Uyghurs, said in a statement that China’s participation as an equal in the United Nations “effectively cripples the U.N. from fulfilling the purpose for which it was formed.” “No words can express the feeling of watching the world’s greatest human rights abuser be granted a greater platform to perpetuate its genocidal ideology,” she said. “The U.N. has made its own reputation the laughingstock of the world, and its corruption has compromised the lives of billions.”
Kai Mueller, executive director of the International Campaign for Tibet’s Germany office, called the vote a “setback” and warned that activists will now “need to be more aware of the … intention of the Chinese government to change the international perception of human rights” to fit more with that of the country’s ruling Communist Party. “The Chinese government will more forcefully push the narrative on so-called ‘development,’ of so-called ‘poverty alleviation’ in Tibet, and Tibetans need to be ready to counter those positions by the Chinese delegation at the Human Rights Council,” he said, referring to pretexts that Beijing uses to justify its policies in the TAR.“ China is certainly pushing for support, is certainly organizing support, at the United Nation bodies such as the Human Rights Council … Foremost it’s those unfortunate human rights violators such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Belarus, Russia for example, that speak out for China and that should give reason for concern for the international community.”