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


New information about imprisoned Tibetan abbot raises fears for his well-being

Khenpo Kartse was detained on December 21, 2013. (Photo: Tsering Woeser)

Khenpo Kartse was detained on December 21, 2013.
(Photo: Tsering Woeser)

There is serious concern for the welfare of a respected and popular Tibetan lama, Khenpo (Abbot) Karma Tsewang, who remains in prison six months on from his detention without access to relatives, or doctor, and only intermittent access to his lawyer. Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser, who is based in Beijing, gave new information about possible charges against the monk in a blog published on the six-month anniversary of Khenpo Kartse’s detention. She reported that his Chinese lawyer was told that charges against the Khenpo have changed from those of ‘endangering national security’ to ‘illegal harboring’ and ‘divulging state secrets’, connected to a self-immolation. When his lawyer, who was allowed only brief access to Khenpo Kartse, raised concerns about his health he was told that “because this was a major case involving stability maintenance they would not allow him to be released, and instead would continue to hold him in detention”, according to Woeser. For more please see the full ICT report.

Two more Tibetan political prisoners released after fulfilling their sentences

Sonam Norgye (Photo: RFA)

Sonam Norgye (Photo: RFA)

Sonam Norgye, a resident of Pashoe county in the Kham region of Tibet, was released on June 22 after spending three years in prison. Jailed for protesting Chinese rule and desecrating a Chinese flag, Norgye was “beaten so severely that blood and pus flowed from his ears” during interrogations, according to an RFA report. A nun known as Ani Chime from Kardze prefecture was also released in late June, having completed her own three year sentence. Chinese police, apparently attempting to prevent the large-scale welcome receptions that have been arranged for other released political prisoners, quietly drove her to her home around midnight. A Tibetan with ties to the area told RFA that she would nonetheless be given a warm welcome by her village and by the nearby nunnery.

Dalai Lama arrives in Ladakh ahead of Kalachakra teachings

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama in Ladakh, India (Photo: www.dalailama.com)

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in Ladakh, India, last week in advance of Buddhist teachings he will deliver from July 3-14, 2014. Noting that Ladakhis cheerfully lined the roads to greet His Holiness, accounts of his travels through the Ladakh region detailed visits to Leh, Likir, Spituk monastery, and more. For more please see this slideshow of images on DalaiLama.com.

Prominent Sinologists Debate Confucius Institutes on ChinaFile

China scholars including Perry Link, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Jerome A. Cohen, and Jonathan Mirsky wrote pieces in response to a growing tide of criticism against Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government-run network of classrooms. This debate, which centered on the potential damage Confucius Institutes could do to the academic freedom of their host universities around the globe, comes just weeks after the American Association of University Professors called on universities to re-evaluate their relationships with Confucius Institutes over these same concerns. Two universities, one in Canada and one in France, have already closed their Confucius Institutes.

ICT President Matteo Mecacci contributed to the debate, which had already touched on the potential for the government-run network to try to stifle discussions on Tibet and discourage visits from the Dalai Lama to host universities. Writing about ICT’s interactions with a Confucius Institute, Matteo Mecacci said:

In our own investigation, in 2011 the International Campaign for Tibet (while not identifying our Tibet connection) requested resource materials on Tibet from a Confucius Institute at a university in the Washington, D.C. region. Instead of scholarly materials published by credible American authors (not to speak of Tibetan writers) what we received were books and DVDs giving the Chinese narrative on Tibet published by China Intercontinental Press, which is described by a Chinese government-run website as operating “under the authority of the State Council Information Office…whose main function is to produce propaganda products.”