Tuesday 22 March 2011

New Internet Censorship: Tibet Culture website Shutdown

New Internet Censorship: Tibet Culture website Shutdown

21march2011008010Dharamshala: - As recently as March 16, 2011, another instance of what appears to be Chinese media censorship took place as the popular Chinese-language Tibetan website TibetCul.com suddenly became inaccessible and still remains so. This move happened after the affiliated website MyBudala.com also was shut down only few days before the 52nd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day on March 10.
When the politically sensitive first anniversary of March 10 2008 was coming up two years ago, TibetCul went offline saying that the website was closed due to maintenance. The actual necessity of that stands unconfirmed in the light of later attempts by TibetCul to control the contents on the site, i.e. when, after the earthquake in Yushu, eastern Tibet, in May 2010, blog postings reflected discontent with China's relief effort, spurring a notice on the website by the administrators stressing how TibetCul was intended as a cultural bridge and further stating that:
"Your statements reflect your attitude towards TibetCul. If you want our website to stir up dust, if you want it to attract the attention of the authorities and be closed down, then we shall block and close down your IP address and blog immediately."
Despite this clear-cut attitude of the site's non-provocative nature and its attempts to promote cultural communication between Tibetans and Han Chinese and other ethnicities the staff at TibetCul are still unable to post on their own website. However, a post from the administrators of TibetCul was to be found on the Sina MicroBlog just after the shutdown: "On March 16 at 6pm, it was suddenly not possible to visit TibetCul's page, the website staff and server operators just found out that higher authorities ordered to close the site down, when asking for the specific reason to the authorities, the staff on duty said he had no idea why!". At the time of writing, this post has also been removed.
The prospects of TibetCul to reappear on the Internet unfortunately do not seem promising, although other Tibetan websites known to be taken offline in the month of March sometimes have come back to life. If this isn't the case with TibetCul it will come to stand as another sad indication of the critically diminishing Tibetan cyberspace.

Tibetan exiles vote for new leaders

Phayul[Sunday, March 20, 2011 19:14]
By Phurbu Thinley

Exile Tibetans line up with their green books to cast their votes during the final round of voting to choose the next exile Tibetan prime minister and the members of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (Phayul Photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Exile Tibetans line up with their green books to cast their votes during the final round of voting to choose the next exile Tibetan prime minister and the members of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (Phayul Photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Dharamsala, March 20: Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala and elsewhere around the world on Sunday went to polls to elect a new prime minister and also the new members of their parliament in exile.

In Dharamsala, the hill town in north India that serves as the base for Tibet’s government in exile, hundreds and thousands of Tibetans, including monks and nuns, lined up in almost 10 polling stations set up in and around the town to elect a new prime minister who is set to head the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

The elections have both political and emotional bearings on the Tibetan people after His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is valued by Tibetans as their undisputed spiritual and political leader, announced a week ago his decision to formally devolve his political power to an elected leadership.

Addressing a huge gathering of Tibetans here yesterday, the Dalai Lama publicly reiterated his determination to give up the political role in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and urged the Tibetans to wholeheartedly accept his decision.

The Tibetan leader’s office also dispatched a letter to the Tibetan Parliament's ongoing session yesterday firmly rejecting a plea by the latter asking him to continue with his role as both the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.

In McLeod Ganj, the upper town in Dharamsala, an election officer today said the participation by Tibetans in today’s election was overwhelming and estimated that the voter turn could be much more higher than that of the preliminary rounds held in October last year.

Tibetan government-in-exile prime ministerial candidate Lobsang Sangay shows his identity document as he casts his vote during elections for a new prime minister in the northern Indian town of McLeodganj March 20, 2011. (Phayul/Norbu Wangyal)
Tibetan government-in-exile prime ministerial candidate Lobsang Sangay shows his identity document as he casts his vote during elections for a new prime minister in the northern Indian town of McLeodganj March 20, 2011. (Phayul/Norbu Wangyal)
From the preliminary rounds, Dr Lobsang Sangay, 43, and Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, 62, have emerged as the favorites for the highest elected leadership post in Tibet’s government in exile. The third candidate in the fray is Kasur Tashi Wangdi, 64.

Dr Lobsang Sangay won the preliminary rounds by a margin of more than 10,000 votes ahead of the next closest contestant out of a very small total voting population.

Earlier this morning Sangay turned up at the polling station here at the main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag Khang) to cast his vote. Speaking to media after casting his ballot, Sangay said regardless of whether he wins the elections or not, he, like all other Tibetans would still consider Dalai Lama his leader.

A newly arrived Tibetan refugee, who is casting a vote “freely for the first time” in his life, said he felt extremely happy and proud to elect Tibetan leaders in a spirit of democracy and freedom.

“In Tibet, Chinese government claim Tibetans have democratic rights, but in reality there is no freedom of choice and also there is no space to air one’s political views,” he said on condition of anonymity, expressing fear of reprisals on his family members who are still living inside Tibet.

Although he understands Dalai Lama’s decision to relinquish his political role for the benefit of Tibetan people in the long run, he, however, fears it will take a long time before Tibetans in Tibet will accept it.

Sunday’s elections will also decide the new lawmakers who will form a 44-member 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

Out of the 79,449 registered voters, little over 47,000 (approximately 61%) voted in the preliminary polls conducted on October 3.

Following the preliminary elections, the Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration further extended the voter registration date to allow more eligible voters to take part in the final rounds of elections.

As result, the registered voter’s number increased to more than 82,000 for the 2011 Tibetan General Elections.

Estimates show that some 90,000 of the approximately 150,000 Tibetan exiles worldwide are above the age of 18 and are eligible to vote.

Speaking at a press conference here this afternoon, Chief Election Commissioner Mr Jamphel Choesang said Sunday's polls went smoothly without any untoward incidences at all the locations.

Mr Choesang also said the final results of the elections would be declared on April 27, 2011.

International parliamentary group impressed by Tibetan democracy

Phayul[Monday, March 21, 2011 19:42]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, March 21: Impressed by a remarkable enthusiasm shown by Tibetan exiles in embracing democracy over the years, an international parliamentary group Monday urged the international community to continue to give support to Tibetan democratic institutions in exile.

The International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT), as part of a worldwide initiative, deployed a team of experts to conduct a Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) in India and other parts of the world where Tibetans on Sunday went to polls to elect a new prime minister and also new members of their parliament in exile.

Early indications are that record number of Tibetan voters had turned up for for the elections that went smoothly without any hindrances, except in Nepal, where the authories refused to allow Tibetans to conduct elections.

INPaT said its delegations, composed of parliamentarians from different countries, observed polling stations in northern and southern India and also in Nepal in addition to nations in Europe and North America.

Releasing a preliminary statement on its observation about the elections, the group said they were convinced that Tibetan people, by taking active participation in democratic process over the years, have sufficiently demonstrated their “long standing commitment to democracy”.

The group also expressed hope that Tibetan democracy could also well be a role model for other communities making efforts to embrace democracy.

“INPaT TEOM praises the Tibetan people for their long standing commitment to democracy and the enthusiasm with which they embraced the elections held yesterday,” the group said in their statement released here today.

“It is remarkable that an exiled refugee community has been able to organize, for many decades, such an orderly managed democratic exercise,” the statement said of their findings.

“The Tibetan example of the development of democratic institutions and systems are a model for nascent democracies around the world and we encourage the international community to assist the Tibetan institutions in exile to continue to evolve and improve on their success,” it added.

The preliminary statement said a final report, containing findings and recommendations from all the delegations in respective polling centres, would be released by the end of April after Sunday's election results are declared by the Tibetan Election Commission.

The statement said the report would contain needed recommendations to the new Parliament to improve the Tibetan democratic system that would include “reviewing the electoral laws to reflect general international standards”.

The group further said the recommendations would also touch subjects like electoral financing laws and regulations, participation of women and regional voting system.

In Dharamsala, the base of Tibet’s government in exile in north India, the observation mission was carried out by Mr. Matteo Mecacci, a member of Italian parliament and a Co-Chair of INPaT TEOM, and Senator Consiglio Di Nino from Canada, a member of INPaT TEOM.

Briefing media persons here this morning, Mr Macacci, who is also a member of Italian parliament, said a healthy and evolving democracy in the exile Tibetan community would come handy when change comes to China.

“This is an example of an exile refugee community, a unique example that has been able to develop and to nourish democratic system not just for themselves but to make sure that when change will happen in China, and change will happen in China because China cannot continue to run a country oppressing their own people and imposing on them authoritarian rule,” Mr Macacci said.

The two parliamentarians also expressed regret over Nepal for not allowing Tibetans in the country to conduct elections, apparently under Chinese influence.

“It is totally not acceptable that they (Nepal) would abandon their commitment towards democracy as part of the families of the world. And this is strictly because they are afraid of China. They just use the weak issue of ‘One China Policy’”, Mr Di Nino said, describing Nepal’s behaviour with regard to its treatment of Tibetans as being a “kind of political prostitution”.

Urging Nepal and China to embrace democracy, the two parliamentarians, who are also veterans on election observations, said they were ready to offer advice to help move them towards democractic system.

International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) was constituted in November 2009 as part of “Rome Declaration on Tibet” at the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in Rome, where 133 Members from 33 worldwide Parliaments who took part in it.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Hundreds protest as police brutalised self-immolated monk

(TibetanReview.net, Mar19, 2011)  On the third anniversary of the protests which swept much of the Tibetan Plateau in Mar’08, hundreds of Tibetans staged a protest in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county of Sichuan Province on Mar 16, according to exile Tibetan media and groups Mar 16. Chinese security forces used brutal force, bringing in reinforcement from neighbouring areas, to break up the protest. They were reported to have used metal rods, electric batons, and other instruments of violence, injuring and arresting many Tibetans.

The protest was reported to have been provoked after Chinese police doused out the flames and kept beating severely a 21-year-old monk of the local Kirti Monastery who had staged a lone protest and then set himself up in flames. Local Tibetans were reported to have rushed to the scene in an attempt to protect the monk, who was named as Phuntsog, and to prevent the Chinese from taking him away in a police van. A large crowd of Tibetans soon formed and they took the monk to his monastery.

Taken to a hospital later on, the authorities were reported to have demanded police clearance for treatment. But the monk was reported to have succumbed to his injuries from the burning and police beating about 10 hours after the self-immolation incident. 

The incident was reported to have taken place around 4pm and some 1,000 angry Tibetans then gathered in the county market and staged a protest march against the Chinese government. The march had continued for about a mile, with the Tibetans shouting slogans against the Chinese government, when paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) troops arrived from neighbouring areas to help break up the peaceful rally with brutal force. 

Immediate reports say hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, had been arrested and many were injured. The monastery was said to be surrounded by Chinese troops, phone and internet lines to the area disconnected and the Ngaba county cut off.

Some 1,500 monks of Kiri Monastery were said to have prepared to stage a protest march to demand the release of the detained monks, but were dissuaded by a crowd of some 300 laypeople who had collected at the monastery. 

It was on Mar 16, 2008 that the PAPF used live ammunition to break up a large peaceful Tibetan protest in the area led by monks of Kirti Monastery, resulting in at least 10 people being killed on the spot and many others severely injured.

This was the second self-immolation by a Kirti monk after the Mar’08 protests.  On Feb 27, 2009, Tapey, a monk in his mid-twenties, set himself on fire. Chinese police were reported to have opened fire on him as he remained engulfed in flames. The monk survived after hospitalization but his whereabouts remain unknown.

Thousands attend Ngaba monk's cremation amid hightened security

Phayul[Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:50]
By Kalsang Rinchen

Phuntsok, Phayul/file/personal
Phuntsok, Phayul/file/personal
Dharamsala, March 19 – Tension ran high Friday as thousands of Tibetan residents of Amdo Ngaba paid their last respects to Phuntsok, a 20 year old monk of Kirti monastery who died after he set himself ablaze on Wednesday, marking the third year since deadly crackdown on protesters in Ngaba on March 16, 2008.

The local Chinese authorities handed over Phuntsok’s body to his family around 5PM (Beijing time) on Thursday and demanded that the body be cremated immediately that day. However, on assurance of the monastery administration the authorities extended the deadline for cremation till Friday. The Tibetan astrological calculations for Phuntsok had shown March 19 (15th day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar) as the actual cremation date.

On Thursday night, monks of Ngaba Kirti monastery held prayers for Phuntsok in front of his monastic quarter even as armed Chinese security forces kept constant watch on the monastery.

At 8.30 AM on Friday, Phuntsok’s classmates brought out his body draped in Khatas (Tibetan traditional scarf) from the moratorium to a waiting van. Thousands of Tibetans including monks, nuns, men and women said prayers as they walked behind the vehicle carrying Phuntsok in his last journey.

Several policemen and soldiers in civilian dresses had mingled in the public during the funeral procession while armed soldiers patrolled along the road leading to Rebhung Crematorium, 3 miles north of the Ngaba Kirti monastery. 

Dharamsala holds solidarity march for Tibet monk protester

Phayul[Thursday, March 17, 2011 21:15]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, March 16: Hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, and sympathisers on Thursday took part in street demonstrations in solidarity with a Tibetan monk protester who burned himself to death in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County in Tibet’s Amdo province.

Following a peaceful candle light vigil organized by five major Tibetan organizations based here in Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet’s government in exile in north India, the protesters later gathered at the main Tibetan temple here and shouted slogans calling for justice and freedom in Tibet.

The monk identified as Phuntsok, aged in his early 20s, from the Kirti Monastery in Amdo Ngaba set himself ablaze on Wednesday after staging, what sources describe as a solo protest against Chinese rule over Tibet.

Enraged by the incident, sources say hundreds of Tibetans in the area later held protests against Chinese authorities.

Sources say Phuntsok staged the protest calling for the return of Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans, to commemorate the third anniversary of the March 2008 protest that left many dead in the area following a bloody crackdown by Chinese military.

President of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), one of the organisers of today’s protest, Mr Tsewang Rigzin declared Phuntsok “a Martyr, who had made supreme sacrifice for the cause of Tibet and for the people of Tibet”.

“Phuntsok’s selfless action for Tibet and its people once again sends a fresh reminder that Tibetans will never give up their resistance against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet,” Mr Tsewang Rigzin said, addressing a huge gathering of Tibetans at the courtyard of the main Tibetan temple here.

The five organisations also issued a joint statement expressing solidarity with Phuntsok and condemning the ongoing “inhumane treatment of the Tibetan people” by the Chinese Communist government in Tibet.

The organisations also urged Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world to inform international rights groups and relevant authorities about the incident to prevent violent suppressions by the Chinese government in the area.

China's state news agency has said Phuntsok died after protesters prevented him getting hospital treatment.

Monks from Kirti Monastery, based here in Dharamsala, who claim to have close contacts inside Tibet, however, say the Chinese government, as usual, is deliberately trying to propagate wrong information about the incident.

Tibetans, having sources in Tibet, say Chinese police put out the flames, then beat Phuntsok that led to his subsequent death on Thursday morning.

This is believed to be the second self-immolation by a Kirti Monastery monk.

In February 2009, Tapey, a monk in his mid-twenties from Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery, set himself on fire to protest against a ban by Chinese government prohibiting the monks of the monastery from observing a major Tibetan new year prayer festival.

Reports at the time confirmed that Tapey was shot at by Chinese police after he set himself alight. He, however, survived and was later taken to police custody. But his whereabouts remain unknown as no one has seen or heard about him since then.

Monk set himself ablaze, 7 Kirti monks released, several still held

Phayul[Thursday, March 17, 2011 16:29]
By Kalsang Rinchen

Phuntsok set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. He succumbed to his injuries at 3AM (Beijing time) on March 17, 2011
Phuntsok set himself ablaze on March 16, 2011, exactly 3 years after bloody crackdown on Tibetans of Ngaba on March 16, 2008. He succumbed to his injuries at 3AM (Beijing time) on March 17, 2011
Dharamsala, March 17 – Sources have confirmed the passing away of Phuntsok, the Tibetan monk of Ngaba Kirti monastery who set himself ablaze yesterday. Phuntsok breathed his last around 3AM (Beijing time) Thursday at a hospital. The hospital authorities refused to see Phuntsok without approval from the local Chinese authorities compelling the Tibetans to submit to the Chinese authorities in trying to save Phuntsok’s life.

At the time of this report going online, Phuntsok’s body has still not been handed over to his family. The authorities have told the family that an important government official was to pass through the town Thursday and that the body will be handed over only after the official’s departure, said the source.

Meanwhile, outside the main gate of Ngaba Kirti monastery, nearly 1500 monks were stopped yesterday by around 300 lay Tibetans as the monks were trying to walk towards the town to demand the release of the monks arrested in the aftermath of the self immolation by Phuntsok. The lay Tibetans were concerned about the safety of the monks saying it could be dangerous as it would give an excuse for the authorities to adopt more stringent measures including indiscriminate firing. Later, the monk administrators of the monastery called the local authorities and negotiated the release of the monks. The monks and the lay people were asked to disperse and return to their homes. However, the monks again gathered at the central courtyard inside the monastery saying prayers amid sea of butter lamps until midnight Wednesday.

In the wee hours of Thursday, authorities brought back to the monastery 7 monks of which 4 were arrested yesterday and 3 had been arrested before March 16. However, the source said that the monks say there still are more monks of other monastery and lay people in police custody. The released monks are Tashi (Shitah), Kontse from Yushul, Palden from Yushul, Tashi from Charu, Senge from Choejema, Tentse from Khangsarma and Kunchok Tsultrim.

Authorities have cordoned off the Kirti monastery and blocked all roads leading out from Ngaba county, said the source who added that the internet and telephones lines also seem to have been jammed.

"The crossroads to the monastery (is) blocked by police," an employee at a hotel near the monastery told AFP.

"People are allowed to enter but the monks are not allowed to go out. Yesterday, the stores in this street were all closed," said the man who declined to give his name.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Chair of Bath District Tibet Support Group is interviewed on Radio 2

To mark the Dalai Lama's March 10th Statement 2011 in which he announces his retirement, George Yates (Chair of Bath District Tibet Support Group) is interviewed on Radio 2

Friday 11 March 2011

EU supports UN rapporteur on Tibetan nomads’ rights

(TibetanReview.net, Mar11, 2011) The European Union has on Mar 8 expressed support for the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food’s recommendations to the Chinese authorities, asking it to engage in meaningful consultations with herding communities in Tibet and other parts of the PRC, and expressing concern on the marginalisation of the nomadic herders under the current policy. The occasion was the Special Rapporteur Olivier de Schutter’s preliminary report presented to the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva after his visit to the PRC from Dec 15 to 23.

The report expressed grave concern that “nomadic herders in the western provinces and autonomous regions, especially in Tibet (Xizang) and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Regions … face increasing pressure on their access to land.” It recommended to the Chinese authorities that herders should not, as a result of the measures adopted under the tuimu huancao (removing animals to grow grass) policy, be put in a situation where they have no other options than to sell their herd and resettle.

The report also recommended that China assess the results of its past and current policies by examining all available options, incorporating the knowledge of the nomadic herders of their territories.

In this connection, the report highlighted two significant UN instruments both of which China had ratified: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which prohibits depriving any people from its means of subsistence, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), which acknowledges the importance of indigenous communities as guarantors and protectors of biodiversity.

The council was told by NGO experts about the International development agencies’ concern that Tibetan nomads had been coercively removed, excluded from their rangelands and made to settle in rows of houses in rigid lines from the watershed, with no livelihoods, little compensation and nothing to do but watch television. These concerns had reportedly been expressed at an International Conference on Poverty Reduction and the Important Role for International Cooperation held in 2006 in Sichuan Province, China.

The council’s attention was drawn to media remarks by the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Governor Padma Choling that about 300,000 families involving 1.43 million Tibetan nomads and farmers had already been moved into new or fixed settlement homes while some 185,500 more families faced the same fate by 2013.

The Special Rapporteur was urged to request a follow-up visit to the nomadic and herding communities in the PRC, with affected Tibetan communities, which he had missed in his previous visit, being included in his schedule.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

China Closes Tibet for Foreign Tourists Ahead of 52nd Anniversary

08march2011011Dharamshala: China has closed off Tibet to foreign tourists, according to the state controlled media 'Xinhua', two days before the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising in the Himalayan region. In recent months, hundreds of police and armed Chinese military personnel were also deployed to Tibet's capital of Lhasa and other major cities and towns in Tibet.
The closure was "mainly due to the current cold winter weather, limited accommodation capacity and safety concerns," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Qingli, the regional secretary for the ruling Communist Party, as claiming on Monday. Zhang claimed the suspension was also due to "lots of religious activities" which were planned and said the region was preparing for a "grand ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet".
Thursday is the 52nd anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule on March 10, 1959. The anniversary protest on March 10, 2008 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, escalated into mass protest that left over a hundred people dead after China's deadly military crackdowns on peaceful Tibetan protesters, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Ahead of the anniversary, China has increased the deployment of military forces in Lhasa city, particularly in the Barkhor Square of the ancient Jokhang temple of Tibet, where hugely armed military forces are usually deployed.
China closed all tours to Tibet following the 2008 rioting and has suspended foreign tours at least twice since then. Foreign tourists need a special permit in addition to a Chinese visa and they must register with a travel agency, while the region has always been closed to foreign journalists except for government-run tours.
Thursday is also the third anniversary of mass Tibetan peaceful demonstrations in all parts of Tibet. Some travel agencies have told AFP that overseas visitors won't be allowed into the heavily restricted region until April.
Foreign tourists were banned from traveling to the Himalayan region for more than a year after the peaceful demonstrations in March 2008, which left more than 220 dead and thousands of others missing, imprisoned and sentenced after deadly crackdowns by the Chinese armed forces.
Human rights groups have accused Chinese authorities of killing anti-government protesters during the brutal crackdown. The communist regime however has denied that violence was used on the Tibetan population during the failed uprising.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Tibetan PM calls for non violent response to China’s provocation

See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12575470

Asia News[Thursday, March 03, 2011 18:00]
Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibetan government in exile, calls on Tibetans not to fall into the trap of the recent Chinese slander against the Dalai Lama, but to continue to assert their identity in a non-violent way. The Jasmine revolt: China is ready to crush any protests with violence.

Dharamsala - "There is nothing new, the position of China against the Dalai Lama is always the same." Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan government in exile, said in exclusive interview with AsiaNews commenting on statements by Jia Qinglin, a prominent member of the Chinese Communist Politburo, who on February 25 urged China to "renewed efforts against ' influence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet.

In this file photo, Tibetan PM Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche addresses during a public function in Dharamsala, India. Rinpoche, who became the first directly elected Tibetan prime minister in 2001 and again re-elected for the second consecutive time in 2006, will complete his office term later this year. (Photo: Phayul.com/file)
In this file photo, Tibetan PM Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche addresses during a public function in Dharamsala, India. Rinpoche, who became the first directly elected Tibetan prime minister in 2001 and again re-elected for the second consecutive time in 2006, will complete his office term later this year. (Photo: Phayul.com/file)
Jia believes the Dalai Lama is directly responsible and fomenter of protests in Tibet against Chinese rule. He also stated that "the Dalai Lama’s clique has to be stopped before it can do more damage." "It is necessary to improve the lives of Tibetans and make it a safer region" (Read: For the good of Tibet, the Dalai Lama must be crushed).

For Rinpoche, "it is just a repetition of the statements of Chinese leaders against the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in exile since 1959, Nobel Peace Prize winner, but still considered by Beijing a dangerous terrorist instigator of unrest.

"This statement - continued Rinpoche - reflects the insecurity of the Chinese leadership towards the growing status of the Dalai Lama in global society and among Tibetans. His spiritual leadership is increasingly strong in the heart of every Tibetan, despite Beijing’s decades long campaign to denigrate and diminish his influence. "

"Chinese leaders are afraid of the peace movements of the Dalai Lama around the world. Moreover, the protests in Arab countries are causing anxiety among the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), so such comments are ridiculous, devoid of value and importance. "

"I'm sure this statement aimed to provoke [Tibetans], because there were no other reasons for a similar comment. In the end it might have been intended to provoke and in a sense distract attention from the growing protests against the repressive regime in China”.

"However, the younger Tibetan generations are mature and wise, I do not think they will react to provocation. The younger generation living in Tibet is the most convinced of the non-violent approach and compromise of the Dalai Lama, compared to other Tibetans. I have full confidence in the young generation. They are mature and committed and will not do anything to harm the cause. "

On the Internet there are anonymous calls to take to the streets March 6 to protest against the government, as in the Jasmine Revolution.

"The street protests, - says Rinpoche - are part of the history of the CCP. As in 1989 for the Tiananmen Square protests: Tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, including entire families, occupied public buildings and empty land and created an impromptu sit-in at the foot of power and in the shadow of important monuments " .

"In 2008 there were protests in all Tibetan areas. In 2009, Xinjiang's Uighurs protested. "

"In every part of China, there are small protests, but it will take time for large demonstrations, because the forces of repression would undermine any strong protest and not allow people to meet. The CCP does not respect human life and will not hesitate to use force, power and brutality to prevent protests and to crush any demonstration and uprising”.

Tibetans persecuted for banned songs in latest strike hard campaign

(TibetanReview.net, Feb27, 2011)  More than 20 young Tibetans had been rounded up for downloading songs deemed to be “reactionary” during  a, winter “Strike Hard” campaign in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), reported Radio Free Asia online (RFA, Washington) Feb 25. The banned songs were reported to include those titled as “Voice of Unity,” “My Lama,” “I Miss the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars”.

The lyrics of the songs are said to only contain themes of unity among Tibetans and are not direct expressions of protest against the Chinese government in any way.

Anyone found having any of these songs on, for example, his or her mobile phone, is detained, jailed from 10 to 15 days, heavily fined, and even brutally beaten, the report cited a Tibetan man named Tenzin as saying. “They confiscate mobile phones from young Tibetans and open them, and if they hear songs sung by singers like Kunga in Tibet, or by singers in exile, they detain them,” he was quoted as saying.

The report quoted another caller from TAR as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity, “Yesterday, I went to a restaurant and heard one man ask another, ‘Where have you been?’ to be answered by his friend, ‘I was in Drapchi prison for 15 days for possessing banned songs’.”

Fresh graduates from police academies were reported to have been deployed to round up Tibetans possessing these songs, with their future prospect for being hired connected to doing this job well.

Other further tightening of control measures in the TAR were reported to include targeting Tibetans who come from Kham and Amdo (which China had broken up and constituted or merged into Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China) and checking to see if they have permits to stay in Lhasa.

China has been carrying out a winter strike hard campaign in the TAR every year, continuing it up to Mar 10, the anniversary of the Tibetan national Uprising Day of 1959. The controls have been especially tightened after the Mar’08 protests in Lhasa which soon spread across the Tibetan Plateau.

China to expel foreign journalists who cover protests

(TibetanReview.net, Mar04, 2011)  China warned foreign journalists Mar 2 that they should obey restrictions on covering proposed jasmine rallies called by an online protest campaign or face possible loss of their permission to work in the country. The AFP and other news services Mar 2 and 3 said police in Beijing had requested meetings with foreign journalists in recent days, and had called in more than a dozen reporters on Mar 2 and 3 to inform them about the new restrictions.

The report cited police as having told the reporters that failure to comply with the restrictions on reporting at proposed rally locations could impact future government approval for them to work in the country. AP Mar 3 cited the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China as saying in a statement that some journalists had reported having been accused by police "of trying to help stir up a revolution, disrupt harmony in China and simply cause trouble."

And the www.csmonitor.com Mar 3 cited the Chinese government as having threatened foreign correspondents that their visas would be revoked if they continued to try to report on demonstrations held as part of a Chinese “Jasmine Revolution”. Likewise, www.voanews.com Mar 3 noticed that China was changing how foreign journalist could work in the country, with reporters being warned they risked expulsion if they tried to cover pro-democracy rallies.

The report said foreign journalists had been given only vague instructions on how to obtain permission to report at demonstration sites in Beijing. It added that they had been told to apply for approval with police, but some had been refused permission even after applying, or told to submit further documentation.

It added that in Shanghai, reporters had been told outright they could not report in the area near the Peace Cinema – the city's "Jasmine" site. In Beijing, several foreign journalists, including from the AFP, were said to have also reported attacks on their personal email accounts.

Asked to explain the police actions, foreign ministry spokeswoman Ms Jiang Yu was reported to have told journalists Mar 1 they must "cooperate" with police and follow the rules. "Foreign journalists should respect and abide by China's laws and regulations... Beijing is a very big city with a large population. It is important to maintain normal order," Jiang was quoted as saying.

Like many other international news services, the www.csmonitor.com report said the new threats against foreign reporters, including “being arrested or detained until the visa or work permit is canceled”, appeared to mark a significant step back from the liberalized reporting regulations introduced four years ago, which specified that “to interview organizations or individuals in China, foreign journalists need only to obtain their prior consent.”

Reuters Mar 3 noted that protests that had toppled authoritarian Arab governments had reinforced Chinese leaders' vigilance about defending one-party control, a priority since the Communist Party crushed pro-democracy protests in June 1989. It added that those official anxieties were sure to multiply as President Hu Jintao prepared to hand power to a successor in late 2012.

The report said China was also locking down droves of people it feared could stir unrest during the annual parliament session beginning Mar 5.

UK groups urge Cameron for robust approach on human rights

Phayul[Friday, March 04, 2011 07:35]
By Kalsang Rinchen

Bangalore, March 3 - Thirteen organizations based in the United Kingdom have issued a joint statement on the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue held on January 13 – 14. The organizations which include 6 Tibet related groups called for the UK government to review ways in which the dialogue can meaningfully make progress and sought the UK government’s attention to “deep-seated concerns held on the 19th round of annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.

While lauding the UK government’s “very robust” approach to the recent uprisings in Egypt and Libya, Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society, one of the 13 signatories to the statement, said the UK government must not forget to scrutinize China’s human rights record and its adherence to internationally accepted human rights norms and its upholding of the rule of law.

The rights groups said that the annual human rights dialogues have become an all-too familiar and empty ritual that ultimately are not resulting in positive change on the ground. “Worse, they can even be counter-productive in that they allow the Chinese government to claim an “achievement” on human rights when in fact no progress has been made,” the statement said.

The groups said that the human rights situation in China and Tibet has actually deteriorated after a generation of economic development and numerous rounds of similar human rights dialogues with countries including the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, as well as with the EU.

“We support engagement with China, but believe that it is time for a new and more robust approach together with other dialogue partners based on achieving real, short-term goals.”

Despite millions of pounds of assistance to promote ‘rule of law’ in China, the Chinese government has engaged in a systematic attack on the rule of law and civil society by developing the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, intensifying religious repression particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang, and characterizing as “criminals” two prominent Nobel Peace Prize winners, the Dalai Lama and Liu Xiaobo, the groups further said in the statement.

The groups recommended the government of UK hold transparent dialogue saying opacity in dialogue processes has enabled the Chinese authorities to misrepresent the process and to undermine essential follow-up of discussions that took place behind closed doors. “The dialogue should involve participation with expert NGOs and representatives from civil society and, ideally, also with representatives of the Tibetan and Uyghur communities in exile,” they wrote.

The groups welcomed the UK government’s affirmation of the importance of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government but expressed disappointment at the Prime Minister David Cameron’s failure to strongly raise the coalition government’s position on the issue during his visit to China on 8-11 November 2010.