Monday, 30 December 2013

China Must Implement Its Laws: Dr. Lobsang Sangay

Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan prime minister in exile, gives off the impression that there is more that unites his people and the Chinese authorities who have ruled them for over half a century, than divides them.

China might call him a separatist, and members of his own community might set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule of their homeland, but the Harvard Law School graduate says that the demands of Tibet’s leaders are in line with the rights of minorities as set out within China’s own constitution.

“We are asking China to implement its own laws, and that could amount to autonomy for us,” Mr. Sangay, who in 2011 was elected head of the exiled Tibetan government in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, told The Wall Street Journal.

China’s constitution provides for “regional autonomy” in areas where “people of minority nationalities live in compact communities.”

Tibetans living on the Tibetan plateau fulfil that requirement, argues Mr. Sangay, ergo China must change its constitution, or accept the demand for full autonomy. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, describes this as a “Middle Way” approach.

The deadlock and distrust between Tibet and China has existed for over half a century, since China incorporated Tibet into its territory in 1950, claiming that the land was always an inalienable part of China.

Things worsened in 1959 when 80,000 Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India following a failed uprising.

China created the Tibet Autonomous Region, located on the Tibetan plateau, between China and India in 1965, as part of an agreement between Tibetan representatives and Beijing.

“But it’s not autonomous, honestly… only in name and on paper,” Mr. Sangay said sipping tea at the New Delhi representative office of the Dalai Lama.

In support of his contention, Mr. Sangay presents the evidence.

Schools and universities in the region teach in Chinese, Mr. Sangay says, contrary to the Chinese constitution, which gives minorities nationalities the right to use their own languages.

Leading political figures in the Tibet Autonomous Region politburo are Han Chinese, the dominant or majority ethnic group of China or have a Chinese spouse, Mr. Sangay claimed. Although the region’s governor is Tibetan, the office is subordinate to the branch secretary of the Communist Party of China, who is always Chinese, the exiled prime minister added.

According to him, the majority of private businesses in the Tibetan Autonomous Region are owned or run by Chinese people, and unemployment among Tibetan school and college graduates there is running at 40%. Wages on offer in some businesses in Lhasa, the capital are openly greater for Han Chinese employees than non-Chinese workers, Mr. Sangay added.

The size of the territory that makes up the Tibet Autonomous Region is also a point of dispute. Some parts of the Tibetan plateau have, since the 1950s, been incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan.

Mr. Sangay’s solution to this would, he says, benefit the Chinese authorities as well as the Tibetans living there.

“From the administrative point of view, it’s far more efficient and effective to have one policy and one implementing mechanism for all the Tibetan people because they are of the same culture, language, economy and custom,” he said.

Beijing says clubbing of Tibetan areas into one unit is unreasonable because that would amount to a quarter of China.

Sichuan province has 80 million Chinese and about two million Tibetans living there, Mr. Sangay said. “Now if you’re governor of Sichuan, you will dedicate about 3 to 4% of your time and energy to Tibetans,” said Mr. Sangay.

“Tibetans are saying ‘We are being ignored, we are being discriminated against.’”

Mass migration of Han Chinese to Tibetan areas is another sticking point between Beijing and Tibetans.

China claims Han Chinese people can help develop the Tibet Autonomous Region, which has the lowest population density among province-level administrative regions. But Tibetans see the migration as an attempt to make the region more Chinese.

“We have no intention of expelling Chinese from Tibet,” Mr. Sangay said. “But there is need for some kind of regulation for migration to Tibet.”

A key purpose for the Tibetan Autonomous Region is to allow Tibetans to have the majority, he adds.

Is a resolution in sight? Progress appears slow and has stalled in recent years.

Between 2002 and 2010, representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama held talks on 10 occasions, but made no headway.

Talks stalled after the Dalai Lama relinquished political powers over the exiled government in 2011. Beijing says it will not speak with Mr. Sangay’s government in exile. Mr. Sangay though says he’s keen to renew the conversation.

“All along, the discussion has been between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Chinese government, and we would like to continue with that practice,” says Mr. Sangay.

He is currently drawing inspiration to persevere from Nelson Mandela’s decades-long struggle for freedom for black people in South Africa.

“There were many commentaries which categorically concluded saying that ‘Nelson Mandela will not be able to restore democracy in South Africa and restore equality for different ethnicities’, far less get himself released from the prison,” Mr. Sangay said. “He walked tall… from the prison, with democracy and equality restored.”

Mao Zedong was no god, says Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping attempted a balancing act on the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth yesterday, praising the late Communist Party leader's teachings while acknowledging he was "not a god".

In a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate Mao's birth, Xi told party leaders that historical failures could not be blamed on individuals, nor could one person be credited with an era's success.

"Revolutionary leaders are men but not gods," Xi said. "We should not worship them like gods … but we should not negate them completely because they made mistakes.

"[We should] move forward, but can't forget the path that we have travelled."

Xi spoke after leading the other six members of the supreme Politburo Standing Committee to Mao's mausoleum, where they bowed three times before the late party patriarch's marble statue.

The anniversary speech was closely watched for insights into the direction of the ruling party under Xi, who serves as its general secretary as well as the state's president. Xi's defence of Mao's legacy and adoption of Mao-era slogans and organisation techniques have worried party liberals, reformists and activists who hoped he might crack open the door to political reform.

Analysts said Xi appeared to be trying not to lean to the right or left. "The remarks are a response to the recent ideology debates of the left and the right," said Pu Xingzu, a political scientist at Fudan University. "Xi is sending a message that he won't follow the old path of Maoism nor go astray towards Western democracy."

Xi said the party should embrace the "spirit" of Mao Zedong Thought - a guiding party doctrine including class struggle and constant revolution - to ensure its six-decade rule continues.

Xi said Mao's teachings can be summed up as "being practical and factual, staying close to the ordinary people and staying independent and autonomous".

The remarks elaborated on previous party statements on Mao Zedong Thought, but appeared to defend Xi's own policies, including an anti-corruption campaign and a more assertive foreign policy.

"All the diseases that could damage the party's advanced nature and purity should be seriously treated, and all the tumours that breed on the healthy skin of the party should be resolutely removed," Xi said. "To stay independent and autonomous means that Chinese people should take things into their own hands … No race and country can rely on external force or follow others to achieve their own revival."

Official ceremonies were held across the country, especially in Mao's home province of Hunan . But some unofficial events were banned. An organiser of annual "red songs" concerts to celebrate Mao's birthday in Hunan said they had been banned, although they could go to Mao's hometown of Shaoshan to pay tribute as individuals.

Others paid tribute in Beijing at the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

China formally eases one-child policy, abolishes labour camps

People walk outside a labour camp in Kunming, Yunnan province, November 22, 2013. REUTERS/John Ruwitch
China formally approved on Saturday easing its decades-long one-child policy and the abolition of a controversial labour camp system, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Both were among a sweeping raft of reforms announced last month after a meeting of the ruling Communist Party that mapped out policy for the next decade.

Under the new policy, couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. Previously, a couple could generally only have a second child if both parents were only children.

The plan was envisioned by the government about five years ago, with officials worried that the strict controls were undermining economic growth and contributing to a rapidly ageing population China had no hope of supporting financially.

The resolution, formally approved by China's largely rubber- stamp parliament on Saturday, will allow local legislatures to decide when to implement the policies, Xinhua said.

Parliament also approved the abolition of the "re-education through labour" system, in place since 1957, which allows police to sentence petty criminals to up to four years' confinement in labour camps without going through the courts.

Critics say the system undermines the rule of law and is often used against political activists and followers of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual group.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

North Korea is more accessible to foreign journalists than Tibet is

The Tibetan Autonomous Region of China has been largely closed to the outside world since it was wracked by popular protests in 2008. But the extreme degree of its isolation is hinted at by this very revealing fact: There are more foreign journalists in North Korea than there are in Tibet.
That's according to Tibet scholar Carole McGranahan, who is a professor of the University of Colorado at Boulder and who made the point during a recent lecture at Yale University, video of which is embedded below. McGranahan discussed the rising trend of Tibetan self-immolations - a form of political protest against Chinese rule - and the challenge of understanding Tibet's turmoil.
Beijing's near-total isolation of Tibet, though, makes it awfully difficult for the outside world to see or understand what's happening there. Presumably, that's part of the point; Chinese rule in Tibet can be shockingly severe, as can the ongoing efforts to assimilate Tibetan people and culture into the rest of China.
Starting at about 15:00 into the video, McGranahan discusses one of the major challenges facing an anthropologist like herself who wants to study Tibet: simply getting information. She can't go herself unless she sneaks in, which is risky; she can't "call up friends in Tibet" without "putting them at risk," she says; Tibetans living in exile face the same problem. And she can't read journalistic reports because, with the exception of the "very brave" Chinese-Tibetan journalist Woeser, they are almost never allowed to go.
The comparison to North Korea is not an invalid one. The Chinese government, by and large, has not been anywhere near as severe or restrictive as North Korea's since leader Mao Zedong died in 1977. The two countries are just on very different paths, and being a journalist in most of China is much freer than being a journalist in North Korea. But within Tibet, some of China's old, totalitarian-tinged habits can still come through. The irony is that, in recent years, North Korea has been opening itself up to foreign journalists - albeit under extremely tight restrictions - as China has closed them off from Tibet.
The Associated Press even has a tiny bureau in Pyongyang; a deal with the devil, some critics charge, but if nothing else it produces an awful lot of very good photos of life in North Korea. There is nothing close to an analogous foreign media presence in Tibet. Sometimes the best we can do is satellite images, taken from thousands of miles away in space.
"There have been a handful, a very small handful, of journalists who've managed to get in and do some reporting," McGranahan says. "But in general, the line that I like to use is that there are more foreign journalists right now in North Korea than there are in Tibet."

Friday, 13 December 2013

Chinese Troops Surround Tibetan Monasteries, Detain Monks in Driru

Chinese security forces have surrounded monasteries with paramilitary police and detained monks in a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) which has been resisting forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state, according to sources.

The security forces in recent weeks have also been raiding monks’ quarters and family homes, seizing computers and mobile phones and conducting daily political re-education sessions for area residents in “politically unstable” Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county, the sources said.

About 1,000 Tibetans have been detained since Chinese authorities launched the crackdown in Driru in September when Beijing began a campaign to force Tibetans to fly the Chinese flag from their homes. 

“Over a thousand Tibetans from Driru county are now being held in detention,” a Tibetan living in Europe told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing information gained from contacts in the protest-hit.

Among those recently detained are about a dozen monks.

Some 600 detainees are being held in Driru’s neighboring Nagchu (Naqu) county center, with 200 held in Tsamtha village in Driru, and another 200 held in the Driru county detention center, the Europe-based Tibetan Driru Samdrub said.

“All those Tibetans under detention are being questioned and given programs in political re-education,” Samdup said.

Three Driru-area monks were seized by police at the end of November while visiting Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa, another source told RFA this week in an e-mail forwarded from Tibet.

“On Nov. 23, three monks from Tarmoe monastery in Driru were detained while they were on vacation in Lhasa,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“No information is available about their present condition,” the source said. 

Monasteries surrounded

Meanwhile, eight monks from Driru’s Rabten monastery who had studied at Palyul, Sershul, and Sertha monasteries in neighboring Chinese provinces have also been detained, the source said.

“Tarmoe, Rabten, and Dron Na monasteries [in Driru] are now surrounded by Chinese paramilitary forces,” he added.

Samdrub said a monk named Tsering Gyal from Dron Na monastery has also been reported detained and “is now missing.”

The names of the other detained monks were not immediately available, and their present whereabouts are still unknown, sources said.

For over three months, Driru county in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s (TAR) Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture has been at the center of a campaign by Tibetans resisting forced displays of loyalty to China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The campaign intensified in early October when villagers refused orders to fly the Chinese flag from their homes, throwing them instead into a river and prompting a deadly security crackdown in which Chinese police fired into unarmed crowds.

'Politically unstable'

“The Chinese government has identified Driru as a county without political stability,” RFA’s source said.

“It believes that if Driru is not brought under control, this could have a disruptive impact in other areas, and they are conducting what they call an ‘intense and thorough’ political re-education program in which meetings are being conducted both day and night in the villages and monasteries.”

Area monks who have studied at Buddhist institutions in neighboring Chinese provinces are being recalled for indoctrination, while monks who have visited India and Nepal are being targeted for “intense re-education sessions,” he said.

At Tarmoe, government workers arrived at the monastery after monks had left for a one-month winter vacation and demanded their return along with the keys to the monks’ quarters, the source said.

When monastery custodians refused to hand over the keys, paramilitary police forced their way in and “ransacked some monks’ rooms, taking away computers and other personal belongings.”

“They also raided the homes of monks’ families and seized mobile phones, radio equipment, antique swords, and other miscellaneous items,” the source said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 124 Tibetans in China have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nehru was no friend of the Tibetan cause: excerpt

"Despite using ‘People’ for everything, the common man in China has no space; in Tibet things are worse, the voice of the ‘People’ has been suppressed for the past 60 years. In the recent times, this has resulted in 124 immolations and a latent bitterness against the Chinese People’s Government. The voice of the people has also been suppressed in India. I was shocked when I recently came across a telegram sent by the Prime Minister (and Foreign Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru to G Parthasarathi (GP), the Indian ambassador to China. This cable, sent on May 10, 1959, just months after a popular uprising in Lhasa, is part of the latest volume of the selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru (Volume 49). The telegram describes India’s ‘China Policy’ just after the Dalai Lama had crossed the Indian border in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh (then the Kameng Frontier Division of the North East Frontier Agency).

The cable clearly shows that the Indian Prime Minister did not realise the Indian common men’s strong sentiments for the Tibetan people soon after the Dalai Lama had been forced to leave his homeland to take refuge in India. Nehru believed that the People’s Government in Beijing could only do ‘good’ (even if, in a painful manner) to the Common Men in Tibet. Nehru tells GP that the Opposition was just making a noise and ‘saying hard things about China chiefly to embarrass our Government’. This is far from being correct. Only three years later, when China entered into India’s territory in NEFA and Ladakh, Nehru realised the cultural and strategic importance of Tibet and its people; but then it was too late.

In 1959 in India, ordinary folks had a genuine feeling for the cause of the Tibetans; but Nehru only saw “some kind of anti-China propaganda will be carried on by some Opposition parties and individuals, chiefly as an attack on our Government.” It is not worth commenting on the Indian Communist leader’s attitudes quoted by Nehru; SA Dange, the Founding Member of the Communist Party of India believed that it was the ‘masses’ which revolted against the ‘feudal landlords’ in Tibet; the Communist theory soon became void of truth as it was mostly common men and women of Tibet who followed the Dalai Lama in exile.

He asks “What do we want? What are we aiming at? I take it that we are sad, we are distressed at events in Tibet”, and again questions, “Why are we distressed? Presumably because, we feel that a certain people are being sat upon, are being oppressed.” Though stating that he does not agree with the Indian Communists, he affirms, “I have no doubt in my mind that it is difficult to draw the line in such cases between the top feudal elements and others. They all can be mixed together. And as a result, for the moment, the [Tibetans] are all uprooted.” He then makes this startling remark, “Where a society has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, it may have outlasted its utility”, adding “any kind of a forcible uprooting of that must necessarily be painful, whether it is a good society or a bad society.” He had decided that Tibet was not modern enough and ‘forcible uprooting’ was the only solution.

Then the Prime Minister tells GP that the Dalai Lama did ‘not fully appreciate the situation’ and ‘imagined that [India] can issue demands and bring pressure on the Chinese Government’, adding, “I am trying to explain to him that this does not fit in with the facts of life.” Other perception about ‘facts of life’ is not considered. Another extraordinary comment of Nehru is worth mentioning, he tells GP ‘the impression here that Mao Tse-Tung [Zedong] is a man of wisdom’. One wonders where this ‘here’ is. In the PMO? In Delhi? or Nehru’s mind only? The Great Leap Forward (which resulted in 40 or 50 million deaths) was then going on full swing in China. The man-made carnage was the consequence of the agricultural and industrial policies of this ‘man of wisdom’; it was one of the saddest chapters of China’s history.

The fact that India’s ruler was not ready to listen to the People has had so many tragic consequences."

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela passes away at 95

Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.

Mr. Mandela had long said he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital this summer was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil eclipsed a visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.

Mr. Mandela ultimately died at home at 8:50 p.m. local time, and he will be buried according to his wishes in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.

Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.

The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.

The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to theinauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.

And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites with fears of vengeance.

The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.

When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.

Except for a youthful flirtation with black nationalism, he seemed to have genuinely transcended the racial passions that tore at his country. Some who worked with him said this apparent magnanimity came easily to him because he always regarded himself as superior to his persecutors.

In his five years as president, Mr. Mandela, though still a sainted figure abroad, lost some luster at home as he strained to hold together a divided populace and to turn a fractious liberation movement into a credible government.

Some blacks — including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mr. Mandela’s former wife, who cultivated a following among the most disaffected blacks — complained that he had moved too slowly to narrow the vast gulf between the impoverished black majority and the more prosperous white minority. Some whites said he had failed to control crime, corruption and cronyism. Some blacks deserted government to make money; some whites emigrated, taking capital and knowledge with them.

Undoubtedly Mr. Mandela had become less attentive to the details of governing, turning over the daily responsibilities to the deputy who would succeed him in 1999, Thabo Mbeki.

But few among his countrymen doubted that without his patriarchal authority and political shrewdness, South Africa might well have descended into civil war long before it reached its imperfect state of democracy.

After leaving the presidency, Mr. Mandela brought that moral stature to bear elsewhere around the continent, as a peace broker and champion of greater outside investment.

No one can feel secure in China: Top US official

WASHINGTON: A top Obama administration official has said that no one can feel secure in China as the country impose strict restrictions on the fundamental rights of its people.
“The Chinese people are facing increasing restrictions, on their freedoms of expression, assembly and association. When people in China cannot hold public officials to account for corruption, environmental abuses, problems that affect China as well as the world go unaddressed,” US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in her major policy speech on human rights.

“When courts imprison political dissidents who merely urge respect for China’s own laws, no one in China – including Americans doing business there – can feel secure.

“When ethnic and religious minorities, such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, are denied their fundamental freedoms, the trust that holds diverse societies together is undermined. Such abuses diminish China’s potential from the inside,” Rice said.

Rice said in this new century, there are few relationships more complex or important than the one between the United States and China. Building a constructive relationship with China is crucial to the future security and prosperity of the world as a whole.

“We value China’s cooperation on certain pressing security challenges, from North Korea to Iran. Our trade relationship, one of the largest in the world, supports countless American jobs. And that is precisely why we have a stake in what kind of power China will become, and that is why human rights are integral to our engagement with China,” she said.

“So the United States speaks clearly and consistently about our human rights concerns with the Chinese government at every level, including at this year’s summit between President Obama and President Xi at Sunnylands,” she said.

US officials engage their Chinese counterparts directly on specific cases of concern, like that of Liu Xiaobo, as well as about broader patterns of restrictive behaviour.

“We voice our condemnation publicly when violations occur,” Rice said.

In her speech, Rice said China is not the only country where human rights of people are being violated. She castigated Russia for its anti human rights deeds.

“The same is true of Russia … we don’t remain silent about the Russia government’s systematic efforts to curtail the actions of Russian civil society, to stigmatise the LGBT community, to coerce neighbours like Ukraine who seek closer integration with Europe, or to stifle human rights in the North Caucasus,” she said.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Under house arrest, wife of jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo possibly suffering from depression

Workers prepare the Nobel Peace Prize laureate exhibition ''I Have No Enemies'' for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville(Reuters) - The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo is unwell under house arrest and possibly suffering from severe depression, but refuses to seek medical help as she is afraid of further punishment, her friends said on Monday.

The accounts from Liu Xia's friends shed a rare light into her condition since being held at home after Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize in 2010.

They also come two days ahead of a visit to China by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, during which human rights will likely be raised amid a broader crackdown on dissent and freedom of speech and assembly.

Liu Xia wrote to prominent human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping in August that she was "close to going crazy, close to mental collapse" during the time of the trial of her brother, Liu Hui, on fraud charges, Mo told Reuters.

"Her family is very worried and they've been giving her anti-depressants," Mo said. "It's been long-term and sustained - when you are cut off from the world for so long, how do you think your mental state would be like?"

Mo said Liu Xia fears officials may force her to accept government-appointed doctors, citing how the government has previously used mental institutions to lock up dissidents.

Liu is rarely allowed out of her home, except for occasional visits to her husband and family, and is almost never permitted visitors. She has not been convicted of any crime.

Hao Jian, who teaches at the Beijing Film Academy and is a friend of Liu, said a friend saw Liu two days ago, when Liu stood wordlessly weeping as she stood at her apartment window.

"Based on our observations, it is getting more and more serious," Hao said. "Before she could speak but now she can't say anything."

Hao, who saw Liu Xia in March, said Liu Xia was "extremely terrified and does not dare to consult doctors".

Xu Youyu, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank, said he felt Liu Xia's "mental state was on the verge of collapse" the last time he saw her last December.

"She kept on repeating that the stress she was suffering is unthinkable," he said.

Liu Xiaobo, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army, was jailed in 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging the overthrow of one-party rule.

Liu Xia last month filed an extraordinary appeal for her husband's retrial, in a move that could renew the focus on China's human rights record.

Confrontation with China cannot solve Tibet issue: Dalai Lama

GREATER NOIDA: Tibetans are not insisting on independence as any confrontation with China cannot solve the issue and autonomy for the region will be mutually beneficial for both sides, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Sunday. 

"We are not seeking independence for mutual benefit. (If) we insist independence, this results in confrontation but confrontation cannot solve problems," he said at a special public address here. 

Stressing that Tibet's autonomy would be mutually beneficial to Tibetans and the Chinese, the 78-year-old Dalai Lama said he was "not seeking a separation". He, however, said people of Tibet should have "full sovereignty about their culture, environment, and language." 

"Previously, there have been talks with the Chinese leadership but with no concrete results. Tibetans who are culturally highly developed, are also one of the pure living traditions of Buddhism and sovereignty will be mutually beneficial," he said. 

"Over two years, thousands of articles in China have expressed support for the Tibetan movement. Violence was past century's mistake, and costs both sides. Whether we like it or not, we have to live together," the Dalai Lama said. 

The spiritual leader also said the Chinese have accused Tibetans of being separatists and called him a "demon". 

Calling himself a "refugee", a "homeless" person and the longest guest of India, he expressed gratitude towards the Indian government and said he feels both psychologically and emotionally close to the country. 

Emphasizing that violence has never been able to shape a better world, the Dalai Lama said that government of India, the US and the European Union have stood in full support of the "free Tibet movement". 

The spiritual leader said events of violence like that in Israel-Palestine, the Shia-Sunni conflict or the conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in Burma have not created a better world, adding that "religious intolerance has made people hypocrites". 

Addressing dignitaries and students from India and Bhutan, the Dalai Lama called India a living example of promoting a sense of compassion and responsibilities through secular means.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Party Boss in Tibet Plans to Separate The 14th Dalai Lama From Tibetan Buddhism

Recently, just prior to the Third Plenum, Chen Quanguo, the current Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), published an article in Qiushi (“Seeking Truth”) titled ‘Ensuring the Security of Tibet’s Ideological Realm with the Spirit of Daring to Show the Sword’. He pledges to “thoroughly carry out the educational activities of comparing old Tibet with the New Tibet, instructing people of various ethnic groups to be grateful to the Party, listen to the Party and follow the Party”. Ironically, he is expressing the kind of imperialist mentality that the Communist Party criticizes and claims to fight against.

In dealing with Tibetans, he vows to “educate and guide cadres and ordinary people of various ethnic groups to separate Tibetan Buddhism from the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and separate the fourteenth Dalai Lama from the title of Dalai Lama…”.

This statement shows that after 60 years of rule in Tibet, some CCP leaders are yet to understand Tibet’s intrinsic spiritual and cultural aspects. Tibetans believe His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara (the Buddha of Compassion). This reverence exceeds any political leverage and is not born out of greatness of the title, but the greatness of the person. It represents the Tibetans’ active participation in serving the sacred duties of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This act of service is at the center of the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, which predates the Communist Party in China , as well as the Marxist ideology. During the last few decades, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been proposing dialogue with the Chinese communist leaders, in order to find a mutually beneficial solution. Along with the Tibetan people, he has peacefully sought genuine autonomy for Tibet within the scope of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China, while advising against violence that drive other movements to militant struggles worldwide.

However, Chen Quanguo’s article will further antagonize Tibetans in Tibet. This is because his article disregards Tibetan values and imposes his perceived superior ideology. Such leftist opportunism played out in Tibet will derail any lofty proclamation like ‘Chinese Dream’.

Chen Quanguo’s hardline pronouncement on Tibet are encouraged by two main reasons. One is the example shown by Hu Jintao who was catapulted from Party Secretary in TAR to the highest position in China after series of violent repression carried inside Tibet in late 80s.

More than often, Party’s hardline mood in Beijing overdrives local leaders into employing repressive means. Last April, the Central Committee of the Communist Party’s General office in China circulated a confidential memo to its Party leaders, now leaked and known as Document 9. The document details “Noteworthy Problems Related to the Current State of the Ideological Sphere” and aims to impose a “unwavering adherence to the principle of the Party’s control of media”.

The document calls on Communist leaders to ”persist in correct guidance of public opinion, insisting that the correct political orientation suffuse every domain and process in political engagement, form, substance, and technology”. It lists seven perils that could unsettle the Communist Party monopoly in China and directs its cadres to engage in an “intense struggle” against constitutional democracy, civil society, “nihilistic” views of history, “universal values,” and the promotion of “the West’s view of media”, among others. Such a hardline tendency will empower provincial leaders to carry out unwarranted repression of ethnic groups who have different values and views than the Communist Party. For instance, in Tawu (Ch. Daofu), Yulshul (Ch. Yushu) in eastern Tibet and Driru (Ch. Biru) under TAR earlier this year, local People’s Armed Police had their hands free to violently suppress Tibetans without slightest provocation. This was obviously encouraged by the mood in Beijing. 

Chinese leaders in Beijing should be mindful of the implications of such policies in Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the most authoritative person for Tibetans, with a reconciliatory intent and a path to solve the issue of Tibet. He is constantly guiding Tibetans towards nonviolence and compassion. Tibetans inside Tibet risk grave punitive actions by the police just in order to procure his portrait. In light of such conducive factors, the failure to reach a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan issue while the 14th Dalai Lama is healthy and active would be a devastating mistake on the part of contemporary Chinese leadership.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Third Plenum and the People's Liberation Army

"After holding a 4 day-conclave from November 9 to 12, the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee has delivered 2 new Leading Groups: one on reforms (it was expected) and more surprisingly, a National Security Committee (NSC).
The new leadership in Beijing issued a statement at the end of the meet to explain: “The general objective of the approved reforms is to improve and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics …development is still the key to solving all problems in China.”
Economic reforms are fine, but Xi Jinping and his colleagues have understood that there is a more serious danger looming in the Middle Kingdom’s sky: the Emperors have to act fast to avoid the doom of the former Soviet Union (where the internal security apparatus had become weak, corrupt and ineffective). If effective reforms are not introduced at once, the days of the Communist Party are counted. 
The Third Plenum admitted that the present reforms would decide the destiny of modern China. The statement concluded with “the need to deepen reforms in order to build a moderately prosperous society, and a strong and democratic country, as well as realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.” 
It might remain a dream, though Sinocism, an excellent newsletter, which analyses the current events in China, commented: “The decision is impressive and shows that the leadership is both aware of and committed to deep reforms. …the truly hard part is not the drafting but the implementation of changes that will affect interests throughout society. But at least Xi has clearly articulated [his] resolve and vision for reform.”
Amongst the sectors to be reformed, the 204-member Central Committee discussed building a more impartial and sustainable social security system; encompassing an improved housing guarantee; strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights; encouraging innovation, etc. It further decided to allow more non-state-owned capital into the market to develop a ‘mixed-ownership economy’; to accelerate the reform of the ‘hukou’ system (household registration) in order to help farmers become urban residents and to promote market-oriented reform in state-owned enterprises by breaking monopolies and introducing competition. 
Though the decision to move forward can be considered a positive step, the implementation of the reforms won’t be easy. 
A host of other measures have been taken ‘to ensure that the authority of the constitution and laws is upheld’. Only the future (the 9 coming years) will tell us if the Communist system is reformable, or if it is condemned to follow the Soviet Union’s model.
But there is a more important factor which needs to be monitored by Beijing; it is called ‘stability’ in Communist jargon. According to Xi Jinping, the new economic policies can only be implemented if China is stable: "State security and social stability are preconditions for reform and development", said the President, adding that only when the nation is safe and society is stable, could reform and development constantly advance. "

Above is the excerpt of the article The Third Plenum and the People's Liberation Army

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Tibetan govt-in-exile hopeful of fresh dialogue with China.

The Tibetan government-in-exile on Saturday expressed the hope that dialogue over the vexed Tibetan issue could resume after China presented its newly formulated economic and security policies in its parliament.

“China is formulating new security and economic policies and we have learnt that the new policies differ from those of the American National Security Council as the Chinese policies will have dual duties with responsibility over domestic security as well as foreign policy,” Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile Dr Lobsang Sangay said here on the sidelines of the Himalayan festival at the historic ridge.

He said the task force constituted by the Central Tibetan Administration to assist the dialogue with China would study the new economic and security policies of China.

He said dialogue was the only way to resolve the half-a-century-old Tibetan issue.
The Dalai Lama envoys have held nine rounds of talks with China and the last round of talks was held in 2010, since then there has been no dialogue between the two parties.

He said, “The Central Tibetan Administration is ready take the middle way on the Tibet issue and we are ready to engage in any meaningful dialogue with China anywhere and at any time.”

He said, “We have already presented a memorandum to Beijing, seeking autonomy for Tibet as enshrined in the constitution of China.”

Sangay regretted that 122 Tibetans had committed immolation for their cause and many of them had died. Sangay termed the immolation in China as unfortunate.

He said, “These incidents have reflected the determination of the people of Tibet against the repressive policies of China. Repressive policies and political pressure of China is forcing Tibetans outside or inside Tibet for immolation.”
Sangay also expressed concern over the “degradation” of environment in the China-controlled Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Sangay denied reports that the Dalai Lama had plans to shift his base from Dharamsala that has been his second home since he fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops marched into Lhasa.

“We have monasteries in south India also and the Dalai Lama has to visit those areas,” he said.
Later, delivering a special lecture on “Democracy-in-Exile: the case of Tibet” at Himachal Pradesh University, Sangay urged the university fraternity to study the 1914 Shimla agreement signed between Tibet and British-ruled India in which the mention of McMahon line has been made.

In his candid speech, Sangay underlined the need for understanding the Tibetan struggle for total freedom and called upon the professors, research scholars and students, especially historians, to study the 1914 agreement as this envisages the importance of Tibet and its sovereign existence as a nation and having McMahon line as the international border.

“Tibet is very vital in terms of democracy which is like the Indian democratic set-up: parliament, judiciary, civil administration functioning in unison to deliver justice,” he said lauding the Tibetans for being law-abiding citizens throughout their lives.
Later, vice-chancellor ADN Bajpai welcomed Dr Sangay.

Friday, 22 November 2013

China summons Spanish ambassador over Tibet arrest warrants

MADRID (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry summoned Spain's ambassador on Thursday after a Spanish court ruled that several of its former leaders should be arrested over allegations they had committed genocide in Tibet, the Spanish foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.

Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and ex-prime minister Li Peng could face arrest when travelling abroad following a ruling from Spain's High Court on Tuesday.

Three other former high-ranking Chinese officials were also affected by the order, which triggered arrest warrants. They could be detained when they travel to Spain or other countries which recognize orders signed by Spain.

Beijing dismissed the case as absurd earlier this week and said it had sought clarification from Spain. The Chinese foreign ministry could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

"The case is being followed very carefully by Spain's foreign ministry and with some concern that these court actions could affect relations with China, which are very good," a Madrid diplomatic source said.

Beijing had transmitted its "deep unease" over the ruling in the meeting with the ambassador, the source added.

Discussions between senior Spanish foreign ministry officials and Chinese representatives have also taken place in Madrid.

Two Tibetan support groups and a monk with Spanish nationality brought the case against the former Chinese leaders in 2006 using Spanish law, which allows suspects to be tried for human rights abuses committed abroad when a Spanish victim is involved.

The Chinese officials are accused of human rights abuses in Tibet, which communist Chinese troops took control of in 1950. China says it "peacefully liberated" the Himalayan region it says was mired in poverty, exploitation and economic stagnation.

Last month, another ruling by the same Spanish court indicted former Chinese president Hu Jintao for alleged genocide in Tibet, a move denounced by China's government as interfering with its internal affairs.

The Tibetan spirit is becoming stronger and will long remain so: H.H. The Dalai Lama

Ms Yoshiko Sakurai interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tokyo, Japan on November 21, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
"I am a promoter of democracy, which is why I have brought the role of the Dalai Lamas in Tibetan political affairs to an end. 

When the PLA reached Tibet, they came under to slogan of liberation. The party members I met in 1954 were committed to creating a new society, an equal, classless society. Their economic outlook was Marxist and focussed on equal distribution, which I found attractive then and still feel sympathetic to now. However, in about 1956 they began to introduce a more totalitarian system; they became isolated from reality, which would continue until Deng Xiaoping began to open China up and stress the need to seek truth from facts. Jiang Zemin emphasised development, while Hu Jintao stressed the need for harmony. But to achieve it he employed force and suppression, which was quite the wrong method. Harmony must come from trust, which is the basis of friendship. When you have suspicion and fear instead, there will be no harmony. I sometimes think these leaders need lessons in basic psychology. Their so-called liberation has brought only misery and mistrust.

The new leader seems to be more realistic in his approach. He seems to admire Hu Yaobang who visited Lhasa in the ‘80s, apologised for what had happened and promised to a reduction of the Han population. He was the Youth Leader when I was in Peking.

The Tibetan spirit is becoming stronger and will long remain so, even though the situation now is so harsh. Meanwhile, China will change. During the Cultural Revolution, drastic action was taken to eliminate ‘old ways of thinking’ which failed. Religion, for example, is related to emotions and human feelings. The Chinese Buddhist population, reliable sources tell us, is now 400 million, with many of them interested in Tibetan Buddhism. I think Buddhism will survive.

Brothers and sisters, we spend too much time dividing people into ‘us’ and ‘them’, thinking that overcoming ‘them’ will be a victory for ‘us’. These days we are too interdependent for this to be true. Whether I’m speaking to an individual or a public gathering like this, I never think of myself as a Buddhist, a Tibetan or even as the Dalai Lama, which would only tend to set me apart from others. As human beings we are all the same. We all want a happy life and have a right to lead it, which is why I try to promote the idea of the oneness of humanity."

The above is an extract from the interview answers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tokyo Followed by Public Talk in Shizuoka

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

China dismisses as absurd Spanish arrest warrants over Tibet

China's former President Jiang Zemin looks up while President Hu Jintao gives his speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files
(Reuters) - Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and ex prime minister Li Peng could face arrest when travelling abroad over allegations they committed genocide in Tibet, a Spanish court ruled on Tuesday, in a case Beijing has dismissed as absurd.

Two Tibetan support groups and a monk with Spanish nationality brought the case against the former leaders in 2006 using Spanish law, which allows suspects to be tried for human rights abuses committed abroad when a Spanish victim is involved.

The two former leaders and three other high-ranking officials who worked in the government in the 1980s and 1990s, are accused of human rights abuses in the Himalayan region.

Although it is unlikely the leaders will end up in a Spanish dock, the case is reminiscent of the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 after a warrant was issued by former Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon.

Last month, another ruling by the same Spanish court indicted former Chinese president Hu Jintao for alleged genocide in Tibet. China's government denounced that move as interfering with its internal affairs.

China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said at a daily news briefing that Beijing has "sought clarification from Spain" about the latest ruling.

Tuesday's court order will now trigger arrest warrants which in turn could result in the suspects being arrested when they travel to Spain or other countries which recognise orders signed by Spain.

If the report is true, Hong said China expresses "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to the Tibetan support groups in Spain for "repeatedly manipulating the issue".

Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of China's top advisory body to parliament, said the case was absurd, in comments published by Chinese state media on Tuesday before the ruling.

"If some country's court takes on this matter, it will bring itself enormous embarrassment," Zhu said. "Go ahead if you dare."

Communist Chinese troops took control of Tibet in 1950. China says it "peacefully liberated" the remote mountainous region that it says was mired in poverty, exploitation and economic stagnation.

Tibet's Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule. Exiled Tibetan groups are campaigning for the return of the Dalai Lama and self-rule for their region.

More than 120 Tibetans have set themselves alight in protest against Chinese rule since 2009, mainly in heavily ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces rather than in what China terms the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Most of those who set themselves on fire have died.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Spanish criminal court orders arrest warrants against Chinese leaders

Judges in the Spanish National Court today (November 18) ordered warrants of arrest to be issued against five Chinese leaders, including former President and Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, for their policies in Tibet. This ground-breaking development follows the news on October 9 of Hu Jintao’s indictment for genocide in Tibet. In a separate legal ruling also issued today in Madrid, the Spanish National Court also ordered that former leader Hu Jintao is informed of his indictment and sent questions about his policies in Tibet via the Chinese embassy.

The rulings today have positively surprised Spanish legal experts working on the Tibetan law suits upholding the principle of “universal jurisdiction” a part of international law that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terror and other serious international crimes perpetrated by individuals, governments or military authorities. This new development was described to the International Campaign for Tibet by legal experts in Spain as being potentially as significant as the arrest of Pinochet in London in 1998 after a group of Spanish lawyers put together a lawsuit against the Chilean dictator, who presided over a 17-year reign of terror and ordered foreign assassinations.

The orders for arrest warrants are made against five senior Chinese leaders for their involvement in policies in Tibet as follows: Jiang Zemin, former President and Party Secretary; Li Peng, Prime Minister during the repression in Tibet in the late 1980s and early 1990s (and the crackdown in Tiananmen); Qiao Shi, former head of Chinese security and responsible for the People¹s Armed Police during the martial law period in Tibet in the late 1980s; Chen Kuiyuan, Party secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Region from 1992 to 2001 (who was known for his hardline position against Tibetan religion and culture), and Deng Delyun (also known as Peng Pelyun), minister of family planning in the 1990s.

The rulings, which go further than Spanish experts expected and send a strong signal to the Chinese leadership, mean that none of the leaders named, and others too, are likely to take the risk of travelling outside the PRC as they could be arrested for questioning on the crimes they are accused of. All the leaders face the possibility of bank accounts overseas being preventively frozen. In the earlier writ issued on October 9, the judges recognized that this indictment of Hu Jintao comes at the judicial moment “when his diplomatic immunity expires”.

Today’s ruling was made by the appeals court (Section 4 of the Criminal Court of Spain¹s National Court, the Audiencia Nacional), which is the investigative national court for major crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy, or money laundering. It specifically refers to the “political and criminal responsibility” of the named Chinese leaders for their policies on Tibet and addresses the evidence presented to the court over the past eight years. This includes testimony from former political prisoners, international experts, documentation of killings and torture, and reports by ICT and other organisations. A report by the International Campaign for Tibet, ratified to the judge in Madrid in December 2012, outlined details of the chain of command for specific policies in Tibet from the imposition of martial law leading to torture and a climate of terror, to systematic patriotic education, compelling Tibetans to denounce their exiled leader the Dalai Lama. ICT described how the functions of the Communist Party override those of the Chinese state at all levels.

In making the ruling, the judges were acknowledging that there was ample and specific evidence to issue the order for arrest warrants. Orders of international arrest are carried out by police through Interpol or European Arrest Warrants in the EU and not by governments. The Chinese authorities responded to earlier writs with complaints to the Spanish Courts and government; Beijing has sought to quash the cases through direct intervention with the Spanish government and judiciary.

The Spanish lawyers acting for Spanish NGO Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) were requested by Court Room No 2 where the genocide lawsuit was lodged to provide a set of questions to former Party leader Hu Jintao about his policies in Tibet. The writ issued last month followed an appeal on July 29 following the judge¹s earlier rejection of a request to extend the lawsuit to include former Party Secretary and President Hu Jintao. The appeals court now accepts the argument put forward by the Spanish NGO Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT) for Hu Jintao¹s indictment. This includes the period he was Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region in which he presided over the imposition of martial law in 1989, and also his responsibility for policy on Tibet as President and Party Secretary of China after 2003 “due to being the highest ranking person in both the Party and the Government”.

Friday, 15 November 2013

China unveils boldest reforms in decades

China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee
(Reuters) - China unwrapped its boldest set of economic and social reforms in nearly three decades on Friday, relaxing its one-child policy and further freeing up markets in order to put the world's second-largest economy on a more stable footing.

The sweeping changes helped dispel doubts about the leadership's zest for the reforms needed to give the economy fresh momentum as three decades of breakneck expansion shows signs of faltering.

A reform document released by the Communist Party following a four-day conclave of its top brass promised land and residence registration reforms needed to boost China's urban population and allow its transition to a western-style service and consumption-driven economy.

Pricing of fuels, electricity and other key resources - now a source of major distortions - would be mainly decided by markets, while Beijing also pledged to speed up the opening up of its capital account and further financial liberalisation.

"The reforms are unprecedented," said Xu Hongcai, senior economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a well-connected Beijing think tank. "Reforms in 1990s were limited to some areas, now reforms are all-round."

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, appointed in March, announced several breakthroughs in social policy, pledging to unify rural and urban social security systems and to abolish controversial labour camps, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the document.

The plans, more comprehensive and specific than initially thought, also dispelled concerns that Xi would need more time to take full charge of China's vast party and government bureaucracy.

China-watchers took the establishment of a working group to lead economic reform and a new State Security Council as further signs of how effectively Xi managed to consolidate power just eight months after he officially took over.

"This is almost an unprecedented move toward unlimited power," said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based historian and political commentator.

The initial brief reform outline published on Tuesday triggered a stock market sell-off, with investors taking its scant details as a sign of a lack of commitment on Xi's part or his inability to convert vested interests, such as powerful state-owned companies.

But a raft of specific policy plans ranging from interest rate and currency regime liberalisation to residence registration and land reforms and the opening up of some of the protected sectors to private and foreign firms seemed to put such concerns to rest.

The commitment to abolish labour camps was also remarkable, given that several political sources had told Reuters this was an area where Xi was facing much resistance.

Few commentators had also expected any significant attempts to reform powerful state monopolies, even though many economists argue that other reforms will have only limited success if the big state-owned firms' stranglehold on key markets is not tackled.

The initial outline of the plans on Tuesday had affirmed those firms' strategic role in the economy. But the longer report on Friday raised state firm dividend payments, allowed private firms to enter some of the protected sectors and encouraged them to take part in reforming the state-owned firms.

What appeared to be an early leak of the document on Chinese social media set off a rally in Chinese stock markets hours before its official release, with investors cheering its relatively detailed language on reforms.

Still, economists said that having a good plan was only part of the success and making the ambitious agenda a reality would be the new leaders' true challenge.

"Based on the headlines ... they are moving in a positive direction," said Jan von Gerich, fixed income chief analyst with Nordea Bank in Helsinki. "But one should not get too carried away as this will be a long process."

Monday, 11 November 2013

Karmapa: Chinese activities in Tibet disastrous for whole Asia

Urgyen Trinley urged India to voice its concerns over Chinese development activities in his Himalayan home country.

"During the more than 50 years since China took over Tibet, there has been a great deal of development and activity including military installations by the Chinese that have impacted the Tibetan environment," Trinley told AFP.

"The fact China has control of Tibet does not mean they have the right to do whatever they want to the Tibetan environment," Trinley, who fled Tibet to India in 2000, said.

India, which fought a brief but bloody border war with its giant neighbour in 1962, accuses China of large scale construction of military infrastructure on its frontiers.

"A great deal of mining and dams are in Tibet now," the Buddhist monk, who resides in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, said in an interview in New Delhi.

"Whatever happens to the Tibetan environment will definitely impact its neighbours and also eventually all of Asia," Trinley said through an interpreter.

"India has the deepest connect with Tibet and I would hope for a more clear expression of concern for the Tibetan environment from India," the spiritual leader added.

Trinley said he was in the national capital to educate "monks and nuns who live in monasteries in the Himalayan region" on environmental issues.

Tibetans have long chafed at China's rule over the vast Tibetan plateau, accusing Beijing of curbing religious freedoms and eroding their culture and language.

Trinley is recognised by both China and the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Karmapa Lama, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of Tibetan Buddhism's four major schools.

Tsering Gyal, 20, set himself ablaze in Tibet to protest against Chinese rule

tibet-Gyal-nov2013.gifA young Tibetan monk burned himself Monday in protest against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas and demanding the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, sources said.

The protest came as Tibetans in several counties in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces refused Beijing's orders to fly China’s national flag from their homes amid a campaign of forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state. 

Tsering Gyal, 20, set himself ablaze at 6:30 p.m. in Pema (in Chinese, Banma) county in Qinghai province's Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a source in Tibet said.

The condition of Gyal, from the Akyong monastery in Pema county, is not immediately known as Chinese police put out the fire and took him to a nearby hospital, the Tibetan source said

"He did it for the freedom of six million Tibetans and to highlight the need to re-install His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his golden throne," the source told RFA's Tibetan Service. "He called on the Tibetans to rise up now."

"Not long after he set his body on fire, police arrived and intervened. They put out the fire and rushed him to the local county hospital," the source said. 

"The hospital is surrounded by police who have imposed restrictions in the area."

The self-immolation came more than a month after a Tibetan father of two burned himself to death in Sichuan province to protest against Chinese policies in late September.

Shichung, 41, self-immolated near his house in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after lighting butter lamps in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama.

Gyal's self-immolation brings to 123 the total number of Tibetans in China who have self-immolated calling for Tibetan freedom and for the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959 following a failed national uprising against Chinese rule. 

The self-immolation occurred after residents of Sichuan province’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) county in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and in Dzatoe (Zaduo) county in Qinghai province ’s Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture refused orders to fly China’s national flag from their homes last week.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

China forces Tibetans to fly Chinese flag on their house in Tibet!

Tibet-Chinese-flag-june2013.gifResidents of two more Tibetan-populated counties in Chinese provinces are refusing orders to fly China’s national flag from their homes, as authorities continue to press a campaign of forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state, sources in the region say.

The latest acts of defiance were reported in Sichuan province’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) county in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and in Dzatoe (Zaduo) county in Qinghai province ’s Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Previously, Tibetans in another county in Qinghai had refused the order to fly the flag, and residents of a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) took flags distributed for display and dumped them in a river, prompting a security crackdown in which Chinese police fired into unarmed crowds.

This week in Kardze county, officials in Dongkhor township called meetings in area villages to urge local residents to fly the flag, a local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Thursday.

“Beginning yesterday or the day before, government officials of Dongkhor township visited villages in Dongkhor and convened meetings in which they stressed the importance of flying Chinese flags from the roofs of people’s homes,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“However, Tibetans attending the meetings strongly objected to the idea, arguing that Tibetan houses in the area had never flown Chinese flags in the past,” he said.

Officials countered by saying that people in other areas had already agreed to fly the flag, adding that compliance in those places had resulted in “generous government assistance.” 

And while villagers were free to express their views and concerns, “no one”—not even the officials themselves— could predict the consequences of continued refusal, they said.

'No one is flying the flags'

Meanwhile, in Dzatoe county, an area hit by protests against Chinese mining operations, officials have also issued orders to Tibetan homes and monasteries to fly the Chinese flag, a local source told RFA, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

“In the past, the Chinese authorities have only ordered Tibetans involved in protests against the government to fly the flags from their homes, but now the local people are worried that everyone may be forced to do so,” RFA’s source said.

The families of government employees and recipients of government assistance have been told to take the lead in flying the flags, he said.

“But so far, no one is flying the flags from their homes.”

Separately, a Tibetan living in India confirmed the order, citing local sources.

“So far, not a single house is flying the Chinese flag on their house,” he said.

On Oct. 15, residents of a Tibetan township in Qinghai’s Chentsa (Jianzha) county refused demands to hoist the Chinese flag, highlighting the growing resistance to forced displays of loyalty to the Chinese state and the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The move followed weeks of protests in Driru (Biru) county in the TAR’s Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture earlier in the month in which Tibetan villagers refused to fly Chinese flags from their homes, throwing them instead into a river and prompting a deadly security crackdown.

Shootings in Driru’s Sengthang and Trinring villages on Oct. 8 left four dead and at least 50 injured, sources said.

Earlier, on Oct. 6, security forces shot and wounded at least 60 Driru-area Tibetans demanding the release of a villager who had led protests against Chinese orders to hoist the flags.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 122 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests calling for Tibetan freedom , with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.