Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tibetan autonomy poses questions for Hong Kong

By Michael C. Davis
[South China Morning Post]

Beijing’s guarantees of self-rule have not proved reliable for the unhappy Himalayan region
Following the 120th Tibetan self-immolation in protest at Beijing’s alleged autonomy policies, Hong Kong people – themselves the subject of autonomy guarantees – may wonder why ordinary Tibetans are so dissatisfied.
On the face of it, Beijing and the exiled Tibetan leaders should be able to find a solution. In the 1951 Seventeen-Point Agreement, sometimes considered a precursor to the Hong Kong agreement, Beijing promised Tibetans could carry on under their traditional self-rule – with Chinese sovereignty.
But the excesses of China’s early communist period eventually led to the collapse of the agreement and the 1959 flight of the Dalai Lama.
China then proclaimed the system of “minority nationality autonomy”. Tibet was divided into 13 autonomous areas: the Tibetan autonomous region and 12 adjoining areas in neighbouring provinces.
The problems lie in the failure to fully implement the national minority autonomy laws and the use of repressive policies to contain resistance.
To address these problems, the Dalai Lama long ago conceded claims for independence in favour of autonomy under his “middle way” approach. After the bloodshed of the 2008 protest, he was invited to elaborate on his proposal under the People’s Republic of China constitution, which he did in his 2008 Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People. It urges genuine autonomy in areas including self-government, language, culture, religion, environmental protection, education, and natural resources. This largely tracks China’s existing national minority commitments, but also seeks control over immigration and public security, similar to the Hong Kong model, and the uniting of all Tibetan areas.
Responding dismissively, Beijing argued that this was the equivalent of asking for a “high degree of autonomy” and that would be the equivalent of “independence”. No explanation was given why the same guarantee of a “high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong is not deemed independence. The seemingly shared commitment to autonomy in Tibet has been undermined by a lack of trust. Beijing worries that “genuine autonomy” is just the first step on the road to real independence. The Tibetan side, after their tragic experience to date, is surely doubtful about conceding any ground without iron-clad guarantees.
Beijing has also pressed the Dalai Lama to concede to its widely disputed claim to have always historically ruled Tibet. The Dalai Lama will only acknowledge an historical imperial religious relationship with China. For him, autonomy is merely the only option realistically available under difficult circumstances. Even under Chinese historical accounts, Tibet would have enjoyed genuine autonomy throughout the imperial period, when indirect rule of peripheral areas was the norm.
A careful look at the Tibetan memorandum reveals that it not only largely tracks China’s own proclaimed policies, but also international standards reflected in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which aims to give indigenous peoples self-governance and cultural rights.
China voted for the declaration, but quickly proclaimed there were no indigenous peoples in China.
China’s long-term interests might be better served by embracing international standards. This would require less interference in Tibet, something Beijing has also been reluctant to do in Hong Kong. Agreement with the Dalai Lama may also secure Tibetan and international support.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Australia Foreign Minister Voices Hope for Easing of China-Tibet Tensions

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Friday voiced hope for an easing of tensions in China’s ethnic Tibetan regions during a speech in Hong Kong.
Addressing the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Carr told reporters that negotiations on autonomy between Beijing and the Tibetan community are key to resolving the tensions and ending the spate of self-immolations by Tibetan protestors.
“Tibet is part of China,” Carr said, “but we believe there’s an opportunity for pursuing autonomy, and the autonomy negotiated between China and the Tibetan community is the way of seeing an end to the (self-immolations).”
Carr said it is up to Beijing to determine if it should engage the Dalai Lama in autonomy negotiations, adding that “China said things that encourage us to think that the talks could be given a new lease of life.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader paid a visit to Australia last month, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to meet him, drawing criticism that she succumbed to Chinese pressure.
Some 120 Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople have set themselves alight in protest against China’s rule since the 50th anniversary in 2009 of Tibet’s failed uprising against China. That year was marked by an increase of human rights abuses in Tibet and a travel ban on foreign individual visitors to the region.
“We would like, I and ambassador, to be able to travel in Tibet to talk to people and to inspect Australian-aid projects. We have got a fruitful dialogue with China about human rights matters and that include human rights matters that grow out of the tensions in Tibet and Tibetan regions,” Carr said.
Carr has been criticized before by the Chinese government for interfering in China’s domestic affairs, and numerous requests by the Australian ambassador to China to visit Tibet were turned down by Beijing, it was reported in February.
In the speech, Carr also highlighted the importance of close bilateral ties.
“As China reforms its economy, and as Australia implements a productivity-improvement program, there will be countless opportunities to build on (the Australia-China) relationship,” he said.
On free trade agreement negotiations with China that began in 2005, Carr said Canberra is willing to set aside any barrier agreed by both sides and “get on with the main game.”
Commenting on Hong Kong’s democratization process, Carr said Australia supports self-government and is following political developments in Hong Kong closely.
“But when it comes to how (democracy) is implemented in practice, of course we can’t design an electoral system for this jurisdiction. That’s a matter that must emerge between the people of Hong Kong and the official leadership,” Carr said.
The H.K. government has said it will consult the public on a political reform package that facilitates universal suffrage in the next Hong Kong leadership election in 2017, which Beijing has promised to be democratic.
Carr is currently on a 10-day trip to China that will also take him to Sichuan Province, Chongqing municipality and Fujian Province until Aug. 3

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Excerpt of Statement of Health Kalon on World Hepatitis Day

Health Kalon Dr. Tsering Wangchuk
"... On this World Hepatitis Day, I would like to send following messages of utmost importance to every Tibetans regarding hepatitis.
  1. First, it is vital to learn and know about this deadly disease. Being aware of it is the first step in our effort to control this ‘silent epidemic’.
  2. Second, if you do not know your Hepatitis status, it is very important to get yourself tested whether you are affected or not. You can go to the local hospital and ask about how you can get tested for Hepatitis.Especially for pregnant women to get blood tested for Hepatitis B and C during pregnancy is must.
  3. Third, Hepatitis A and B are also vaccine preventable disease. If you are not infected and never receive preventive vaccination, you should get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from Hepatitis A and B virus. Hepatitis A and B vaccines are available at all our major hospitals and health care centers.
Every child should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, which can be prevented by reaching every child with universal immunization program that include hepatitis B vaccine. All infants should receive the complete course of Hepatitis B vaccine, which is free up to the age of five. Although hepatitis A and B can be prevented with vaccines and are recommended for all children, no vaccine exists for hepatitis C, therefore, early detection and treatment can stop transmission and limit the disease.
  1. Fourth, once diagnosed with hepatitis, it is very important to see doctor and get proper and regular follow up testing and treatment whenever needed so as to limit the disease’s progression, prevent seriouscomplications like liver cancer and prevent its transmission to others. Proper diet and preventative measures can reduce the effects of hepatitis and medications can cure some people.
  2. The hepatitis B virus is not spread by contaminated food or water or touch and cannot be spread casually in the workplace..."

Highest County in the world in Tibet

A county established in Tibet today has become the world's highest county-level administrative unit with an average elevation of 5,000 metres.BEIJING: A county established in Tibet today has become the world's highest county-level administrative unit with an average elevation of 5,000 metres. 

Shuanghu County is located in Nagqu Prefecture and was previously administered by Nyima County, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. 

Shuanghu is named after the two lakes of Kamru and Racho in its jurisdiction, it said. 

Although the county's Purog Kangri Glacier, the third largest in the world, has drawn tourists to the area, the local economy is lackluster due to poor living conditions and transport infrastructure, said Namphel, head of the county committee of the Communist Party of China.

Shuanghu has established its own people's congress, political consultative conference, court and procuratorate to match its new status, Namphel said.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Chinese troops make fresh attempt to violate international border

Close on the heels of over a dozen incursions since the face off in Ladakh in April from across the LAC, Chinese troops made a fresh attempt to violate the international border at Chumar area in northeast of Leh on July 20 but were forced back by Indian troops.

The ‘assertive posturing’ by the Chinese troops, who had climbed a small mountain where they faced Indian troops, has been flashed to all units along the China-India border in the area to keep a strict vigil on their movement, official sources said. 

Chinese troops claimed it was their territory and they were headed towards to Tible area, five kilometres deep into the Indian territory.

Chumar, which is located 300 kms from Leh, is the last town after which Himachal Pradesh starts. This area also has the distinction of having a defined International Border with China.

Chinese troops, who were confronted almost bang on the border by alert army and ITBP troops, said they needed to follow the orders PLA headquarters and conduct some photography in Tible area.

However, after a usual face-off drill, the Chinese troops who had to walk down a long stretch to reach Chumar, sought assistance in getting some food as they had run out of their stock, the sources said.

While no food was provided as the troops did not carry it with them, some cans of juices were given to the PLA soldiers, the sources said, adding the Chinese troops then retreated into their area.

All Indian units located along the LAC have been asked to maintain a tight vigil in their Area of Responsibilities (AOR) and launch frequent patrols to the higher reaches, the sources said.

Chumar has seen a number of incursion incidents in the recent past including an incident on June 17 where Chinese troops took away an Army surveillance camera meant for keeping an eye on the PLA troops patrolling there.

This is the same area where Chinese troops triggered tensions in April smashing some bunkers besides cutting wires of cameras installed at the border post.

Chumar has been an issue for China which claims 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.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Chinese soldiers again intrude in Ladakh, hold banners asking India to vacate

New Delhi, Jul 21: Chinese PLA (People's Liberation Army) soldiers on Tuesday and Wednesday again intruded into Indian territory by crossing the Line of Actual Control in easter Ladakh.

They held banners asking India to vacate what they called "occupied" territory.

Sources said, nearly 100 Chinese soldiers intruded into Indian territory, had an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Indian jawans and later returned to their positions.

National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have been informed about the Chinese intrusions.

"The face-to-face situation continued for two days and in between a Chinese vehicle also broke down. Status quo was restored on July 18," a senior official told Hindustan Times.

The Indian side has asked for a meeting of the area commanders at Spanggur Gap to discuss the incursion.

A meeting of the apex China Study Group, comprising top officials from foreign, home and defence ministries and the intelligence agencies R&AW and IB is being convened.

In mid-June Chinese soldiers broke a cctv camera installed by the Indian army in Chumar sector of Eastern Ladakh.

Chumar has been the focus of Chinese army since the 21 day face-off in Depsang Plains, which ended on May 5. This area near the Himachal Pradesh border has also seen airborne violations by Chinese army helicopters.
Senior officials said that LAC transgressions by Chinese troops have been reported from Arunachal Pradesh and even Sikkim in the past two months.

Experts say, the Chinese PLA generals are trying to flex their muscles before the new Communist leadership that has taken over in Beijing in the past few months, and India for them appears to be an easy target.

Teenage Monk Burns Himself to Death Crying for Tibetan Freedom

A Tibetan teenage monk burned himself to death Saturday after shouting slogans for Tibetan freedom in a restive county in China's Sichuan province where authorities have imposed among the tightest controls to check self-immolation protests, according to local residents. 

Kunchok Sonam, 18, torched himself outside his Thangkor Soktsang monastery in Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo’ergai) county in the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after morning prayers, in the first Tibetan self-immolation in five weeks, the residents said.

Hundreds of Tibetans have gathered at the monastery in support of monks from the institution who prevented Chinese authorities from taking away his body, they said.

“He self-immolated and died between 8 am and 9 am after crying for Tibetan freedom," a Dzoege resident told RFA's Tibetan Service.

"The Chinese authorities insisted possession of his body but the monks of the monastery refused to comply," the resident said. "People have flocked to the monastery in symphathy with the self-immolator and to back the monastery, which has 300 monks." 

The deadly burning protest by Kunchok Sonam, from Thangkor village in Dzoege, brought to 121 the total number of self-immolations since the wave of burnings began in February 2009 in protest against Chinese rule and demanding the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. 

It came about five weeks after the last reported Tibetan self-immolation near Nyatso monastery in Tawu (in Chinese, Daofu) county on June 11.

Chinese authorities have tightened controls in Tibetan-populated areas in a bid to check self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing more than a dozen Tibetans who they accuse of being linked to the burnings. Some have been jailed for up to 15 years.


In Tibetan-populated Dzoege county, Chinese authorities recently transferred the ruling Chinese Communist Party chief after he was found to be popular among Tibetans and amid concerns over self-immolation protests in the area, local residents told RFA.

Tenzin Yarphel, the Party secretary in Dzoege, was transferred to head the Ngaba prefecture's department of environment protection, a low-profile appointment, on June 8, 2013 after he was found to be approving special Tibetan religious gatherings, they said.

Prior to Kunchok Sonam's burning protest on Saturday, there had been five self-immolations, including two twin burnings, in Dzoege this year.
Three other self-immolations took place in the county before this year. 
Chinese authorities have "planted spies" in every village in Dzoege county "to monitor conversations and keep a strict watch over Tibetan activities, in an ongoing effort to prevent self-immolation and other protests," according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in Dharamsala, India.

The Chinese authorities have also attempted to pressure local Tibetans to sign an official order that forbids any kind of activities to support or sympathise with self-immolation protests, it said, quoting a monk from Barmi Monastery in Tsongru township of Dzoege.

Monthly salaries

The monk also said a new policy had been implemented since October 2012 at Barmi Monastery under which the Chinese government now pays monthly salaries to monastic staff and teachers, including the abbot and disciplinarian. 

"The monthly payment is made on the strict condition that no political disturbances would be allowed in the monastery and all monks would pledge their political allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese state," according to a TCHRD report.

"Although there is no information about other monasteries following the same practice, it appears that the new practice was an ‘experimental’ precursor to a regulation passed in December 2012 which gives the Chinese government all authority and power to appoint religious instructors in Buddhist monasteries," it said.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tibetan singer Jampel's music video honouring Tibetan self immolations

A Tibetan singer from the Chinese province of Sichuan has released a song and musical video titled “Patriotic Martyrs” in tribute to Tibetan self-immolations, of which there have been 119 since 2009. The immolations, an increasingly severe problem for Beijing, are a form of political protest against China’s rule over Tibet and its restrictions on political and religious freedoms there.
Here, form High Peaks Pure Earth, are the full English-translation lyrics of “Patriotic Martyrs”:
In the world of tears decorously flowing
In the space of fire blazingly burning
There is the soul of a brave man of the grasslands
There is the fate of a powerless humanity
Be grateful
Be thankful
The courage of Thupten Ngodup
The courage of Thupten Ngodup
In the horizon of the life force carried away in the air
In the graveyard of flesh and bone burned in the fire
There is the honor of a patriotic martyr
There is the suffering of a separated people
Be grateful
Be thankful
The courage of Tashi Gyatso
The courage of Tashi Gyatso
In the Snowland of hope of years and months
In the world of patriots ablaze in masses
There is the life of a humble Tibetan
There is the call of a crowd rising up
Be grateful
Be thankful
The patriotic martyrs of Tibet
The patriotic martyrs of Tibet

China gears to intensify crack down the pro Tibet propaganda

BEIJING: China on Wednesday said it will intensify a crackdown against illegal publications and "reactionary" promotional products like pamphlets, text messages and books in Tibetan regions in an apparent bid to weed out pro-Dalai Lama literature and publicity materials. 

The crackdown will target books, newspapers, magazines, promotional pamphlets, text messages, audio and visual products, TV and radio programmes, as well as electronic publications that are deemed to be illegal or reactionary, Li Changjiang, a senior official from the national anti-pornography and anti-illegal publications office said. 

"Sharing information and investigating cases will be part of joint prevention and control efforts among multiple provincial departments," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying at a meeting. 

Li called for regional governments to take the lead in investigating such publications, and asked related departments to cooperate with the local governments. 

Figures from the office show that more than 1.32 million illegal publications and promotional items have been confiscated since 2011 in southwest China's restive Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinhua report said. 

The campaign comes as China has intensified crackdown to minimize the recurring self-immolations in support of return of the Dalai Lama from exile. 

So far about 119 self-immolations have been reported from different parts of Tibet, according to overseas Tibetan groups. 

Communist Party Chief Transferred After Tibetan Self-Immolations

A ruling Chinese Communist Party chief in a Tibetan-populated county in Sichuan province has been transferred after he was found to be popular among Tibetans and following a series of self-immolations against Chinese rule in the county, according to local residents.

Tenzin Yarphel, the Party secretary in Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo’ergai) county in the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was transferred to head the prefecture's department of environment protection, a low-profile appointment, on June 8, 2013, according to the prefecture's official website.

The often-cited reason for his removal was the series of self-immolations in Dzoege county under his watch but the change stemmed from his growing popularity among the Tibetans, residents said.

"Tenzin Yarphel was very popular in Dzoege as he was very responsive to the problems of the community," a Tibetan source in the area told a Tibetan originally from Dzoege and now living in exile in India's Dharamsala hill town.

"Recently, he allowed a special religious teaching in Dzoege area," the Dharamsala-based Tibetan told RFA's Tibetan Service.

"The authorities did not like his popularity with the local community and the approval of a special religious congregation. Therefore he was transferred to the prefecture's headquarters in Barkham (in Chinese, Ma’erkang) county," he said.

Five burnings this year

There have been five self-immolations, including two twin burnings, in Dzoege county this year protesting  Chinese rule and demanding the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Three other self-immolations took place in the county before this year. 

One of the most controversial self-immolations was that involving a Tibetan woman who burned herself to death in March.

Konchog Wangmo, 31, set herself ablaze in Dzoege just before midnight on March 13 but news of the burning was hushed up by Chinese police who had grabbed her body, cremated it, and handed over the remains to her family, sources had said.

Her husband, Drolma Kyab, continues to be detained after he refused to comply with an order by the Chinese authorities who wanted to blame the self-immolation on a family squabble, one exiled Tibetan with contacts in the region told RFA.

"The parents of Kunchog Wangmo were also approached by the Chinese authorities and lured with an offer of 1 million yuan [U.S. $163,000] if they cooperated to agree that their daughter killed herself due to a domestic conflict," another Tibetan exile source said. 

"However the parents refused to be charmed by the offer and refused to comply," the source said, adding that an elderly lady who worked at a local medical center and witnessed Konchog Wangmo's self-immolation had declared that she "sacrificed her life for the Tibetans.”

In February, two Tibetan teenagers died in self-immolation protests in Dzoege, highlighting the human rights plight of the new generation of Tibetans born under Chinese rule, while in April, two monks from the Tagtsang Lhamo Kirti monastery in Dzoege set themselves alight and died near the monastery.

A total of 120 Tibetans in Tibet and Tibetan-populated Chinese provinces have staged self-immolations since the wave of burning protests began in February 2009.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chinese general warns India against ‘new trouble’ as Antony visits Beijing

Chinese general warns India against ‘new trouble’ as Antony visits Beijing (© Reuters)Beijing: An outspoken Chinese general known for his nationalist views warned India on Thursday against stirring up "new trouble" in a long-running border dispute, just as defence minister AK Antony was set to visit Beijing. "The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new trouble," Major General Luo Yuan told reporters.
Luo, the deputy-director general of the world military research department at a People's Liberation Army academy, described himself at a briefing as a "reasonable hardliner". He made waves last year with comments questioning the legitimacy of Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, a chain that includes Okinawa and hosts numerous United States military bases.
"India is the only country in the world that says that it is developing its military power because of China's military threat," said Luo, who was wearing a business suit. "So I believe that India should be very cautious in what it does and what it says."
A high-altitude border dispute between the nuclear-armed giants in the Himalayas has simmered for decades but intensified in May over troop movements in the region. New Delhi alleged Chinese troops intruded nearly 20 kilometres (12 miles) into Indian territory.
A three-week standoff ensued and was resolved after talks between local military leaders and a withdrawal of troops from both sides. The border situation was now generally 'under control' following a visit to India in May by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Luo said.
His comments came as A K Antony was due to arrive in China late Thursday for three days of talks, the first such trip in seven years.
Antony's visit, on which he is accompanied by top military commanders, coincides with a trip to China by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan, India's nuclear-armed neighbour and arch-rival, is a longstanding close ally of Beijing. Chinese officials describe their relationship with Islamabad as one between 'all weather friends'.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Under new measures, Beijing to legally approve Buddhist teachers in Tibet.

To further tighten the noose around Tibetan monasteries and nunneries, the Chinese government has implemented a new regulation that gives the government and Party organs at multiple levels the authority and power to appoint Buddhist religious instructors. The regulation called “Measures to Determine Qualification and Employment of Religious Instructors in Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries” was published on 3 December 2012 after its approval during the second session of the eighth council of Buddhist Association of China held on 25 November 2012. The new regulation has been implemented from the day of its publication.

Under this regulation, all religious instructors at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries must be legally registered to continue teaching Buddhist scriptures (Article 2). Further the regulation states that to qualify as a religious instructor, a candidate must meet mandatory credentials, including support for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system, patriotism, discipline, uphold the dignity of law, safeguard the people’s interests, safeguard national unity, and uphold religious and social harmony [Article 4 (ii)].

A candidate must not engage in activities organised at the behest of private individuals or overseas outfits [Article 4 (vi)] and must obey the Monastery Management Committees. Monks and nuns as well as lay believers must accept the guidance and supervision of the local people’s government and relevant departments of Buddhist religious affairs [Article 4 (iii)].

Article 5 of the regulation requires that candidates be nominated and recommended by Monastery Management Committees. Then the candidates’ credentials will be assessed and reviewed first at the county level BAC office. This is followed by another assessment and screening at the prefecture level of BAC. Shortlisted candidates must sit for an examination administered by prefectural branch of BAC.

In an interesting exception, Buddhist teachers who are over 50 years old and have been teaching for a considerable time, may be exempted from this examination provided they satisfy all the credentials listed in article 4 [Article 4 (iii)]. This exemption is likely aimed at avoiding potential conflicts in monastic institutions following the firing of senior religious teachers. As TCHRD reported in March 2013, senior religious teachers were removed at Rongwo Monastery and Labrang Tashikyil Monastery located respectively in Qinghai and Gansu provinces.

Religious instructor candidates who pass the examination will have their credentials reviewed and assessed by the province and autonomous region level of the Buddhist Association of China (BAC), an organ of the Communist Party. BAC will then issue a certificate to endorse the qualifications of a religious instructor [Article 4 (iv)].

This regulation affects all monastic institutions in TAR and the Tibetan areas outside TAR. In the areas where there are no BAC branch offices, applications must be made to prefectural or provincial BAC branches [Article 4 (v)].

Article 10 of the regulation stipulates that religious instructs appointment can last no more than five years after which they must apply for renewed employment. Those seeking re-appointment should undergo the same process of getting clearance and approval from the relevant BAC offices and local religious affairs departments.

The duties of religious instructors are listed in the regulation. It says qualified religious instructors should assist the Monastery Management Committees in the management work of education and guidance of monks and nuns, patriotism, unity and progress, maintaining “normal order” in monasteries, promotion of religious harmony and social harmony [Article 11 (iii)]. The religious instructors are also required to promote national policies and regulations to guide the masses of believers, consciously safeguard national unification, ethnic unity and social stability, and oppose separation [Article 11 (iv)].

Monday, 8 July 2013

Maps of Free Tibet: A solid proof of Independent Tibet

Many will be unaware that Tibet has been been a free and independent nation for over two millenia before China invaded in 1950. The fact of it’s national freedom was noted by very early travelers and later map-makers from the 17th Century onward, who showed clearly Tibet as a distinct territory with its own national boundaries (as seen on these maps to the North or North-East Of India). This record is an important statement testifying to the veracity of Tibetan claims, that their land was a sovereign nation and not a part of China.
1801 World Map Showing Tibet
1790 World Map Showing Tibet

Dalai Lama Provided With Z-plus Security by Indian Government

Dalai Lama\'s security reviewed after Mahabodhi temple blasts

Dalai Lama's security reviewed after Mahabodhi temple blasts

The security of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been reviewed after the blasts in Bihar's Bodh Gaya town on Sunday morning. The Dalai Lama's private office in Dharamsala said his security had been stepped up.

"We have issued an advisory to His Holiness' personal security officials," Ngodup Dorjee, Central Tibetan Administration's (CTA) department of security secretary, told IANS.

"The Dalai Lama has already been provided Z-plus category security (by the Indian government). But we have beefed up the security of his official palace and Tsuglagkhang temple (close to the palace) too," he said.

Dorjee said a meeting would be held in Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, on Monday to review security arrangements of Tibetan monasteries and temples located across India.

Tibetan spiritual leaders the Dalai Lama and 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who are residing in Dharamsala's suburb McLeodganj, which is home to a large Tibetan population, are frequent visitors at the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar's Bodh Gaya town, where nine blasts took place on Sunday morning.

Extra force has been put in place both at the Dalai Lama's palace and the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University, where the Karmapa resides, after the Bodh Gaya blasts, Superintendent of Police Balbir Thakur said.

"Police surveillance has been intensified in and around McLeodganj. We are in regular touch with the central intelligence agencies," he added.

Thakur said one of the two entry gates to the Tsuglagkhang temple has been closed and extra force has been deployed there.

"Electronic items, including camera and mobile, will not be allowed in the temple complex," he added.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Report: Chinese police open fire on Tibetans in Tawu

Celebration of His Holiness birthday in Tibet despite strict restrictions
A Tibetan monk is in critical condition and several others, including a brother of a self-immolator, have been severely injured after Chinese security forces opened fire and used tear gas to disperse a crowd gathered to mark the 78th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tawu region of eastern Tibet.
The incident occurred when hundreds of Tibetans from Tawu joined monks from the Nyatso Monastery and nuns from the Geden Choeling Nunnery on the morning of July 6 to offer prayers to mark the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama at a nearby hill used for making and prayer offerings.
A convoy of Chinese People’s Armed Police arrived at the site and immediately surrounded the area, baring the gathered Tibetans from offering prayers. As the face-off continued, Jangchup Dorjee, a monk from the Nyatso Monastery and younger brother of Palden Choetso, a nun from Geden Choeling nunnery who self-immolated on November 3, 2011, tried to drive past the security blockade. Chinese security forces retaliated by firing upon the unarmed crowd, critically injuring a monk Tashi Sonam from Nyatso Monastery, who was shot in the head. He is currently believed to be in a critical condition in a hospital in Chengdu. Tear gases were also fired on the gathered crowd injuring several Tibetans.
Others who were severely injured in the live fire include Jangchup Dorjee and Tsering Dhonudp from Nyatso Monastery, Nyendak from Mikya town, Tashi and a nun from Geden Choeling Nunnery.The situation remains tense. Large numbers of armed police have been deployed surrounding the Nyatso Monastery where no one is allowed to either enter or leave.

Message from Gyalwang Karmapa On The Bombing Of The Mahabodhi Temple And Its Environs.

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the senseless violence perpetrated today at the Mahabodhi temple and its environs in Bodhgaya. This is the place where Buddhist pilgrims from India and the world over pay homage to Lord Buddha and his teachings.

As yet we do not know why or by whom this sacred site was targeted. However, I am convinced that, as Buddhists, in responding to this situation, the best homage we can pay to Lord Buddha is to uphold his teachings on love and ahimsa (non-violence).

I ask you, therefore, to remain calm and refrain from any further escalation of the violence. I offer my prayers for the victims and their families, and call on Buddhists everywhere to truly embrace the wisdom of Lord Buddha’s teachings in all that we do.

17th Karmapa, OgyenTrinley Dorje
7th July, 2013."
courtesy KagyuoOffice

Qinghai-Tibet Railway being expanded

Beijing: Seven years after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway began operation, the "roof of the world" is about to see more railway lines connecting it to other parts of China. 

Several new rail lines are either under construction or being planned to form a rail network in the sparsely populated Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Xinhua reported.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway, which spans 1,956 km from Xining in Qinghai province to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, carried 10.76 million people and 56.06 million tonnes of cargo in 2012. 

With new extension lines in place, the company estimates that its passenger and cargo loads will increase to 14 million and 90 tonnes in 2015.
The railway has led to a boom in tourism in Tibet. 

In 2012, more than 10 million tourists visited Tibet, up 21.7 percent year on year. Tourism revenue surged 30.3 percent to $2.06 billion. 

Dharamsala alerted following Bodhgaya blasts

His Holiness the Dalai Lama residence, Dharamsala
Dharamsala is home to Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso and the 17th Karmapa, Ogeyn Trinley Dorje.  The Dalai Lama who is currently on a visit to Byalakuppe has his private residence in McLeodganj, while the Karmapa resides in Gyuto Monastery at Sidhbari near Dharamsala.
Other prominent monasteries including Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala and Palpung Sherabling Monastery at Bhattu in Baijnath have also been cautioned to be extra vigilant. Extra force has been put in place by Dharamsala police both at the Dalai Lama palace and Gyuto Monastery.
Superintendent of police (SP), Kangra, Balbir Thakur reviewed the security arrangements at both the places in the morning and necessary steps were taken to beef up the security. “Police surveillance has been increased around McLeodganj police station and a close vigil is being kept in areas around the Dalai Lama's residence and the Karmapa's residence,” said Thakur.
Thakur said that one of the two entry gates to the Tsuglakhang Buddhist Temple, also known as the Dalai Lama temple, has been closed, while extra force has been deployed at the spiritual leader's residence.
“Camera, mobile and other electronic items will not be allowed in the Tsughalkhang Temple Complex,” said Thakur, adding that visitors will be properly frisked before being allowed to enter the temple complex and their baggage will be checked. Besides, the police are also in touch with the intelligence agencies and security will be as per the Intelligence Bureau (IB) assessment.
Thakur said the security at Karmapa residence has also been increased and round-the-clock vigil is being kept on the Gyuto Monastery complex and surrounding area through close circuit television cameras.  “Extra force has been deployed at the Gyuto monestary too,” said Thakur. 

Meanwhile, the security wing of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) will be holding a meeting with all other departments concerned on Monday  to review the security in prominent monasteries. “Apart from, Himachal Pradesh Police personnel guarding the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have put in place our own securitymen,” said Ngodup Dorje, secretary, department of security, CTA. 

“We will review the security arrangements in some of the prominent monasteries and necessary steps will be taken accordingly,” he added. He said an advisory has been issued to all the monasteries situated in the region. Sikyong and other Tibetan leaders have expressed deep sadness over the serial bomb blasts at Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the series of blasts at Mahabodhi Temple. My prayers for the injured and their family members,” Sikyong  (Tibetan PM in exile) Lobsang Sangay said in a 

The serial blasts in Bodhgaya on Sunday left two people injured, besides damage to the  templeproperty.Meanwhile, the Tibetan community residing in Dharamsala also organised a prayer service at Tusglakhang temple for the fast recovery of those injured in the blasts.

Bodhgaya: Eight blasts in Mahabodhi temple; two injured

Bodhgaya: Eight blasts in Mahabodhi temple; two injured

Bodhgaya:Two people have been injured in a series of blasts inside the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar's Bodhgaya district. The first blast took place inside the temple at 5:30 am, followed by seven successive explosions in the next half hour.

While four of the blasts took place inside the Mahabodhi temple, the other four exploded outside. Another two live bombs were reportedly found near the temple, and defused.

Reports say all blasts were of low-intensity and there has been no damage to the temple shrine.

"The holy bodhi tree is safe and there is no damage to it," Bihar police chief Abhayanand told AFP while confirming the blasts and injuries.

There were not too many people inside the temple when the blasts took place. The two injured, reportedly a Buddhist monk from Myanmar and a pilgrim, have been rushed to a hospital.

"We were doing our daily rituals in the temple when we heard a big explosion," said an eyewitness.

Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said the blasts were a "terror attack." (Read)

Teams from the National Investigation Agency and the National Security Guard are on their way to Bodhgaya. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reached the blast site.

Senior police officer SK Bhardwaj said there have been intelligence reports about the possibility of attacks on the shrines but he did not give any details.

The temple premises have been cordoned off. Reports say security has been beefed up in and around other religious sites of the district.

Last year, security of the Mahabodhi temple was handed over to the Special Task Force of Bihar Police. A mock drill was carried out at the temple by the district administration in the last week of June. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned today's blasts, saying "such attacks on religious places will never be tolerated.".

The Buddhist shrines in Bodhgaya, a town 130 kilometers south of Patna, attract a large number of pilgrims, especially from Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The main pilgrimage starts in September.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Excerpt: Dr. Lobsang Sangay statement on Trungkar

"On the auspicious occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday, the Central Tibetan Administration reiterates its firm commitment to the Middle Way Approach in resolving the Tibet issue.  Since assuming office in August 2011, we have proceeded with a three-phase approach of consolidation, action and dialogue. 
The consolidation phase that spanned much of the first year was important to ensure a smooth transition after His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s historic decision to devolve political authority to a democratically-elected leader. Towards this end, we hosted several major conferences in Dharamsala that brought together Tibetan representatives from all across the globe and leaders of the Indian and International Tibet Support Groups.
The action phase witnessed major solidarity events in several cities including New York, New Delhi, Brussels, Tokyo, Sydney and others. These solidarity events were complemented by media awareness and efforts to garner support for Tibet in Congress and parliaments across the world.  Working with friends and supporters of Tibet, we were able to get resolutions and motions passed in parliaments in the European Union (EU), France, Italy, the United States and others.
The three phases are inter-related, and the dialogue phase will involve continued efforts and initiatives to resume contact with the Chinese government. Additional investment is being made to educate both Tibetan and external audiences on the Middle Way Approach. The Task Force on Negotiations will be enlarged and members will have their 26th meeting in September 2013 during which the recent developments in Tibet and China will be discussed.
I take this opportunity to thank the great people of India and the Indian Government for their unwavering assistance and support to Tibetans. I also thank other governments and our supporters around the world.
Lastly, I offer my fervent prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long and healthy life. With unity, innovation and self-reliance as the guiding principles, may all his wishes and the aspirations of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, and his efforts towards promotion of a more compassionate and peaceful world be fulfilled."
-Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, 6th July,2013

TJ: Happy Birthday To the His Holiness(GRATITUDE)

This very day, 74 years back, in the village of Taktsar, Amdo region of Tibet, a god was born in the form of human to shower the world with his blessings. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama turns to 74 years of human life today and his 74 years have been seen and appreciated by the world for his extraordinary strength of love, compassion and faith in truth! It is very honouring as well as a humbling sense to realize that our generation has been fortunate enough to witness this very extraordinary fold of human civilization rolling with such a heavenly being. 
It is therefore our humble pleasure to offer our wishes of many many happy returns of the day and make our prayers for his holiness's continued blessings and presence with us humans for the thousands of generations to come and lead us to the heavenly path.

With lots of prayers and extreme gratitude,
Team TJ