Thursday, 29 August 2013

Nuclear blasts used by China to divert Brahamaputra in Tibet

In a surreptitious move fraught with dangers of nuclear radiation in areas bordering India, China conducted three to four “low yield atomic explosions” in March 2005 to aid in clearing mountainous terrain to divert the Yarlung Tsangpo river, also known as the Brahmaputra, from north to south in Tibet.
According to classified Indian intelligence documents, the blasts were reported at Moutou in Tibet and also near the Great Bend of the Brahmaputra. The blasts were low yield nuclear explosions and were conducted at significant depths to avoid detection. 
As alarm bells rang in South Block, the issue was taken up by the Indian ambassador in Beijing with the Chinese authorities who flatly denied that atomic blasts had been executed to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra. It was not before three years had elapsed that information on the blasts in Tibet was shared at the highest levels of the National Security Council (NSC) with the United States during the then American defence secretary Robert Gates, a former CIA director, during his visit to India in 2008. At the time, US authorities admitted to their Indian counterparts the complete failure of their satellites to detect the blasts.
When contacted, India’s the then deputy national security adviser S D Pradhan confirmed the blasts and the efforts made to confront the Chinese with the evidence. Other sources in the Research and Analysis Wing and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) too corroborated the information. However, the security establishment, particularly the NSC, sought to play down the “grave” issue.
A top secret Chinese plan to take the Brahmaputra to arid zones in the north by building a 200-km-long canal passing through Mount Namcha was presented by experts from that country in December 1995 at the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics.
The Indians learnt about the plan toward the end of 1997 when an American scientific journal published a comprehensive account. In 2003, a section of the Chinese media reported that a feasibility plan, aimed at diverting the waters of the Brahmaputra from south to north, was underway. This was confirmed by Indian satellite imagery which discovered that dams were being constructed at Dagu, Jiacha and Jiexu in Tibet.
As the Chinese went ahead relentlessly with their objective of diverting the Brahmaputra, a draft outline of China’s 10th five year plan clearly stated that the river would be diverted from south to north through three channels in the eastern, central and western regions from Yangzhou, Danjiang Reservoir and Tongtianhe, respectively.
According to highly placed NSC sources, two factors confirmed the March 2005 atomic blasts. First, there was unprecedented flooding of the Brahmaputra in June-July 2005, raising the level by 30 metres on the Indian side. This was interpreted as the outcome of the Chinese engineers’ efforts to divert the river water to facilitate their work. At the time, the Assam government took up the matter of massive flooding with the Centre, suspecting a Chinese hand.
Second, in October 2008, Indian intelligence noticed that Chinese engineers had begun work through Tibet’s Galung La mountain in Nyingchi prefecture near the Great Bend of the Brahmaputra, confirming yet again that nuclear blasts had taken place there earlier.
China has steadfastly claimed that all the dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo are run of the river, which the Indian authorities are loathe to believe. India’s concern is that its share of Brahmaputra’s waters would be reduced and that China could use it as a weapon to cause heavy damage to the Indian side by releasing water at anytime it wished.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tibetans worldwide have their own heartfelt dream of freedom: Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay

Much like civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Tibetans worldwide have their own heartfelt dream of freedom, the country’s prime minister in exile said Tuesday in Utah.
Natives and refugees from the Buddhist-centered Asian nation dream they might “cross over the Himalayan mountains and go back to Tibet,’’ Lobsang Sangay told a Salt Lake City audience. “When that day comes, our dream will be fulfilled and part of the world’s dream will be as well.’’
And in the quest for an end to more than six decades of Chinese repression, the 45-year-old American-educated lawyer and human-rights activist said, Tibetans also have steadfastly adhered to the principles of nonviolence, compassion and peace, following the example of their spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
“Support for Tibet is support for peace, support for nonviolence and support for democracy,’’ Sangay said. “If you believe in nonviolence, then the process has to be peaceful. This is what we believe.’’
Born in a Tibetan refugee community in Darjeeling, India, Sangay studied in Delhi and at Harvard University before being elected in 2011 to head the secular government of Tibet, based in McLeodGanj, a village in Dharamshala in northern India. He was considered a political outsider, in his words, “just an ordinary guy who took over two years ago.’’
He also is prominent among a generation of Tibetan leaders born since China’s 1949 invasion of Tibet and raised in refugee enclaves across Nepal, India and the West. The lawyer is known for advocating for a so-called “Middle Way’’ to Tibetan autonomy within China’s constitutional framework, a “one country, two systems’’ model similar to China’s governance of Hong Kong and Macau.
His remarks at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law came near the end of a series of visits to six U.S. cities. His Salt Lake City itinerary also included exchanges with officials, including Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, and contacts with Utah’s own Tibetan community, which has grown to nearly 200 people since members of the Chagzoetsang family settled here in 1983.
The visit also follows two highly tumultuous years in Tibet’s history, beginning with the Dalai Lama’s formal relinquishing of government power.
More than 100 Tibetans — Buddhist monks and nuns as well as laypeople — are known to have set themselves on fire in recent years in acts of protest against Chinese oppression. While sternly condemned by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, Sangay said, the self-immolations reflect realities of poverty, discrimination and religious oppression Tibetans face from an ethnic Han Chinese majority.
China maintains that Tibet has fallen within its traditional borders for seven centuries and was a backward, feudal and repressive theocracy before China’s formal re-assertion of control. Yet in his speech to about 100 U. law students and visitors, the prime minister in exile delivered a point-by-point rebuttal of China’s claims of historic sovereignty over Tibetan territories, extending back to legal documents of mutual recognition signed in the ninth century.
“Peaceful liberation and Tibetans welcoming of the communist rule, that is their narrative,’’ said Sangay, who instead offered glimpses of a devastating social, cultural and environmental toll on the small mountainous nation under Beijing’s grip.
“One million lives were lost. More than 98 percent of monasteries and nunneries were destroyed,’’ he said. “Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans had to flee and continue to flee even today.’’
Despite China’s apparent unwillingness to negotiate and its rising power on the world stage, Sangay urged hope and optimism that Tibet’s dreams will come true.
“Tibetans have really rallied, worldwide,’’ he said. “And that gives you strength.’’

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Anti-mining protest in Tibet spreads on

Over 100 ethnic Tibetans were injured and one man committed suicide in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) prefecture* in the Kham region of Eastern Tibet (officially in Qinghai province), as Chinese military forces broke up protests against diamond mining in the area Aug. 19. As in similar protests elsewhere in Qinghai earlier that week, protestors put up large banners printed with President Xi Jinping's recent speech on environmental protection, and charged that the mines have not been approved by China's central government. The clash apparently began when some 1,000 protesters occupied two traditional Tibetan sacred sites, identified as Atod Yultso and Zachen Yultso, at a mine in Dzatoe (Chinese: Zaduo) township, and security forces fired tear-gas to disperse them. Eight protesters were detained, but two identified as leaders are reported to have "disappeared."

No journalists were on hand in the remote area, but local Tibetan activists were able to get word out to contacts in the exile government at Dharamsala, India. The Dharamsala-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) issued a statement saying: "China's large-scale exploitation of mineral resources in Tibet has led to sustained socio-economic and environmental problems. Massive influx of Chinese migrant workers into Tibetan areas deprives Tibetans of employment opportunities." The CTA said it has "repeatedly called on China to ensure active participation of Tibetan people in all decision making process and that social, environmental and cultural impacts assessment are carried out."

The Beijing government is aggressively seeking foreign investment for a new thrust of mineral development on the Tibetan plateau. Gold production in China has doubled since 2003, and it recently overtook Australia as the world's top producer. Vancouver-based China Gold International Resources Corporation already operates a copper mine at Jiama in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as well as a gold mine in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and is seeking investment to expand. (Women News Network, Aug. 21 The Tibet Post, Aug. 19;Gold Investing News, July 10; CGIRC Company Overview)

* The CTA apparently considers the Chinese-designated "prefectures" to be "counties" of the territory it claims as Tibet, or Cholka-Sum. Large areas of Qinghai and Sichuan provinces, as well as part of Gansu, are considered to be Eastern Tibet, or the traditional regions of Kham and Amdo, while the Chinese-designated TAR is considered U-Tsang. All are considered as lying within Cholka-Sum, also rendered by the CTA's supporters as "Historic Tibet," and by its critics as "Greater Tibet." See map.

TR: China claims praise from Australian journalists for its Tibet policy

China claimed Aug 23 that it had received praise and admiration for its policies and conduct in occupied Tibet from a group of Australian journalists at the end of their five-day visit there sponsored by it. “Having been gotten close to the real life of Tibetans, the Australian reporters pointed out the social, religious and economic development in Tibet deserved a thumb-up as they could feel and see how happy Tibetans are,” reported China’s online Tibet news and information service Aug 23.

"I only visited a small part of Tibet, but I'm sure what Tibet has achieved so far is really amazing. For example, its development in electricity power, transportation, tourism, etc," the report quoted Rowan Callick from The Australian newspaper as saying.

The report said the group visited the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, the Lulang County in southern Tibet, and so on between Aug 20 and 25.

Tibet remains banned for foreign journalists as well as independent travel by non-Chinese foreign tourists. However, China has been taking small groups of select journalists from different countries on scripted and sponsored tours and attributing to them praise for its rule in the occupied region. It has so far refused to allow any independent investigation of the at least 120 self-immolations by protesting Tibetans since Feb 2009.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Chinese troops enter Arunachal Pradesh, stay for four days

Representational image. Reuters
New Delhi: In yet another face-off with Indian soldiers, Chinese troops had come more than 20 kilometres inside Indian territory in Chaglagam area of Arunachal Pradesh on August 13 and stayed there for about four days.

However, the Army Headquarters sought to play down the incursion, saying the Chinese troops have gone back to their areas and such incidents keep taking place as both sides enter areas claimed by the other side while patrolling the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC).

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops had come over 20 km inside Indian-claimed territory in Chaglagam area of Arunachal Pradesh and after they were stopped by the Indian troops, the two sides showed banners to each other to leave the area, sources said.
However, the two sides held to their positions and the Chinese soldiers left after staying put for two-three days, they said.

The area falls under the 2 Division of the Army and the deputy commander of the formation had also intervened to resolve the issue, they said.
The sources said paramilitary force Indo-Tibetan Border Police is also present in the area to guard the LAC there.
Kiren Rijiju, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said that Indian and Chinese forces were locked in a face-to-face situation in Anjaw district of the state.

“Chinese troops have erected tents and are carrying military equipment. According to information from our party workers, they have managed to intrude about 60 km inside our territory,” Rijiju told IANS.

Rijiju said that the intrusion began Aug 13 and the Chinese troops had been able to come deep inside. He said the army was not permanently deployed in the area and Indo-Tibetan Border Police was looking after the security of the area.
“It is a major intrusion. The government should immediately talk to China and ask it to pull back its troops,” Rijiju said.

He said that Indian and Chinese troops were near Plamplam post, about 60 km from the LAC, and 20 km from Chaglagam, an administrative centre where the Arunachal Pradesh government has posted its officials.
He said party activists had been asked to visit the area.
Tapir Gao, a BJP general secretary from Arunachal Pradesh, claimed here were over 100 Chinese troops in the area.

In April, Chinese troops had entered 19 km deep inside the Indian Territory and pitched their tents in Depsang plains in Ladakh. They returned after a three-week stand-off and several rounds of hectic parleys between the top officials of the two countries.
In the last eight months, Army sources said there have been over 150 incursions by the Chinese side and that Indian troops also enter areas claimed by them during patrolling.

Tibetans can seek Indian citizenship: Lobsang Sangay

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay
DHARAMSHALA: Tibetan government-in-exile Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay said on Wednesday that the Tibetans living in India could apply for the Indian citizenship and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) would help them by providing supporting documents.

This is the first time that the Tibetan government-in-exile has 'allowed' Tibetans to seek Indian citizenship.
"The CTA cannot prevent any Tibetan from applying for the Indian citizenship," Sangay said.

Namgyal Dolkar (25) was the first person of Tibetan origin to get an Indian citizenship after fighting a long battle in the Delhi high court in 2011. She was born in Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and brought up in Dehradun in Uttar Pradesh.

Many Tibetans are keen to get Indian citizenship but the government-in-exile has not said much about it. They didn't say much even after Dolkar was granted the Indian citizenship.

"The decision to apply for Indian or any other country's citizenship is a personal choice. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1986 grants citizenship rights to Tibetans born in India between 1950 and 1987," Sangay said.

"At the same time, the CTA cannot compel Tibetans to apply for the Indian citizenship," he added.

He further said that CTA issues bona fide Tibetan letters of support to those applying for citizenships in India and abroad. Sangay revealed that in last around two years, the CTA received 14 citizenship requests, all of which were cleared.

Sangay also expressed his gratitude to the Canadian government for accepting 1000 Tibetan refugees from Arunachal Pradesh as permanent residents under a special program.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tibetan Wechat users beware of the Chinese hackers

Lobsang KunchockThe allegation was made after hackers seized control of the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Government-in Exile’s official Chinese language website on Tuesday and blocked Tibetan officials from accessing it in what experts said was likely an attempt to obtain readers’ data.

Tibetan cyber-security officials lost control of their own site for three hours which, according to their advisers, was enough time for the hackers to access the details of up to 300 visitors.

The attack is the latest of a series of suspected Chinese cyber attacks on websites popular with Tibetans in China and beyond. They include the Dalai Lama’s site, the Tibet Times, which was shut down temporarily, the Voice of Tibet radio station and the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

Lobsang Sither, a leading Tibetan cyber-security consultant who has been leading a public education campaign to train exiled Tibetans to protect their digital profiles, said he had no doubt China was behind this latest attack.

He said Chinese hackers were trying to acquire as much data as possible on Tibetans exiled in India and to intercept their emails and web-chats with relatives and friends in Tibet.

He said one web-chat site, WeChat, had been used this year by Chinese officials to track several Tibetans who voiced nationalist opinions and jail them.

Use of the application has soared among Tibetans in China as smartphones and 3G networks become more widely accessible. It has also became popular with Tibetans living in exile in India who used it to message relatives on the other side of the border. But the application effectively gives the Chinese government free access to the user’s phone and email accounts.

Earlier this year several Tibetans were arrested and jailed after using WeChat to send post photographs showing the self-immolation protests of Tibetan Buddhist monks.

One of them, Namkha Jam, was jailed for six years earlier this year.

Another, Lobsang Kunchok, a 40 year old monk from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, was arrested after he used his iPhone WeChat app to post a photograph of an immolation protest. He was given a suspended death sentence.

“We are trying to raise public awareness among Tibetans We are focusing on basic online hygiene to teach Tibetans not to click on attachments or downloads, to use secure email protocols, to only buy genuine software,” he said.

“Tibetans [in exile] are connected to other Tibetans in Tibet, so if they [China] can access our emails, they can track down Tibetans sharing information,” he said.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Electronic gadgets to be an issue of security at Dalai Lama's teachings

Dharamsala: Electronic gadgets, including personal FM radio, will not be allowed during the teaching sessions of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

The decision was taken during a meeting to review security of the Dalai Lama, at the office of Superintendent of Police Dharamshala on August 16.

Only those FM radios provided by the Tibetan Security will be used during prayer or teaching session.

Himachal Pradesh Police reviewed security of the Tibetan spiritual leader and his official palace, besides establishments of the Tibetan government-in-exile, headquartered here several times in past few months.

Earlier, Superintendent of Police Balbir Thakur said that some loopholes were found in the security of spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who are residing here, and process is on to plug them.

The police have already strengthened security pickets around the Dalai Lama's palace and the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University, where the Karmapa resides.

"Since the government of India has extended Z-plus category security to the Dalai Lama, we have requested it to look into the feasibility to add chemical detectors to his security too," said Ngodup Dorjee, secretary of Central Tibetan Administration's (CTA) security wing.

According to the Dalai Lama's office the next teaching in Dharamsala is from August 25 to 27.

Excerpt: The Chinese Game Plan

Nawaz Sharif and Li Keqiang
With the opening of two fronts against New Delhi, Beijing will, in collusion with Islamabad, repeat ‘1962’ in the near future on an enlarged scale.
As a tactical ploy for the past several years, Beijing and Islamabad have been dishing out sermons on friendship. China has used its lobby successfully in India to promote the concept that the two nations, instead of being at loggerheads with each other, should join hands to make the twenty-first century theirs.
The twin objective was to concentrate on the American forces; firstly, with the help of Pakistan to ensure the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and secondly, that India does not shake hands decisively with the US thereby tilting the balance of power in favour of democracy.
Similarly, Pakistan, more or less a colony of China, went out of its way to promote friendship with India, using the oft employed ploy of the ‘twenty-first century belonging to Asia’. The refrain was that instead of fighting with each other Pakistan, China and India should join hands to evict American imperialism from Asia. Pakistan deployed its journalists on Indian channels at times bending backwards to placate Indian sentiments. Simultaneously, they effectively activated Pakistan’s peace constituency in India that is much larger than the one that exists in Islamabad to gain major traction. The continuous ranting of Pakistan being a bigger victim of terrorism and putting a temporary leash on Hafiz Sayeed did help to pull the wool over a large number of Indian eyes.
The aim of the China and Pakistan combine was to first employ jihadi forces in Afghanistan under the guidance of the Pakistan Army to evict the Western forces. Therefore, it was imperative to offer a fig leaf in the guise of friendship that retains calm on the Indian front. It was merely a tactical withdrawal to concentrate all available resources against the Americans in Afghanistan. Meanwhile under China’s guidance, India’s Track II crowd was enticed to sign, seal and deliver Siachen to Pakistan as the glacier is of great strategic importance to the Chinese. In the so-called Track-II diplomacy, India walked straight into the trap!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Rally for Tibet in Delhi

Tibetans suffering repression in China, organisers said here Sunday.

More than 2,000 Tibet supporters are expected to take part in the rally at Jantar Mantar to express concern and support for the cause of Tibet, an organiser told IANS.

The rally is being organised by the Asian Tibet Support Groups and facilitated by the Core Group for Tibetan Cause-India.

The organiser said the aim of the rally would be to highlight the wave of self-immolations that has swept Tibet and the need to preserve Tibet's fragile ecosystem which is being destroyed by the Chinese regime, causing great threat to the whole world, particularly Asian countries.

Since 2009, a total of 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet, calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to the region and freedom for Tibetans, said the Central Tibetan Administration, the democratically-elected government of Tibetans in exile, which is based here in Himachal Pradesh.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with many of his supporters and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.

China Bans traditional way of reincarnation and puts under government control

2007-08-22-noreincarnation.jpgIn one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.
At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it's under Chinese control. Assuming he's able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks. "It will be a very hot issue," says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. "The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it's quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others."

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Chinese police beat a Tibetan man to death

Chinese police have beaten a Tibetan man to death in Khyungchu County in Ngaba.Guldrak, aged around 29, was arrested on August 8 for alleged involvement in a theft. Around 600 Tibetans including the family members of the deceased gathered outside the police station for a sit-in protest demanding explanation about Guldrak’s death in police custody.The police told the villagers that Guldrak committed suicide showing them a few items that they claim were stolen by Guldrak. However, the Tibetans did not believe the police’s version and insisted that Gudrak could neither have stolen anything nor committed suicide.The officials who tortured the Tibetan to death included the local Public Security Bureau chief Rinchen.
After hours of argument, the authorities accepted that he died in police custody due to beatings and agreed to pay 50,000 Yuan to Guldrak’s family for post-death rituals and another 500,000 Yuan for a thousand people, Kyab added.
Guldrak is survived by his father Rigo, mother Mihlo, wife Szhitruk and two children.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Central Tibetan Administration in exile website attacked

Hackers have attacked the Tibetan government-in-exile's Chinese-language website, installing an unidentified piece of malware which could have compromised the computers of users
The Central Tibetan Administration in exile website attacked
NEW DELHI: Hackers have attacked the Tibetan government-in-exile's Chinese-language website, installing an unidentified piece of malware which could have compromised the computers of users, a spokesman and a security expert said Tuesday. 

The attack targeted the website, which is the official site of the exiled government providing information about the parliament, cabinet, administrative departments and public offices. 

"We are a prominent target for attacks by Chinese hackers," Tashi Phuntsok, spokesman for the exiled government based in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, told AFP. 

"I assume they do it to steal our documents, disable our communication systems or spy on people who visit our sites," he said. 

Later on Tuesday the website was functioning again and the virus had been removed. 

Kurt Baumgartner, a researcher at Kaspersky Lab, a global manufacturer of antivirus software based in Moscow, detected the attack late Monday and said the website had been "strategically compromised" as a result. 

The attack involved the installation of a type of malware called a "backdoor" on users' computers, Baumgartner wrote on a blog maintained by the cyber-security firm. 

A "backdoor" typically provides its creator with unauthorised remote access to a computer. It can be used to send spam or spy on users. 

Tenzin Taklha, a spokesman for exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, told AFP that the 78-year-old's official website continued to function normally. 

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He later founded the government in exile in Dharamshala after being offered refuge by India. 

China vilifies the Dalai Lama as a "separatist" who incites violence in Tibet, while the Dalai Lama insists his sole focus is a peaceful campaign for greater autonomy for his homeland. 

Beijing's vast security services closely monitor the exiled Tibetan community while seeking to identify and thwart dissidents inside the heavily militarised region. 

Since 2009 China has been swept by a wave of self-immolations by Tibetans, with more than 100 setting themselves on fire and many dying in protests against Beijing.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Shoton Festival concluded in Lhasa on Monday

LHASA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Shoton Festival, which ended Monday in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, featured multiple displays of Tibetan culture, including opera performances, an exhibition of painted scrolls and a cycling race.
The weeklong event, also known as the Yogurt Banquet festival, started with the "sunning of the Buddha" ceremony held in the 600-year-old Drepung Monastery.
Pious Buddhists walked around a 1,480-square-meter portrait of Buddha and prayed while excited tourists recorded the sacred rite with their mobile phones.
Situated at the foot of Mt. Gambo Utse, the Drepung Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in Tibetan Buddhism. The Shoton Festival originated in the monastery more than 1,000 years ago.
Losang Danba, deputy secretary of the Lhasa municipal committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the regional government spent more than 14 million yuan (2.28 million U.S. dollars) to widen roads leading to the monastery in order to make transport more safe and convenient.
Tibetan opera performances were also staged at the Norbu Lingka park Longwangtan parks during the festival, attracting both locals and tourists.
"I bring my whole family to watch Tibetan opera during every Shoton Festival. The audiences are large and we have to come early in order to get seats," said 62-year-old Soinam Zhaxi.
"The performers' colorful costumes are very beautiful. Although I can't understand what they are singing, their movements and expressions impress me. I can feel their sincerity and enthusiasm," said Deng Xiaolong, a 24-year-old tourist from south China's Guangdong Province.
Festival organizers also staged an exhibition dedicated to "thangkas," or Tibetan painted scrolls, as well as held a 9.5-km bicycle race in order to raise awareness about environmental protection.
The festival was originally a religious occasion, when local people would offer yogurt to monks who had finished meditation retreats. It has been held since the 17th century and is considered one of the most important festivals on the Tibetan calendar.
Tibet saw robust growth in tourism in the first half of the year, with the number of visiting tourists reaching 3.43 million, an increase of 21.8 percent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, its tourism revenues surged 32.1 percent year on year to 3.2 billion yuan in the period.
The plateau region typically experiences a three-month peak travel season starting from July.

Two earthquakes rock parts of Tibet

Parts of Tibet were rocked by two earthquakes on Monday morning.
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted the border region of Zogang County and Markam County at Qamdo Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region at 5:23 am on Monday (Beijing Time), China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said.
The epicentre was at the depth of 10 km, it said.
Aftershocks, a 5.1-magnitude one being the strongest so far, have kept striking the area, the centre said.
No casualties have been reported in the quake-hit area, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Much of western China is prone to earthquakes. Twin 5.6 and 5.9 magnitude quakes killed at least 95 people in Gansu province last month. A 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province killed about 200 people earlier this year.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Dalai Lama’s demand for Complete Autonomy rejected by China

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's hopes that Beijing would give serious consideration to his desire for autonomy for Tibet have been thwarted by China. The Tibet Sun reported on August 7, 2013 that China has rejected the Dalai Lama’s demand for greater autonomy. China has said the Dalai Lama’s demand for a “high degree of autonomy” for Tibet went against the Chinese Constitution and the “fundamental interests of Tibetan Buddhism”.

Yu Zhengsheng, a senior leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, said in his talks with Buddhist monks and religious officials during his current tour of Tibet, “Dalai Lama’s so-called “high-degree of autonomy” in “Greater Tibet” has “run counter to China’s Constitution, the law, and the fundamental interests of Tibetan Buddhism.” Xinhua has reported Yu also has urged the Tibetan Buddhist circle to maintain a clear understanding of the secessionist nature of the Dalai Lama clique, while resolutely safeguarding national unification along with Tibet’s harmony and stability.

Yu has stressed that ethnic and religious policies in China must be aimed at adaptation to a socialist society. His statements have made it clear that the new leadership of China which took over power this year for a ten year tenure will continue to reject the Dalai Lama's call for greater autonomy for Tibet. At this time there are no indications as to whether the new Chinese leadership headed by President Xi Jinping has any plans to hold any type of talks with the Dalai Lama.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

China jails four writers up to five years for Tibet protests

Picture of Samdup(L) and Gangkye Dupakap(R).
Dharamshala: - The Intermediate People's court in Nyakchukha County in Kham Karze, Eastern Tibet sentenced four Tibetan writers up to five years in prison and deprived their political rights for their alleged involvement in a Tibetan movement against Chinese rule in Tibet.

The four writers are identified as Gangkye Dupakyab, Samdup, Yudrang and Drensal and they were arrested by local Chinese police in Karze for allegedly committing separatist political activities against Chinese rule in Tibet and allegedly establishing an organization; 'Marchung Ngogol Tsokpa', roughly translated as "Red Movement."

"The four have been sentenced by the so called 'Intermediate People's court' in Nyakchukha County on August 1, 2013 for "allegedly committing separatist political activities against Chinese rule in Tibet and allegedly establishing an organization namely 'Marchung Ngogol Tsokpa'," an exile source with contacts in the region told The Tibet Post International (TPI).

"Gangkye Dupakyab sentenced to five and six months in jail and deprived of his political rights for two years. He was arrested on February 15, 2012 by local Chinese police and kept in Chinese custody nearly two years," the source added.

Dupakyab, (Age Unknown), a Tibetan writer and teacher from the restive Gephan village, in Raktam Yutso, Serta County of Kham region, eastern Tibet. After completing a teacher training course, he taught Tibetan language at Tibetan schools; Dhartsang School, Horshul Yultso School and another Tibetan school in Drakgo County.

Dupakyab wrote several articles related to the Tibet issue in the past years that were published in a few mini books of his own. He also wrote a book on the "Spring 2008 Tibet Uprising" (Tibetan: Sashi Tradri Marpo).

The report confirms that "Samdhup from Gonchok village of Serta County, eastern Tibet, was sentenced to five years in jail and deprived of his political rights for two years. He was arrested on June 13, 2012 by the Chinese police and kept in Chinese custody more than a year."

Another writer Drensal was sentenced to three years and deprived of his political rights for one year. Sources said currently "no further details are available about Drensal and Yudrang."

Yudrang and Samdup were arrested the same day in 2012 and Yudarng sentenced to two years in jail, while also being deprived of their political rights for one year.

For recent years, an unending wave of self-immolation protests has occurred in Tibet, the Chinese government has increasingly imposed severe restrictions on Tibetans in all parts of Tibet, particularly Kham and Amdho region and the so called "Patriotic re-education," has been strictly implemented, particularly in monasteries in the Himalayan region.

In Tibet today, Tibetans are being arbitrary arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities. These things happen to Tibetans inside their homeland on an almost daily basis and there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of press and no freedom of religion.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tibetan Monk dies after self immolation in Nepal

DHARAMSALA, AUGUST 6: A Tibetan monk died minutes after setting himself ablaze near Boudhanath stupa in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu earlier today (0730 hrs local time). The monk has been identified as Karma Nyedon Gyatso. Karma was from Damshung in Tibet and had arrived at the Kathmandu Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre on 30th January 2012. 

An eye witness told phayul that the monk, probably in his thirties, was sitting crosslegged when she saw his lap on fire. "I thought he accidentally caught fire while lighting butter lamps. Then I saw him pour a bottle of fluid, petrol maybe, over his head and went up in flames right before my eyes."

"He was silent as far as I could hear. I began to shout for help. He kneeled over in a crouched position, with a contorted face but he didn't cry out or scream at all.

"After about two minutes a passerby splashed a bucket of water over the monk and doused the fire. Another guy came with a fire extinguisher. The lama's robes were completely burned off."

After 15 minutes the police arrived at the scene following which they took away the body wrapped in a red cloth. 
At the moment no details about the monk are available.

This is the second self immolation by a Tibetan this year in Nepal which in recent years has increasingly clamped down on the cultural and political expression of its Tibetan community numbering over 20,000. 

The country’s increasing dependence on China for financial aid has come at the cost of the Tibetan refugees' freedom. Several Tibetans caught trying to escape Tibet through Nepal have been repatriated in recent years.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

China shut down monastery in Nagchu, ban religious rites

Shak Rongpo monastery in Nagchu, file photo
Shak Rongpo monastery in Nagchu
DHARAMSHALA, August 4: The Chinese authorities in Nagchu County have banned all religious activities at the Shag 
Rongpo Ganden Dhargyeling monastery and expelled all the monks on July 30, 2013. The situation in Nagchu is tense as the authorities have shut down the monastery and deployed armed security personnel in the monastery campus. 

A Tibetan source said the authorities took the decision following an incident that they call 'the 2010 May 20 incident'. The incident refers to the arrest and eventual sentencing of the monastery’s senior figure Lama Dawa to 7 years’ imprisonment for alleged links with the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama regarding the reincarnation of the monastery’s patron Rongpo Choejey on May 20, 2010.

Chinese security personnel in the monastery campus/photo obtained by the source
Chinese security personnel in the monastery campus
The ailing Lama Dawa, 78, is currently recieving medical treatment at a hospital in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and has been restricted to have any contact with his monastery. He is being constantly watched upon by the authorities in Lhasa, said the same source.

"Ngawang Gyatso, 75, an elderly monk of the monastery commited suicide following harrasment by the Chinese authorities who forced monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and Rongpo Choejey. Two senior monk administrators of the monastery were arrested and charged with political crimes," said the source.

All religious activities of the monastery including the famous ‘Rongpo Gutor’ have been banned.

Local Tibetans have appealed the Chinese authorities to reopen the monastery and reinstate the monks who have been released from prison. However, the authorities said they will respond in 7 days but nothing has come out as yet. 

Some Tibetans have also been involved in arguments with soldiers and officers permanenty stationed at the monastery, the source added.

More than 300 years old Shak Rongpo Dhargyeling monastery was built by Drupthop Lobsang Thinley under instructions from the great fifth Dalai Lama. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

His Holiness Calls on Tibetans to Recite Daily Prayers for Tibet Cause

DHARAMSHALA: Tibetans in eastern Tibet have started taking part in special spiritual activities days after His Holiness the Dalai Lama called for the need to enhance the collective merit of the Tibetan people for the cause of Tibet, reports coming out of Tibet say.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the sidelines of a recent teaching at Drepung monastery in southern India, announced that he will be taking three weeks of meditational retreat in Ladakh from 1 August. He encouraged Tibetans inside and outside Tibet to pray and recite Tibetan Buddhist mantras for the benefit of the Tibet cause. His Holiness asked Tibetans to recite Mani 1000 times, the Heart Sutra (Sherab Nyingpo) twice and the Phagtoe prayers everyday for the next three weeks.
“Following the announcement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thousands of Tibetans have started taking part in meritorious activities in Karze and other areas in eastern Tibet,” Radio Free Asia reported.
The Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration had also issued a circular urging all Tibetans to do the same. We will organise a special prayer service on 8 August to recite the mantras, Kalon Pema Chhinjor was quoted as saying by

TYC challenges Apple to investigate discriminative hiring policies against Tibet

Apple in China  In a recent news release, TYC said it was “deeply concerned” at the reports dealing with labour rights violations and has urged Apple Inc., which is based in California, USA, to “seriously investigate” the accusations. In an investigative report labor violations have been detailed in three factories of Pegatron Group, which is a major supplier to Apple, by China Labour Watch, a US based labour rights group.
At least 86 labor rights violations, which have included 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations, have been revealed. This report has accused Pegatron of "discriminatory hiring practices," which have included refusing to hire members of China's various ethnic minorities, including Huis, Tibetans, or Uighurs. Allegations also include discrimination against women, poor living conditions, health and safety problems, excessive work hours, and pollution.
Newly elected TYC President Tenzing Jigme has said, “Apple is one of the largest companies in the world and we believe that Apple must hold their subsidiaries responsible to their company’s principles.” This group has also demanded that Apple enforce strict guidelines and regulations in order to ensure that the factories in China that produce Apple products are not discriminating against Tibetans, Uighurs and Huis. TYC has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting that the company take serious actions against any violations of their principles as an Equal Employment opportunity provider and as an Affirmative Action Employer.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal meets Dalai Lama

Arjun Rampal has always been wanting to meet Dalai Lama since a very long time.

Arjun Rampal was on a different kind of high when he got to meet Dalai Lama. He met Dalai Lama along with his family.

Arjun’s friend knew that he really wanted to meet Dalai Lama the religious guru. Arjun’s friends asked him and he immediately agreed.
“I immediately decided to travel with my family. It all happened very incidentally,” says the actor, whose meeting with the Dalai Lama lasted for about half an hour.

During their chat, the Dalai Lama asked Arjun to do something “very special”. Says Arjun with a smile: “He told me that all my movies should have a message, which I feel is true for my last couple of releases.”

Arjun has wanted to meet the spiritual guru since the early ’90s. “But at that time, it didn’t happen. This time, our meeting was really unique and special. He has a great sense of humour and child-like innocence. When you are in his company, you can’t fail but experience incredible energy,” says Arjun.

He has a way of making you feel calm and composed.He will give you a great insight on life without making it sound like a lecture.I feel blessed and energized after the meeting says Arjun.