A listing of the top news developments in and around Tibet during the previous week.


Chinese rail extension to Shigatse nears completion while China security chief vows a “harsh crackdown” in Tibet

A railway running from Lhasa to Shigatse, in western Tibet, is expected to open in August according to Chinese state media. In the story Yang Yulin, deputy director of the Tibet Autonomous Region railway office, explained that the extension will “accelerate transportation of the mineral products” from Tibet to China. Future connections with Nepal, India, and Nyingtri prefecture are planned. The Nyingtri extension may have particular strategic implications, as it will run near India’s state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by the People’s Republic of China and referred to as “Southern Tibet” by the Party.

Meanwhile, the senior Chinese security official, Meng Jianzhu, recently concluded a five day visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region, in which he declared that “local officials should have a profound understanding of the long lasting nature of the anti-secession efforts, and always take them as the primary political task, he said, vowing a harsh crackdown on separatist activities or terror attacks.”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama returns to Dharamsala after concluding Kalachakra initiation in Ladakh, India

Dalai Lama being offered a khata

The Dalai Lama being offered a khata at an event in Ladakh (Photo: OHHD)

The Dalai Lama returned to Dharamsala after the conclusion of his teachings in Ladakh, which drew around 200,000 devotees from 73 countries. His next planned travel is to Hamburg, Germany, where he will lead a discussion on secular ethics in late August.

Chinese propaganda accounts on Twitter closed

Twitter account

One of the sham accounts (Photo: NYT)

Following the disclosure of nearly 100 sham accounts by the UK-based group Free Tibet, many of them have been deactivated by Twitter. The accounts, which were designed to propagate messages supporting the Communist Party and in opposition to the Dalai Lama. Noting that “many of the Twitter handles, like Oliver Nina, Felix James and Philomena Rebecca, appear to be created through the combination of two first names,” and that nearly all of the profile pictures were stock photos of Caucasians, the New York Times described the effort as “ham-handed” while The Economist instead labeled them “clumsy.”

ICT hosts discussion with Chinese writers and democracy activists

Chinese writers and activists

Chinese writers and activists with ICT President Matteo Meccaci, Kunga Tashi from the Office of Tibet,
and other ICT staffers.

ICT hosted a roundtable discussion on July 17, 2014 in Washington, D.C. with Chinese writers and democracy advocates on the issue of Tibet to discuss how to strengthen outreach to Chinese society. They discussed the present state of understanding of the Tibetan issue by the Chinese people in China and what steps the Chinese democratic community can take under the existing legal and administrative channels, to help redress Tibetan social, environmental, judicial, and political grievances. For more please see the full ICT report.