Tibet Update – May 31, 2019


Video update

A video message to ICT members from ICT’s President Matteo Mecacci

In this update specifically for ICT Members, Matteo shares highlights about recent Tibet-related issues, including the US Ambassador to China’s words of support after his recent visit to Tibet.

Terry Branstad

US ambassador urges China to engage the Dalai Lama in substantive dialogue

Ambassador Terry Branstad's visit to Tibet last week was another show of American support for the Tibetan people. While in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, Branstad called on China to seek a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue, and expressed his concerns about restrictions on religious freedom in Tibet and Chinese restrictions on access.

The International Campaign for Tibet commends Amb. Branstad for reiterating the US’ fundamental positions on Tibet. His statements must now be followed by concrete action.

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Members of the House and Senate push the State Department on Tibet

Almost three dozen House Representatives signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing their deep concern about the well-being of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule. Calling for more action to help Tibet, they say it is “now more urgent than ever that the State Department fully implement current law on Tibet.”

Days earlier, a bipartisan group of US senators sent a letter to US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, expressing their belief that promoting religious freedom must remain a “central pillar” of US foreign policy.

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Dalai Lama

Tibetans gather in Dharamsala to give a long-life offering to the Dalai Lama

Thousands of people packed the Main Temple in Dharamsala, India, earlier this month to offer prayers for the Dalai Lama’s long life. Representatives of Tibet’s various religious traditions and current and former officials in the Central Tibetan Administration were present at the event, which included cultural performances, songs, and prayers.

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Climate Crisis in Tibet – test your knowledge!

Pop quiz: what’s the “Third Pole?”

Take ICT’s quiz to show how much you know about the climate crisis in Tibet – and how we can help stop what China’s doing to the environment right now.

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Ahead of elections, Belgian political parties pledged support for Tibet

Belgian political parties committed to supporting the Tibetan cause in response to questions from the International Campaign for Tibet. Eight parties contacted by our Brussels office replied to written queries about their positions on the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s environment and human rights in Tibet, as well as their plans to address the Tibetan issue on national and international levels.

The parties expressed concern at the worsening human rights situation in Tibet and pledged to make Tibet an agenda item in their bilateral exchanges with the Chinese government.

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New Chinese restrictions on language education in Tibet announced

Radio Free Asia reports that authorities in the Golog region of Tibet have ordered schools to stop using Tibetan as the language of instruction for any class except Tibetan language class itself. According to documents procured by RFA:

“The implementation of this decision will eventually begin with all the elementary and middle schools. The county education office will supervise their respective schools and help make sure that the law is implemented.

“By this fall all the first graders must be taught in Chinese, and workshops will be organized for the teachers in the future to improve the standard of their Chinese language and get accustomed to the new Chinese textbooks,” it said.

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Tibetan Buddhism

US federal commission says China sought “forced assimilation” of Tibetan Buddhism in 2018

China tried to forcibly control Tibetans’ Buddhist faith in 2018, says a new report from a US federal government commission. The 2019 annual report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) documents China’s strategy of “forced assimilation and suppression” of Tibetan Buddhism and calls on China to release Tibetan political prisoners.

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If the Chinese government has ever prevented you from entering Tibet, we need to hear from you! Please fill out our confidential survey on access to Tibet today. Your information will help us make sure that the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act has the greatest impact possible on China’s attempts to cut Tibet off from the rest of the world.

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Roisin Timmins

Abuse of privilege: Roisin Timmins and access to Tibet
By: Ashwin Verghese

There are many ways to define privilege. One might be who gets to go where.

If you’re Roisin Timmins, you get exclusive access to Tibet, one of the world’s most geographically and politically secluded countries, which is currently in the stranglehold of China’s stringent isolation policies.

No doubt the same was true for citizens of other countries—except Chinese citizens, who increasingly make tourist trips to Tibet, where they are presented with a Disneyland version of Tibetan culture and history.

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Panchen Lama
The Tibetan nun Dashar played by Millicent Wong in a scene from Pah-La (Photo: Helen Murray/Royal Court)

Flawed study of self-immolation and Tibetan violence raises questions on London stage
By: Kate Saunders

A play about a Tibetan Buddhist nun who self-immolates leading to an explosion of violence gave a rare prominence to discussions on contemporary Tibet in a cultural sphere as ‘Pah-La’ concluded its run at the Royal Court Theatre in London (April 3 – April 27).

Pah-La situates its action in contemporary Tibet in 2008, featuring the self-immolation of a Buddhist nun, staged with the whiff of kerosene and circuit of flames inches from the audience that shoot towards the ceiling before the space is plunged into blackness.

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Amazon Smile

Support ICT While You Shop with AmazonSmile

Through the AmazonSmile Program, Amazon will make a donation for the value of .5% of your qualifying Amazon purchases to ICT! All you have to do is designate ICT as your charity of choice and be sure to use every time you shop with Amazon.

These small donations add up to significant funds for ICT and there is no cost to participate!