A listing of the recent top news developments in and around Tibet
July 21, 2017


A video message to ICT members from President Matteo Mecacci

ICT President Matteo Mecacci shares updates on ICT’s recent efforts in support of Tibet, exclusively to and for ICT Members!

ICT Chairman Richard Gere meets with Members of Congress on Tibet; Attends observation of the Dalai Lama’s birthday

International Campaign for Tibet Board Chairman Richard Gere visited Washington, D.C. late last month to continue and deepen ICT’s engagement with Members of Congress on Tibet, and to participate in a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday on Capitol Hill jointly organized by ICT and the Office of Tibet.

Joining Richard on the Hill were His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in the Americas, Penpa Tsering; Tsering Tashi of the Office of Tibet; and ICT President Matteo Mecacci, Vice President Bhuchung Tsering, and Director of Tibetan Empowerment & Chinese Engagement Programs Tencho Gyatso.

The reception, which took place with the support and cooperation of Members of Congress on the evening of June 27, celebrated the 82nd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jim McGovern, and Ambassador Keith Harper, former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, addressed a gathering of more than 200 people. The audience included members of Congress, congressional staffers, civil society representatives, members of the Tibetan American community in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as from Charlottesville and Philadelphia, and members of ICT.

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ICT Statement: “Liu Xiaobo’s death an indelible blot in the history of Chinese Communist Party”

Following the tragic death of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was serving an 11-year sentence in China as a political prisoner, ICT issued the following statement:

The International Campaign for Tibet offers our deepest condolences to Liu Xia and her family on the passing away of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo.

In life as well as in death Liu Xiaobo represented the best of what China can be. Unfortunately, by not heeding to domestic and international humanitarian requests to respect the will of Liu Xiaobo to be treated abroad, the Chinese Government continues to clearly show that it does not deserve to be considered as a major world power as it purports to be.

Furthermore, the tragic circumstances of Liu Xiaobo’s death will remain as an indelible blot in the history of China.

The least China can do is to try to redeem itself and be considerate towards the wishes of Liu Xia and her family for their future.

Following Liu Xiaobo’s tragic passing, ICT’s community of compassion came together to urge Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to hold Chinese officials accountable to the internationally accepted standard of human rights so tragedies like this cease forever.

To the more than 1,500 of you who have already joined in this effort, THANK YOU! If you have not yet done so, please join our effort to tell Secretary Tillerson that these unnecessary and tragic situations can no longer be hidden or ignored.

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UNESCO approves controversial World Heritage site in Tibet despite concerns

A UNESCO committee voted to approve a controversial application by the Chinese government to inscribe a vast Tibetan area as a World Heritage site, even though it contravenes the values of the international cultural body. ICT representative Tenzin Choekyi had spoken to the Committee about the dangers and significance of the inscription.

“The Committee ignored the reality that Tibetans – and nomads in particular – are stewards of the landscape whose role is essential to sustaining the wildlife, the long-term health of the ecosystems, and the water resources that China and Asia depend upon.

On July 7, the New York Times published coverage of ICT’s opposition to China’s bid to make the Tibetan Plateau a UNESCO World Heritage site. ICT spoke out against this designation because we believe it will only encourage China’s efforts to displace Tibetan nomads who inhabit the plateau and safeguard its grasslands and wildlife. As a result of pressure from ICT and other groups, the Chinese government has issued a statement that it will “respect the will of local herders.”

We will now seek to hold the relevant international bodies to account in order to rigorously scrutinize the consequences and impact on the ground of this decision,” said Kai Mueller, Executive Director of ICT Germany.

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Tibetan flag flown inside Tibet amid tight security

A Tibetan flag was displayed briefly on July 12, 2017 from a building in Ngaba, indicating a determination to send a message of resistance despite the crackdown in the area.

Security was already tight in Ngaba county town due to a traditional cultural festival being held over the past two days, the first time it has been allowed since protests swept across the area in 2008. At a music concert during the festival, there was a heavy police presence. At least two popular Tibetan singers – one of whom was released recently from prison – were not allowed to participate because they have sung songs supportive of Tibetan religious culture and the Dalai Lama.

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Tibetan student in India self-immolates

A young Tibetan student in India set himself on fire last week in the compound of his university in Varanasi, shouting ‘Victory for Tibet’.

Tenzin Choeying, aged around 20, survived but was badly burnt and is now in hospital, according to Tibetans and other eyewitnesses in Varanasi. One local Tibetan stated that “The doctor cannot guarantee his chances for survival, but he is able to speak,” adding that Choeying said he had burned himself because “there are no rights for Tibetans in Tibet.”

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Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission holds hearing on religious freedom in Tibet

Dr. Tenzin Dorjee (a USCIRF Commissioner), Arjia Rinpoche (the abbot of Kumbum Monastery in Tibet, and Director if the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington Indiana), Nyima Lhamo (the niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche) and Todd Stein (a former ICT staffer and Senior Adviser on Tibet inside the US Department of State) testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission during the hearing, which took place on July 12. ICT itself also submitted a written statement.

ICT’s recommendations included calling for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama and an investigation into Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death, and to strongly encourage dialogue between representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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A Book Reading and Discussion with Author Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

Coming Home to Tibet: A memoir of Love, Loss, and Belonging In this beautifully written memoir, a daughter travels to her mother’s Tibetan homeland and finds both her own deep connections to her heritage and a people trying to maintain its cultural integrity despite Chinese occupation.

Where: ICT, Washington, DC
When: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 5:30pm
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