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


Tibetan student sets fire to himself outside government office in
Northeastern Tibet

Lhamo Tashi

Lhamo Tashi, who self-immolated on September 17 (2014) and died.

A Tibetan student, Lhamo Tashi, set fire to himself and died on September 17 outside a government Public Security Bureau headquarters in Tsoe City, northeastern Tibet, where he was studying. It is the first self-immolation for five months in Tibet, and the 132nd by a Tibetan in Tibet and China. News of his self-immolation has been circulating on Chinese social media.

After setting himself on fire at around midnight, Lhamo Tashi, who was in his early twenties, was taken away by police in Tsoe City, the capital of Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province (the Tibetan area of Amdo). Tibetan sources said it was not clear whether he had died on the scene or not. When they became aware that he had set fire to himself, his family approached the authorities, who refused their request for the return of his body if he had died. Two days later on September 19, Lhamo Tashi’s family was given his ashes. For more please see the full ICT report, and this report by Radio Free Asia.

Blog on Dalai Lama-China talks posted in PRC prompts speculation

A substantive anonymous posting on the Chinese blogosphere on the possible return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet was posted on Sina.com in China on September 17, 2014 and taken down the next day after it was viewed by thousands of people.

Although the author or authors were anonymous, and it is not known if the piece was written by individuals in China or outside, the detailed blog (ICT’s English translation can be viewed here) demonstrates an understanding of the issues at stake, such as the Dalai Lama’s wish to go on pilgrimage to the sacred mountain Wutai Shan in China and connect to Chinese Buddhists. The blog made reference to President Xi Jinping’s ‘new message’ on the importance of Buddhism to Chinese culture, which the Dalai Lama has referred to, and recent comments by Politburo leader Yu Zhengsheng that appear to indicate concern on the governance of Tibetan areas. Please see the translation and report for more details.

Four Nobel Laureates cancel planned participation in South Africa summit in solidarity with the Dalai Lama

Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines have backed out of the summit in Cape Town following a controversial decision by the South African government to deny the Dalai Lama a visa. The decision, made under Chinese pressure, is seen as having undermined the legacy of Nelson Mandela. It remains to be seen if other laureates will cancel their plans as well in the face of petitions by the Tibetan National Congress and others.

RFA: Drunken Chinese police detain, torture Tibetan festival-goers

Tibetan man from Malho

A Tibetan man from Malho following torture earlier this month. (Image: RFA)

Radio Free Asia is reporting an incident in northern Tibet in which participants in a festival in Tibet were beaten and tortured after angering a group of belligerent policemen. According to a Tibetan with roots in the area, “eight policemen brought in boxes of beer, hung the Tibetans from the ceiling, and after drinking struck them with the empty bottles on their ribs and knees, later forcing them to the floor and urinating on them.” One (pictured above) has been injured so badly that he was taken to the prefectural hospital.

ICT: China breaches the rule of law by sentencing Ilham Tohti

With the decision to sentence Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti to life in prison, Beijing sends an extremist and negative message both to moderate non-Chinese who are trying to find a space within the People’s Republic of China, and to China’s foreign partners, including the United States and the European Union, which have objected to his incarceration.

Ilham Tohti was fully exercising his right to freedom of expression when sharing his views on the marginalization of Uyghurs, including on matters concerning their language and culture.

His case, like those of Tibetans who have been active to protect their identity and culture in China against the policies of assimilation, is a reflection of China’s misperceived ethnic policy and does not contribute to the “unity and stability” of the People’s Republic of China.

With this background, next month China’s Communist Party Plenum dedicated to the promotion “Rule of Law” is destined to be a farce.

The International Campaign for Tibet calls on the Chinese authorities to reconsider the decision and release Ilham Tohti and to address the underlying causes for which he had been campaigning for long.