Sunday, 30 June 2013

China unofficially allowing religious worship of Dalai Lama in Tibet

BEIJING — A crack has appeared in China’s decades-old campaign against the Dalai Lama, with some monasteries reporting that they are no longer being forced to denounce the Tibetan religious leader.
The policy has been described by some as “experimental” and only seems to apply in certain areas.
Monks have reportedly been told that they may venerate the Dalai Lama as a spiritual figure as long as they do not treat him as a political leader.
That contradicts China’s official propaganda, which describes the 77-year-old monk as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” bent on splitting Tibet from China.
“Something will be announced in the next few days,” said a monk at the Kumbum Monastery in Qinghai province.
“I cannot discuss it over the telephone, but from now on the Dalai Lama will not be criticised and we can revere him,” he added.
A second monk, at the Ganzi Monastery in Sichuan, said: “We no longer have to criticise the Dalai Lama and we are allowed to hang his picture.”
The monk read out one message that has circulated inside monasteries which suggested security in Tibetan areas could be relaxed.
“In case of a large disturbance, soldiers will not be sent to suppress it immediately, the leader of the monastery and senior monks should deal with matters first,” it said.
Free Tibet, an advocacy group, said pictures of the Dalai Lama were also being permitted inside the Gaden Monastery in Lhasa.
The policy remains highly sensitive and several sources, including the local governments in Ganzi, Sichuan and Qinghai, bluntly denied its existence.
‘It may be possible that in certain areas the Chinese leadership is trying to please people by giving certain small concessions’
Jin Wei, a professor at the Central Party School in Beijing, said implementing the policy would be “very difficult.”
“The Dalai Lama’s identity is very complicated,” she said. “He has never been seen solely as a spiritual leader.”
After 120 self-immolations by Tibetans, there appears to be fresh debate inside the Communist party about the effectiveness of its policies in the ethnic region.
The Tibetan government-in-exile suggested the Chinese government may be trying to reduce the build-up of pressure and anger that is culminating in self-immolations.
“It may be possible that in certain areas the Chinese leadership is trying to please people by giving certain small concessions,” said a spokesman.
Robbie Barnett, the head of the Modern Tibet Studies programme at Columbia University, suggested that the reports “coincide with an important challenge we are seeing in some quarters in Beijing to Hu Jintao’s legacy and the hard-line policies in Tibet that he masterminded for 20 years.”
The Daily Telegraph

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why China can't become the super power?

Tiananmen square massacre, 1989, Beijing
China's Great Leap Forward into superpower race begain between 1958 and 1961. This was Mao's effort to rapidly industrialise China and collectivise its agriculture. The death toll from a combination of famine and state terror was somewhere between 18 and 45 million. Then there was the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, another exercise in state terror which saw mass purges, millions of people displaced, and much of China's cultural heritage destroyed.
They have no sense of respect for their fellow Asians which could be the key to their superpower. We can rightly look at the Tibetans. They were invaded, occupied, and forcibly incorporated into the People's Republic of China in 1950. Between 200,000 and a million of them died during the Great Leap Forward, while some 6,000 monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The Vietnamese, like many other peoples on the fringes of China, have their own histories of struggle against Chinese imperialism, seeing off a border incursion as recently as 1979.
As for spying, surveilling, and torturing, well, this is the great specialty of totalitarian regimes and the only real rivals of the PRC and the USSR were the Nazis. It is ironic that the Edward Snowden fled first to China and then to Russia, two of the most politically least free societies on earth, to protest US surveillance. When Chinese and Russian dissidents flee to the West, there is no irony in their choice.But here too China's so-called communists easily match the venality of the West's leaders. 
What we perhaps need to let go of is the idea that a strong state, whether Chinese or American, will save us, or will ever do the right thing. It is popular action, the masses on the streets, the threat or actuality of revolution, demands backed up by demonstrations, riots, and unrest, which extract concessions from the rich and the powerful.
Western politicians have been transferring wealth from the have-nots to those who have too much, and they have been well rewarded after they leave office with sinecures, memberships on corporate boards, and highly paid jobs as advisors and lobbyists. But here too China's so-called communists easily match the venality of the West's leaders. As Bloomberg has recently reported , the princelings of the Chinese Communist Party have amassed fortunes in real estate and other assets. They too have created a country with increasingly horrific divides in wealth and power, while they and their families party with China's new class of super rich.
What is happening now in Turkey and Brazil is how you make gains for democracy, justice and equality.
By and large, despite all the hot air about the internet and twitter, the tools of people power have failed to adapt to globalization. While capital has become mobile, the people have remained caged in their nation-states, left to vent their rage against a local government that is but a minor servant of global capital.
The Arab Spring and other globally networked and interlinked uprisings have begun to show the way. At some point, when deprived of their consumer economies and all their baubles, the Western masses will join the struggle, as they have begun to in Greece and elsewhere. That is, if they are not led astray by the siren songs of fascism and anti-immigrant racism.
It is the global superpower of the people in which we should place our hopes and our efforts for a better future, not some communist dictatorship that offers nothing but cheap textiles, knock-off electronics and a world-class gulag.
reference AL JAZEERA

Friday, 28 June 2013

Tibetans shall be happy in the land of Tibet, and Chinese in the land of China.

Peace Treaty Pillar in Lhasa
The Peace Treaty signed in 821 between Tibet and China is carved in Tibetan and Chinese on one side of a stone pillar in front of the Jokhang Cathedral in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. Translated from Tibetan as follows:
"The Great King of Tibet, the Miraculous Divine Lord, and the Great King of China, the Chinese Ruler Huangdi, being in the relationship of nephew and uncle, have conferred together for the alliance of their kingdoms. They have made and ratified a great agreement.
Gods and men all know it and bear witness so that it may never be changed; and an account of the agreement has been engraved on this stone pillar to inform future ages and generations. The Miraculous Divine Lord Thri-tsug Detsen and the Chinese King Wen Wu Hsiao-te Wang-ti, nephew and uncle, seeking in their far-reaching wisdom to prevent all causes of harm to the welfare of their countries now or in the future, have extended their benevolence impartially over all. With the single desire of acting for the peace and benefit of all their subjects they have agreed on the high purpose of ensuring lasting good; and they have made this great treaty in order to fulfill their decision to restore the former ancient friendship and mutual regard and the old relationship of friendly neighbourliness.
Tibet and China shall abide by the frontiers of which they are now in occupation. All to the east is the country of Great China; and all to the west is, without question, the country of Great Tibet. Henceforth on neither side shall there be waging of war nor seizing of territory. If any person incurs suspicion he shall be arrested; his business shall be inquired into and he shall he escorted back.
Now that the two kingdoms have been allied by this great treaty it is necessary that messengers should once again be sent by the old route to maintain communications and carry the exchange of friendly messages regarding the harmonious relations between the Nephew and Uncle. According to the old custom, horses shall be changed at the foot of the Chiang Chun pass, the frontier between Tibet and China.
At the Suiyung barrier the Chinese shall meet Tibetan envoys and provide them with all facilities from there onwards. At Ch’ing-shui the Tibetans shall meet Chinese envoys and provide all facilities. On both sides they shall be treated with customary honour and respect in conformity with the friendly relations between Nephew and Uncle.
Tibetans shall be happy in the land of Tibet, and Chinese in the land of China. Even the frontier guards shall have no anxiety, nor fear and shall enjoy land and bed at their ease. All shall live in peace and share the blessing of happiness for ten thousand years. The fame of this shall extend to all places reached by the sun and the moon. This solemn agreement has established a great epoch when Tibetans shall be happy in the land of Tibet, and Chinese in the land of China. So that it may never be changed, the Three Precious Jewels of Religion, the Assembly of Saints, the Sun and Moon, Planets and Stars have been invoked as witnesses. An oath has been taken with solemn words and with the sacrifice of animals; and tile agreement has been ratified.
If the parties do not act in accordance with this agreement or if they Violate it, whichever it be, Tibet or China, nothing that the other party may do by way of retaliation shall be considered a breach of the treaty on their part. The Kings and Ministers of Tibet and China have taken the prescribed oats to this effect and the agreement has been written in detail. The two Kings have affixed their seals. The Ministers specially empowered to execute the agreement have inscribed their signatures and copies have been deposited in the royal records of each party."
courtesy: Claurde Arpi

A letter to David Cameron

"The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

February 13, 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

Following a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama last June in Westminster
Abbey, we have come together as a unique group of British people with direct
family ties to Tibet going back over 200 years. We are writing to urge Her
Majesty’s government to take a leadership role in addressing the grave situation
in Tibet today.

As the on-going self-immolations attest, all parties involved with the current
impasse are paying an immense price. Tibetans are paying with their lives, but
China is paying with lost goodwill around the world. This is unnecessary and
avoidable and, as a friend to both parties, we would urge you to promote
genuine dialogue so that the Tibetan and Chinese peoples can live alongside
each other in mutual respect, acting as a beacon of peace and reconciliation to
the region and to the world.

Britain has extensive experience in Asia. It has also played a notable role in
conflict resolution in Northern Ireland. Our country and government have
demonstrated a capacity to achieve astounding results in establishing dialogue
where none seemed possible. We are confident that a concerted effort by the
government to address the current situation in Tibet at this critical time will yield
positive and substantial results. We would like to suggest the following
affirmative actions:
• Offer assistance to the new Chinese leadership to overcome the deadlock
in their talks with the Tibetan Government in Exile;
• Review and strengthen UK policies to ensure that Her Majesty’s
Government’s position on Tibet both effectively reflects our nation’s
standards on human rights, and grants a commensurate value to the
national historical culture of the Tibetan people;
• Work to ease the security clampdown on Tibetans, and petition the United
Nations General Assembly, perhaps requesting an investigative human
rights team be sent to Tibet.

The majority of the British people support the restoration of human rights in
Tibet. The UK has an on-going responsibility and duty to Tibet, having signed
treaties with this nation in the past.

We trust that our suggestions meet with your broad approval. We would like to
request a meeting with you at the earliest convenience to discuss these
affirmative strategies and how we might also be involved.We would also like to inform you that a copy of this letter has been sent today to
the Daily Telegraph.

Yours sincerely
The Undersigned,
Friends of British in Tibet"

China: Ban on Dalai Lama not lifted anywhere in Tibet

The Chinese government has issued a strong denial of reports that its long-standing ban on openly worshipping the Dalai Lama has changed.

It comes after reports that restrictions on worshipping the Dalai Lama had been eased in some areas.In a statement to the BBC, the state bureau for religious affairs said there had been no policy change.
Persistent reports from Tibetan advocacy organizations, including Free Tibet and the US-funded broadcaster, Radio Free Asia, indicated that an "experimental" policy allowed the open worship of the Dalai Lama in some Tibetan monasteries.
However, the BBC was unable to confirm this news, despite repeated phone calls to monasteries in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and Tibetan areas in the provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan.
Several monks admitted they had heard of possible changes to the government's long-standing policy, but said they had not witnessed any relaxation in policy themselves.
Portraits of the Tibetan spiritual leader are still banned, the monks explained. Only officially sanctioned images of the Buddha are permitted to be displayed, one monk in Lhasa confirmed today.

For years, senior Communist officials have infuriated Tibetan Buddhists by referring to the Dalai Lama with a series of derogatory names, the BBC's Celia Hatton in Beijing reports.

Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party chief in charge of Tibet until 2011, famously referred to the Buddhist cleric as "a wolf in monk's robes".

A report on Radio Free Asia suggested that Buddhists in China's Tibetan areas were able to worship the Dalai Lama openly and that some temples could display portraits of the Dalai Lama and no one was allowed to criticise him.

But monasteries contacted by the BBC said they were unaware of any change in policy and, in a faxed statement to the BBC on Friday, the overnment said that China's policy towards the Dalai Lama was "consistent and clear".

"If the Dalai Lama wants to improve his relationship with the Central Government, he must really give up his stance in favour of 'Tibetan Independence' or independence in any disguised forms."

He now lives in Dharamsala in northern India, travelling the world to seek support for more rights for Tibetan people.

Beijing accuses him of trying to split Tibet, with its separate culture and language, from the rest of China. The Dalai Lama says he only wants greater autonomy.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dalai Lama: No More ‘Wolf in Monk’s Robes’?

Is a little bit of fresh air blowing in Tibet after more than two decades of rigid policies by Beijing, and recently, around 120 self-immolations by Tibetans protesting those policies?

Maybe. (An ongoing, rare visit to Tibet by the United States ambassador to China, Gary Locke, is also piquing interest.)

Here are some startling comments about a possible loosening of policy, from Tsering Namgyal, a writer and journalist based in New York, writing in Asia Sentinel earlier this week (Mr. Namgyal was citing the Tibetan language website

“In an abrupt and unexpected reversal of policy, Chinese government officials have told monks in some Tibetan areas that they are now free to ‘worship’ the Dalai Lama as a ‘religious leader,’” Mr. Namgyal wrote.

The policy is being described as an “experiment,” Mr. Namgyal wrote. Some monks have been told they can stop criticizing the Dalai Lama, as they have often been required to in the past, and can stop describing him as “a wolf in a monk’s robe,” said Mr. Namgyal, referring to an announcement apparently made at a meeting on June 14 in a Buddhist school in Qinghai province, at the appointment of a new Communist Party secretary. The meeting was attended by high-ranking ethnic Tibetan and Chinese officials, said Mr. Namgyal.

The goal? To separate the Dalai Lama’s religious and political roles.

“‘As a religious person, from now on you should respect and follow His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,” the new policy document cited by Mr. Namgyal ran, “but in terms of politics you are not allowed to do so. Politics and religion should go separate ways.”

Today, too, the United States ambassador Gary Locke is in Tibet, on a trip that began on June 25 and ends tomorrow, and was approved by the Chinese authorities, his first since becoming ambassador in 2011 and the first visit by a U.S. ambassador since 2010, said an embassy spokesman, Nolan Barkhouse.

Mr. Locke is visiting the Tibetan Autonomous Region “with members of his family and several officials from the embassy and consulate general in Chengdu,” said Mr. Barkhouse. “The purpose of this visit is to increase familiarity with local conditions in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and meet with officials and residents there,” he said.

Foreign reporters have long been barred from visiting Tibet except for infrequent, carefully-managed tours organized by officials, and Chinese reporters also face restrictions; diplomats have problems gaining access and even regular tourists, from time to time. Mr. Locke addressed that: he “discussed the importance opening up access to Tibet for U.S. diplomats and diplomats from other countries, for foreign journalists and foreign tourists,” said Mr. Barkhouse. “He also emphasized the importance of preserving the Tibetan people’s cultural heritage, including its unique linguistic, religion and cultural traditions.”

Next Saturday, July 6, is the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday. For decades, hardline policy makers in Beijing are said to have believed that the eventual death of the Dalai Lama, (the spiritual leader of Tibetans has lived in exile since March 1959; here it says there were fears he would be assassinated,) would help solve its problems in Tibet.

There has been speculation whether the new president, Xi Jinping, whose influential family has ties to Tibet and whose father is pictured below meeting with the Dalai Lama’s brother, 26 years ago, would be able to craft a new policy.
Mr. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, a party leader of Tibet before becoming president, was seen as a conservative on the Tibet issue.

Earlier this month, a voice from within the party establishment spoke about Tibet in an interview with the Hong Kong-based news magazine Yazhou Zhoukan. Jin Wei, a researcher at the Central Party School in Beijing, appeared to urge a more flexible policy.

As the power-holder in the region, the Communist Party – which is officially atheist and has long believed economic development would undermine opposition in Tibet – must accept the central importance of non-material values to Tibetans, she was quoted as saying in the interview on this blog, in Chinese.

“If there can be new thinking and a breakthrough of the deadlock, not only would it further social stability and avoid the creation of hard-to-heal ethnic wounds, it would have a positive influence on other ethnic minorities in the country,” Ms. Jin said. And help improve China’s international image, she added.

Tibet isn’t the only part of this vast country where Beijing is having real trouble. Yesterday, 27 people were killed in Xinjiang, the far-western, mostly Muslim region, in a dawn “riot” that official media attributed to “knife-wielding mobs” but Chinese analysts cited by the Global Times, a newspaper that is part of the People’s Daily Group, attributed to “terrorists”.

Meanwhile, in a new report, Human Rights Watch says millions of Tibetans have been rehoused and relocated since 2006 as part the “Build a New Socialist Countryside” and “New Socialist Villages” campaigns. This link provides aerial images of what the group says is the Tibetan countryside before and after, showing changes.

The 115-page report, “’They Say We Should Be Grateful’: Mass Rehousing and Relocation in Tibetan Areas of China,” documents extensive rights violations, the group said.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Prof Jin Wei: Four points on Tibetan Self-immolation

Prof. Jin Wei of the CCP's Party School
Prof Jin Wei discussed the issue of self-immolations and, perhaps for the first time, provided an insight into the CCP leadership’s thinking on this phenomenon, which has seriously vexed them. She enumerated the following four attributes:

i) The spate of self-immolations has increased and become a kind of “virtual hysteria,” or an “infectious disease”. It has “become a movement”;
ii) Measures taken to stop them have not yet been significantly effective;
iii) The self-immolations have the potential to trigger more serious conflicts. Media reports, recordings, prayers for self-immolators, condolences and other acts have progressively widened their impact on the populace. The agitated emotions of Tibetans and actions by local governments to stop confrontations have promoted tensions and transformed the self-immolations from a “religious movement” into a “political movement” and even one spreading “hatred”. Disaffection has now spread throughout the Tibetan ethnic group and evolved from being a problem between the central government and the “Dalai Lama separatist clique” into an ethnic conflict between Chinese and Tibetans; and
iv) Self-immolation is a violent emotional act that is performed after an individual is “instigated”. The reason for mainly the youth committing self-immolation, is because their feelings towards the Communist Party are different from that of the older generation of Tibetans. While the latter are deeply grateful and thankful to the CCP for their emancipation and their share of land and livestock, the Tibetan youth are unable to compare the material improvement in their lives or the new and old governments. The younger Tibetans are also very impulsive and give expression to their emotions.

Kalon Gyari Dolma Calls on New Government of Karnataka State

DHARAMSHALA: Kalon Dolma Gyari of the Department of Home of Central Tibetan Administration has met with the new Indian leadership in the southern state of Karnataka during her three-day visit to Bangalore from 20-23 June.
Kalon Dolma Gyari met with the newly-elected chief minister, Mr Siddaramaiah, in Bangalore on 22 June. She extended greetings to him on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration and wished him success in his future endeavours. She expressed gratitude to the successive state governments for providing their best support and care to Tibetans living in the state. With deep affection the chief minister described Tibetans are India’s guests. He spoke about plan to visit Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits there on the occasion of his 78th birthday on 6 July.   
Kalon Dolma Gyari also called on the leader of the Oppposition party, Mr H D Kumaraswamy. She requested him to give a 30 minutes slot for Tibet-related news in Tibetan language once a week on his private TV channel, Kasthuri. Mr Kumaraswamy accepted the request and suggested her to discuss the modalities with the concerned staff of the channel.
Earlier on 21 June, she met with Chief Secretary S V Ranganath and requested the state government to include Tibetan settlements as part of its developmental programmes for social and youth welfare.
Later in the afternoon, Kalon Dolma Gyari visited TERI (The Energy and Resource Institute), an NGO which conducts research and training to protect environment and develop energy from natural resources. She discussed with the officials about ways to seek support to some key ongoing projects in the Tibetan settlements such as organic farming, environmental cleanliness, and solar light.
In addition to meeting the government officials, Kalon Dolma Gyari met with Jawed Habib, one the most renowned hair stylists in India, on 20 June. They discussed future collaboration between the Neelamangala vocational training institute and Jawed Habib hair and beauty salon. The two met with Tibetan students at the Neelamangla institute. Kalon Dolma Gyari told the students to maintain good behaviour and study hard to become self reliant. Mr Habib encouraged the students to do their best during the training and invited applications from those who are interested in working in his hair salons. There are currently 39 students undergoing trainings in various courses, including hair dressing, beautician, tailoring, computer, medical transcription, and cookery. 1,113 students, comprising 558 boys and 554 females, have completed vocational trainings from Neelamangala institute since its inception in 2003.
courtesy: CTA

Monday, 24 June 2013

H.H. 17th Karmapa: I Express Myself Through Art

28 May 2013 – Gyuto Monastery, Dharamsala
When a group of students from Emory University in the United States recently visited the Gyalwang Karmapa, he spoke candidly with them about his life.

The group of around 26 students, led by Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, travelled to Gyuto Monastery during an annual study-abroad program, and spent about an hour with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

When asked by one student about the role of art in his life, the Gyalwang Karmapa responded,

“There could be a number of reasons why art is important, and it’s not necessarily important to everyone for the same reason. In my case, when the environment around me seems to be quite restricting, which happens to be often, and I feel the need to vent out this feeling of restriction that I’m bound by, then I want to put my feelings of creativity or imagination on paper or canvas and nobody’s trying to restrict me from doing that. For me art is a very important way to express myself under such circumstances, to have an outlet for my creative energy.”

When another student asked him what it was like to be the Karmapa, the spiritual leader replied with characteristic humility.

“When I was very little, there were supposed to be a lot of special signs or indications which, according to tradition, foretold the birth of a special being. But personally I like to think of myself as a normal person, a normal human being. At least that’s what I like to think of myself. Maybe due to circumstances, a normal human being with some sort of special angle or touch to it.”

The focus of the discussion then shifted to the environment, a topic close to the Gyalwang Karmapa’s own heart. He is renown for his environmental activities and deep commitment to protecting the natural world.

“What experiences inspired Your Holiness to become interested in environmental activism?” a student asked.

The Gyalwang Karmapa recalled his nomadic childhood in a remote part of Tibet, where there was very little modern development. “I had the opportunity to be close to nature,” he said. “I had a deep experience of natural beauty, and the important role of nature in our lives. Maybe for that reason I feel a close affinity with nature and cherish the environment.”

The Gyalwang Karmapa ended his discussion with the students by pointing out the play of interdependence in our environment.

“We need to recognize that our environment, this very world, sustains us all. Our own life, and all of existence. Everything occurs in the context of interdependence,” he told the students.

“Interdependence is not simply a view,” he emphasized. “Interdependence is a reality that occurs. We live surrounded by interdependence. This is where our life happens. We need to appreciate the value and preciousness of interdependence.”

shared from KAGYUOFFICE

China May be Easing Up on Tibet

Major relief possible in religious repression
In an abrupt and unexpected reversal of policy, Chinese government officials have told monks in some Tibetan areas that they are now free to “worship” the Dalai Lama as a “religious leader.” The new policy document – prefixed with the word “experiment” – also asked that the monks now refrain from “criticizing the Dalai Lama,” and “stop using such labels as a wolf in a monk’s robe,” a common pejorative hurled against the Tibetan spiritual leader by Beijing.
“As a religious person, from now on you should respect and follow His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,” the document continued, “but in terms of politics you are not allowed to do so. Politics and religion should go separate ways.”
The announcement was reportedly made during a conference held on June 14 at a so-called Qinghai Provincial Buddhist School where a new party secretary was appointed. It was attended by high-ranking ethnic Tibetan and Chinese officials, according to the Tibetan language website, which reported the news.
Analysts say that the Chinese government might have been forced to rethink its strategy on Tibet following more than 100 self-immolations that have occurred inside the special administrative region since 2009.
“If that document is genuine, then they are trying to diffuse the pressure of the self-immolations,” said Thierry Dodin, director of the Tibet Information Service, TibetInfoNet in London.
The new policy is to be first implemented as an “experiment,” according to the report. Dibyesh Anand, Tibet specialist and associate professor at Westminster University in London, sees no evidence of a major shift and says that this can be best explained as an experiment at the local level.
When the Communist Party of China (CCP) initiates a new or major policy change, they usually prefix it with the word “experimental” which means that if it works they would apply it nationwide, if it fails would be dropped from party’s policy. China is slated to announce a new policy in August.
Some believe the new policy is a public relations offensive in the wake of much criticism towards the Chinese regime from the outside world especially human rights organizations in the aftermath of the series of self-immolations. 
“No criticism of Dalai Lama is more to do with smarter public relations propaganda… rather than a genuine effort at reconciliation,” Anand said.
However, a similar announcement was also reportedly made lifting the ban on the displaying of the Dalai Lama’s pictures in homes and monasteries around the town of Dram near the Tibet-Nepal border, triggering hopes that China might be interested in easing its control on religious practice on a much wider scale.
Beijing’s policy change might also be aimed to send a signal to the outside world that the new leadership is interested in changing its policy towards the Tibetan spiritual leader, said one leading Tibetan scholar. “It is an indication of change,” said the scholar, who did not want to be named.
Making it even more interesting is that the news comes on the eve of China’s forthcoming tour of Tibet by foreign journalists.
Recently, a few other articles have raised speculation that there might be an olive branch in the offing from Beijing authorities to the Tibetan leadership in exile.
In an interview with Hong Kong-based Asia Weekly, Jin Wei, a director of ethnic and religious affairs at the Central Party School at Beijing think tank Central Party School, also suggested that China’s policy in Tibet may not be working.
She called for restarting negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s representatives and has proposed that the Dalai Lama might even be invited onto Chinese soil, Hong Kong and Macau as well discussing the issue of reincarnation with the Dalai Lama himself.
Tibet watchers believe that it is best to adopt a wait-and-see approach if the China government matches their words with actions. 
“If she really is transmitting a message, then we should take note of it and wait and see first because what they say does not matter, you have to see what they actually do on the ground,” Dodin said.
Given China’s hard-line policy, Tibetans have demonstrated a mixed response to the news, ranging from guarded optimism to outright skepticism. 
Since 2009, as many as 119 Tibetans living under China’s rule have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. 102 of the self-immolators died in agony while the condition of more than 10 remains unknown.
By Tsering Namgyal 
[Asia Sentinel]

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Tibet policy: Bold new proposals

Soldiers guard the Potala palace in LhasaTHE ECONOMIST

Welcome signs that some officials are at last starting to question policies on Tibet.
FEW outside China think the Communist Party’s strategy for Tibet is working. A combination of economic development and political repression was meant to reconcile Tibetans to Chinese rule and wean them off their loyalty to the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader. Instead disaffection is still rife, especially among the young. And all across Tibetan areas of China, Tibetans still display the Dalai Lama’s portrait, sometimes openly. Since March 2011 more than 100 Tibetans—especially in Tibetan areas of provinces bordering what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—have set themselves on fire. Most have done so in part to call for the Dalai Lama’s homecoming. An overwhelming security presence and the Dalai Lama’s commitment to non-violence mean that the unrest is easily contained. Hence little has suggested that China’s leaders are concerned about the bleak implications for the future: that their rule in Tibet can be maintained only by the indefinite deployment of massive coercive force.

So for a Chinese scholar, Jin Wei, who is director of ethnic and religious studies at the Central Party School in Beijing, to call for a “creative” new approach is startling. For her to do so publicly, in an interview this month with a Hong Kong magazine, Asia Weekly, suggests that she has high-level backing. A report from a Beijing think-tank in 2009 challenged the official line that rioting in Tibet the year before was instigated from abroad. But Robert Barnett, a professor of Tibetan studies at Columbia University in New York, describes Ms Jin’s intervention as a sign that, after two decades, “debate has re-emerged within China about the government’s hard-line policies in Tibet”. Ms Jin even accused former party chiefs in Tibet of being “biased against the practice of religious affairs”. This, she said, “foreshadowed the accumulation of grievances today.”

This is new

One former party secretary in Tibet (from 1988-92) was Hu Jintao, who went on to head the party nationally for ten years until last November, when he gave way to Xi Jinping. Those who have forecast that Mr Xi might prove a bolder reformer than the cautious Mr Hu have so far seen little to back them up. Here, on Tibet, is at least a hint of a crack in the hardline consensus. Some have detected another in the appointment of Yu Zhengsheng to head the party’s main policy group on Tibet and Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority region in the north-west. Mr Yu is the head of an advisory body designed to promote national unity. Previous heads of the group have been security specialists.

Ms Jin’s analysis, though couched in the terminology of party orthodoxy, is similar to that of many foreign observers. She argues that, by demonising the Dalai Lama, and viewing any expression of Tibetan culture as potentially subversive, the party has turned even those Tibetans sympathetic to its aims against it. The struggle has evolved from “a contradiction between the central government and the Dalai Lama separatist clique into an ethnic conflict between Han Chinese and Tibetans”.

She is not advocating a new soft approach to “political” issues, such as the Dalai Lama’s call for greater autonomy for Tibet and Tibetans’ hankering after a “greater Tibet”—ie, within its historic borders, beyond the TAR. But in fact, most protests in Tibet are not about “politics”, defined like this. Many have been sparked by anger at Chinese repression—of Tibetan culture, language and tradition, or of individual protesters. It is a vicious circle, made worse by anger at the large-scale immigration into Tibet of Han Chinese.

Ms Jin has ideas on how to break the impasse. Talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives, stalled since the most recent of nine fruitless rounds in 2010, should resume, she says. They should concentrate on “easy” issues first, setting contentious debate about Tibet’s status to one side for now. China should consider inviting the Dalai Lama to visit one of its semi-autonomous cities, Hong Kong or Macau, and eventually allowing him back to Tibet. It should also try to defuse the crisis his death will bring by agreeing with him on a chosen reincarnation from inside China’s borders. Otherwise, China risks having to deal with two incarnations: one it endorses and one in exile who is more likely to be revered by most Tibetans.

One of the many obstacles to Ms Jin’s unlikely vision is the identity of China’s negotiating partner. China will only talk to the Dalai Lama’s representative. But two years ago the Dalai Lama retired from his “political” role, ceding it to an elected “prime minister” of the exiles’ government, Lobsang Sangay. Mr Sangay has not done a good job of uniting the exiles and winning their trust. In any event China will not even contemplate talking to him. The Dalai Lama may need, in one respect at least, to come out of retirement.

The debate Ms Jin’s comments have provoked will not bring any immediate relief to Tibetans in Tibet. The infrastructure of Chinese repression is being enhanced and refined, with the implementation of a new “grid” system of street-level surveillance (see article). Dissenters are still locked up every week.

Moreover Ms Jin’s is still a lone voice, at least in public. Few others seem to realise that a new approach in Tibet is in China’s interest. Not only would it ease tension in Tibet; it would help relations with other minorities in China, make reunification with Taiwan more likely and improve China’s relations with the outside world. The more conventional Chinese view is the one voiced recently by a scholar at a Beijing think-tank: “The old Dalai will die soon. End of problem.” Though the Dalai Lama seems in good health, he turns 78 next month. The hope is that Ms Jin will not be the only Chinese adviser to understand that the dying in exile of this Dalai Lama would not be the end of China’s difficulties in Tibet. Rather, his death risks an explosion of violence and the rekindling of a Tibetan independence movement that is for now kept in check by the Dalai Lama’s search for a “middle way”.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

His Holiness Meets Chinese Scholars and Friends in Australia

“Chinese brothers and sisters, I am happy to meet Chinese when I visit different countries and I am happy to meet you here today. Tibetan-Chinese relations are about 2000 years old. Sometimes we have been close, and at other times we have fought each other. For the last 60 years or so we have faced a problem.” said His Holiness while he attended a meeting with Chinese scholars and friends in Adelaide, Australia on 20 June 2013. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was in Australia for the panel discussion as part of Forum 'Happiness and its Causes'.
He recounted the apprehension with which he had gone to China in 1954 and the sense of confidence he felt on his way home in 1955. He reminded his listeners that Tibetans are not seeking separation and independence and informed them that within China many intellectuals and retired officials have expressed support for the Middle Way Approach.

Kalon Dicki Chhoyang: China has been steadfast in its refusal to open up Tibet...

shared from CTA
CTA Press Release
21 June 2013
The Central Tibetan Administration strongly rejects the false claims made by the delegation of China’s National People’s Congress of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region on the issue of Tibet during its visit to the U.S. this week. Ironically, this visit takes place shortly after that of Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the CTA.
The delegation, led by chairman Padma Choling, met with Congressman Charles Boustany, co-chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group in the House of Representatives, congressional researchers and staff, and experts of the Brookings Institute, a U.S. think-tank, China’s state media reported.
The unfounded allegations made by the delegation that the Central Tibetan Administration is behind the cycle of self-immolations in Tibet are unlikely to provide convincing evidence to change the U.S. authorities’ position on Tibet. The U.S. government and Congress have unequivocally stated that they deplore the Chinese government’s repressive policies targeting Tibetans and have repeatedly called on the Chinese government to suspend its counter-productive policies implemented in Tibet, and resume dialogue with representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to resolve the problem of Tibet.
“Despite repeated appeals by the international community, China has been steadfast in its refusal to open up Tibet to independent fact-finding delegations and the international media to investigate the true causes behind the self-immolations. Sending a group of individuals to disseminate Chinese State propaganda will prove a futile exercise in foreign countries where freedom of speech and respect for human rights are fundamental values,” said Kalon Dicki Chhoyang of the Department of Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration. The latter has repeatedly urged Tibetans not to resort to drastic forms of protests, including self-immolation.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Flood Fury in Majnu Ka Tila again!

The normally bustling market with flavours of Tibet in the air wore a dark and dank look on Wednesday as the Yamuna's waters flooded many homes in the Tibetan refugee colony at Majnu Ka Tila, Ring Road. But families held on to their homes hoping that the river would recede soon. 

The road along the river and the lanes leading into the colony from the bank were submerged. Frantic residents were seen pulling out furniture, bedding, clothes and valuables from flooded rooms to higher floors. Memories of the 2010 floods came alive as the investments made by the community to keep the water out failed. With no electricity and only a little water saved in tanks, the families watched the river helplessly from their terraces. 

Cafe Plus, a recently open cafe with large variety of items in their menu claiming to be more than a cafe had to shift all its wares to higher level terraces and close it just few days after opening! With large investments already put into the cafe, it is really a reckless monsoon preparation by every level of responsible authority. The place is located just below the New Sakya House and now it is filled with at least 4 feet water! Having successfully run for the last few days with lots of happenings with the love and appreciation of their large swarm of opening customers, the dual owner of the Cafe+ looks forward to being able to resume their business soon.

In the midst of all this shifting, women and men come out to share fears that the river water had brought snakes to the colony. Some people shrieked as a snake was pulled out by a resident from the water. They watched horrified and children gathered for a closer look. The excitement was short-lived as someone noticed that the water had risen further. 

The colony on Tuesday, the residents living along the riverside were patient and fearless about the rising water. They believed that the water level would not rise to take over their homes like before as they had reinforced their buildings. But the efforts seemed to have had no impact on Wednesday. 

The colony famous for being a mini-Tibet showcasing the native culture at its best is in news every monsoon. Located on the edge of the Yamuna, it is flooded every time the river rises. In the flood of 2010 many houses here were filled with water and people had to move to the upper floors.

Bold Voice of Tibet, Tsering Woeser under house arrest again!

Once more, as if holding to a depressingly regular schedule, Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong have been placed under house arrest. This time it's in order to skew the reports that will emerge from a trip to Lhasa that has been organized for foreign journalists in China. Woeser has already met some of the journalists and the authorities seem concerned that her views will contradict the rosey picture that they want to present via an approved itinerary and scripted encounters meant to project an image of happy Tibetans living happy lives. The group is scheduled to leave for Lhasa on July 6 and to be in Tibet until the 13th. A trip for diplomats is also scheduled, possibly for late June. Woeser has tweeted that this time the steps taken were more ostentatious than before. On the afternoon of the 19th seven or eight police and State Security personnel surrounded them. They were picked up on Cuiwei Road in the Haidian District and taken to their home in Tongzhou, in the eastern part of greater Beijing. They were driven by police in their own car, while a vehicle with State Security officials followed them. They were not allowed to make any stops, even to get something to eat. Plainclothes police were placed outside the building and two were put on permanent watch by the elevator. For the moment it appears that this confinement will last at least until June 25 and possibly longer. In spite of optimistic sentiments coming from Dharamsala about China's new leadership, it seems that the state is as determined as before to stifle reporting from Tibet that doesn't put across the message that the government insists on. Tsering Woeser represents one of the rare, accessible dissenting voices on Tibet and the authorities want to make her inaccessible.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lobsang Sangay: Tibetan culture and language are denied in Tibet

"In the Chinese constitution, Tibetan culture and language is mentioned to be protected and encouraged, but both are, in reality, not only discouraged, but also denied. If you grow up like the Chinese, if you speak Chinese, you become Chinese.... 
Geographically, ten major rivers of Asia flow from Tibet and, given the numerous Chinese and Indian citizens without access to fresh water, the region will most likely grow in importance in the future. Nowadays, wars are fought over energy. Soon, wars will be fought over water.
Political repression continues even today, having mentioned the 1959 occupation of Tibet by China, "If you mention the words 'human rights' in Tibet, you get arrested. The new restrictions make it difficult to get into Tibet in the first place. A visa into China is not enough. They won't allow you into China, if you say you've met me. 
The denial of freedom leads to resentment. We believe in democracy, we believe in non-harm, these are the two main principles of the Tibetan cause..."

NCP leader: Indian central government must support the Tibet cause

16th July, 2013:
The Arunachal Pradesh unit of NCP today urged the Centre to review its policy towards China and support the Tibetan cause. 

Describing the alleged violations of basic human rights of the Tibetans by the Chinese authorities, especially in matters of culture and religion, party state unit President Kahfa Bengia said in a statement it was time to realize the gravity of the Tibetan problems and start an early review of India's approach towards China. 

According to Bengia, the greatest Foreign Policy blunder committed by the central leadership was accepting Tibet and Tibetan problems as internal matter of China.

To begin a change in paradigm shift in policies, the Centre should not only support the Tibetan cause internationally but more importantly allow the voices within, particularly the voices of Arunachal, he said.

The spontaneous formation of Tibet support Group (TSG) Arunachal with participation of prominent leaders like R K Khrimey, Anok Wangsa, Kabak Tacho and many others, including leaders from various political parties in the state, extending their unconditional support to Tibetan cause was a welcome beginning, Bengia said.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Tibetan nun passes away after self immolation

Dharamshala CTA: The Tibetan nun, who self-immolated last Tuesday (11 June) near Nyatso monastery in Tawu county in eastern Tibet’s Kham region, has died.
The nun, identified as 21-year-old Wangchen Dolma, succumbed to her burn injuries at a hospital in Dartsedo county on 14 June. The authorities have surreptitiously cremated the body at the hospital. They have also kept the family members of the deceased under house arrest. 
On the day before of her self-immolation protest, she reportedly advised students of a school in Tawu county to study the Tibetan language well.
The name and other details of the nun could not be known in the immediate aftermath of her self-immolation due to severe restrictions imposed on the phone and Internet lines.
Wangchen Dolma was born to Tenzin (father) and Youdon (mother) of Gyal Bum Tsang family in Dragthok village in Minyag Drapa region of Tawu County. She was enrolled at a Buddhist institute located on Barshab Dragkar, a sacred hill near her village.
This incident has pushed the total self-immolation protests to 119. The self-immolators have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.  

Sunday, 16 June 2013

What the RTYC, Bangalore should mind?

There has been a recent unrest among the members of the Tibetan Youth Congress(TYC) extending to about 100 regional chapters across the world regarding the highly sensitive part, the stand of the TYC itself. Its quite a shame to have aroused such an ignorant question against the central body itself of all these chapters to change the stand of the congress! What is so special about the TYC? It's determination and the strength to raise the voice of every Tibetan to restore the Tibetan Independence which has always been a fact cruelly crushed by the PRC. Its has been graciously embraced by every common Tibetan with so much hope and faith from both within and outside of Tibet because it stood there to work for the Tibetan cause whatsoever! It was not shattered of its aims and objectives once promised during the foundation when the Tibetan Government in all the positive senses changed the policy of approach to the Tibetan cause to the gracious middle way approach unanimously accepted by the majority of the Tibetan population. What kept the TYC alive was to the sense that they kept the very root of struggle alive and its what keeps it going too. They very origin of the TYC comes out to be the first generation of Tibetans in exile after the generation that escaped from Tibetan during 1959. In other sense, they were the first of our kinds, educated and brought up in a free nation and it is what triggered them as would it trigger you that the very own nation of Tibetans should be restored and justified!

There is misconception obvious to erupt out there from the very aims and objectives of the TYC itself. From the very four points there, the first and the last seems to contradict each other, the guidance that His Holiness is giving to the Tibetans is the very middle way approach in contrary to complete independence of Tibet. But what I read of this contradiction is a just a mistake of the use of the words and the TYC itself has been formed on the firm ground a believe in the complete independence of Tibet.

There has never been any accusation against the TYC for going against His Holiness the Dalai Lama, neither from the His Holiness himself nor from CTA? A mismatch of belief and aspiration has been said to be welcome in structure of governance presided then by the His Holiness and now by Dr. Lobsang Sangay! There may be quite a few individuals making mistakes taking the name of the TYC and it is understandable to the fact that the individual does not to the whole represent the TYC and are disposable. I have heard much of praise about the TYC from His Holiness himself and many others.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been the saviour of all Tibetans and people across the borders. His visions about the Tibetan cause has been exceptionally spellbound from granting democratic systems to the Tibetans to formulating the middle way policy. His wisdom and his gracious presence in the Tibetan world has kept the hope of a free Tibet and China shaken. These are the practical steps of the Tibetan cause and this should mandatory that the CTA walk through these guidelines as is believed by the mass majority of the Tibetans. But TYC is never in any sense linked in its formulation of the aims and objectives to the CTA and its stand should never be influenced by any other forces how much ever impractical it may be because of its root being connected to truth and belief! The TYC is not the governing body of the Tibetan people but a platform for the true believers of Tibetan Independence to step up and serve for the cause of Tibet.

What is going on with the RTYC Bangalore is quite absurd! There are several Regional chapters of the TYC, including Bangalore, during the 15th General body meeting of the TYC who boycotts the day three meeting because they believed in middle way approach not Independence. But they had promised to cooperate under the TYC if the TYC changed its stand of complete independence. Well this is a fair enough proposal! But what is going with the Bangalore chapter is quite more complicated and immature. They have proposed to drop out its affiliation to the TYC centrex but with the use of the name and their logo because they hopes to rejoin if the TYC accepts their proposal of changing their stand! But as far as I am concerned, I think as long as they are using the name and logo of the TYC, they come under the TYC and should abide by its regulations. 

TYC has clearly mentioned the membership terms and as long as one does not accept those terms, your allegiance to the TYC is not complete and you presence or absence in the congress is meant to be insignificant. Even if there is no candidate accepting the terms of membership of the TYC, the least they can do is to close the chapter until a suitable candidate comes up rather than forcing the centrex(TYC). As far as dropping from the affiliation to the centrex TYC, it should be done completely. A physics student is irrelevant to suggest any changes in the syllabus of the English course. 

Another shocking self-immolation (119)

Buddhists and their friends worldwide have been deeply saddened to have heard news of another in a long series of self-immolations in Tibet. The Central Tibetan administration reported on June 14, 2013, Tibetan Nun Self-Immolates Amid Strong Clampdown. A Tibetan nun set herself on fire in Tawu county in Karze (incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province) eastern Tibet on Tuesday (11 June), media reports and human rights organisations say.

The protesting nun set herself on fire outside of Nyatso monastery, where thousands of monks from many different monasteries have been taking part in an important religious gathering. The nun was then taken to a local hospital for treatment. There has since been a
heavy security clampdown by the Chinese police, and her whereabouts and well being
are not known at this time.

The Central Tibetan Administration has said it will be verifying the details of this tragic incident, and will provide updates on the situation as more details are made available.
This incident has now pushed the total number of self-immolations which have taken place inside Tibet to 119. The self-immolators have been calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans. There has been alarm worldwide among human rights activists regarding what may really be happening inside of Tibet which has been driving so many Tibetans to take their own lives in protest.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The original Letter Liu Xia sent to Xi Jingping

"An Open Letter to Chairman Xi Jinping

June 12th, 2013

Chairman Xi Jinping:

I am Liu Xia, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I have been under house arrest and have lost all my personal freedoms since October, 2010. No one has told me any reasons for detaining me. I have thought it over and over. Perhaps in this country it’s a “crime” for me to be Liu Xiaobo’s wife.

I think the prison sentence of my brother Liu Hui, which was handed down on June 9th, 2013, is totally unjust. I doubt whether the judicial authority and even the whole public power system were really administering their rights properly.

Under the current rule of law, we should see justice in state power, instead of ruthless crackdowns with violence; any events that erase individual rights will all cause tragedy, thus casting a dark shadow over the aura of the state power's legitimacy. 

Justice in criminal cases will only be manifested in actual cases. I cannot imagine justice, which is what we’re hoping for, would be realized through disrespecting and even disregarding the rights of the accused.

Mr. Chairman, the China Dream that you mentioned will have to be realized through every citizen. I hope the China Dream won’t turn us individuals into the “China Nightmares.”

Today is the traditional Chinese Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival). Can you ever imagine how our family is feeling during the celebrations?

Liu Xia"