News - February 2009
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Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009
Message of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama to the Tibetan People on the Occasion of the Earth-Ox
Tibetan New Year
The Dalai Lama
On the occasion of the Earth-Ox New Year of the 17th
Rabjung cycle in the Tibetan Royal Year 2136, I would
like to greet all Tibetans, both inside and outside
of Tibet. I pray that there be peace and prosperity,
and that our just cause may see gradual resolution.
Although there is no old or new phase in the continuous
cycle of planetary movements, which results in the days,
nights, months and years, there is a tradition throughout
the world to observe the beginning of a new year upon
the completion of the previous one. Likewise, in the
snow land of Tibet, we have the tradition to observe
the New Year in the first lunar month with elaborate
celebrations incorporating both spiritual and temporal
elements. However, last year in Tibet we witnessed hundreds
of Tibetans losing their lives, and several thousands
facing detention and torture, in response to the widespread
display by Tibetans all over Tibet of their discontentment
with the Chinese authorities' policies.
Therefore, since they faced immense difficulties and
sufferings, the occasion of this New Year is certainly
not a period when we can have the usual celebrations
and gaiety. I admire the determined move by Tibetans,
inside and outside of Tibet, not to indulge in celebratory
activities during this New Year. Instead, everyone should
utilize this period in abandoning non-virtuous acts
and engaging in positive actions, thereby cultivating
virtuous merits so that all those who sacrificed their
lives for the cause of Tibet, including those who lost
their lives in the tragic events of the past year, may
have quick realization of Buddhahood through successive
rebirth in higher realms. The dedication should also
go to those currently undergoing suffering so that they
may immediately be able to enjoy the happiness of freedom.
Through such an accumulation of collective merits we
should all strive for an early solution to the just
cause of Tibet.
Just as we had suspected, the strike-hard campaign
has been re-launched in Tibet and there is a heavy presence
of armed security and military forces in most of the
cities all over Tibet. In all the places those who dare
to come out even with a slight hint of their aspirations
have to face torture and detention. In particular, special
restrictions have been imposed in the monasteries, patriotic
re-education has been launched, and restrictions have
been imposed on the visit of foreign tourists. Provocative
orders have been passed for special celebrations of
the Tibetan New Year. Looking at all these developments
it becomes clear that the intention and aim behind them
are to subject the Tibetan people to such a level of
cruelty and harassment that they will not be able to
tolerate and thus be forced to remonstrate. When this
happens the authorities can then indulge in unprecedented
and unimaginable forceful clampdown. Therefore, I would
like to make a strong appeal to the Tibetan people to
exercise patience and not to give in to these provocations
so that the precious lives of many Tibetans are not
wasted, and they do not have to undergo torture and
It goes without saying how much admiration I have for
the enthusiasm, determination, and sacrifice of the
Tibetans in Tibet. However, it is difficult to achieve
a meaningful outcome by sacrificing lives. Above all,
the path of non-violence is our irrevocable commitment
and it is important that there be no departure at all
from this path.
Once again, I pray that the Tibetan people are freed
from oppression and torture, and enjoy the happiness
of freedom. May all sentient beings enjoy happiness
at all times.
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Tibetans Cancel Traditional New
Year Festivities, Defy Chinese Orders to Celebrate
Tibetans and their supporters around the world are
holding candlelight vigils, prayer ceremonies and protests
today, the first day of the Tibetan New Year, to show
solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet who have canceled
traditional celebrations in order to mourn the more
than 200 Tibetans killed and thousands imprisoned by
the Chinese government over the past year. Chinese authorities
have responded to the widespread civil disobedience
campaign by moving thousands of troops into Tibet, banning
foreigners, cutting phone and internet connections and
vowing to crush supporters of the Dalai
The Chinese government is flooding Tibet with
troops and attempting to force Tibetans to celebrate
the New Year against their will but, in spite of incredible
risks to themselves, Tibetans remain defiant,
said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students
for a Free Tibet.
The Chinese authorities will make some Tibetans
go to official New Years celebrations, but it
is widely understood that these individuals are not
attending by choice. Few will be fooled by this ridiculous
A Lhasa resident called Radio Free Asia on January
20th and reported that Lhasa was deserted compared to
previous years, and instead of pilgrims, armed soldiers
and police lined the front of the Jokhang and Ramoche
temples, the flashpoints of protests last March. It
is impossible to walk down the street without being
afraid, he said on the phone.
Even remote Tibetan towns and villages are under military
lockdown as Chinese authorities intimidate Tibetans
from carrying out protests or other acts of resistance.
On February 15th and 16th, hundreds of Tibetans protested
in Lithang, eastern Tibet (Chinese: Lithang County,
Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province)
in the largest demonstrations against Chinese rule since
last spring. Eyewitnesses reported seeing soldiers beat
the protesters with batons and rifle butts, and at least
24 Tibetans were detained.
China has its finger on the trigger in Tibet,
with thousands of troops and armed police ready to launch
a bloody suppression against even the slightest sign
of dissent, said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director
of Students for a Free Tibet. People of conscience
worldwide are standing in solidarity with Tibetans at
this critical time and taking political action to demand
a resolution to the occupation in the lead up to March
10th, which marks the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan
Solidarity vigils are being held in dozens of cities
around the world today and tomorrow, including San Francisco,
Santa Fe, Toronto, Boston, New York, London, Lisbon,
New Delhi, Dharamsala and Sydney.
SFT has obtained a photo taken on February 20th, 2009
of Chinese troops in Ngaba town (Ch: Aba Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Sichuan Province): http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/ngaba
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Thursday, Feb 19, 2009
A Great Civil Disobedience Spreading
Throughout All of Tibet
High Peaks Pure Earth, Beijing
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost
by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free
Asia on 29th January 2009 and posted on her blog on
4th February 2009. As already documented by High Peaks
Pure Earth, Tibetans not celebrating Chinese New Year
(Spring Festival) or Tibetan New Year (Losar) this year
has been the subject of much debate in the Tibetan blogosphere.
Woeser was an early observer of this phenomenon
and was calling the No Losar movement an act of civil
disobedience before Time Magazine or the McClatchy Group.
The New York Times is calling the movement a boycott
and quotes Woeser as saying "It's deeply connected
with Tibetan culture, the idea that after such a horrible
year filled with death, how can we celebrate? [...]
Instead, it should be a memorial." Regular readers
will remember that these were her sentiments as noted
in previous blogposts 'Remember and Memorialise Louder
Than The Gunfire!' and 'Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and
Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased'.
In recent days on my blog there have been a lot of
opinions left about the Spring Festival and Losar. Han
netizens have said, "You celebrate your Losar,
we'll celebrate our Spring Festival there's no
connection between the two. It's nothing to do with
us whether you choose to celebrate Losar or not."
No mistake, every nationality has its own festivals
and shouldn't demand another nationality observe another
nationality's festivals. It started in 1913 when Yuan
Shikai was president of the Republic of China that the
first day of the first month in the lunar calendar was
set as the Spring Festival and the entire country had
a holiday. Because the "Republic of Five Races"
was advocated at the time, the main Han festivals, such
as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival
were not made national festivals. It seems China's current
leadership doesn't have the breadth of mind of even
Warlord Yuan Shikai had. With the prevalence of the
notion of "the peoples of China," the hack
writers of China are calling for a unified "Chinese
Since "Chinese expression" is wanted, "expressions"
from other nationalities are deleted or substituted.
But in order to evince the largesse and magnanimity
of the Party's nationality policies, the Party often
needs "expressions" by other nationalities
as embellishment. Therefore, nationality festivals such
as Losar are indispensable. It has not only been made
into a holiday, but evening television events like those
for Spring Festival are put on for the Tibetan New Year
too. In some Tibetan areas in Amdo and Kham, Losar has
been replaced by Spring Festival for many years now,
and even though the Chinese new year is celebrated in
basically the same way as the Tibetan new year; Han
customs are being adopted more and more such as pasting
couplets of poetry on doorways, hanging lanterns and
letting off fireworks. These days, even when calls to
abandon Spring Festival are growing, it'd be difficult
to remove in such a short time these habits that have
already become customary. Even though Losar has also
been celebrated these past few years, compared to the
Spring Festival it is less lively.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with celebrating Spring
Festival. Some Han nietzens have said "If some
Tibetans want to celebrate Han festivals or if some
Han want to celebrate Tibetan Losar, they are free to
do so. No one has any right or any reason to criticize
them just because they are the same nationality as themselves."
Such opinions as this sound rather reasonable, and I
also agree with it. But the problem is, the reason why
so many Tibetans are conflicted about this year's Spring
Festival and Losar is less to do with both new year
celebrations belonging to different cultural systems,
and more to do with the levels of toleration in ones
conscience and a religious sentiment full of compassion.
No matter whether it is Spring Festival or Losar, people
who experienced what happened in Tibetan areas in 2008
do not want to celebrate as they had in previous years.
As with last year's earthquake in Sichuan, when thousands
and thousands of ordinary people died, their surviving
families do not want to forget them in the New Year
even as their corpses are not yet cold. A volunteer
who spent the New Year in the disaster area said: "No
one can stipulate that the atmosphere at Spring Festival
has to be lively; it must be peaceful. True emotions,
whether joyous or sad, all come from the bottom of one's
heart." By the same reason, with events in Tibet
that started last new year and still haven't stopped,
there are countless ordinary Tibetans who died under
the barrels of the PAP's guns, and countless ordinary
Tibetans who are still behind bars, so how can their
friends and families be in a happy mood to celebrate
the New Year when their grief is still there?
The absurdity is that the authorities do not see this.
They hope that the people will forget the hardships
they created, thus, they have resorted to all manner
of tricks that leave you not knowing whether to laugh
or cry. For example, in Rebkong, the local government
has gone house to house with documents requiring Tibetans
to sign their name or leave their thumbprint on the
documents which say: "I will ensure that there
will be absolutely no demonstrations this year as there
were last year, I will ensure I am obedient to the Party
and government, and I will ensure that I will celebrate
the new year." In the Tibetan areas of Labrang
and Ngaba, the local government has given firecrackers
to government workers and cadres, telling them to set
the firecrackers off at New Year. And in Lhasa, Tibetans
who put the word out not to mark the New Year are even
being detained. Some Tibetan commenters have left such
sarcastic remarks about this on my blog as: "The
great Party is really close [to the people], it pays
close attention to [whether people are] happy or not
happy, and [whether they are] celebrating or not celebrating
the New Year", "when it wants you to be happy,
you're not happy. And that's a problem with your thinking,
and it can even be contrived into making you a member
of some 'clique' or other." As citizens, Tibetans
do not even have the most basic right to mark
or not the New Year. Tibetans with their indomitable
spirit who persist on their right not to mark the New
Year are becoming a completely new kind of contention,
the significance of which is a great "civil disobedience"
Back to Top
Tibet Advocates Urge Clinton
to Press China as China Intensifies Clampdown
Tibet advocacy organizations are calling on U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton to increase American pressure
on the Chinese
government to stop its military clampdown in Tibet.
Clinton arrives in China tomorrow on her first visit
as America's top diplomat. Her visit comes just days
after a protest by hundreds of Tibetans in eastern Tibet
and as Chinese authorities are mobilizing military forces
across the Tibetan plateau in advance of the Tibetan
New Year on February 25th and the 50th anniversary of
the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising on March 10th.
"Secretary Clinton arrives in China as the Chinese
government is dramatically escalating its aggression
against the Tibetan people," said
Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free
Tibet. "Clinton and many American leaders have
made strong statements in support of Tibet, and it is
time they matched their words with action by prioritizing
a negotiated resolution between China and the Dalai
Lama as an integral part of US-China relations."
Chinese authorities have recently banned foreigners
from entering Tibet, including the Tibet Autonomous
Region and Tibetan areas of present-day Qinghai, Sichuan,
Gansu and Yunnan provinces. Large-scale troop build
up has been reported in several areas, and according
to the Tibet Daily, security forces have been ordered
to 'crush' any sign of dissent.
"Chinese forces are setting the stage for the
bloody suppression of Tibetans to take place out of
sight of independent eye-witnesses by barring foreigners
from Tibet and making it impossible for reporters to
access the area," said Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director
of tudents for a Free Tibet. "We are gravely concerned
that in the coming weeks more Tibetans will be arrested
and possibly killed, and we call on Secretary Clinton
to unequivocally convey to the Chinese leadership that
its hard-line policies must end."
The most recent clampdown appears to have been sparked
by a grassroots movement by Tibetans to refrain from
Tibetan New Year celebrations next week, instead turning
the occasion into a memorial for the more than 200 Tibetans
killed in protests over the past year. A few days ago,
hundreds of Tibetans protested in Lithang, Kham (Chinese:
Litang County, Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,
Sichuan Province) on February 15th and 16th, calling
for the return of the Dalai Lama and for Tibetans to
cancel New Years celebrations. Soldiers attacked the
protesters with batons and rifle butts, and detained
at least 24 Tibetans.
Back to Top
China Orders Security Forces
to 'Crush' Support for Dalai Lama
By VOA News
Chinese authorities in Tibet are calling on officials,
security forces and the general public to "crush" any
signs of support for the Dalai Lama.
In a report Thursday in China's state-run Tibet Daily
newspaper, the local government vowed to fight what
it calls the "savage attacks" of supporters of the exiled
China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence
for Tibet and provoking mass protests against Chinese
rule last year. Authorities have tightened security
in Tibetan regions of China ahead of the March 10 anniversary
of the start of the protests.
The Tibet Daily said the local government also instructed
Buddhist monks and nuns to reject the Dalai Lama and
The Dalai Lama denies inciting violent protests in
China and says he seeks only autonomy for Tibet, where
he remains widely revered.
March 10 also marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak
of a failed Tibetan uprising against China. During the
uprising, the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India.
Tibetan rights groups said Chinese security forces
have arrested at least 21 people who marched in support
of the Dalai Lama over the past week in the southwestern
province of Sichuan.
The rights groups said the protesters in the town of
Lithang in Sichuan's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture
were beaten by police before being detained.
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Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009
A Silent Start to the New Year
for Many Tibetans in China
The below piece is an excerpt from report by Simon
Elegant, Time's reporter, who recently visited Rebgong
(Ch:Tongren), Malho Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, incorporated
into China's Qinghai Province.
When asked how his New Year celebrations have been,
the pilgrim a middle-aged businessman wearing
a heavy winter coat against the bitter winds that knife
through the monastery's narrow alleys immediately
glances up and then over his shoulder. It is the universal,
instinctive reaction of Tibetans I talked with on a
recent trip to China's far western province of Qinghai,
where ethnic Tibetans make up the majority of the population
in the areas closest to the Qinghai-Tibet border. "Cameras,"
he hisses, nodding upwards. "The police have them
Pulling me into the shadow of one of the deep doorways
cut into the monastery's thick walls, he launches into
a tirade that reflects the feelings of most of the Tibetans
I spoke to in the region, a group ranging from nomadic
herdsmen and shopkeepers to students and monks. "We
didn't celebrate anything this year because we have
nothing to celebrate," he says grimly. "We
want to respect and commemorate the people who were
killed last year" when demonstrations against Chinese
rule in Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region
which neighbors Qinghai, turned violent. Beijing says
19 were killed, mostly innocent Chinese shopkeepers.
Tibet's government in exile, led by its spiritual leader
the Dalai Lama, put the number at over 200, mostly Tibetans.
This businessman, like many of his compatriots, passionately
declares the the real number is in the thousands. "We
are a people living under the gun. They tried to make
us celebrate the new year but we refused. They jail
us if we display pictures of the Dalai Lama. They even
force our children to study only in Chinese at school,"
he tells me. "But we will never forget we are Tibetans
and will always have the Dalai Lama in our hearts."
To mark the anniversary, many Tibetans conducted a
widespread campaign of civil disobedience this Chinese
New Year against authorities in heavily Tibetan areas
of China proper like Qinghai, where around half of the
country's three million ethnic Tibetans live. And with
a probable boycott of lunar year celebrations set to
unfold inside Tibet, where the 15-day celebrations begin
on February 25th according to the Tibetan lunar calendar,
tension is likely to rise further.
Back to Top
Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009
Tibetans in Lithang Call for Return
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, 16 Arrested
Representative's Office of Tibet, New York
Sixteen Tibetans have been arrested for holding peaceful
demonstration in in Lithang County in Karze Tibet Autonomous
Prefecture, Sichaun Province on 15 and 16 February,
the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights
and Democracy reported, citing eye witness accounts.
On 15 February, at around 12 p.m. (local time), Lobsang
Lhundup, a monk from Nekhor monastery staged a peaceful
demonstration in the main square market in Lithang town.
Soon the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and People's Armed
Police (PAP) forcibly arrested him. He called for the
long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and independence
for Tibet. He also raised slogans of swift return of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and no celebrations
during Losar (Tibetan New Year).
According to eye witness accounts, Lobsang, who was
limping with the help of a walking stick, was forcibly
subdued and taken in a police vehicle after his brief
protest at the main market. He was later taken to PSB
detention centre for interrogation.
Lobsang's family was a nomad family who shifted from
their nomadic base Gemo village to Lithang county in
Karze a year and a half ago.
Following Lobsang Lhundup's arrest, his younger brother
Sonam Tempa, 29 years old, was arrested along with fourteen
other Tibetans for staging peaceful protest at the main
market square in Lithang. Sonam Tenpa who was said to
be leading the protest was carrying a huge portrait
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The protesters called
for the long life of His Holiness and independence for
Eye witness accounts said: "All the Tibetan protesters
were brutally beaten, manhandled and forcibly loaded
into military trucks by the Chinese Public Security
Bureau (PSB) and People's Armed Police (PAP) forces.
"Many of the detainees were badly bruised and injured
with blood dripping from their nose, head and arms".
The identities of all those detained are; Sonam Tenpa,
29 years old, Jampa Thokmey, 30, Gelek Kunga, 26, Lobsang
Tenzin 23, Lobsang Phendey, 37, Jampa Yonten, 30, Sanggey,
29, Jampa Tsering, 28, Lobsang Wangchuk, 30, Lobsang
Tashi, 21, Gendun Choephel, 30, Dargye, 37, Gedhun,
29, Jampa, 40 and Amdo Gyaltsen, 41. All the detainees
were known to be from nomadic families who have shifted
their residences from different villages to Lithang.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
has strongly condemned the use of forces to repress
the freedom of expression and called upon the Chinese
authorities to release all the sixteen Tibetan detainees.
Back to Top
Monday, Feb 16, 2009
China in Life, Death Struggle
with Dalai Lama
China's media stepped up its rhetoric against the exiled
Dalai Lama today, saying the communist-led nation was
in a life and death struggle with Tibetan separatist
forces led by the spiritual leader.
A strident editorial in the Tibetan Daily came only
weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising
in Tibet that led to the exile of Dalai Lama, the Himalayan
region's most revered spiritual leader. "Our fight
against the Dalai clique and those western hostile forces
support him is not a question of ethnic nationality,
religion or so-called human rights," said the editorial,
which was also posted on the Communist Party's news
website. "It is a life or death class struggle
and a political battle between separatists and anti-separatists
that is linked to the political foundation of the Communist
Party, the unity of the motherland (and) the maintenance
of social stability."
The Dalai Lama last week called the situation in his
homeland "very tense" as anger smoulders over
what he described as ongoing heavy-handed Chinese tactics
in response to unrest there last year. "At any
moment there can be an outburst of violence," the
73-year-old monk said in the German town of Baden Baden.
Tibetan New Year Boycott Call
China, on Feb 16, accused what it collectively calls
the "Dalai Clique", including the "illegal
Tibetan Government-in-Exile", of trying to increase
the impact of "Tibet Independence" inside
China with alleged calls for boycott of celebrations
marking the upcoming Feb 25-27 Tibetan New Year.
A Xinhua report carried by China's online Tibet news
Feb 16, claimed that the call had "aroused wide
concerns among people at home and abroad".
The report claimed: "The complete failure of the
March 14 riot brought the Dalai clique to the realization
that it has to change its means by turning violence
into 'making non-violence troubles'." But it ridiculed
the exile Tibetans' reaffirmation of commitment to non-violent
means during their Nov 17-22 2008 special Meeting in
Dharamsala by calling it deceitful "as they could
involve participation by some people who have not seen
through the true nature of Dalai." And it said:
"In fact, it is the old trick of the western hostile
forces and was used in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya."
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Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009
Nine Monks Sentenced, Other Committed
Suicide in Tibet
By B K Upmanyu
Dharmshala: Nine monks studying at Samye Monastery
in Tibet were sentenced to varying prison terms between
2-15 years in jail for their participation in the last
Spring Tibet protest in Lhoka Prefecture Tibet Autonomous
Region ( TAR ) and a monk committed suicide, according
to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre
for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
In the series of court sentences of the Tibetan people
involved in the last spring Tibet protests, more cases
of court sentences and other extreme cases of Tibetan
committing suicide due to intolerable sufferings are
The Lhoka Intermediate People s Court sentenced nine
monks to varying terms between 2 -15 years in jail for
their participation in the 15 March 2008 protest which
took place at Samye government administrative headquarters
in Dranang County (Ch: Zhanang xian), Lhoka (Ch: Shannan)
Prefecture, TAR . They were detained at Lhoka Public
(PSB) Detention Centre following a brief protest demonstration.
The protest was joined by hundreds of Tibetans of Dranang
County calling for the swift return of the Dalai Lama
to Tibet , religious freedom and human rights for Tibetans.
Although, the exact date of their court sentence could
not be ascertained, however, the source said that they
were known to have been sentenced in May-June 2008.
According to the source, following the protest the
movement of the monastic populace were severely restricted
that not a single monk was allowed to move in and out
of the monastery for three days. After three days of
complete lockdown, the County PSB officials along with
Team - ((Tibetan: las don ru khag, Chinese: gongzuo
dui) specially formed units of government personnel
sent to conduct patriotic re-education in an institution
or locality)- arrived at monasteries to question each
monk regarding the protest demonstration. During one
such intense interrogation on 19 March 2008, a visiting
scholar from Dorjee Drak Monastery to the Samye Monastery
called Namdrol Khakyab from Nyemo County, Lhasa Municipality,
TAR, committed suicide leaving a note that accused of
unbearable suppression by the Chinese regime and cited
innocence of other monks of the monastery and took full
responsibility for the protest demonstration.
According to the source, Of the nine Tibetans sentenced,
four were visiting Buddhist scripture masters to the
Samye Monastery from other monasteries, and other five
were monks of the Samye Monastery. Five monks are:
1) Gyaltsen of Tsona (Ch: Cuona) County, Lhoka Prefecture
was sentenced to 15 years in jail;
2) Nyima Tashi, of Gongkar County (Ch: Gongga Xian),
Lhoka Prefecture was sentenced to 13 years in jail;
3) Phuntsok (One name only) born in Kongpo, Nyingtri
Prefecture TAR and his parent were known to have shifted
their home to Kyiray in Lhasa, was sentenced to 13 years
4) Tenzin Dawa, of Tsome County (Ch: Cuomei xian),
Lhoka Prefecture, was sentenced to two years in jail
5) Rigden, of Dranang County, Lhoka Prefecture, was
sentenced to 2 years in jail.
The visiting Buddhist scripture masters were identified
1) Tenzin Bhuchung of Phenpo Lhundup County, Lhasa
Municipality and monk of Langthang Monastery was sentenced
to 15 years imprisonment term;
2) Tenzin Zoepa, of Tsome County, Lhoka Prefecture
and monk of Jowo Monastery, was sentenced to 13 years
3) Gelek of Lhodrag County (Ch: Luozha xian), Lhoka
Prefecture and monk of Sang Ngag Choekor Monastery was
sentenced to 2 years jail term
4) Ngawang Tenzin of Nagartse County (Ch: Lianggarze
xian), Lhoka Prefecture and monk of Khathok Monastery
was sentenced to 2 years in jail.
Following the protest demonstration, the Samye Monastery
was forcibly closed for almost nine months from March
till November 2008. There is no information on the exact
location of their detention at the moment nor is there
any information on their physical condition.
TCHRD strongly condemns the sentencing of nine Tibetans
monks for their peaceful protest demonstration in Samye.
Since their activities constitute nothing more than
an expression of their opinion, thought and exercise
of their basic human rights peacefully, TCHRD calls
upon the Chinese authorities to release them unconditionally.
TCHRD expresses its grave concern over the outrageous
violation of denying the Tibetan devotees and practitioners
from enjoying their right to religious freedom and beliefs
by completely closing the religious institution for
Suicides resulting from unbearable mental torture have
also been recorded in the past. As a direct consequence
of relentless oppression by the Chinese security forces,
many anguished Tibetans attempted to and others took
the drastic step of committing suicide to rid themselves
of persistent physical and mental torture. Last year
witnessed suicide even by monks who were known for their
patience and resilience in the face of adversity. Such
cases are clear indication of Tibetan monks being pushed
to the extreme limits of endurance and helplessness
in the face of oppression and repression by the Chinese
authorities in Tibet.
Back to Top
Saturday, Feb 07, 2009
Tibetan Exiles Have Decided Not
to Celebrate Losar
Indo-Asian News Service in World News
Tibetan exiles have decided not to celebrate Losar
(Tibetan New Year), the Central Tibetan Administration
(CTA) of its government-in-exile said Saturday. According
to the Tibetan lunar calendar, Losar is the first day
of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated in a big
way. This year, Losar is on Feb 25.
The CTA will hold only customary religious programmes
to mark Tibetan New Year, taking into consideration
the continuing repression in Tibet and the ruthless
crackdown last year (2008) which resulted in the deaths
of hundreds of Tibetans and thousands imprisoned,
said its statement issued here.
We (the CTA) appeal to all the departments concerned
and offices of the administration not to organise any
lavish celebrations such as hosting feasts, dance parties
and lighting firecrackers.
Other organisations of Tibetan exiles based in this
Indian hill town have also decided not to participate
in festivities to mark the day.
We will observe silence to mourn the death of
our brethren who sacrificed their lives for the cause
of people in Tibet during the Beijing Olympics,
said president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) Tsewang
Rigzin. The group has more than 30,000 members across
The TYC, which the Chinese labelled as a terrorist
organisation, plans to burn effigies of Chinese
leaders on that day.
B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women Association,
said: This year, we (the exiles) will remember
the sacrifice made by countless unsung heroes during
the past five decades
This is an occasion to mourn
those who sacrificed their lives and to express solidarity
with those who are still suffering.
Nobel Peace laureate the Dalai Lama, who along with
many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge here
in 1959, has spent the last two decades of his exile
campaigning for meaningful autonomy for
In March 2008, protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa
erupted into violence which spread to other areas of
Tibets government-in-exile, which is based here,
said more than 219 people were killed and 1,294 injured
in the subsequent Chinese crackdown.
Nearly six million Tibetans live in Tibet region of
China while over 150,000 live in other countries, most
of them in India.
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Thursday, Feb 05, 2009
China Sentences Four Nuns and Two
Laymen in Kardze
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Dharamsala
Chinese authorities has recently conducted a series
of court trials of Tibetans arrested and detained for
their involvement in the pan Tibet protests in 2008
which swept across the areas inhabited by Tibetans in
Tibet. Acccording to confirmed information received
by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
(TCHRD), four nuns and two laymen from Kardze (Ch: Ganzi)
County, Kardze "Tibet Autonomous Prefecture"
("TAP"), Sichuan Province were sentenced to
a varying terms in January this year for staging a peaceful
protest in 2008.
Lunglung Sonam (age unknown), son of Samdak and Pamo
from Thamei Village, Kardze County, was sentenced to
three years imprisonment in January 2009 by Kardze County
Intermediate People's Court, as per information provided
by one of his close contacts in the Kardze region. LungLung
was earlier arrested on 17 May 2008 for participating
in a peaceful protest in Kardze county.
In a another court trial on 15 January 2009, Kardze
County Intermediate People's Court sentenced three nuns
from Yarteng Nunnery to two year and six months imprisonment
term. The three nuns are: Poewang, 28, daughter of Choewang
Gyatso and Rigah of Yarkhag Village, Kardze County;
Yangzom, 31, daughter of Kunga Choegyen and MarMar also
from Yarkhag Village, Kardze County; and Lhamo, 29,
daughter of Nakad from Thamed Village, Kardze County.
They were all arrested for staging a peaceful protest
in Kardze County on 18 June 2008. According to information
received by TCHRD on 1 February 2008, all three nuns
were now held in a unknown prison in Tsithar Township,
Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Sources also reported that
at least 44 nuns were held in that prison.
A 32-year-old Ngawang Phuntsok, son of Ngawang Kunga
and Palden Choetso from Bumshul village, Kardze County
was detained for six months in county Public Security
Bureau (PSB) Detention Centre for staging a solo peaceful
protest on 18 June 2008 in Kardze County. He was arrested
from the site of protest with the pictures of the Dalai
Lama. On 20 January 2009, Kardze County Intermediate
People's Court sentenced Ngawang to three years prison
term. He is currently held in a prison in Woemin Samisa
(Ch.) a 70 Km from Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
In a separate court trial on 2 January 2009, a 28-year-old
nun of Dragkar Nunnery, Yangkyi, a daughter of late
Tha Tsering and late Ten Choekyi of Serchu Teng Village,
Serchu Township, Kardze County was sentenced by the
same court to one year and nine months following her
arrest for participating in a peaceful protest with
fellow nuns on 12 May 2008 in Kardze County.
TCHRD strongly condemns the sentencing of the five
Tibetans as their freedom to opinion and expression
does not violate any of the constitutional components
of Chinese law. Since their activities constitute nothing
more than an expression of their opinion, thought and
exercise of their basic human rights peacefully, TCHRD
calls upon the Chinese authorities to release them immediately
with any condition.
Over the past year, courts at various levels have sentenced
nearly 200 Tibetans involved in a series of protests
to varying prison terms including life sentence to seven
Tibetans. TCHRD is gravely converned about the fate
of the arrested Tibetans and hundreds of other Tibetans
who have disappeared since the major protest that rocked
Tibet last year.
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Wednesday, Feb 04, 2009
Chinese Authorities Partied
to Provoke Monks
The situation in Dege Gonchen monastery, where gunshot
incident was reported earlier, continues to deteriorate
as tension escalated after scuffle between Chinese authorities
and monks of the monastery.
According to Voice of Tibet radio service, monks of
Gonchen monastery and Chinese authorities clashed after
Chinese government staff provoked the monks by partying
in monastery campus with women cadres even wearing monk’s
robes and dancing in front of the monks on January 27,
second day of the Chinese New Year. The incident occurred
at Chunakmar (spelled as pronounced), a monastery facility
for performance of ritual dances like "Cham" (mask dance).
Citing a member of Tibetan parliament in exile, Juchen
Kunchok, who was informed of the incident by sources
in the area, the VOT reported that several monks were
arrested in the aftermath of the scuffle.
Kunchok told VOT that a 93 year old monk named Lama
Gala led around 200 monks in a protest against the Chinese
government in front of the district administration.
The monks demanded immediate release of those arrested
threatening to take their own lives. Four days later
on Jan 31, the monks were released but around 30 of
them were severely wounded due to beatings and torture,
according to Kunchok, who added that the situation in
Dege is “very tense”.
It appears, however, that this incident and the reported
gunshots in the vicinities of Dege Gonchen monastery
on Jan. 27 and arrests thereafter of monks are interrelated
as they occurred on the same day at the same monastery.
Scotland Campaigners Plan Protests
to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising
Protests, debates and cultural events are being planned
by campaigners from all over Scotland next month in
capital Edinburgh to mark the 50th anniversary of the
Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, according to
a Scottish media report.
Activists from all over Scotland met at the Scottish
Parliament at the weekend along with the European representative
of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama,
to discuss the plans, news.scotsman.com reported Tuesday.
"The events planned in Scotland will remember 50 years
of Tibetan resistance and to call for an end to their
continued suffering,” the report quoted Edinburgh South
Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle as saying.
“After Tibetan protests in March last year China's
response was severe. Over a hundred Tibetans were killed
and thousands were detained," Pringle added.
Jamie Robertson, 24, Edinburgh member of Students for
a Free Tibet, said: "This year's Tibetan Uprising Day
will mark 50 years of resistance since March 10, 1959,
when thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of the
capital Lhasa to protest the invasion of their country
Tsering Tashi, representative of the Dalai Lama, said
he hoped in its dealings with the Chinese authorities
the Scottish Government would give "due priority" to
In 2005, Scotland hosted the Fourth World Parliamentarian's
Convention on Tibet convened in Edinburgh.
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Tuesday, Feb 03, 2009
Hillary Clintons challenge
to PRC (Taiwan Times)
By Richard Halloran
"Buried in US Secretary of State Hillary Clintons
testimony in her confirmation hearing before Congress
two weeks ago was a subtle challenge to China wrapped
in an evident preface to US President Barack Obamas
emerging policy toward Beijing.
Shortly after, and almost on cue, Beijing published
a White Paper on defense that pointed warily to what
they saw as an increase in US power in Asia. The US,
the White Paper said, has been consolidating its
military alliances, adjusting its military deployment
and enhancing its military capabilities in the
Police Round up Dozens in Tibet
as New Year Boycott Looms
By Jane Macartney, Beijing
"Police in Lhasa have arrested dozens of Tibetans
suspected of supporting a campaign against celebrating
the Tibetan New Year. The protest has been organised
to commemorate last year's anti-Chinese demonstrations.
Witnesses told The Times that uniformed and plainclothes
police and members of the paramilitary People's Armed
Police were involved in the sweep, which began on Monday.
They raided tea houses, which are popular with young
Tibetans, and picked up people of all ages in the street."
Monday, Feb 02, 2009
Government Should Confirm Gao Zhisheng
is Not Being Tortured or Ill-Treated
Human Rights Watch, New York
The Chinese government should immediately disclose
the whereabouts of Gao Zhisheng, a leading human rights
lawyer who disappeared two weeks ago, Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International, and Human Rights in China said
today in a joint statement. The three organizations
stressed that Gao was at immediate risk of severe torture
and ill-treatment by the Chinese security services and
called for his immediate release.
We are intensely fearful for Gao Zhishengs
safety at this time, given the security authorities
long history of abusing him and his family, said
Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights
Watch. He has given detailed accounts of how he
was tortured in police custody in the past and he may
well be suffering more of the same right now.
Lawyer Gao, who had been under constant police surveillance,
along with his family, since receiving a suspended sentence
for inciting subversion in 2006, was last
heard from on January 19, 2009. According to reliable
sources, he was subsequently detained by security forces
and is being held at an unknown location.
On February 9, the Chinese government will undergo
a comprehensive review of its human rights record at
the UN Human Rights Council, said Sharon Hom,
executive director of Human Rights in China. Coming
close on the heels of the scathing review by the Committee
Against Torture in November 2008, arbitrarily detaining
and torturing a leading rights advocate is no way to
show human rights progress.
In September 2007, Gao was detained for several weeks
shortly after sending an open letter to the US Congress
denouncing the human rights situation in China and describing
his and his familys treatment at the hands of
the security forces.
Gao detailed his illegal detention in 2007 as well
as severe and sustained torture at the hands of security
agents including violent beatings, repeated electric
shocks to his genitals, and having lit cigarettes held
close to his eyes over a prolonged period, which left
him partially blind for days afterwards. After he was
released, acquaintances described him as seeming to
be a broken man, both physically and spiritually.
China should immediately release Gao Zhisheng,
said Roseann Rife, Asia-Pacific deputy director at Amnesty
International. China should demonstrate that its
takes its international obligations seriously, in this
case specifically the obligations under the convention
against torture, which the Chinese government voluntarily
took on in 1988.
In November 2008, the United Nations Committee Against
Torture (CAT) reported in its Concluding Observations
on China that it remains deeply concerned about
the continued allegations, corroborated by numerous
Chinese legal sources, of routine and widespread use
of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody.
Amnesty International, Human Rights in China and Human
Rights Watch strongly urged concerned governments and
intergovernmental bodies to call on the Chinese government
to take all necessary steps to ensure Gao Zhisheng's
safety and well being while in police custody and to
release him at the earliest possible date.
Voted in 2001 as one of Chinas top ten
lawyers by a publication run by the PRC Ministry
of Justice, Gao is a self-trained legal professional
with a history of representing the victims of some of
the most egregious and politically controversial cases
of human rights abuses by the police and other government
agencies. In October 2005, he wrote a series of three
letters to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao
calling on them to halt the continuing torture and ill-treatment
of detained Falun Gong practitioners and the ongoing
persecution of underground Christians and democracy
After his 2007 detention, Gao expressed fears that
he would be tortured again if he was rearrested.
In June 2007, Gao received the Courageous Advocacy
Award of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
His memoirs, A China More Just.
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Statement from the Kashag on the Conferment of the
Dalai Lama's Nobel Peace Prize
"Today, as we commemorate the confluence of the
nineteenth anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel
Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the International
Human Rights Day, and the Himalayan Festival, the Kashag
extends its warm regards and greetings to the Tibetans
in and outside Tibet, as well as to all the peace-loving
people of the world." Read
Dalai Lama's Address To The European Parliament
On 4 December 2008, the Dalai Lama made an address to
the European Parliament in Brussels. The Dalai Lama thanked
the European Parliament for its consistent displays
of concern and support for the just and non-violent Tibetan
struggle and shared his belief that continued expressions
of concern and support for Tibet will, in the long run,
create the necessary political environment for
a peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet. Read
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