|Phayul[Saturday, May 11, 2013 23:51]|
In a petition written earlier this month, which went viral on Wiebo and was quickly censored, the award-winning Tibetan writer noted that China is changing the face of Lhasa by building a new shopping mall in the heart of the Old City, “thoroughly clearing” the circum-ambulation path around the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest shrine.
The letter, ‘Our Lhasa is on the Verge of Destruction! Please, Save Lhasa!’ was reposted on her blog, Invisible Tibet, and has been translated into English.
The Barkhor Shopping Mall, once completed, would cover an area of 150,000 sq m and have more than 1,000 underground parking spaces, according to its developer.
She further states that the destruction of the ancient city of Lhasa, the oldest part of which date back to the 7th century, is taking place on other streets and allies in the Old City as well, such as the space in front of the Ramoche temple where big public squares are to be opened up and the surrounding households are to be moved to the suburbs.
Woeser laments that the Old City will never again be the street of those Tibetans who circumambulate, come on pilgrimage, and prostrate themselves.
“And now, the area in front of the Jokhang, which has borne witness to so much change over the ages, has no more of the pilgrims from Kham and Amdo who prostrate themselves all the way from the far borders to Lhasa; no more lamp pavilions in which thousands and tens of thousands of butter lamp offerings were lit every day,” she writes.
Woeser, in her letter, calls on UNESCO, Tibetologists, and other organisations to stop China’s frightful “modernisation” and pay close attention to the “unredeemable misfortune that is befalling the Old City of Lhasa right at this very moment.”
Responding to Woeser’s appeal, nearly 1000 people have already signed a petition urging Kishore Rao, Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre to use his position and influence to stop China's “willful destruction of the old city of Lhasa.”
Sunday, 12 May 2013
Friday, 10 May 2013
|Phayul[Wednesday, May 08, 2013 19:50]|
The Downing Street has made it clear that ministers “will decide who they meet and where they meet them” while admitting that they have had difficulties arranging meetings with senior figures in the Chinese government as a result of the stand-off.
According to reports, PM Cameron still has his plans intact for a visit to China before the end of this year.
“On a general point the Chinese government always lobbies hard against any meetings between foreign governments and the Dalai Lama,” a spokesman for the Downing Street has been quoted as saying by reporters. “We have made clear in advance to the Chinese government that British ministers will decide who they meet and when they meet them."
The spokesman added that PM Cameron “does not feel under any pressure to apologise” to the Chinese government.
Richard Ottaway, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said that the British PM should “resist” any pressure from Beijing.
“We are right to resist external pressures,” he told the London Evening Standard. “The Dalai Lama has always been welcome in Britain and I hope it remains that way. I think this will quickly blow over and investment will flow both ways.”
PM Cameron had met the Dalai Lama in London alongside Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, as part of the Government's approach of seeking "dialogue and discussion and gathering a wide range of viewpoints on issues of importance."
Clegg has made clear that he is not willing to put concerns over human rights to one side because of China's growing economic clout.
“We have a very important relationship with the Chinese authorities,” he told Sky News. “It's, self-evidently, one of the great economic superpowers of today and particularly the future. We have a very important economic relationship with them.
“But that doesn't mean we should somehow give up on what we believe in when it comes to human rights and freedoms which we will continue to express in a respectful but nonetheless firm way.”
Following last year’s meeting, a visit by the British PM to China last autumn was called off and a trade trip planned for last month was also cancelled.
However, despite the diplomatic row lasting for over 12 months now, Chinese investment in the UK saw a four-fold increase, to the tune of $8 billion, in 2012.
Also, UK exports to China grew by 13.4 per cent last year, which is more growth than any of our European partners.
Sunday, 5 May 2013
When I was a boy, there were two places that cropped up in boys’ adventure stories from time to time that fascinated me and I always wanted to visit them. One was Manaus on the Amazon in Brazil, which I have visited 3 times, and the other was Lhasa in Tibet. Then in 2009 I saw an advert for a 2 week tour to Tibet, so I followed it up and went on the tour along with 11 other well travelled tourists.
The tour started in Beijing where we spent 2 days, then on the second evening we boarded a train for a 48 hour journey to Lhasa. The train journey was better than we had expected with 4 comfortable bunks to a cabin and the restaurant served good Chinese and European food. I had asked my doctor if I was likely to be troubled by altitude sickness and he said that I should be all right as we were going up gradually and would have time to acclimatise. However, it wasn’t like that. For the first day we travelled west across China and went up to about a kilometre above sea level, then we turned south onto the new railway into Tibet, put on a more powerful engine to cope with the gradients, and went up a further 4 kilometres during the night. When we looked out next morning the view was like WOW! We were up on the Tibet plateau with yaks grazing and herdsmens’ huts and mountains in the distance. As for the altitude sickness, I was OK until I got up, then I felt dizzy and sat down for a few minutes until it passed, and after that I felt normal but had to take things easy. One colleague was quite delirious so we got him back on his bunk and turned on the oxygen supply that was fitted to each bunk, and he gradually recovered.
From the plateau we went up a further 500 metres and over a mountain pass, then spent the rest of the day going gradually down to Lhasa, which is 4 kilometres above sea level, and checked into a very good hotel for the next 4 nights.
In Beijing we had a Chinese tour guide who came with us for the whole of the journey and in Lhasa we picked up a Tibetan guide and the Chinese became the tour manager. Both were very professional and kept their views on the Chinese occupation of Tibet to themselves. As tourists we were kept away from the prisons and the brutality of the Chinese soldiers but we were well aware of the Chinese presence. At intervals along the streets there would be soldiers standing guard under a green sunshade to protect them from the sun and at petrol stations there would be a soldier with a fire extinguisher at each entrance. The Tibetans were obviously under constant surveillance. On the train and in our hotel rooms were propaganda leaflets in English containing stories about the “liberation” of Tibet with anecdotes about the Chinese throwing out the feudal landlords and freeing the peasants from slavery. That is not how the Tibetans saw it!
The next day I realised a lifelong ambition and visited the Potala palace. We started off in gardens at the base of the mound. This used to be a village where the people who worked in the palace lived until it was flattened by the Chinese. There were pilgrims walking all round the base of the mound, always in a clockwise direction, chanting and carrying their prayer wheels, and all in traditional Tibetan dress. It was a long climb up several flights of steps, along with monks and other pilgrims, to reach the entrance to the palace. Once inside, we saw the Dalai Lama’s throne, the hall where he met with his religious elders and the one where he met with his political elders, the great hall where they all met together on special occasions, and the prayer room where he spent the night in meditation and prayer before making any major decisions.
After the palace we went to Barkhor square which is a very large square with the Potala palace at one end and the Johang temple at the other and shops along either side. The square was bustling with people, all in traditional dress, and we strolled around for a while soaking up the atmosphere then we went into the Johang temple. Once inside we were confronted by more steps and I decided to opt out of this visit and wait by the entrance for the rest of the party to return. As I sat there a steady stream of Tibetans came in and out, all staring at me as they were not used to seeing a European, and I even had my photograph taken twice.
The next day we went to the Dali Lama’s summer palace which is quite small and is set in a walled garden. The garden is inside a public park and, being Sunday afternoon, there were Tibetan families sitting on the grass and enjoying picnics. There was a sentry building in the park, and at one point 8 Chinese soldiers came out dressed in full riot gear with helmets and shields and batons. They marched round in and out of the picnickers for about 20 minutes just to make their presence felt. They didn’t hit anybody but they completely destroyed the happy peaceful atmosphere that had previously been so obvious.
One evening we went to Potala square which is a large paved square laid out by the Chinese facing the Potala palace. It was crowded with Tibetans and there was music playing over loud speakers and 2 fountains that danced to the rhythm of the music. There was a plinth with the Chinese flag on a pole and 2 armed Chinese soldiers standing guard. Our guide left us to stroll around the square for an hour and then return to him. He had a small union jack on a cane which he held up for us to locate him in the crowd. At this point one of the Chinese soldiers jumped off the plinth and dashed across shouting “only Chinese flag allowed in this square” and snatched the flag off him.
|Public Square opposite the Potala Palace|
We travelled for 2 days up and down over mountain passes, usually at about 5.5 kilometres above sea level and each one adorned with prayer flags. In the valleys there was some basic agriculture wherever there was any flat land and there was little evidence of the Chinese occupation in this rural area. We stopped in small country towns and eventually reached a bigger town called Shigatse where we stayed for 2 nights in a pleasant hotel.
There was a young concierge in the hotel who was learning English and welcomed the opportunity to speak with us. He was writing a paper in English and asked 2 of us to check it for spelling and grammar. We found it to be a call to arms for Tibetans to rise up and overthrow the Chinese aggressors which he was going to post on the internet. We asked if he was aware of the risks he was taking and he said that he was but would go ahead with it anyway. We did his corrections and wished him luck.
The next day we went on to the village of New Tingry which consists of a reasonable hotel, where we stayed, and a few backpacker hostels and not much else, but it is the gateway to the Tibetan side of mount Everest. We set off early the next morning as our guide wanted us to see the sunrise over Everest and we had to pass through a Chinese check point which could take quite a while. Luckily there was very little traffic so shortly we each had to go in and show our passports to the soldiers. Our tour manager had the necessary paperwork and as he was Chinese it was accepted quickly. We arrived at the vantage point in plenty of time and the sight of the sun rising over the shoulder of Everest was amazing.
|Solar Powered Kettle|
|Yurts at Everest Base Camp|
We went back to the hotel at New Tingry for an early night then next morning set out on the final leg of our journey. We had to go through the same check point and this time there was a queue of traffic and it took over an hour to get through. Next we went over a small pass and across to the south facing side of the Himalayas. Tibet stretches quite a way down the southern slopes and we stopped for the night at the last town in Tibet.
|Looking Across The Friendship Bridge to Nepal|
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
|FTC[Tuesday, April 16, 2013 22:06]|
Free Tibet News Release
Jugtso set herself alight outside a monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet around 3pm local time today, 16 April. Local witnesses confirmed that she died at the scene. Her body was taken into the monastery where religious ceremonies were conducted. Local authorities have ordered her family to cremate the body tonight, in contravention of Tibetan tradition. Hundreds of members of the local community have gathered near the family home in preparation for the cremation.
Jugtso was married with a three-year-old child.
The monastery has been the location for a number of self-immolation protests, including that of a mother-of-four in March 2013. The last confirmed self-immolation in Tibet was on 26 March but unconfirmed reports suggest that there has been at least one further attempted self-immolation in Yushu County, in protest against destruction of homes and land-grabbing by the authorities as redevelopment takes place after the devastating earthquake in the area on 14 April 2010.
Free Tibet spokesperson Alistair Currie said
"The intensity of self-immolation protests has diminished so far in 2013 but the death of Jugtso shows that even the full force of the Chinese state cannot deter some Tibetans from this act. Self-immolation is a protest, not a suicide, and until China addresses the grievances of the Tibetan people, protests of all forms will continue in Tibet."
|Phayul[Tuesday, April 16, 2013 16:40]|
DHARAMSHALA, April 16: The Chinese authorities have released several Tibetans who are reported to be in poor health after five years in jail.
Two Tibetan monks Lobsang Ngodup, 34, and Soepa, 35, were released after completion of their five-year term in Chushul Prison on March 10.
Lobsang Ngodup is undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in Siling, Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) while Soepa is said to be mentally unstable and is currently in Mange Monastery where Chinese security personnel is stationed and keeping a close watch on his movements.
Soepa was detained twice after his release and was let out only after five Tibetans signed a bond pledging to take responsibility. He also needs to report to the local office.
The Chinese authorities arrested the two monks on 10 March 2008 in Lhasa with thirteen other monks.
On April 11, another Tibetan named Lhatsog was released a year prior to the completion of his six-year jail term. He was sentenced for taking part in protests against China’s occupation in 2008.
However, the reason for his early release is not known. Several monks from nearby counties such as Matoe, Pema and Gade, who have gathered to welcome him, noticed a problem in his leg and had difficulty in walking.
Earlier this month, two other Tibetans were released after serving long prison terms.
Jigme Gyatso, 52, a former monk was released after serving 17 years for demanding independence for Tibet and appeared 'very weak' when he returned to his home in Sangchu county in Eastern Tibet. He was released from Chushul Prison.
Dawa Gyaltsen was released two years before completing his 18-year jail term because of what China called his "good behavior".
Arbitrary arrests and ramdon imprisonment without due legal process are widespread in Tibet under China.
Monday, 1 April 2013
|Phayul[Sunday, March 31, 2013 21:35]|
Reports coming from Tibet said that two of the buried workers were Tibetan while others are believed to be ethnic Han Chinese.
The miners worked for a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp, a state-owned enterprise. It is China’s largest gold producer.
According to state-run China Central Television, more than 1000 rescuers, including police, firefighters and medical personnel are working at the site and 200 large vehicles and equipment and sniffer dogs are being used in the rescue.
About 2.6 million cubic yards of mud, rock and debris swept through the area as the covered an area measuring around 1.5 square miles.
On Friday, China’s new leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang ordered to put all efforts to rescue the buried workers.
In an official press release issued by the Environment and Development Desk (EDD) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile states that it fear that this tragic incident could be a result of the aggressive expansion and large-scale exploitation of mineral in the Gyama Valley. This is a “man-made phenomenon rather than just a ‘natural disaster’” the release said.
EDD said it hopes that Chinese government will put sincere efforts to figure out the real cause of the landslide in the mine operated by Huatailong Mining Development Co. Ltd, (a subsidiary of the State-owned China National Gold Group Corporation) and take appropriate measures.
Environment Desk also called on the Chinese authorities to ensure active participation of Tibetan people in all decision making process in Tibet; fully investigate the impacts on society, environment and culture; check migration and settlement of non-Tibetans in Tibet and ownership of Tibetan land and resources are not transferred to non-Tibetans.
|Phayul[Friday, March 29, 2013 14:59]|
“We are appalled and deeply disappointed with the government of Nepal which as an independent and constitutionally democratic country has behaved like a totalitarian regime and allowed China to completely undermine its sovereignty,” said Tsewang Rigzin, the President of Tibetan Youth Congress.
“We condemn this insensitive act,” he added.
According to our sources, the Nepalese police have secretly cremated Druptse’s body at Pashupatinath cremation site two days ago in violation of a fundamental Tibetan tradition of funeral prayers and last rites essential for the dead.
Druptse, 25, set himself ablaze on the path around the holy Boudhanath stupa in Kathmandu on February 13. He passed away on the same day with 96 percent burns.
His body was kept in the mortuary of TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj.
Earlier the Nepalese authorities maintained that Druptse’s body could legally be handed over only to his parents, family members related in blood or official diplomatic representatives. If these options are not met within 35 days, the authorities said, they will have legal right over the body.
Since then Tibetans and their supporters have initiated a number of campaigns around the world to appeal the Nepal government to release Druptse’s body.
In a statement released by Students for a Free Tibet-India, a global vigil will be held to honour Druptse on April 3, which will be the 49th day since his death.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that Nepalese authorities have secretly cremated Drupchen Tsering's body without allowing the proper Buddhist final rites,” said Dorjee Tseten, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet, India.
“We request all Tibetans and supporters to participate in this Global Vigil for Drupchen next Wednesday with prayers, public rallies at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate and follow-up visits and phone calls to the Nepalese Embassy or Consulate to express your disappointment about this incident.”
The incident highlights China's stranglehold over Nepal and the precarious situation of Tibetan refugees living here or those escaping occupied Tibet. This calls for a greater international monitoring of China's influence over Nepal and the protection of the rights of Tibetan refugees there.
|Phayul[Thursday, March 28, 2013 16:08]|
Forty-five-year-old Thupten Nyendak of Dragkar Monastery in Lhagang in Kham, Eastern Tibet, and Atse, 23, from Serta Tibetan Buddhist Institute set themselves on fire at the former’s residence in Dzogchen Monastery on 6 April 2012. This reportedly happened after they offered butter lamps and prayers for all the Tibetan.
“As a Tibetan and Buddhist, we offer prayer for 113 Tibetans who self-immolated in Tibet, out of which we have been saying 83 [took place] in 2012. But now it is [confirmed] 85 in 2012 and 95 have died,” said Dr Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of exile Tibet.
The special service was held for Thupten Nyendak, Atse, Kal Kyi (30) and Lhamo Kyab (43) who set themselves on fire in protest against China's continuing occupation of their homeland.
Kal Kyi, set herself ablaze protesting near Jonang monastery in Zamthang in Eastern Tibet at 3:30 pm (local time) on March 24.
She is survived by her husband and four children, who are all below 15.
On March 25, Lhamo Kyab set himself ablaze in a forest in Sangchu County in Amdo, Eastern Tibet. The self-immolation took place around 10 pm (local time). He died in his fiery protest.
The number of Tibetan self-immolations since 2009 now stands at 113.
|Phayul[Wednesday, March 27, 2013 15:29]|
"There is a lesson here for China. If you want to improve your image abroad, do it by making genuine change on the ground inside Tibet, not by hosting a propaganda show to mislead the global public," said Tenzin Sonam, Regional Coordinator of SFT-Midwest.
Prior to the said exhibit, Tibetan organizations, including Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women's Association and Tibetan American Foundation-Minnesota, opened a parallel exhibit ‘Tibet Today: Exposing the Truth’ with pictures of independent Tibet, self-immolations and China’s repression in Tibet.
The Chinese opened their “propaganda” exhibition with photographs of smiling Tibetans waving the Chinese flag and other items, which Tibetans feel were “clearly aimed at whitewashing China's occupation of Tibet and misleading Western audiences into thinking Tibetans are happy under Chinese rule.”
According to the Tibetan organizers some of them and their supporters went the Consulate's exhibit to question them about China's brutalities in Tibet, the Tibetan protests and self-immolations.
The questions were met with blank stares and no answers.
However, a Chinese student performer reportedly said "I'm very interested in Tibet now. We were taught different [things]. I was at your exhibition. You Tibetans are very nice people"
Hours later, the Chinese exhibit cancelled their performances and opening ceremony.
The Tibetan exhibit on the hand over a hundred visitors while the Chinese Consulate's exhibit remained all but with no visitors.
The Chinese Consulate’s exhibition has reportedly remained closed for the second day.
"Armed with truth, information and nonviolence, we were able to shutdown China's expensive propaganda show in our backyard. This is something every Tibetan community and group can do quite easily every time a Chinese propaganda show comes to town," Tenzin Sonam added.
The five-day exhibit will remain open till Friday this week.
|Phayul[Monday, March 25, 2013 13:06]|
Forty-three-old Lhamo Kyab set himself ablaze in a forest in Sangchu County in Amdo, Eastern Tibet. The self-immolation took place around 10 pm (local time). He died in his fiery protest.
According to our sources in exile, Lhamo Kyab set himself in a forest where he works as a forest guard.
“Early morning, he doused himself in kerosene and jumped into a fire which he started with timber wood,” said the same source, who did not want to be named.
Following his self-immolation protest, a large number of armed security personnel arrived at the location and the situation in the region is described as tense “under strict surveillance”.
Kyab’s self-immolation is the second such case in one a day. Thirty-year-old Kal Kyi, a mother of four has set herself ablaze on 24 March in Eastern Tibet at 3:30 pm (local time). She died at the protest site.