A new report by ICT documents how tightening oppression in Tibet, including a new emphasis on ‘counter-terror’ measures, has created a more dangerous political environment for Tibetans in expressing their views.
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Chinese Party leaders describe Tibet as the ‘teeth of the storm’ in a ‘struggle of the ideological realm’. There are increasing dangers for Tibetans as a result of the deepening oppression, but at the same time young generation singers, artists and writers are leading a remarkable cultural resurgence, producing new songs, literature, poetry to define their identity and as a means of countering the Chinese state.”
The death of a well-known Tibetan singer, Dubhe, whose best-known song 'Faraway Friend' is a tribute to the Dalai Lama, has prompted an outpouring of praise for his work across Tibet including gatherings of Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile to celebrate his life. The responses to his death demonstrate the determination among both a younger generation of Tibetans and their elders to keep their cultural identity alive.
A well-known Tibetan writer who is also a monk from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, Lobsang Jamyang (pen name: Lomik), has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
The U.S. State Department has detailed its concern about the “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage” in its annual human rights report covering 2015, released today by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This report gives comprehensive details on issues including lack of access to Tibet, disappearances and torture, sentencing of relatives of those who have self-immolated, and violations of rights of assembly, movement and expression, indicating clearly the continuous and strong concerns of the U.S. government.”
New systematic and long-term security measures are being rolled out in the eastern Tibetan areas of Kham and Amdo as part of an intensified control agenda set at the highest levels in Beijing and in line with a ‘counter-terror’ campaign.
“It has gone beyond a simple ‘crackdown’ now, and is much more sophisticated, and terrifying,” a Tibetan source told ICT after speaking to a number of Tibetans from different parts of Tibet. “Security is invisible and everywhere. It is no longer only armed police patrolling the streets; often we don’t know who the police are as they blend into society, and officials are in our homes, asking about every part of our lives.”
The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) is scheduled to review China's case on November 17 and 18, during its 56th session in Geneva. The Committee Against Torture is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984 and entered into force in 1987. The Convention was established “to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment throughout the world.”
Posted below is the submission that the International Campaign for Tibet has made to the United Nations regarding China’s treatment of Tibetans.
Tibetan writer Dolma Kyab was released from prison on October 8 after serving ten years and six months for ‘endangering national security’ for an unpublished book.
Dolma Kyab, who is 39, was released from Chushur (Chinese: Qushui) Prison in Lhasa on Thursday and taken back to his home town in the Tibetan area of Amdo, where he was welcomed by family and friends and draped with khatags (white blessing scarves).
Dolma Kyab, a well educated young Tibetan who did post-graduate study in Beijing and is highly respected among his peers, was arrested on March 9, 2005 in Lhasa, where he was teaching history at a middle school. He was tried in secret, and is believed to have been sentenced because of the ideas expressed on Tibet in his unpublished manuscript, written in Chinese and entitled ‘The Restless Himalayas’. A group of well-known Tibetan and Chinese writers wrote a letter calling for his release, but he served his full ten and a half year sentence prior to his release last week.
The first concerts in China by American rock star Jon Bon Jovi have been unexpectedly cancelled this week by a decision of the Ministry of Culture. While an official reason has not been given, and only “unforseen circumstances” have been mentioned to the press by the rock star's management, on Chinese social media questions were raised about this decision having to do with the infamous censorship rules implemented by Beijing all over the country. In particular, images have been circulating of a picture of the Dalai Lama in the backdrop of a Jon Bon Jovi concert in Tokyo in 2010, as well as a video for the 2009 hit 'We Weren't Born to Follow' featuring the iconic ‘Tank Man’ photograph of Tiananmen Square, as possible reasons.
Last month a planned concert by the US pop group Maroon 5 in China was cancelled, prompting speculation that the authorities refused permission because a band member met the Dalai Lama. The band later removed a Tweet by Jesse Carmichael, who plays both keyboard and rhythm guitar, about meeting the Dalai Lama at events for the leader’s 80th birthday.
Major troop movements, including tanks or heavy artillery in convoys of more than 200 vehicles, have been observed in different parts of Tibet in the buildup to the September 1 anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which will be attended by Chinese leaders from Beijing. The People’s Liberation Army held major live fire exercises this week led by the Chengdu military district that oversees Tibet and the border areas.
The importance of the Tibet issue at the highest levels in China was underlined by a meeting of the top Politburo led by Party Secretary Xi Jinping on July 30. The issue of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation was raised in the official media as a critical element of the PRC’s “sovereignty and national security”.
The formation of a powerful new central group for ‘United Front’ work - the Party department involved in dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives until talks stalled in January 2010 - is likely to indicate an upgrading of the department and a strengthening of control.