Tuesday 30 August 2011

Car Boot Sales at Lacock,

We have done 2 car boot sales in the last month (August) at Lacock in Wiltshire which raised a total of £109.  There was also a lot of interest with the stall and we took several donations.  Our thanks to Claudia who was the driving force that made it happen.

Coming up is a Stall in Bath outside the  Abbey on Saturday 10th  September.

We are also organising a tea party in November.  Watch this space.


Wednesday 3 August 2011

ICT Prisoner File

This document accompanies the list of prisoners  detailed in ICT’s latest prisoner list, which is updated regularly. The prisoner list at  http://www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Prisoner_File_and_Woeser_tribute_041709.pdf includes only Tibetans detained after March 2008, but the document below includes cases of Tibetans sentenced before then. ICT has been able to identify more than 600 people who have been detained since protests began across the Tibetan plateau on March 10, 2008. We believe that some of those Tibetans have since been released, usually after undergoing extremely brutal treatment while in detention. The list below provides more detail on individuals named on the full prisoner list.
There are many hundreds of names we have not been able to confirm due to the Chinese authorities’ efforts to block information flow. ICT’s prisoner list includes names in Chinese and will be updated to include Tibetan names and further information as it becomes available. Prisoners serving sentences imposed after March 2008

Sangye Lhamo (F), nun, 26
Tsewang Kando (F), nun, 38
Yeshi Lhadon (F), nun, 24
- All from a related case in Kardze county

Details: Sangye Lhamo, a 26-year-old nun from Serchuteng township, Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) county, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture  (TAP), Sichuan province, was detained on May 28, 2008 along with two other nuns from Dragkar nunnery in Kardze, Tsewang Kando, 38, also from Serchuteng township, and Yeshi Lhadon, 24, from Tsozhi village, Kardze county. The three 2 were detained following a peaceful demonstration in the town market square where they distributed leaflets. The three nuns are currently being held in Kardze town and have been denied family visitation, according to recent reports received from relatives. An image of Sangye Lhamo is available and can be viewed on p. 64 of ICT’s report, Tibet at a Turning Point: www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Tibet_at_a_Turning_Point.pdf. An image of Yeshi Lhadon can be viewed on p. 118 of the same report.

Imprisonment of a master printer in his eighties: Paljor Norbu
Eighty-one-year old Paljor Norbu, pictured, who ran a family printing business in Lhasa, was tried in secret in November 2008 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Norbu, was taken by the police from his home in Lhasa on October 31, 2008, possibly on suspicion that he had printed "prohibited material," including the banned Tibetan flag. During his detention, judicial authorities refused to inform his relatives that he was being detained, or to reveal the charges against him. His current whereabouts are unknown. Paljor Norbu is a renowned master printer, and his family printing business in the Barkhor had printed  and published Buddhist texts for monasteries for some generations.  He used both modern and traditional woodblock printing techniques in his workshop, which employed several dozen workers. In addition to religious texts, the shop printed prayer flags, folk reproductions, books, leaflets, and traditional literature. The business has now been shut down by the Public Security Bureau  (PSB), which also took many of the wooden printing blocks. This indicates that he is not accused of involvement in any protests from March 10 onwards in Lhasa, but possibly in providing publications. Paljor Norbu is known to be a “very modest, quiet person.” He is widely considered as an elder by other printers in Lhasa, and so highly respected. According to High Peaks Pure Earth, before 1959, he traveled to various important monasteries such as Tashilhunpo, seat of the Panchen
Lama, and Narthang in order to supervise printing of Buddhist texts. In Narthang, he supervised the printing of one set of the 224-volumes of the famous Narthang Tengyur (Snar thang Bstan ’gyur), an order from the Fifth Jamyang Shepa (1916-1947), the famous head of Labrang Monastery and book collector. It took him ten trips from Lhasa to Narthang to supervise the process.

Human Rights Watch said that Norbu was not granted even the minimal rights that are supposed to be provided under Chinese criminal procedures. Violations included the failure to notify his family of his formal arrest or of the trial date; the refusal to reveal where he was detained; the failure to allow him defense representation of his choice in court; the failure to communicate the full verdict of the trial; and, the refusal to inform the family of his current whereabouts and of where he will serve his prison term.

Jigme Guri, monk, 42
Senior monk Jigme Gyatso (or Gyuri), whose account of a period in detention following the March protests in his monastery, Labrang (Chinese: Xiahe) was videoed and uploaded on YouTube, was seized by armed police on November 4 last year and is being held in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. There are fears for his welfare, particularly as he was beaten unconscious during a 42-day period of imprisonment starting from March 22 last year.  Jigme Guri (also known under the honorifics 'Akhu' Jigme and Lama Jigme), deputy director of his monastery's 'Democratic Management Committee' and Director of Labrang's Vocational
School, was taken from his monk's quarters at Labrang on November 4, 2008 by around 70 police. This is Jigme Guri's third detention. Jigme Guri gave an authoritative account of his earlier detention on a video in which he shows his face and gives his full identity. Jigme Guri had not taken part in the protests at Labrang on March 14 and 15, but the authorities suspected him of  being a ring-leader. In a video account later posted onto YouTube, which is now subtitled in English, Jigme described how on March 22, while he was waiting on the street near his monastery for his shoes to be mended, he was dragged into a white van by four uniformed guards. He was taken to a guest-house run by local paramilitary police near Labrang, in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) TAP, Gansu province. Jigme's account of his ordeal was broadcast on Voice of America after they obtained a copy of the video, and is available as an English transcript at:
http://www.highpeakspureearth.com/2008/09/voa-video-testimony-of-labrang-monk.html.  Jigme’s testimony included details on prison conditions for monks from Labrang monastery that protested in front of a delegation of foreign journalists on April 10, 2008: “Monks who spoke to some reporters were beaten with batons and had their legs broken; on some, they used electric batons on their heads and in their mouths - the electric baton affected their brains and some have become disabled... driven to a type of insanity.”
After the video was released, Jigme went into hiding. It was only when he returned to Labrang that he was again detained from his monk’s quarters on November 4, 2008. A source told the London Times: “We don’t believe they gave any reason for his arrest. They came at lunchtime when most of the monks were in their rooms and there were fewer people around.”

Notes on protests, arrests in Tibet

(TibetanReview.net, Jul21, 2011) A monk named Dorgay, aged 22, was arrested Jul 6 from Zhabten Monastery in Dekyi Township of Nagchu County, Tibet, after he tied Tibetan ceremonial scarves on trees, electric poles and everywhere else in the country, traveling in his car loaded with 1,500 to 2000 scarves. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Dharamsala, said Jul, 16 the monk carried out the action to mark the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday.
The monk’s whereabouts remain unknown, as is the case with a schoolboy relative of his who accompanied him in his car and was also arrested.
* * *
Two girls – Tashi Palmo, 16, and Pema Yangzom, 19 – both students at the Kardze Middle School and belonging to Norzin village in Kardze County of Sichuan Province were in critical conditions after they were severely beaten by Chinese police for staging a protest in the county market on Jul 12. The girls were reported to have shouted for Tibet’s independence and the Dalai Lama’s return.
Citing Lobsang Dhondup, a monk at Sera Je’s Tehor Khangtsen in the Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe, Karnataka state, India, Phayul.com said Jul 18 the beating was witnessed by local Tibetans and that the critically maimed girls were denied medical attention.
Ngawang Phuntsok, 34, was severely beaten and arrested with several other Tibetans after they staged a protest and shouted slogans against Chine rule in the main Kardze town in Sichuan Province on Jul 15, reported the exile Tibetan administration-run Tibet.net Jul 20.
The report also said that on Jul 10, – Samphel Dhondup, 23; Lobsang Phuntsok, 17; Lobsang Lhundup and a fourth Tibetan youth were severely beaten and arrested as they started a protest in the Karze same market area.
* * *
Ngawang Phuntsok, 34, was severely beaten and arrested with several other Tibetans after they staged a protest and shouted slogans against Chinese rule in the main Kardze town in Sichuan Province on Jul 15, reported the exile Tibetan administration-run Tibet.net Jul 20.
The report also said that on Jul 10, Samphel Dhondup, 23; Lobsang Phuntsok, 17; Lobsang Lhundup and a fourth Tibetan youth were severely beaten and arrested as they staged a protest in the same market area.

Visiting Chinese VP warns Tibet’s monks against separatism

(TibetanReview.net, Jul22, 2011) Visiting Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) for celebrations marking its 60th annexation anniversary, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping on Jul 20 told a carefully selected and controlled crowd of more than 100 monks, as well as “representatives from the religious circle”, at Jokhang temple in Lhasa to "stay clear from" separatist forces. Calling Tibet an inalienable part of China since ancient times, he lauded the people from the religious circle for having helped maintain social stability, national integrity and ethnic unity, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jul 20.
"The Party and the government will not forget your positive contributions," Xi was quoted as saying, urging them to carry on the patriotic spirit, stay in line with the Party and the government, and strive for Tibet's development and the improvement of the people's living standards.

The report noted that the temple was located near Lhasa's downtown streets which were hit hardest by the deadly riots on Mar 14, 2008. It added that the involvement of monks in the alleged violence had prompted the authorities to launch a year-long legal education campaign in the TAR’s 505 monasteries to raise the legal awareness of monks and nuns and dissuade them from being duped by separatist forces and ensure the normal practice of Buddhism.

A couple of weeks after the demonstrations in Lhasa, a group of monks at the Jokhang temple staged a brief protest in front of visiting foreign reporters, expressing support for the Dalai Lama. They shouted down a Chinese official who was briefing the journalists on the recent unrest, and said: "We want the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, we want to be free," AFP Jul 20 quoted one of the journalists as having said at the time.

The Xinhua report said the Jokhang holds important Buddhist events, such as the selection for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, referring to the Nov 1995 selection of the Chinese government dictated Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu.

The more than 1,300-year-old Jokhang Temple houses a life-sized statue of Buddha Shakyamuni as a 12-year-old, brought to Tibet by the Tang princess Wencheng when she was given away in marriage to Tibet’s powerful 7th century king Songtsen Gampo.

Popular resentment forces China appointed Panchen to cancel visit

Phayul[Saturday, July 30, 2011 18:50]
Widespread resentment from local Tibetans resulted in the cancellation of a long-planned trip by Gyaltsen (Ch. Gyaincain) Norbu, the China appointed 11th Panchen Lama to the Amdo region of Tibet this month, reports confirm.

Threats of pay-cuts and extermination from jobs failed to deter local Tibetan officials from complying with Chinese government decree to prepare a grand welcome for the 21-year old Gyaltsen Norbu.

“Fake” Panchen, a term popularly used to describe the boy handpicked by the Chinese government was scheduled to visit the Labrang monastery in Sangchu county amidst tight security. Over a thousand Chinese police and security forces, including plainclothes police, were reportedly stationed around the monastery as preparatory measures.

Citing sources in the region, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that Tibetan laypeople and monks at the monastery were unhappy when they heard about the proposed visit.

“For now, because of widespread discontent among the local Tibetans—both laypeople and the monks at Labrang—preparations appear to have been suspended,” RFA quoted a Tibetan man from Labrang as saying.

The report said that Tibetan staff at the local government offices refused to cooperate during the preparations for the visit even after strict warnings from the Chinese authorities.

“Chinese authorities ordered Tibetan staff at the Sangchu county offices to be ready to welcome him joyously, and offer scarves and prostrations," the report quoted the source in Labrang.

"Many were unwilling to do this, and authorities threatened to cut their salaries or even fire them if they refused to attend.”

This is not the first time when the vice president of China's state-run Buddhist Association had faced popular boycott by Tibetans. A similar situation of mass public boycott was reported a few years ago when the Chinese government brought Gyaltsen Norbu to Labrang.

China appointed Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995 after His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised Gendun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year old boy from Lhari, Tibet as the 11th reincarnation in the Panchen Lama lineage.

Gendun Choekyi Nyima and his family were arrested shortly and disappeared. Since then China has refused to acknowledge their whereabouts.

Bold report by Beijing scholars reveals breakdown of China’s Tibet policy

From International Campaign For Tibet

Report reflects demands for greater state and Party accountability

A bold and remarkable new report by a group of Chinese scholars in Beijing challenges the official position that the Dalai Lama “incited” the protests that broke out in Tibet in March 2008, and outlines key failings in the policy of the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Tibet. The report, which is translated into English by ICT below, is the first such analysis from inside China and comes at a time of crackdown in Tibet when the PRC government is taking an increasingly hardline position against the Dalai Lama.
Until now, the report which was posted online on May 12, 2009, has appeared only online in Chinese and it is unlikely to be disseminated publicly in China. It is the result of a month-long investigation by a Beijing-based lawyers’ organization and thinktank called Gongmeng (Open Constitution Initiative). The report’s authors, several of whom attended the prestigious Beijing University Law School, conclude that China’s strategies to ensure ‘stability’ in Tibet have failed, and that China’s propaganda offensive has created divisions and further exacerbated tensions.
Lodi Gyari Gyaltsen, Special Envoy for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said, “It is gratifying that a group of Chinese academics have themselves taken up the responsibility to conduct an independent study of the circumstances that led to the spring 2008 demonstrations across Tibet. We hope that other progressive voices, including those within the PRC government, will support them and their findings, and help us find real solutions for Tibet.”
Since protests against Chinese rule broke out across the Tibetan plateau last March, state repression has been dramatically stepped up and the Chinese government has hardened its position on Tibet and the Dalai Lama, saying that the protests were planned and instigated by “hostile foreign forces” and the “Dalai clique.” The Open Constitution Initiative report, based on fieldwork conducted by scholars who traveled to Lhasa and a Tibetan region of Gansu province, is critical of this claim and appears to be directly aimed at policy-makers, recommending alternative and ground-breaking approaches. 
The authors of the report state: “Even though research was carried out in the field for only a month, we deeply sensed the popular discontent and anger behind the incidents [of the spring 2008 protests], and the complexity of their social roots… An important perspective for interpreting the 3.14 incident [March 14, 2008, when protesting turned to violence in Lhasa] is that it was reaction made under stress by a society and people to the various changes that have been taking place in their lives over the past few decades. The notion that appears impossible to understand is the implication that reasonable demands were being vented, and this is precisely what we need to understand and reflect upon.”
Tibetan scholar Tseten Wangchuk, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Virginia in the US, said: “The report is significant because it points out specific problems in China’s Tibet policy for the first time in China, representing a major challenge to the state as it continues its repressive policies in Tibet. It is also a significant indicator of progressive views within China - these scholars are not alone. While this is the first time that an entire investigation on the causes of the protests has been produced and disseminated online, these views reflect other criticism circulating in China about Tibet policy. These views are going to become harder for the government to ignore.”
The authors, who spoke to numerous Tibetans and Chinese before completing the report, quote Baba Phuntso Wangye, a key figure in Sino-Tibetan relations known for founding the Tibetan Communist Party and who in later years wrote directly to Hu Jintao to urge dialogue with the Dalai Lama, as saying: “They [government officials] take every opportunity to play the splittism card. They are unable to admit their mistakes and instead put all of their effort into shifting accountability onto ‘hostile foreign forces’.”
The authors cite as a contributing factor to the protests that began in March 2008 the high levels of marginalization among Tibetans as a result of Chinese economic policies, saying: “From the level of actual benefits, the current rapid process of modernization has not given the ordinary Tibetan people any greater developmental benefits; indeed, they are becoming increasingly marginalized.” The report also refers to deepening rural-urban inequality in Tibetan areas, and notes the government policy of not interfering with the numbers of Chinese migrants flooding into Tibetan cities, and the undermining of the Tibetan language leading to disempowerment of Tibetans.
The report notes that in Lhasa, taxi drivers are mainly non-Tibetan, travel agencies are nearly all owned by outsiders, tourist stalls are not owned by Tibetans, and large numbers of Chinese work in businesses and the tourism industry. The scholars relate the impressions of a taxi-driver from the Chinese interior in Lhasa, who said: “When the land you’re accustomed to living in, and the land of the culture you identify with, when the lifestyle and religiosity is suddenly changed into a ‘modern city’ that you no longer recognize; when you can no longer find work in your own land, and feel the unfairness of lack of opportunity, and when you realize that your core value systems are under attack, then the Tibetan people’s panic and sense of crisis is not difficult to understand.”
Speaking about the lawyers’ motivations for the report, legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative, was quoted by Time magazine as saying: “We want to help society, and help build rule of law. We want to be objective. On questions like Tibet, human rights, and so forth, the Chinese government has a standpoint, foreign governments and foreign media have a standpoint. But it’s also important to have an independent look at the problems.” (Time, May 26, 2009). One of China’s top leaders, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's legislature, the National People's Congress, asserted the importance of the official line on Tibet when he told US Speaker Nancy Pelosi on May 27 that of issues to be dealt with in the US-China relationship, Tibet and Taiwan are the two “most important and sensitive”. (Xinhua, May 27, 2009).
The Open Constitution Initiative report is carefully worded, presenting its arguments in Marxist language typical of that seen in much of China’s social sciences, and it frequently quotes phrases and vocabulary used by the Chinese Communist Party leadership. Perhaps exercising the same caution, and possibly based on an intention not to alienate policy-makers, the report portrays the issue of Tibet only as one of governance and policy, without exploring the more politically sensitive issue of the relationship between Tibet and China, nor do they go so far as to use the concept of colonialism to describe the situation in Tibet.
The authors do however refer to “contradictions” inherent in the state’s approach: “…Particularly in the modern era, two problems have faced the social situation in the two Tibetan regions of Amdo and U-Tsang [central Tibet, roughly equivalent to what is now the Tibet Autonomous Region]: one has been a problem with structures of the ruling state’s power systems, or to put it another way, the process of incorporating Tibetan regional culture as a regional society into the politicized structures of the ruling state’s systems; and two, the problem of adapting a society’s internal structures… as of now these problems have still not been properly resolved.”
There is also no discussion of the status of the Dalai Lama in relation to the Tibetan people or his key role in finding a solution to the Tibet question. Loyalty to the Dalai Lama and calls for his return to Tibet have underpinned the overwhelmingly peaceful protests over the past year in Tibet; Tibetans have risked their lives to assert their allegiance to him, as opposed to the Chinese state. There are a number of inconsistencies in the reporting; for instance, the authors state that “Regional ethnic autonomy has generally been realized in the Tibetan region of Amdo, and the Tibetan people have exercised the right to be their own masters,” when much of the report indicates an acknowledgement that the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law has clearly failed to ensure genuine autonomy for Tibetan people within the PRC. A key recommendation of the report is that the government should “increase effective supervision over local power structures in the implementation of regional ethnic autonomy policies”.
The authors make explicit reference to a new “Tibetan aristocracy” of ethnic Tibetan cadres and officials with “low administrative abilities and backward understanding of governance”. The authors note: “’Foreign forces’ and ‘Tibet independence’ are used by many local officials as fig leaves to conceal their mistakes in governance and to repress social discontent.” They blame these local officials for such acts as canceling or postponing important religious festivals in Tibet, although some observers will point out that these actions are consistent with the increasingly aggressive approach of the central authorities to Tibetan religion and culture. This is a politically sensitive issue to raise because in some ‘ethnic minority’ areas of the PRC, including Tibetan areas, the incompetence of local ethnic cadres has been used as a justification for placing more Chinese officials in the area and furthering the assimilation process. Focusing on the failings of local Party cadres could also be a strategic approach by the authors who may be aiming to influence the central government. In their recommendations, the authors clearly assert the need for Tibetans to be involved in local governance, for training and education for Tibetans to be prioritized, and for the proper implementation of the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law.
One of the most important points in the report, which has led to intense debate among Chinese and Tibetan bloggers since it was posted, is the way in which a virulent propaganda campaign has stoked divisions among Chinese and Tibetans. The scholars say: “The ensuing over-propagandizing of “violence” was used to make the 3.14 incident ever larger, which created certain oppositional ethnic sentiments… Such propaganda actions are in the long run detrimental to ethnic unity. The fascination that Han citizens have expressed toward Tibetan culture changed to fear and hatred of the Tibetan masses.”
The authors acknowledge the resurgence of pride in Tibetan cultural identity among many young Tibetans: “In the language of the older people, we’d often hear such vocabulary as ‘cadre’ or ‘commune member’. However, this was not so among the youth, where phrases such as ‘we Tibetans’ or ‘our nationality’ often appeared in their speech.”
Tseten Wangchuk says: “The propaganda offensive after March 14, 2008, became a turning point in Chinese nationalism. It is very challenging to China that Tibetans are searching for their own identity and expressing their views. As China is becoming more powerful, it would seem to follow that Tibetans would be prouder about being Chinese, but that’s not the case they’re becoming more proud of being Tibetan. China’s propaganda is focused on the positive changes, the ‘democratic reform’ that they say China brought to the ‘backward’ Tibetans. The Chinese people are susceptible to this but Tibetans feel it’s an insult it is inflaming prejudice.”
The report concludes with a series of detailed recommendations by the researchers, who advise first and foremost that the Chinese government should “Earnestly listen to the voices of ordinary Tibetans and, on the basis of respecting and protecting each of the Tibetan people’s rights and interests, adjust policy and thinking in Tibetan areas to formulate development policies which are suited to the characteristics of Tibetan areas and which accord with the wishes of the Tibetan people.”

Chinese intellectuals speaking out on Tibet
The Open Constitution Initiative report is representative of a movement among intellectuals in the People’s Republic of China that seeks political space and accountability from the state. Groups like this one include some of China’s most eminent legal scholars and practitioners and represent the trend that has led to the Charter 08 movement and engendered attempts to use the courts to challenge the Communist Party’s and state’s abuses of power. These lawyers take on politically sensitive cases that, for example, included in April 2009 the legal defense of a senior Tibetan Buddhist cleric facing implausible charges of possession of arms and misappropriating state property. (www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/verdict-tibetan-lama-def...). In another case, the mere visit of two such lawyers with a monk who had been detained for six months without charge was enough for police to release him from custody.
The Party has now threatened not to re-register the licenses of some of the most prominent individuals unless they back away from such cases. (“Doomsday for Chinese Human-Rights Lawyers?” By Leslie Hook, Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2009). Others have been beaten and arbitrarily detained by police. One of the most famous of these lawyers, Gao Zhisheng, disappeared in February following months of harassment, and his wife and children have fled to the United States.
Xu Zhiyong and the Open Constitution Initiative, together with other lawyers and rights advocates, has been actively involved in identifying cases to test the new Regulations on Open Government Information (OGI Regulations) that became effective in the PRC on May 1, 2008. This law requires PRC government administrative agencies, subject to certain conditions, to publicize information they have created or obtained in the course of carrying out their duties, and to provide information to members of the public upon request. Given the Party’s agenda of political control, analysts believe it is unlikely that the OGI Regulations will be allowed to provide a platform to challenge the basic political system, but NGOs in China, concerned lawyers and scholars including the Open Constitution Initiative, are still mobilizing the law to push for a more open government. (Human Rights in China report,http://support.savetibet.org/site/www.hrichina.org/public/contents/artic...).
Following the beginning of the protests in Tibet last year, more than 30 leading Chinese intellectuals, including the Chinese writer Wang Lixiong, released a petition that appeared on several websites in Chinese, entitled 'Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation'. The petition, demonstrating great courage among its signatories, strongly urged the Chinese government to "stop the violent suppression" in Tibet, and appealed to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities. It also urged the Chinese government to end the propaganda and news blockade, saying: "The one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity."
The signatories, include Chinese writers Wang Lixiong, Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie, Professor Ding Zilin, of the pressure group Tiananmen Mothers, as well as other scholars, and several lawyers and artists.
The petition states that the language used by the Chinese government to describe the Dalai Lama is not "in keeping with the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government's image," saying: "As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization."
An influential columnist and deputy editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly, Chang Ping, was sacked last year after he wrote an article about how censorship had hindered truthful coverage of the Tibet protests. In an article entitled, ‘How to find the truth about Lhasa’ published in April, 2008, Chang Ping urged his readers to reflect about the lack of press freedom in China, instead of pouring scorn on prejudice in the western media. (http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/05/chang-ping-i-am-ashamed-of-self-cen...). Chang Ping was labeled as a “rumor monger” by a columnist at Beijing Evening News.
The new report by the Open Constitution Initiative is the first investigative report on the protests last year and the Tibet situation, based on fieldwork and analysis. The full text of the report is available in Chinese here:https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df4nrxxq_91ctcf6sck, and the English translation by the International Campaign for Tibet follows.

An investigative report into the social and economic causes of the 3.14 incident in Tibetan areas
Gongmeng Law Research Center

Contributors: Li Kun, Huang Li, Li Xiang
Research: Li Kun, Huang Li, Li Xiang, Wang Hongzhe

House committee says no new Chinese consulates in the U.S.

From International Campaign For Tibet

House committee says no new Chinese consulates in the U.S. until the U.S. gets one in Lhasa, Tibet

A House panel says China cannot build new consulates in the United States until it allows a U.S. consulate in Lhasa, Tibet.  The language was contained in provisions to authorize a U.S. consulate in Lhasa and a Tibet section in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. These were included in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 20, 2011.
"The Committee's action affirms Congress' strong interest, going back more than a decade, for U.S. diplomatic representation in Tibet," said Todd Stein, Director of Government Relations at the International Campaign for Tibet.  "It is a response to and reproach of the Chinese government's effort to seal off Tibet from external scrutiny of its policies."
The provisions, added by the Republican majority on the Committee, are virtually identical to those approved in 2009 when the panel was controlled by Democrats, reflecting the bipartisan interest in this effort.  Further, in 2008, Congress appropriated $5 million for a U.S. consulate in Lhasa and $1 million for a Tibet section at the U.S. embassy.
The legislation directs the State Department to pursue a consulate in Lhasa "to provide services to United States citizens traveling in Tibet and to monitor political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces."  It stipulates that "until such consulate is established, [the Department] shall not permit the establishment in the United States of any additional consulate of the People's Republic of China."
The bill would establish a Tibet Section at the U.S. embassy in Beijing to monitor "political, economic, and social developments inside Tibet ... until such time as a United States consulate is established in Lhasa."
Lhasa remains a top priority for U.S. consulates in the People's Republic of China, as recently reaffirmed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Baer in testimony before the Committee on June 2.  The Chinese government is seeking new consulates in Atlanta and Boston, but has thus far declined the U.S. request for a consulate in Lhasa.  The closest American post to Tibet is Chengdu, Sichuan province, which is farther from Lhasa than U.S. embassies in Nepal and Bangladesh.
"A critical thrust of this effort is the language conditioning any further Chinese consulate in the U.S. on Chinese agreement on the consulate in Lhasa," said Todd Stein.  "We thank Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Howard Berman and Committee Members for recognizing the importance of this leverage," added Stein.
The bill also included other provisions amending the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002:
  • directing the President to coordinate with other countries in multilateral efforts in promoting a negotiated solution on Tibet;
  • giving the National Security Council a role in assisting the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in coordinating U.S. Tibet policy across Executive Branch agencies;
  • authorizing the program providing grants to NGOs that support sustainable development, environmental conservation and cultural preservation on the Tibetan plateau; and
  • calling on the U.S. government to urge the Chinese government to end interference in the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism.