Saturday 8 December 2012

Burning Tibetan calls for independence

Phayul[Saturday, December 08, 2012 18:47]
Tibetan self-immolator Pema Dorjee set himself on fire demanding the Dalai Lama's return and Tibet's independence outside the Shitsang Monastery in Luchu, eastern Tibet on December 8, 2012.
Tibetan self-immolator Pema Dorjee set himself on fire demanding the Dalai Lama's return and Tibet's independence outside the Shitsang Monastery in Luchu, eastern Tibet on December 8, 2012.
In no respite to the wave of fiery protests inside Tibet, a second Tibetan today set himself on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet. 

Pema Dorjee, 23, set himself on fire in the Luchu region of eastern Tibet at around 4:30 pm (local time). A group of exiled Tibetans from the region told Phayul that he succumbed to his injuries at the protest site.

“Martyr Pema Dorjee set himself on fire in front of the main assembly hall of the Shitsang Monastery in Luchu,” the group said. “A large number of Tibetans who were at the Monastery to offer prayers witnessed the self-immolation protest.”

Today, the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar is observed as Gaden Ngamchoe, the day of Je Tsongkhapa's Parinirvana. Tibetans all over, observe this day by offering lamps in monasteries, temples, stupas, and at homes to venerate the mortal departure of Lama Tsongkhapa, a great 14th century Tibetan Buddhist master.

According to Sonam, an exiled Tibetan, Pema Dorjee raised slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s independence.

“Pema Dorjee raised slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, independence of Tibet, unity of Tibetans and for the land of Tibet to be ruled by Tibetans,” Sonam said citing a contact in the region. 

“There are heavy restrictions placed around the monastery as of now,” the same source added.

Pema Dorjee is a native of Chokhor village in Shitsang region of Luchu. His village is located at around a distance of 30kms from the Shitsang Monastery. 

With two self-immolations today, the ongoing wave of fiery protests in Tibet, which began in 2009, has witnessed 94 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.

The exile Tibetan administration maintains that the current situation in Tibet has stemmed from “several decades of Chinese misrule in Tibet” and discontent of the Tibetan people arsing from “political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalisation, and environmental destruction.”

Urging people not to remain “idle bystanders,” the elected head of the Tibetan people Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay recently called for a Global Solidarity Day to be observed on December 10, Human Rights Day.

Sikyong Dr Sangay urged Tibetans and supporters to “light a candle or lamp, observe a minute’s silence, and a say a prayer for all those who have died for the cause of Tibet, and locally organise vigils and rallies."

Tibetan monk passes away in latest self-immolation protest

Phayul[Saturday, December 08, 2012 17:47]
Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Phelgye in an undated photo.
Tibetan self-immolator Kunchok Phelgye in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, December 8: The alarming escalation in self-immolation protests continues in Tibet with another Tibetan setting himself on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

In fresh reports coming out of Tibet, Kunchok Phelgye, a 24-year-old-monk from the Sumdo Monastery in Dzoege region of eastern Tibet passed away in his self-immolation protest today.

The exile base of the Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, in a release, said that Kunchok Phelgye set himself on fire in front of the main assembly hall of the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery at around 5:20 pm (local time).

“Kunchok Phelgye was enveloped in flames and his hands were joined in prayers as he raised slogans for the long life and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled head of Kirti Monastery,” the release said citing sources in the region. “He also raised slogans calling for the return and reunification of Tibetans.”

Kunchok Phelgye succumbed to his injuries at the site of his protest.

Monks of the Monastery surrounded Kunchok Phelgye’s burning body and began to recite the prayer, “Losang Gyalwa Kungi Nyingje Ter…” (usually recited in Kirti Rinpoche’s honour). Later, Kunchok Phelgye’s body was carried to his quarters in the Monastery where hundreds of monks and local Tibetans continue to visit to offer their last respects and prayers.

24-year-old Tibetan monk Kunchok Phelgye's body burns outside the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Dzoege, eastern Tibet after he self-immolated demanding the reunification of Tibetans on December 8, 2012.
24-year-old Tibetan monk Kunchok Phelgye's body burns outside the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Dzoege, eastern Tibet after he self-immolated demanding the reunification of Tibetans on December 8, 2012.
“Right now hundreds of monks are gathered and offering prayers for the deceased,” the release said. "Local Chinese authorities have now placed Taktsang Lhamo Kirti monastery and the surrounding villages under security blockade."

Kunchok Phelgye has nine members in his family. His parents are Kunchok Kyab and Dolma Tso.

Since his early childhood, he was a monk at the Sumdo Monastery and in 2010 joined Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery to continue his Buddhist studies.

In the same Dzoege region, Kunchok Kyab, a 29-year-old father of two, set himself on fire on November 30. He was forcibly taken away by Chinese security personnel, reportedly to a hospital in Barkham, where he passed away on December 1.

The United States this week expressed its “deep concern and sadness” over the “increasing frequency” of self-immolations by Tibetans and blamed China for further exacerbating tensions in the region.

The U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero in a statement issued December 5 accused Chinese authorities of responding to the wave of fiery protests with “measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans.”

“The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China and the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans,” Otero said. “Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those who have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.”

Now, 93 Tibetans have set themselves on fire inside Tibet demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama since the fiery wave of protests began in 2009.

US says China further exacerbating tensions in Tibet

Phayul[Thursday, December 06, 2012 16:54]
The United States government has expressed its “deep concern and sadness” over the “increasing frequency” of self-immolations by Tibetans and blamed China for further exacerbating tensions in the region.

The U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero in a statement issued December 5 accused Chinese authorities of responding to the wave of fiery protests with “measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans.”

“The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China and the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans,” Otero said. “Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those who have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.”

In February 2009, Tabey became the first known Tibetan inside Tibet to set himself on fire protesting China’s rule. Since then 92 Tibetans have self-immolated, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The recent escalation in protests witnessed 28 self-immolations in the month of November and massive protests by thousands of Tibetans, including by school students.

Otero, who also serves as the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights in the Obama Administration noted that senior U.S. officials have directly raised the issue of Tibetan self-immolations with their Chinese government counterparts. 

“The U.S. Government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions,” the statement reads. “These policies include increasingly severe government controls on Tibetan Buddhist religious practice and monastic institutions; education practices that undermine the preservation of Tibetan language; intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of Tibetans, including youth and Tibetan intellectual and cultural leaders; escalating restrictions on news, media and communications; and the use of force against Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights.”

Last week, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, Michael Posner met with family members of three Tibetan self-immolators in Washington D.C. Without revealing the identities of the family members, fearing Chinese retribution, the State Department said that Posner expressed Washington’s “deepest condolences and grave concern” over the critical situation in Tibet.

Otero, who has met the Dalai Lama on several occasions, called on China to engage in dialogue with the Tibetan spiritual leader, while expressing her hope that the “tragic acts of self-immolation end.”

“We call on the Chinese Government to permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution. We call on China’s leaders to allow journalists, diplomats and other observers unrestricted access to China’s Tibetan areas. We call on the Chinese Government to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions.”

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi last month, the Dalai Lama said China’s repressive policies and the unbearable situation in Tibet are forcing Tibetans to set themselves of fire in Tibet.

"The unbearable situation in Tibet is the cause for these unfortunate events. I am very sad about the turn of events. These are symptoms of fear, hard line suppressive policy practiced by China in Tibet. The time has come for China to think more realistically," reporters quoted the 77-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader as saying.

Tibetan writer Dolma Kyab awarded by Chinese writers’ group

Phayul[Wednesday, December 05, 2012 17:24]
Dolma Kyab in an udated photo
Dolma Kyab in an udated photo
A Tibetan writer serving a ten and half year term has been awarded the ‘Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award 2012’ by the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, an official affiliate of International PEN, the global association of writers dedicated to freedom of expression and the defense of writers suffering governmental repression.

Dolma Kyab and WU Yilong were honoured last month on the occasion of PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer; an annual, international day intended to recognise and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information.

Dolma Kyab, 36, a.k.a Lobsang Kelsang Gyatso (pen name) was arrested on March 9, 2005 in Tibet’s capital Lhasa where he was teaching History at a Middle School. 

A passionate writer, he maintained a commentary manuscript written in Chinese titled “Himalaya on Stir,” which was a compilation of 57 chapters written on various topics about democracy, sovereignty of Tibet, Tibet under communism, colonialism, religion and belief etc. He also wrote on the geographical aspects of Tibet touching on sensitive topics about the location and number of
Chinese military camps in Chinese occupied Tibet etc.

He was sentenced to ten and half years in prison and is currently imprisoned at Chushul (Ch: Qushui) Prison in central Tibet. 

Dolma Kyab was born in 1976 in Ari Village, Chilen (Ch: Qilian)County, Tsochang, eastern Tibet.

After completing his schooling in 1995, he joined a Teachers Training Centre and served as a teacher in a Middle School in Chilen County. He later went to a University in Beijing to continue his studies. In 2003, he came to India to learn English and Hindi languages and returned to Tibet in May 2004.

In a letter from prison smuggled out by friends, Dolma Kyab appealed for help from United Nations committees on human rights, saying that he was imprisoned because of the ideas expressed on Tibet in his unpublished manuscript.

The other awardee WU Yilong, 45, is a freelance writer and a prominent human rights activist based in Zhejiang Province.

ICPC while announcing the award, reiterated that freedom of expression, including freedom to write and publish, is "inalienable and fundamental human rights” and named 8 new honorary members, including Tibetan writers Tashi Rabten, Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, Kunga Tseyang, and Gangkye Drubpa Kyab.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that Dolma Kyab’s detention is arbitrary, contravening articles 13, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and falls within category II of the categories applicable to the consideration of cases submitted to the Working Group.

Monday 3 December 2012

£400 Tadra Donation - Nov 2012



Dear Bath District Tibet Support Group,
 
today we received your very generous donation of 494 €. I would like to thank you all in the name of TADRA Project and the 500 TADRA children !!!!

The goal of TADRA Project is to save streetchildren and orphans in Tibet as the chances of survival at sometimes -30C are extremely low. With the help of your donations we are able to offer this children a place in one of our two children villages and change their desperate situation from desolation to hope and happiness.

What better gift could we give this children.


In our villages the children are welcome into a big and loving family of  500 children who all experienced a similar terrible ordeal in their young lifes. They all arrived with terror and pain written all over they sad faces but now thanks to you they won't have to fight for survival anymore, they will sleep in soft beds, receive food, medical attention and lots of love and understanding. Slowly they start to trust again and as a reward we can hear their wonderful laughter. But it doesn't stop there, we help to give them a chance for the future with our own TADRA schools they can visit and we support them up to University. TADRA village will always be their home and we look after them until they can support themselves.

Our TADRA Project is purely voluntarily only the helpers in Tibet receive a salary in accordance with local custom. Even our travels to Tibet are paid privately to make sure that 100% of your donations benefit the children. So once again a big thank you for your donation which will make a huge difference for our children.

I sent you two pictures of one of our children, one before its arrival in the village and the other one year after. No words needed......!

With kind regards

Beate Renz

TADRA-Project Switzerland


Original German

Liebe Bath District Tibet Support Truppe

Heute durften wir von Ihrer Organisation 494 Euro empfangen. Für diese grosszügige Spende möchte ich mich im Namen des TADRA-Projektes und den 500 TADRA-Kindern ganz herzlich bei Ihnen bedanken!

Das TADRA-Projekt hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, den Strassen- und Waisenkindern in Tibet zur Hilfe zu kommen. Bei Temperaturen, die oft unter – 30 Grad C fallen, haben diese Kinder denkbar schlechte Überlebenschancen.
Den härtesten Fällen können wir so einen Platz in einem unserer 2 Kinderdörfer anbieten und damit ihr Leben von Dunkel auf Hell, von Trauer auf Lebensfreude und von Hoffnungslosigkeit auf Zuversicht verändern.
Was kann man einem Kind schöneres und sinnvolleres schenken?

Die Kinder gelangen so in eine grosse, liebe- und verständnisvolle Familie mit 500 Kindern, die denselben steinigen Lebensweg durchlaufen mussten. Sie alle kamen gezeichnet und mit freudlosen Gesichtsausdrücken ins Kinderdorf. Im Dorf mussten sie nicht mehr um die tägliche Nahrung kämpfen, durften in einem warmen Bett schlafen und erhielten Kleidung, medizinische Versorgung und viel Liebe und Verständnis. Langsam öffneten sie sich und fanden Ihr Kinderlachen wieder. Die Hausmütter und all die Geschwister kümmern sich rührend um die Ankömmlinge. Auch für ihre Zukunft wird gesorgt. Sie dürfen in die dorfeigene TADRA-Schule und dem Bildungsweg im besten Fall bis hin zur Universität folgen. Das TADRA-Dorf wird künftig für immer ihr Zuhause sein und wir begleiten sie, bis sie selber für ihren Lebensunterhalt sorgen können.

In unserem kleinen Projekt arbeiten ausnahmslos alle ehrenamtlich. Die Angestellten vor Ort erhalten ein ortsübliches Salär. Wir alle tragen auch sämtliche Kosten, auch für unsere Reisen selber. Somit können
wir Ihnen garantieren, dass 100 % Ihrer Spende den TADRA-Kindern in Tibet zugutekommen wird.

Haben Sie herzlichen Dank für Ihre wertvolle Spende, mit der wir in Tibet sehr viel bewegen können!

Mit herzlichen Grüssen

Beat Renz
TADRA-Projekt – Projektgruppe Schweiz

Saturday 1 December 2012

Concern over Tibetan filmmaker’s well being following murder charges

Phayul[Friday, November 30, 2012 15:09]
By Phuntsok Yangchen 

Tibetan filmmaker Golog Jigme Gyatso in an undated photo. (Phayul file)
Tibetan filmmaker Golog Jigme Gyatso in an undated photo. (Phayul file)
In a strange turn of events which have raised serious concerns over the well being of Golog Jigme Gyatso, a Tibetan filmmaker, Chinese authorities in eastern Tibet have framed murder charges against the missing Tibetan monk.

Jigme was earlier believed to have been detained after he went missing under mysterious circumstances in September. He had assisted imprisoned filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in secretly shooting his documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”.

Speaking to Phayul, Ajam Amchok, a Tibetan living in south India said Chinese officials in Kanlho have made an announcement offering 2,00,000 Chinese Yuan (US$ 32,116) for information on Jigme. 

The same announcement alleges Jigme of murder.

“Such allegations by the Chinese authorities have created strong suspicion among local Tibetans that Jigme could have died in prison after suffering severe torture at the hands of Chinese prison guards,” Ajam said citing sources in the region. “People believe that Chinese authorities are trying to shift blame by framing charges against the Tibetan monk filmmaker.”

It was widely believed that Jigme was rearrested after he went missing while returning back from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to Tsoe in Amdo, Tibet on September 20.

Jigme was first arrested in March 2008 from Labrang Tashi Khyil and was detained for seven months during which he was brutally tortured and beaten. He was rearrested in March 2009, during which he was kept in custody for about 40 days. Since then, he has been rearrested many times.

Jigme had assisted Dhondup Wangchen in secretly shooting his documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind” that shed light on the lives of Tibetans in China in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The film, featuring a series of interviews with Tibetans talking about how China had destroyed the Tibetan culture, violated religious freedom and their undying reverence for the exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was smuggled out of Tibet and later released worldwide.

This month, Dhondup Wangchen was awarded the 2012 International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in recognition of his “courageous reporting” and “risking their lives and liberty to reveal abuses of power and human rights violations.”

He is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for making the film and has been reported in poor health.

Fears over major protests in Barkham

Phayul[Friday, November 30, 2012 20:43]
DHARAMSHALA, November 30: In reports just in, a Tibetan man today set himself on fire in Shagdom region on Ngaba, eastern Tibet in an apparent protest against China’s occupation of Tibet.

The Tibetan man has been identified as Kunchok Kyab, 29, from Akyi region of Zoegey in Ngaba.

According to the exile base of Kirti Monastery in Dharamshala, the situation in the region, at the time of filing this report, is being described as 'very tense' with fears over eruption of major protests in the region.

“At around 9 am (local time) Kunchok Kyab set himself on fire near a gas station in the Shagdom region of Ngaba,” Kirti Monastery said in a release. “Shortly afterwards, Chinese security personnel arrived at the site and bundled him away after dousing the fire.”

“He was taken straight to regional headquarters of Barkham and it is not yet known whether he is dead or alive.”

According to the release, a group of young Tibetans, after seeing Kunchok Kyab being taken away, immediately followed the Chinese police vehicles. The wellbeing and whereabouts of those young Tibetans are also not yet known.

“According to latest reports coming in at 7 pm IST, a large number of local Tibetans have gathered to demand for the return of Kunchok Kyab and the young Tibetans,” Kirti Monastery said. “The crowd is planning to carry out a major protest and the situation has become very tense.”

Kunchok Kyab has two children, a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. 

The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 90 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.

November alone has reported 28 self-immolations and protests by thousands of Tibetans, including by school students in Chabcha and Rebkong

Toll climbs to 89

Phayul[Thursday, November 29, 2012 14:58]
Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Namgyal, 31, who passed away in his fiery protest on November 29, 2012 seen here in an undated photo.
Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Namgyal, 31, who passed away in his fiery protest on November 29, 2012 seen here in an undated photo.
 In fresh reports coming out of Tibet, a Tibetan man set himself on fire today in Luchu region of eastern Tibet in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

Sources have identified the Tibetan as Tsering Namgyal, 31, a father of two, from Zamtsa Lotso Dewa region of Luchu.

“Tsering Namgyal set himself on fire near the local Chinese government office in Luchu earlier today for the cause of Tibet,” Sonam, a Tibetan monk living in south India told Phayul, citing sources in the region. “Tsering Namgyal passed in his fiery protest.”

Further details on the self-immolation protest are not available at the time of filing this report.

The burning body of Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Namgyal
The burning body of Tibetan self-immolator Tsering Namgyal
Tsering Namgyal is survived by his wife Choekyong Tso, their two children, Dorjee Kyi, 7, and Kalsang Dolma, 3, and his parents.

This is the third self-immolation protest in Luchu region in the last ten days. On November 26, Gonpo Tsering, 24, father of three children, all below the age of six, passed away in his fiery protest while raising slogans for Tibet’s freedom, human rights in Tibet, and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. Earlier on November 22, Tamding Kyab, 23, a nomad and former monk, passed away in his self-immolation protest in the same region.

Following the self-immolations, Luchu has been placed under heightened restrictions with the deployment of a large number of Chinese security personnel and armed forces.

89 Tibetans inside Tibet have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009. The recent alarming escalation in the self-immolation protests has now witnessed 27 Tibetans set themselves on fire in the month of November alone.

Speaking to CNN, US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke in an interview broadcast on November 27, said the United States is “very concerned about the situation, the heightened tensions in the Tibetan areas, the deplorable self-immolations and of course just the Chinese policies of the Chinese government at all levels.”

“Preserving the ethnic, religious, linguistic identity of the Tibetan people is a top priority for the U.S. government just as we are very concerned about all human rights issues and we believe that human rights has to be a fundamental part of U.S. foreign policy and we, very much urge the Chinese government publicly and privately to adhere to the universal principles, universal declaration of human rights, which are also part of the Chinese constitution,” Locke said.

In September, Locke had visited two Tibetan monasteries in the Zungchu region of Ngaba in eastern Tibet as part of a broader business trip to the region.