Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The year of exceptional CBSE results among the Tibetan schools

Photo: A matter of pride for all the ones connected with Tibetan Homes Foundation. Tenzin Choekyi - She tops this year from Mussoorie Schools including all the privileged schools. 

Congrats! Our wholehearted wishes for her long journey ahead!DHARAMSHALA: Under the headship of Harvard scholar prime minister, with his cabinet putting education on the priority list for the refugee population, Tibetans schools in India have achieved 100% results in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) class-XII board examination. The overall pass percentage of Tibetan schools is 87.3%, which is a notch higher than the all India aggregate of 82.10%.

Four Tibetan Children Village (TCV) schools - TCV Selakui, TNMF Clement Town, TCV Gopalpur and THF Mussoorie - have achieved 100% results this year. Out of the 1,616 Tibetan students who appeared in the All India Secondary School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) conducted by CBSE, 1,411 have passed, 47 students failed and 158 students were placed under compartment category (failed in one subject).

However, compared to last year's result of Tibetan schools in class XII board examination, this year's performance has shown a significant dip. Last year, the overall pass percentage was 92.52%.

Girls of Tibetan schools have outshined boys in this year's examination. Out of 798 boys who appeared in the examination, 686 (85.96%) have passed, whereas 725 girls (88.63%) out of 818 have cleared the examination.

Tenzin Chokyi of THF School topped in arts stream with 95.4%. Having scored above 95%, she is entitled to claim the prestigious Sikyong Scholarship of Rs 1,00,000. This new scholarship was rolled out this year by the department of education to encourage students to work harder and perform better in class XII board examinations.

Trinley Tsering Lama of TCV School, Selakui topped in science and Tenzin Thinlay of THF topped in commerce stream with 92.8% and 90.4% respectively.

Tibetans here have claimed that these are the efforts of their new prime minister, Lobsang Sangay, who has concentrated on improving the standard of education among Tibetans. Sangay would be interacting with college students attending a workshop being organized by the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre in McLeodganj tomorrow, where he would be briefing on the situation inside Tibetan and efforts being done by the Tibetan government in exile.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

China has built 5km road inside Indian territory

SUMIR KAUL (Leh): India and China may have announced an end to their 20-day stand-off in Ladakh sector, but the situation has not entirely settled down judging from a recent incident when the Chinese intercepted an Indian Army patrol and prevented it from going to line of actual control (LAC). 

The incident took place near Finger-VIII area, also known as Siri Jap, on May 17, two days before Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi after it was announced that the stand-off resulting from a 19km deep Chinese intrusion had ended. It was claimed that the intruding Chinese troops had gone back to their previous positions. 

While the Udhampur-based Army spokesperson refused to comment on the incident, official sources said there was a brief stand-off at the Finger-VIII area after which army patrol returned without proceeding to the LAC. 

The sources said that after the incident all patrols were stopped by the Ladakh-based 14 Corps including the one proposed to be sent in Depsang plain, where Chinese army had pitched tents for nearly three weeks beginning from April 15. 

China has managed to construct a road up to Finger-IV area which also falls under Siri Jap area and is five km deep into the LAC, the sources said. 

Chinese claim in their maps that this area falls under its area where as Indian Army has been claiming it to be part of Ladakh and have often cited the 1962 war when armies of both the sides fought bitter battles in this area. Major Dhan Singh Thapa was awarded Param Veer Chakra for fighting PLA in the area. 

However, as the Indian side was trying to back its claim at the negotiating table, the Chinese army constructed a metal-top road and claimed the area to be part of Aksai Chin area, the sources said, adding many a times the Indian Army has used the same road to patrol the area and lay claim over it. 

The Chinese intrusion in the remote Daulat Beg Oldi sector on April 15 appears to have been triggered by construction of an observation tower in Chumar division. 

The Chinese side, according to the minutes of the flag meetings held as late as in the last week of March this year, had been objecting to the construction of the watch tower along the LAC in Chumar division, 300km from here. 

After the announcement that the stand-off has been resolved, Indian security patrols in certain areas such as Rocky Knob have been curtailed, the sources said. 

Chumar, a remote village on Ladakh- Himachal Pradesh border, has been an issue for Chinese which claim it to be its own territory and have been frequenting it with helicopter incursions almost every year. Last year, it dropped some of the soldiers of PLA in this region and dismantled the makeshift storage tents of the Army and ITBP. 

This area is not accessible from the Chinese side whereas the Indian side have a road almost to the last point on which the Army can carry a load upto nine tonnes. 

There appears to be some lack of coordination among various Indian defence forces. The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has complained to the Union Home Ministry that they had been kept out of the May 5 flag meeting with the Chinese by the Army when the decision to withdraw forces on both sides was taken.
reference TOI

What is the Tibetan The Middle-Way Policy?

The Middle-Way Approach is proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet and to bring about stability and co-existence between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples based on equality and mutual co-operation. It is also a policy adopted democratically by the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people through a series of discussions held over a long time. This brief introduction to the Middle-Way policy and its history is intended for the Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet-and all those interested-to have a better understanding of the issues involved.

Meaning of the Middle-Way ApproachThe Tibetan people do not accept the present status of Tibet under the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, they do not seek independence for Tibet, which is a historical fact. Treading a middle path in between these two lies the policy and means to achieve a genuine autonomy for all Tibetans living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. This is called the Middle-Way Approach, a non-partisan and moderate position that safeguards the vital interests of all concerned parties-for Tibetans: the protection and preservation of their culture, religion and national identity; for the Chinese: the security and territorial integrity of the motherland; and for neighbours and other third parties: peaceful borders and international relations.

Important Components of the Middle-Way Approach

  1.  Without seeking independence for Tibet, the Central Tibetan Administration strives for the creation of a political entity comprising the three traditional provinces of Tibet;
  2. Such an entity should enjoy a status of genuine national regional autonomy;
  3. This autonomy should be governed by the popularly-elected legislature and executive through a democratic process and should have an independent judicial system;
  4. As soon as the above status is agreed upon by the Chinese government, Tibet would not seek separation from, and remain within, the People’s Republic of China;
  5. Until the time Tibet is transformed into a zone of peace and non-violence, the Chinese government can keep a limited number of armed forces in Tibet for its protection;
  6. The Central Government of the People’s Republic of China has the responsibility for the political aspects of Tibet’s international relations and defence, whereas the Tibetan people should manage all other affairs pertaining to Tibet, such as religion and culture, education, economy, health, ecological and environmental protection;
  7. The Chinese government should stop its policy of human rights violations in Tibet and the transfer of Chinese population into Tibetan areas;
  8. To resolve the issue of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama shall take the main responsibility of sincerely pursuing negotiations and reconciliation with the Chinese government.
Special Characteristics of the Middle-Way ApproachConsidering the fact that the unity and co-existence between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples is more important than the political requirements of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has pursued a mutually-beneficial Middle-Way policy, which is a great political step forward. Irrespective of population size, economy or military strength, the equality of nationalities means that all nationalities can co-exist on an equal footing, without any discrimination based on one nationality being superior or better than the other. As such, it is an indispensable criterion for ensuring unity among the nationalities. If the Tibetan and Chinese peoples can co-exist on an equal footing, this will serve as the basis for guaranteeing the unity of nationalities, social stability and territorial integrity of the Peoples Republic of China, which are of paramount importance to China. Therefore, the special characteristic of the Middle-Way Approach is that it can achieve peace through non-violence, mutual benefit, unity of nationalities and social stability.

It is hoped that this brief introduction to the Middle-Way policy and its history, adopted by the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people, will receive due attention from all quarters and will help in better understanding this approach. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the peoples of the world in general-and in particular the Tibetan leaders, officials and scholars in Tibet-who support and endorse the Middle-Way Approach.

reference CTA Website

Video: A rare glimpse inside Tibet at a time of unwelcome change

[The Washington Post]

Western reporters have had scant access to the Chinese province of Tibet since 2008, when a series of protests and riots calling for greater autonomy coincided with the Beijing Olympics. China, wanting to tamp down the protests and avoid more international criticism, shut down most foreign access to Tibet. The rise of self-immolations by Tibetans has not made Beijing any more eager to open up the province, which is being flooded by Chinese migrants from the ethnic Han majority.
It was a big deal, then, when France24 reporter Cyril Payen secured a visa to visit the province. He interviewed a number of Tibetans, who spoke with surprising candor about Chinese oppression, a lack of religious freedoms and a fear that inflowing Chinese migrants will erase their ancient culture. Payen says the Tibetan capital of Lhasa feels like “an Orwellian world of surveillance, like a city under occupation.”
“We don’t have any freedoms or human rights today,” a young activist tells the reporter, agreeing to meet only for a moment in a busy market. She says of her Buddhist belief that the Dalai Lama is sacred, “If we said that, then we would be put in jail.”
Payen also visits the construction around the Jokhang Temple, a U.N. world heritage site that is considered the most sacred building in Tibet. Controversially, Chinese officials are building a shopping plaza there, part of a larger construction boom in Lhasa that activists say is destroying the city’s heritage.
The reporter also visits with a Tibetan monk who says he’s afraid to leave the monastery. Payen signs off by calling the Tibetan capital “a shadow of what it once was.”
shared from The Washington Post

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Breaking: Tibetan origin Chinese spy arrested in Dharamshala

DHARAMSALA: Police claim to have arrested a suspected Chinese spy from Mcleodganj here.
Pema Tsering of Tibetan origin was arrested last evening on the complaint of Tibetan government's security agencies in Dharamsala, SP, Kangra, Balbir Thakur said.
"We were keeping an eye on him after receiving a written complaint from Tibetan security agencies about his suspicious activity and on Wednesday evening, we arrested him," Thakur said.
Police have recovered an Indian voter ID card and Aadhar card from Tsering's possession.
Both the documents are registered at Chandni Chowk, Delhi.
"We are verifying the validity of the documents recovered from his possession and whether he has obtained Indian citizenship as he possessed an Indian voter ID card," the SP said.
According to police, Tsering entered India in 2009 via Nepal to reach Dharamsala a few days ago.
Referring to Tibetan intelligence reports, Thakur said Tsering was a member of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China and also served in the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) before coming to India.
Police are probing the matter, he said.
Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile and the Dalai Lama.
The SP said preliminary investigations revealed that Tsering stayed in Delhi for a few years before coming to Dharamsala few days ago.
"During interrogations, the accused has admitted that he is ex-PLA personnel," Thakur said.
Police are trying to explore his links outside India, especially with China, he said.
In January 2009, Chinese national Ley Xiuan was arrested from here.
Xiuan was reportedly in contact with high ranking Chinese military officials in Lhasa at the time of his arrest.
adapted from TOI

Excerpt of Teaching by H.H. the Dalai Lama in Louisville, KY

“We’ve been in exile now for 54 years, but there’s only a few of us compared to the 6 million Tibetans in Tibet. What we are free to do however, is to keep our language and culture alive. In the 7th century, Tibet was a powerful unified nation, and although it later became somewhat fragmented, through all the ups and downs, the people of the Land of Snow have continued to think of themselves as Tibetans. What unites us is our common language and culture. This is something to be proud of.
Good morning everybody. I’m happy to be here with this opportunity, a morning and an afternoon session, to explain this particular text. It was written by a great Indian Buddhist master and philosopher in the eleventh century at the behest of the King of Guge, a small kingdom in Western Tibet. But before I open the text I’d like to say a little to set the context. If you show concern for other’s well-being, speak honestly, cultivate affection and trust, you will naturally collect many firm friends. Scientific research has shown that positive meditation and mental training yield measurable improvements in well-being with reduced blood pressure and stress. The point is that some kind of spirituality improves our lives. If you look at me, your eye consciousness forms an image, but makes no judgement such as ‘This is my friend.’ Close your eyes and a mental image remains. Joy and wisdom function on that mental level; peace of mind is achieved through mental training. The love and compassion common to all major religions and their teachings about tolerance and patience also relate to training the mind...
It can be more useful to choose the breath as an object of concentration, because it is neither too coarse nor too subtle and it is a natural phenomenon. Observing it enables us to gather our minds as we count inhalations and exhalations as one, up to 21, 50 or 100. 
The text is complete,” His Holiness announced, adding, “I hope you are not tired. I hope non-Buddhists can find something useful in what I have explained. Buddhists I urge to read the text again and again; this is not something to be contented about. Material values and sensory pleasures have natural limits so it’s better to be contented with them. But mental qualities have no such limits, mind is formless and there is no limit to knowledge, so never feel contented with what you know; study more and more.
Mental development takes time. Early on it may seem difficult, but it becomes easier with familiarity. Don’t entertain unrealistic expectations; mental transformation doesn’t take place quickly. It requires patience and determination. It may take months or years, but at the end of your life you can feel confident about your next destination."

“Shantideva expresses the appropriate far-sighted perspective in his verse:

For as long as space endures, 
And for as long as living beings remain, 
Until then may I too abide 
To dispel the misery of the world.”

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Dr. Lobsang Sangay: “The Tibetan Issue Is Linked To India’s Security”

The premier of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) is in India. Has there been any sort of contact between the government-in-exile here and the Chinese government lately?
There has been no formal contact as of now, unfortunately. We want to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully, through dialogue and hopefully there will be a dialogue.
A few years ago, there were envoys of His Holiness Dalai Lama who travelled to Beijing and tried to start an interaction between both the parties. Informally, do the Chinese give any vibes that they are interested in resolving the issue?
Yes, from 2002 to 2010, there were nine rounds of formal dialogues between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese counterpart. The last meeting was in January 2010 and for more than three years, there has been no dialogue. But not for the lack of effort from our side, we are keen to engage in dialogue, anytime and anywhere. Informally, when Chinese Buddhists, journalists, scholars, come to India and travel to Dharamsala, we have interactions with them. When I give talks in the U.S, universities and think tanks, many come and ask questions and we just give them our version and clarifications. We always say, we are quite transparent in what we do and what we say and so if anyone from China wants to understand the Tibet issue, we are willing to have a dialogue with them at any level.
So where have the talks stalled? Has there been a breaking point that such interactions haven’t continued or did the nine rounds of dialogue actually reach anywhere?
We have made ourselves very clear about what we mean by the middle wave policy- which is neither the repression that is on in Tibet nor a separation from the PRC, but rather a middle path where we want to have genuine autonomy for Tibetans. A Tibetan administration, which will administer all Tibetan areas with similar culture, language, environment and economy. We also have a document called ‘Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy for Tibetans’ in which we have clearly laid out all the details.
But the Chinese are not agreeing to this. What is their contention?
That is the most unfortunate and puzzling part. From our side, essentially what we are saying is that if the Chinese government implements its own laws, we will take that as genuine autonomy. What we are seeking, is within the framework of the Chinese constitution. They refuse to implement their own laws, refuse to continue the dialogue and have raised some issues like the size of Tibet and whether there is some hidden independence or not. But that is not true.
The Tibetan language should not only be used, but be encouraged. We are asking them to implement it, but they are violating the law. For example, the Tibetan language is not the medium of instruction at the university, high school or middle-school level. It is also not commonly used in administrative matters in government agencies. They not only make far less use of the Tibetan language, they even discourage and disuse it. So that is an obstacle for us.
So what you are asking is actually more of a cultural-autonomy and assertion of the Tibetan identity, which the Chinese government doesn’t seem to be happy implementing.
Not just culture. It’s the economic aspect, its environment and the administrative mechanism through which all the Tibetans can be included in one structure. That is essentially what we are saying, because Tibetans are not just in Tibet’s autonomous regions but in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu as well.
That is another point of contention, isn’t it? What both sides consider as Tibet?
Our definition of Tibet is where Tibetans live. For example, my late father was from Yuthang which is in Sichuan province. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is from Amdo area which is presently in Qinghai province. Now, if you don’t consider these people as Tibetans, then how do you define Tibet and what is Tibetan? So that should not be a contention because the Xinjiang Autonomous Province has 99% of Uyghur people living in one area. Zhuang autonomous region has 95% of Zhuang living in one area. It is only Tibet or Tibetan area where more than 50% of the people are outside, than in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
We have seen a change in the Chinese leadership. Interestingly, in the Chinese Premier Li’s first visit to India, he is giving a lot of importance to the neighbourhood. Do you think there will be a change in how the new leadership approaches the Tibet issue?
India and China are two of the biggest countries in Asia and also two of the largest population in the world. So peace between these two countries is very important. Hence, India and China ought to have a peaceful relationship. So in that sense, Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India is significant. I hope the Premier will see the democracy and diversity of India, where different languages, cultures and administrations function quite smoothly. It’s the democracy that binds India together. Giving everyone equal rights and treating them as equals is important. These are some of the ideas that Chinese literature could ponder on, while considering the situation in Tibet.
But in terms of Tibet as an issue between India and China, do you expect more from the Indian government?
As you see in the bilateral discussions, when they talk about the border, or the water issue, it is essentially the border between India and Tibet. Also, the water that flows from Tibet into India through the Brahmaputra River, Indus River and the Sutlej River – all flow from Tibet. Tibet is the source of 10 major rivers in Asia. So it is vital for India and South Asia as well as Asia as a whole. Even the monsoon of Asia is affected because of Tibet, as the clouds from the Indian Ocean hit the high-altitude Tibetan plateau for the monsoon.
In 1914, the Shimla agreement was signed between British India and Tibet and hence major portions of India and Tibet are demarcated by the McMahon Line. So anywhere between 3,500 kms or 2,500 kms to 4000 kms border was essentially with Tibet. Restoring the traditional guardianship of the Tibetan people is vital for India because there was hardly a sepoy or an army personal at the border at that time. Now, you have to spend billions of dollars. For China, Tibet also served as a very peaceful buffer zone to keep two of the largest populations of the world apart. So, solving the issue of Tibet could help stabilize and bring peace in the area as well.
In a statement you gave during the incursion controversy, you said that in the India-China face off, Tibet is no longer a buffer zone. So perhaps it also indicates the importance of Tibet in terms of the security aspect?
Yes, restoring Tibet as a buffer zone and giving genuine autonomy to Tibetans, will lessen suspicion on both sides, primarily from the Chinese side.
But the defence would still be under Beijing, won’t it, if Tibet would have autonomy?
When you have an element of suspicion, then you see more activities on the defence-related aspect. The Chinese government knows that Tibetans in Tibet are not content and resentful of the Chinese. So they are suspicious of the Tibetan people. Tibetans are also justifiably resentful and are resisting in very tragic forms like self-immolation. But if the suspicion can be lessened by both India and China agreeing to maintain Tibet as a peaceful area, then the border dispute could be lessened as well.
Can you assure that you will not have cases of self-immolation on Indian land or is it difficult for you to guarantee this?
From our side and as a leader, we have asked people not to resort to self-immolation in the land of India and also discouraged Tibetans in Tibet to not resort to drastic actions. We live in free world where we can protest and demonstrate in various forms because we have freedom of speech. In Tibet, sadly, Tibetans resort to self-immolation because there are no other forms or space for protest. If there is any form of protest, be it pasting a poster or His Holiness Dalai Lama’s photograph on the wall, you go to prison. Hence they are resorting to such actions.
Tibet is an international issue. We saw the Bush administration honouring the Dalai Lama in the Congress. But at the end of the day, when it comes to the real issue, Tibet just becomes one of the chips in the block and most people don’t seem to be serious. Do you think countries like India, USA or European countries are really serious about resolving the Tibetan issue? Or does it become just another chip to bargain with a big giant like China?
Depends on how you look at it, whether the glass is full or half-empty. Partly because of being Tibetan and Buddhist, we tend to be a bit hopeful all the time and see goodness in human nature. So we tend to see the glass as half-full. The US government and some of the European countries have passed resolutions on the issue of Tibet despite the pressure by the Chinese government to not do so. We wish the governments would do more and speak about it strongly. But nonetheless, whatever they have done, we are appreciative.
The clout that China has is primarily because of its economic strength. Is a rising China a threat to the Tibetan issue?
One theory is that when China becomes more confident, it will have the confidence to resolve conflicts. Some say that when China is weak or needs more international help, that is the time it will solve the issue of Tibet.
There are a couple of examples. In the early 80s, Hong Kong and Macua was resolved. Then, they continued to resolve some issues within China. So rising China or not, Tibet is a major issue for China. The Tibet issue is a black dot on their image that they cannot erase without actually solving the issue. I was just in Germany and they were talking about their history and how they feel now, the lessons that they have learnt. China should not walk that path and destroy a rich civilization like Tibet and try to assimilate Tibetan people into the Chinese fold. They will not be able to do this and it will unnecessarily bring them a bad image. What kind of rise you are going to have and what kind of respect you are going to receive are two different things. You can rise economically or militarily, but if you want respect along with the rise, you ought to show respect to the people, respect to the Tibetans. So Tibet is a test of the Chinese government’s rise.
Though the Dalai Lama has created the post of the political office, and you are the elected Prime Minister of the government-in-exile, what happens to the Tibetan movement post the Dalai Lama?
Well, his Holiness is 77 years old but very healthy. He travels a lot and maintains a 12-hour plus schedule. He gets up a 3:30 in the morning and does meditation and kriya for five hours. I have been with him a few times, and we get exhausted following his schedule. So he will live very long. Nonetheless, he himself has commented about a 15th Dalai Lama. So we will have a 15th Dalai Lama.
And that 15th Dalai Lama could be from outside China, he said it could even be a woman?
The 15th Dalai Lama will be from outside China. He or she, most likely he, because the idea of reincarnation is that the person comes back to continue the mission and vision of the previous Lama. If the previous Lama leaves or passes away in exile or outside of Tibet or China, then he will be born outside to continue the mission from where he left. So, it is natural.
But technically, if the new Dalai Lama is chosen, the 15th Dalai Lama is going to be a young kid. So wouldn’t it be a vacuum of leadership in that sense?
Now, we have institutionalized the political leadership, we have democratized the leadership. The spiritual leadership, his Holiness has said, could be through elimination, reincarnation or selection. Selection means all the high Lamas will meet, like the cardinals select the Pope. Reincarnation means obviously one has to pass away and be reborn. Elimination means he could designate his own successor while he is away. So all these three options are on the table.
Are you hopeful of finding a solution to the Tibet issue?
Yes, I am absolutely hopeful. Not only hopeful, I believe so. That is why I am in Bharat and not America. After spending 16 years in the US and HarvardLawSchool I came back believing that our day will come and it will come soon.
But how soon? In your tenure?
Very soon, of course. That is the belief one ought to have, that is what one should strive for.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

US senators approve 5,000 visas for Tibet refugees

US lawmakers debating a landmark immigration bill on Monday approved the provision of 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees to enter the United States over the next three years.
Citing "terrible" and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans, Senator Dianne Feinstein offered the matter as an amendment to the vast legislation aimed at fixing the US immigration system.
Feinstein said the measure, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would ease conditions for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal, where she noted Tibetan resettlement facilities are more than 50 years old.
"In Nepal, the government has been essentially following Chinese mandates to make it very difficult for the Tibetan refugee community," the veteran Democrat told fellow senators.
The immigration bill would ultimately provide a 13-year path to citizenship, or longer, for most of the 11 million people living in the United States illegally.
However, its prospects of getting through both the Senate and the House of Representatives remain uncertain. The Tibetan visa provision would take effect if the wider bill becomes law.
Feinstein also cited the more than 110 Tibetans who have self immolated since 2009, with most dying of their injuries, in demonstrations against what they view as Chinese oppression.
Republican Chuck Grassley said he supported the visa measure knowing full well it would not sit well with authorities in Beijing.
"On this issue I don't mind irritating China," Grassley said.
Senators have already waded through nearly a third of the more than 300 amendments being considered for the bipartisan immigration bill. Several of the measures are aimed at making the sweeping legislation more palatable to conservatives.

Has Hollywood Sold Out on Tibet?

If there's one lingering sore point between Hollywood and China, it's Tibet.
For years, celebrity activists have annoyed Beijing by organizing charity concerts for Tibetan independence, shouting "Free Tibet" at awards ceremonies, and palling around with the Dalai Lama, whom the People's Republic regards as a "jackal" and "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
In 1997, studios released not one but two films about Tibet, both of which were promptly denounced by Chinese officials, who also banned Brad Pitt and Martin Scorsese from the country as punishment.
You would think, then, that the idea of a major studio collaborating with the Chinese government on a Tibet movie would not only be radioactive, but also absurd.
But such is the dependence of Hollywood on China now that the absurd has become real. Last month, DreamWorks Animation — makers of "Kung Fu Panda" — announced they were teaming up with the China Film Group, a state-owned company, to make "The Tibet Code."
The movie will be an adaptation of a best-selling series of potboiler books that feature a set of adventurers and Tibetan Mastiffs traipsing around the Himalayan landscape in search of hidden Buddhist treasures.
At the press conference, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg batted away suggestions that the film could be tainted by politics, saying that the studios would "find a course to tell a great story and not step on political issues." He stressed that it was simply a "blockbuster story" without any hidden motives.
The message from the Chinese side, which controls 55 percent of the deal, was a bit different. Han Sanping, chairman of the China Film Group, said that "The Tibet Code" would help broadcast Chinese culture, morals and values — a mission in line with Beijing's goal of burnishing its global image.
While Hollywood has increasingly bent over backward for access to China's growing box office, now the second largest in the world after the United States, the "Tibet Code" project marks a step into riskier territory.
Along with the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet is one of the most strictly controlled subjects in Chinese media. Coverage of the 100-plus Tibetan self-immolations is forbidden. The vision of Tibetan history presented in China is typically one of Han Chinese Communists liberating the region from brutality, feudalism and backwardness.
"China has its own made-up story when it comes to Tibetan history," says Michael Davis, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. "They claim that Tibet was a big happy part of China for hundreds of years, and most scholarship in the world outside of China disputes that."
full story at CNBC

Friday, 17 May 2013

China sentences Tibetan writer to 5-year jail term

A Tibetan writer arrested on the first day of the New Year has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment for writing a book whose contents are considered “too political” by the Chinese government.According to media reports, on 14 May 2013, a Chinese court in Tsekhong County, Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture sentenced 36-yr old Gartse Jigme to a five-year jail term for writing a sensitive book titled “btsen poi snying stobs” loosely translated as “The Emperor's Valour”.On Jan 1 this year Chinese authorities from Gartse township in Rebkong county of Malho prefecture,unexpectedly entered the young writer’s residence and secretly arrested him after searching his house and computer.
The authorities cited objection to the political contents in the second volume of his book “btsen poi snying stobs” loosely translated as “The Emperor's Valour” as the reason for his arrest and also banned its publication. Subsequently, he was detained in Siling city and later moved to Rebkong County for further detention.
36 year old Gartse Jigme was born in Gartse Township in Rebkong county of Malho prefecture and is a Gartse monastery monk. From 1999 onwards he engaged in contemporary writing and won several awards. His first collection of essays called “bsam bzhigs nyul ba'i zin tho” loosely translated as “Diary of wandering thoughts” was greatly appreciated by the readers. In 2003 he graduated in Pharchin (Prajaniparamitra) Ramjampa and also mastered all the five major Buddhist texts.
courtesy: dossiertibet

Dalai Lama warns of power in hands of few

The Dalai Lama gestures during a press conference after visiting the Swiss House of Parliament on 16 April 2013 in Bern.AFP
CHICAGO, US, 15 May 2013
The Dalai Lama warned Tuesday against the accumulation of power in the hands of the few, and told US politicians that maternal love at an early age was vital for policy-making.
Addressing lawmakers at the state Assembly in Wisconsin, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said that he occasionally felt bullied as a child from the few officials who held power to guide him as a young monk.
“So, since early age, [I thought that] power in few people’s hands is always dangerous,” said the Dalai Lama, who was paying his ninth visit to the state capital Madison where he has often met academics and monks.
Lawmakers’ welcome of the the Dalai Lama offered a rare bipartisan moment for one of the most polarised US legislatures. In 2011, lawmakers fled the state to try to stop anti-union measures by Republican Governor Scott Walker.
The Dalai Lama, who was scheduled to meet Walker, made no reference to Wisconsin’s politics and instead was referring to his own decision to hand over temporal power to a leader elected among Tibetan exiles.
The Dalai Lama renewed his call for children to have a secular education in what he called universal values, such as compassion, regardless of their religious background.
“Even among politicians here, those individuals who received maximum affection when you were very young – mainly from our mother – then such people, deep inside, I think more peace, more inner strength,” he said.
But he said that politicians and businesspeople who “lack affection, from our mother, or sometimes even (suffer) abuse, then such successful people deep inside (have) some kind of sense of insecurity, fear (and) automatically distrust” others.
The Dalai Lama, 77, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, fled the Chinese rule of Tibet in 1959 for the safety of India. China regularly condemns foreign leaders for meeting him.

Copyright © 2013 Agence France-PressePublished in Asia One

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Xi Jinping and the Chinese dream

IN 1793 a British envoy, Lord Macartney, arrived at the court of the Chinese emperor, hoping to open an embassy. He brought with him a selection of gifts from his newly industrialising nation. The Qianlong emperor, whose country then accounted for about a third of global GDP, swatted him away: “Your sincere humility and obedience can clearly be seen,” he wrote to King George III, but we do not have “the slightest need for your country’s manufactures”. The British returned in the 1830s with gunboats to force trade open, and China’s attempts at reform ended in collapse, humiliation and, eventually, Maoism.

China has made an extraordinary journey along the road back to greatness. Hundreds of millions have lifted themselves out of poverty, hundreds of millions more have joined the new middle class. It is on the verge of reclaiming what it sees as its rightful position in the world. China’s global influence is expanding and within a decade its economy is expected to overtake America’s. In his first weeks in power, the new head of the ruling Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has evoked that rise with a new slogan which he is using, as belief in Marxism dies, to unite an increasingly diverse nation. He calls his new doctrine the “Chinese dream” evoking its American equivalent. Such slogans matter enormously in China. News bulletins are full of his dream. Schools organise speaking competitions about it. A talent show on television is looking for “The Voice of the Chinese Dream”.
Since the humiliations of the 19th century, China’s goals have been wealth and strength. Mao Zedong tried to attain them through Marxism. For Deng Xiaoping and his successors, ideology was more flexible (though party control was absolute). Jiang Zemin’s theory of the “Three Represents” said the party must embody the changed society, allowing private businessmen to join the party. Hu Jintao pushed the “scientific-development outlook” and “harmonious development” to deal with the disharmony created by the yawning wealth gap. (read fulll article)

Dr. Lobsang Sangay: India and China were never next to each other.

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay

An excerpt from the statement of Dr. Lobsang Sangay:

"There was never incursion in '40s and '30s because India and China were never next to each other. Tibet always served as the buffer zone. Now they are facing off each other. So two of the largest populated countries in this planet are facing each other because there is no Tibet as the buffer zone. Tibet is very much linked to India's security. The 4,000, to 5,000 kilometres of border that we have with, China has always been the threat, so hence the border dispute. Pre-1949 there was hardly even a policeman on the border. There was no need for one. Now, the military buildup that is going on and the billions of dollars India has spent on its border security, which could rather be spent on other humanitarian or educational projects. So India's security is very much linked to Tibet issue. The Chinese government in China says Tibet is one of their core issues. And all the more, India should say Tibet is one of the core issues for India, as well. 

Now the military buildup is very high. According to Indian media reports, there are 23 military division on the Chinese side or the Tibet side, 11 military division on the Indian side; five military airfields on Tibet side, only one airfield on the Indian side; and China has build a seaport in Pakistan, they're building one in Sri Lanka, attempting to build one in Bangladesh and Burma.

Thereby India is surrounded by sea, air now. With the train from Beijing to Golmud to Lhasa onto Shigatze to Nepal, maybe to border of Bangladesh also. So by sea, air and land, the two countries are facing each other. Historically, it was not the case. And it's geopolitically very important. I was born and brought up in India. India has done the most for Tibetans because largest number of Tibetans are in India. The Tibetan administration also is in India. And also on humanitarian ground, India does more than any country in this planet for Tibetans. So we always say India is our host; we are their guest. 
As for Indian tradition a guest should be content with what he was provided, so we don't want to complain. But given a choice, we wish India does more than what it does. But it's not a demand. It is not a complaint. It is just a request because actually, they do the most for us. 
As far as my administration is concerned and the Indian leadership, we have very good relationship in the last 18 months or so. Even though I left America for 16 years, I built a very good relationship, and I've seen firsthand how much sympathy and support the Indian people and the leadership have for Tibet. So India is doing a very good job. Now, we wish they do more."

Friday, 10 May 2013

Excerpt: “Our Lhasa is on the Verge of Destruction! Please, Save Lhasa!” By Woeser

Our Lhasa is on the verge of destruction; this is absolutely not a case of crying wolf!

2013 05 10 Our Lhasa 005
A display image of the Barkhor Shopping Mall, currently under construction. 

Remember: in 1994, UNESCO placed the Potala Palace on the World Heritage List. But then, in 1996, the village of Shol, which had stood for 1100 years at the foot of the Potala Palace was moved and relocated. At the same time, the Potala Palace, now deprived of Shol, was fatally disfigured with a public square: a replica of all those identical squares found throughout China, that are meant to display and project supreme power and authority. In 2000 and 2001 UNESCO listed the Jokhang and the Norbulingka on the World Heritage List as extensions of the Potala, making Lhasa, already a sacred place in terms of its value for religion, history and the humanities, a part of the world’s cultural heritage. Nominally then, it ought to receive protection simply as a matter of course. But in 2002 Tibetans received a deep wound to their hearts: an artillery shell-shaped “Monument to the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” was put up to tower easily over the square, facing off against the Potala Palace in the distance. In 2007 the Potala Palace received a “Yellow Card Warning” at the World Heritage Conference, with criticism leveled for the excessive and gross pursuit of tourism profits, for unrestrained exploitation and for failing to uphold its responsibilities and commitments. The Potala Palace was put at risk of losing its “World Heritage” designation.
What is regrettable is that now, not only does the Potala continue to be subjected every year to excessive exploitation for purposes of tourism, but, under the feet of several million tourists whose numbers continually increase, even Lhasa’s Old City is precariously and dangerously changing its appearance as it follows the trajectory of becoming an “International Tourist City.” Not only have its guts been opened, things have become drastic. It’s just as the Tibetan artist Kuang Laowu judged: “Faced with the lure of material goods and the seductions of power, cultural distinctiveness loses out and urban uniformity is imposed. Behind this seeming burst of prosperity the Old City of Lhasa, its substance, long since depleted, is yesterday’s faded lily; none of its ancient simplicity, with the traces of ages past, is to be found there.”
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Tibetans going around the Barkhor.
From the “Engineering Survey” for the “Barkhor Shopping Mall” we can see that the goal of the renovation of the Barkhor quarter is to “cleanse, disperse, transform and elevate.” And the reality that is to be understood by this is that the reconstruction of the Old City is to be divided into several large parts: the heart of the Old City, the circumambulation path around the Jokhang is to be thoroughly cleared. All the street peddlers are to be moved inside the newly-built “Barkhor Shopping Mall.” All of the residents originally living along the street are to be moved to Tolung Dechen County in the western suburb of Lhasa; those households that move quickly can get a subsidy of between 20,000 and 30,000 RMB. Not moving will be a political problem. It’s said that one old person in Lhasa who was unwilling to move has gone completely mad. As for the empty homes and courtyards, they’ll be used to draw investment bids. Stores, restaurants, bars, art galleries and the like are to be established here. And on other streets and allies in the Old City, such as the space in front of the Ramoche temple, big public squares are to be opened up.
I should point out that over the last several years the self-immolations of 121 Tibetans have become the most conspicuous manifestation of the Tibet Issue. It matters little that the international community is only paying limited attention to it, it is still the focus of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile; everything is concentrated around it and other catastrophes and dangers faced by Tibetan society are getting scant notice. For example, right now the looming destruction of Lhasa’s Old City is staring us in the face. If this were taking place in the past, UNESCO could still issue a “Yellow Card Warning.” However, now no one is paying attention, no one is concerned.
But the Chinese Government is taking the Tibetan self-immolations very seriously. On May 27 last year two Tibetans committed self-immolation in the space between the Jokhang and the Barkhor police substation. The Barkhor police substation was immediately elevated to the level of “Barkhor Ancient City Public Security Bureau.” The Mandala Hotel in which the two Tibetan self-immolators had taken lodgings was seized by the authorities and turned into the “Lhasa Barkhor Ancient City Management Committee.” The Old City of Lhasa was renamed the “Barkhor Ancient City.” But the large-scale rebuilding of the Old City by the authorities that resulted from this was actually a case of killing two birds with one stone; it was even more suited to the goals and plans for “maintaining stability.”
I call on the many Tibetologists all around the world, the people and organizations studying and researching the Tibet Issue: please pay close attention to the unredeemable misfortune that is befalling the Old City of Lhasa right at this very moment.
I hope people from all walks of life will launch actions to save the Old City of Lhasa!
Our Lhasa is on the Verge of Destruction!
Please, Save Lhasa!
Originally Written: May 4, 2013
Revised: May 6, 2013

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Britain supports Tibet as part of China

Britain clears out the air of confusion about its stance and support towards the cause of Tibetan struggle that was though strongly dependent on the sole power of proof that was present in Tibet during the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese government. In response to the Premier David Cameron meeting with the Dalai Lama last year that offended the Chinese government, he has made a statement that Britain does not support the Tibetan state as an independent nation and recognize Tibet as a part of China. The smell of sole reason behind this statement comes out to the fact that they want a strong and healthy relationship with China which is highly beneficial for both the states!
Whatsoever reason this statement has behind it, it is a clear encouragement for the Chinese government in pressurizing all the officials across the world against the meeting the noble laureate the Dalai Lama and the practice of violating the human rights in Tibet which has resulted in endless number of Tibetan self immolation which till now tolls upto 120 people committing to it!
David Cameron "Let us be absolutely clear -- this government has not changed the long-standing British policy towards China and Tibet. We do want to have a strong and positive relationship with China, which I believe is in our mutual benefit. The Chinese government is aware of our policy on Tibet. We recognize Tibet as part of China. We do not support Tibetan independence and we respect China's sovereignty. When I spoke to Premier Li recently, we both looked forward to both countries working very closely together in the months and years ahead."

The meeting between Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Dalai Lama in London was part of the government's approach of seeking "dialogue and discussion and gathering a wide range of viewpoints on issues of importance", a spokesman for Cameron said Tuesday.
The spokesman added: "It is entirely reasonable for the prime minister to decide who he meets.
"The Chinese government always lobbies hard against any meetings between foreign governments and the Dalai Lama. We have made clear in advance to the Chinese government that British ministers will decide who they meet and when they meet them."