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Thursday, May 05 2016 @ 05:13 pm BST
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Chinese block Tibetans at Buddhist event in Yeosu


A Chinese delegation abruptly left a religious conference in Yeosu on Wednesday morning after Tibetans attendingthe event refused to acquiesce to demands they leave.

The Chinese delegation, consisting of Buddhist officials and monks, had walked out of the opening ceremony of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Korea the previous evening. The Chinese had complained about the Tibetans’ participation, claiming that they represent Tibet’s government-in-exile. Saying they did not want to share the same venue, the Chinese delegation asked that the Tibetans leave. When the Tibetans refused, the Chinese left Yeosu.

The Chinese delegation left for Busan on Wednesday morning in a vehicle provided by the Chinese Embassy, the organizing committee said.

Two Tibetans, including a senior envoy of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, are in Korea to attend the biannual event currently being held in the coastal city. The two are Samdhong Rinpoche, a former prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile, and Pema Chhinjor, minister of religion and culture.

“Nothing so special, Chinese are always like that. We are here at the invitation of the organizers and were attending the ceremony because I (as the member of the organization) was allowed to,” Chhinjor told The Korea Herald in a telephone interview.

“Organizers came to me asking to go outside for some time as Chinese kept complaining (about my presence) … But I said I am here on invitation and this is Korea, not Beijing,” he added.

Organizers said they sought China’s understanding on the issue as it is a religious event, not a political one.

“This was not the first time that delegates from China and Tibet have met at a conference. They met at a previous conference held in Sri Lanka two years ago, but it ended smoothly,” said a spokesman for the WFB conference in Korea.

Rinpoche and Chhinjor are the highest-ranking Tibetan officials to visit South Korea so far. Their visit is regarded as a low-profile trip as they were to meet Buddhist delegates from other nations to exchange views on religious matters, organizers had said in a previous interview.

About 1,000 delegates from 33 countries are taking part in the event being held on the sidelines of the Expo 2012 Yeosu. The conference ends Friday.

Korea Herald

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Cutting-off Tibet to outside world will not solve tensions in Tibet

DHARAMSHALA: The Central Tibetan Administration is deeply concerned over the Chinese government’s measures to shut Tibet’s door to the outside world amid its crackdown on Tibetans in capital Lhasa after the self-immolation protests spread there for the first time on 27 May.

Besides imposing ban on foreign travellers to Tibet for an unspecified time, the Chinese government has deployed thousands of troops in capital Lhasa. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that “Lhasa resembled an armed camp with the deployment of over 3,000 troops.”

In the crackdown following the self-immolations in Lhasa, Chinese authorities arbitrarily arrested hundreds of Tibetans by mainly targeting those from Amdo and Kham provinces.  Amnesty International said in its 1 June statement that many of those arrested are being held at Tsel Gungthang prison and other sites in Lhasa. “Massively cracking down on the population in Lhasa is not a solution to the broad unrest we are seeing among Tibetans. The recent string of self-immolations by Tibetans has been fuelled by years of repressive policies that violate fundamental freedoms in the region,” Amnesty International stated.

“Closing Tibet’s door to the outside world and stifling the voices of Tibetans through force will not bring an end to the deepening crisis in Tibet.  Instead, the Chinese leadership must address the root causes of Tibetan grievances through dialogue,” said Kalon Dicki Chhoyang of the Department of Information & International Relations.

Since February 2009, nearly 40 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese government’s repressive policies. They have called for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. (Fact Sheet on Tibetan Self-Immolation Incidents)



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Indian Support Groups Resolve to Strengthen Support for Tibetan Cause

DHARAMSHALA: Indian Support Groups from different corners of India today concluded their three-day extensive deliberations on strengthening its movement on the issue of Tibet, strongly urging the Chinese government to resolve the Tibet issue through sincere and meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan side.

“Meaningful and sincere negotiations with a sense of urgency between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and democratically-elected leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration and the Chinese leadership is the only way to resolve the issue of Tibet, and there is a need for immediate resumption of stalled talks,” say the support groups in their declaration.

The 4th All India Tibet Support Groups Conference, convened by Core Group for Tibetan Cause in Dharamsala, adopted a 10-point Action Plan to strengthen and redouble the efforts of support groups in the cause of Tibet.

The Action Plan says Tibet Support Groups will celebrate in 2013 the centenary of the 13th Dalai Lama’s successful return to Tibet from exile and fervently hope for the return of 14th Dalai Lama to his homeland.

It says the TSGs will impress upon the Indian government to confer the Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian award – on His Holiness the Dalai Lama in recognition of his great services to India and the humanity.

The TSGs will make efforts to arrange a meeting of the standing committee of Indian Parliament on foreign affairs with Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, the democratically-elected political leader of the Tibetan people, it says.

It further says efforts will be made to organise an international conference to highlight the catastrophic impacts on south and south east Asia in view of the Chinese government’s detrimental policies on Tibet’s environment.

The TSGs resolve to expand its network in India through enhancing participation of women, youths, teachers and NGOs among their leadership at state and district levels. Efforts will be made to establish branch units of Students for Tibet and Teachers for Tibet.

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Chinese police search for a popular Tibetan singer who distributed politically ‘sensitive’ songs.

Authorities in China’s southwestern Sichuan province have ordered the detention of a handicapped Tibetan singer accused of recording songs praising exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and highlighting the hardships of life under Beijing’s rule, exile sources say.

The date of the detention order on singer Phulchung is not known, but was described as “recent,” sources said.

It was the fourth in a string of cases involving the detention by Chinese authorities of Tibetan performers, writers, or educators reported during the last two months.

Phulchung, who comes from Anchok township in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture’s Chuchen (Jinchuan, in Chinese) county, has now gone into hiding to avoid capture, said India-based friend Jamyang, a native of the same town.

“After he produced his CD, the Chinese authorities ordered his detention,” Jamyang said. “So he was forced to leave his home and go into hiding.”

“His family members were never shown the warrant, so they do not know the details of its contents,” he said, adding that Phulchung has produced “about 32 or 33 different songs” in the past and is handicapped with a disabled left hand.

“He has written songs about his own disabilities,” Jamyang said.

‘Brave, devoted

Samten, another friend of the singer also living in exile, described Phulchung as a “very brave individual and very devoted to the Tibetan cause.”

Among the 13 songs released on Phulchung’s most recent CD, his fifth, are songs praising the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay, Samten said.

The Dalai Lama sits “on a golden throne,” and Lobsang Sangay, “a leader of Tibetans,” sits “on a silver throne,” one song says.

Chinese authorities regularly revile the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay as dangerous separatists, and harshly punish expressions of support for both men by Tibetans under Beijing’s rule.

In another song, Phulchung describes the Tibetan people as a “kind and just race” and urges them to resist China’s domination by speaking “only pure Tibetan” and by “uniting and working together.”

Scores jaile

China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan cultural and national identity since widespread protests swept Tibet and the Tibetan-populated Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu in 2008.

On April 19, authorities detained another Tibetan singer, Lo Lo, 29, in Qinghai province’s Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) prefecture after he released an album of songs titled “Raise the Flag of Tibet, sons of the Snow.”

The lyrics of the title track, one of 14 songs on the album, call for independence for Tibet, the unity of the Tibetan people, and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

At the end of April, China sentenced a popular Tibetan comedian, Athar, 33, to three years in jail on what sources describe as a trumped-up weapons charge following his release of a video criticizing Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated regions.

In a copy of the video obtained by RFA, Athar warns that Tibet under Chinese rule has gone down “a wrong path,” urges unity among Tibetans, and calls for a strengthened Tibetan national identity and culture.

And in May, Chinese authorities closed a Tibetan orphanage school in Gansu province’s Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) prefecture, according to a local source speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The reasons given were the school’s focus on teaching Tibetan language, speech, and culture, as well as the composition by the head of the school of a song containing ‘separatist’ contents,” the source said.


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Escape from Shangri La

Every year dozens of Tibetans risk their lives as they trudge hundreds of kilometres through snow-capped mountains, all the while averting arrest by the Chinese police, to reach Dharamsala. A batch of newly arrived refugees tell Sunday Times what it means to escape from their beloved but now bewildering homeland

She whispers something in her friend’s ears, as both break out into giggles. “She’s saying Indians have such big eyes,” informs the interpreter with a smile. The ice is broken, as Sonam and Lobsang settle down to tell their story. The two teenagers recently arrived at the Tibetan Reception Centre on the outskirts of McLeodganj after an arduous onemonth journey from Kham province in Tibet. Both were part of a group of 40 people who braved icy blizzards, treacherous mountain passes and the ever-looming danger of being caught by Chinese police. Hundreds of Tibetans make this risky journey every year, fuelled by the promise of a better life in a country where their leader, the Dalai Lama, has beeing living in exile in McLeodganj since 1959.

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Catherine Ashton’s Speech on the situation in Tibet in the European parliament

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission’s Speech on the situation in Tibet.


Defence and promotion of human rights around the world is a key component of the EU’s foreign policy. In this context, the EU follows closely the human rights situation in Tibet. The EU considers its human rights dialogue with China as an essential part of the EU-China relationship. In this context, it is committed to engage with China to improve the situation on the ground.

The European Union is concerned by the deterioration of the situation in Tibet, as illustrated by the wave of self immolations and by clashes between the police and the local population since the beginning of the year.

In recent days, the EU has been particularly concerned by the news of mass arrests and detentions taking place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region following self-immolations in Lhasa, as well as at reports that the TAR, has been closed to foreigners.

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Central Tibetan Administration holds prayer service for self-immolations

Kirti Rinpoche presiding over the prayer service. Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, Kalon Pema Chinjor and Kalon Ngodup Drongchung praying at the prayer service.

DHARAMSHALA: The Central Tibetan Administration organised a special prayer service to mourn the tragic self-immolations in Tibet under the continued repressive policies of the Chinese government.

Speaking at the prayer service, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay said, “We are holding this prayer service to pay homage to those who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet and console their family members”.

“As the self-immolations continue unabated inside Tibet, we Tibetans in exile are ever more concerned about the policies of the Chinese government in Tibet,” he said.

Kalon Tripa also spoke about the support extended by many world leaders and Nobel Laureates for the cause of Tibet, and urged Tibetans to continue to highlight the grim situation prevailing inside Tibet.

All the Kalons and officials of the Central Tibetan Administration as well as the heads of the various governmental and non-governmental organisations attended the prayer service. The prayer service was presided over by His Eminence Kirti Rinpoche, the head lama of the Kirti Monastery.

Since 2009, thirty-eight Tibetans have set themselves on fire calling for more freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Out of which 29 has died and the remaining 9 were either seriously injured or their whereabouts are still unknown. (See Factsheet)

The latest incident of self-immolation occurred on Wednesday 30 May, when Rikyo, a mother of three children set herself on fire in Zamthang, northeastern Tibet.

Earlier on Sunday, 27 May, two Tibetans Dorjee Tseten, 19, and Dargye, 25, set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple in Tibet’s capital Lhasa.






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China Confirms Twin Self-Immolation in Lhasa

Two Tibetans set themselves on fire in the afternoon of 27 May 2012 in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

The latest self-immolations, the first to occur in Lhasa and the second in TAR, were confirmed today by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency.

The Xinhua report said two Tibetans set themselves on fire at 2:16 p.m yesterday at Barkhor (Chinese: Pargor) Street in the heart of Lhasa.

Xinhua identified the two Tibetans as Dargye, from Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County in Sichuan Province, and Tobgye Tseten (in Tibetan: Dorjee Tseten), from Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe) County in Gansu Province. Tobgye Tseten died but Dargye has survived with injuries according to Xinhua.

The report did not specify their ages although exile Tibetan sources reported the two to be 19 and 22 years old. Some exile Tibetan sources also said the two were monks, but the Xinhua report simply said they were "Tibetan men".

Sources said soon after the incident attempts to make phone calls to Lhasa proved unsuccessful. However, some sources say phone lines were working today and reported that the site of immolations - the Jokhang Temple - has been completely cordoned off. Moreover, security officers have blocked access to the Jokhang area and movement of Tibetan pilgrims and foreigners alike is heavily restricted.

With the latest self-immolations in Lhasa, the total number of Tibetans self-immolating in protest in Tibet has reached 37.

Tenzin Phuntsok, aged 46, became the first lay Tibetan to set himself on fire in TAR. He self-immolated on 1 December 2011 and died few days later in Karma Township in Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) Prefecture, TAR.


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Tibetans gather for prayer after mother of three self-immolates

A large number of Tibetans gathered to pray for Rikyo, the Tibetan mother of three who set fire to herself on Wednesday, May 30, and died straight away. Some Tibetan sources said the total number was as high as several thousand, including monks and laypeople. According to the same sources, Rikyo was a deeply religious person who had carried out prostrations, a gesture used in Buddhist practice to show reverence, for nearly two months before her death. Some speculated that the prostrations had been made to prepare her for the act of self-immolation.

Rikyo was in her mid-thirties and from a nomadic family. She set herself on fire near to Jonang Dzamthang Gonchen Monastery. The flames around her body were so intense that police on the scene were beaten back by the fire and attempts to extinguish it failed.

Following her self-immolation, her body was taken to the Jonang Dzamthang Monastery and kept there, according to Tibetans in exile who are from the area. Chinese government officials came to the monastery and sought to impose an immediate cremation. Rikyo was cremated the same day, and a large number of Tibetans converged at a special cremation prayer service near the monastery. According to a Tibetan in exile in contact with Tibetans from Dzamthang, "Although it was raining and a heavy storm, people did not move from the cremation area near the monastery until around 3 a.m." 



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Detentions, fear after Lhasa self-immolations; prayer gathering in Dzamthang

Chinese security has tightened its grip on Tibetans in Lhasa following two self-immolations outside the Jokhang Temple on Sunday, May 29, with some sources reporting hundreds of Tibetans detained and intensified monitoring of Tibetans from areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. The self-immolations of Dargye (originally from Soruma village, Choejema township, Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province) and Dorje Tseten (originally from Bora township in Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province) were the first self-immolations in Lhasa, Tibet's capital city.

Thousands of Tibetans gathered for hours at the cremation of a Tibetan mother of three who self-immolated and died on Wednesday, May 30, in Barma township, Dzamthang County, Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
Security intensifies after first self-immolations in Lhasa

Chinese security has tightened following the first self-immolations in Lhasa. An unknown number of Tibetans, some sources saying hundreds, have been detained in a massive police operation and are being held in detention centers in and around Lhasa. Many Tibetans from areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region have been expelled from the city.  

Tibetans known to have associated with the two Tibetans who self-immolated or who knew them are said by local Tibetans to be in danger. Nineteen-year old Dorje Tseten had left home after high school and had been renting a room in a house in Lhasa. The entire household was detained soon after his self-immolation. After the self-immolations, Dorje Tseten's family in Bora were immediately subject to security restrictions, just as other families of Tibetan self-immolators have faced intimidation and pressure. Tibetans travelled to the area from nearby Labrang to pay their respects to Dorje Tseten; some exiled sources indicated that hundreds of Tibetans had made the journey to Bora.

Following his self-immolation and death, Dorje Tseten was taken away immediately. Graphic photographs of his body blackened by fire appeared online. Dorje Tseten's family is said to be deeply distressed at not being allowed to have his body back for carrying out traditional prayer ceremonies and death rituals. They did receive ashes from the Chinese government authorities, although it is not clear that they were Dorje Tseten's. The family is understood to be seeking clarification. 


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