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


South Africa Nobel Laureate summit cancelled; Cape Town mayor “greatly disappointed” with government following Dalai Lama visa fiasco

Just days after a group of six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates announced their intention to boycott the summit over South Africa’s refusal to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, the mayor of Cape Town has announced that the entire summit will be cancelled. In a statement, Mayor de Lille wrote:

Dalai Lama with Desmond Tutu

The Dalai Lama with Desmond Tutu in an earlier meeting (Photo: Ted Warren)

This decision comes after the majority of Nobel Laureates and Laureate institutions requested that either the summit be moved to another country, or that the visa to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, be granted unconditionally. Given the continued intransigence of the South African Government on this matter, this eventuality appears unlikely at best.

The attending Peace Laureates and Laureate institutions agreed, in the absence of granting said visa to the Dalai Lama, to withhold their collective attendance in protest of the decision.

The National Government has treated our requests and those of the Laureates themselves with disdain, and in so doing showed that they are more intent on pleasing Beijing than with ensuring that a prestigious international event is held in South Africa, which was intended to celebrate the late Nelson Mandela and 20 years of democracy in South Africa.

Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams had earlier explained her decision not to attend in an open letter to Desmond Tutu, writing that: “No entry for my friend, for me means I do not wish to enter. I am available to reconsider my attendance if the summit is held in a different location.”

New conditions for Village Committees candidates exclude Tibetans who ‘secretly’ hold sympathy for the “Dalai Clique”

Chinese authorities have imposed stringent new conditions on candidates for village-level committee elections in one area of Tibet, which includes the exclusion of anyone who has attended religious teachings by the Dalai Lama, has ‘overseas connections’ or who “secretly has sympathy for the 14th Dalai clique”.

The conditions were announced by Ngari (Chinese: Ali) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region as the authorities carry out a new round of committee elections all over PRC. China claims that these elections represent the implementation of ‘village democracy’, but the new Tibetan-specific conditions are a further indicator that the Tibetan people face discrimination and do not enjoy the limited rights granted by the Chinese authoritarian system. For more please read the full ICT report.

Two huge protests against mining operations in Tibet, one ending in violence

polluted river

A polluted river in central Tibet. (Image: RFA)

Radio Free Asia has issued reports about two large protests in Tibet. The most recent, which took place in Meldro Gongkar, involved a thousand Tibetans calling for the protection of rivers which have been devastated by mining runoff. Earlier, Tibetan protestors in Namling County in Shigatse prefecture were fired on by Chinese security forces, injuring 13 people. One of those injured was reportedly a pregnant woman.

ICT: China at a crossroad on Hong Kong political crisis

The International Campaign for Tibet believes the ongoing peaceful citizens’ movement in Hong Kong, led primarily by students, is a result of the Chinese authorities reneging on their commitment to the people of Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement, which promised them democratic universal suffrage for the selection of the Chief Executive in 2017.

Whether in Tibet or Hong Kong, Chinese authorities are making bad and dangerous policy decisions by clamping down on peaceful protests or by blaming foreign elements for ‘instigating’ unrest.

The full ICT statement can be read here.