Thursday, 28 November 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Third Plenum and the People's Liberation Army

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

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

Saturday, 23 November 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 22 November 2013

China summons Spanish ambassador over Tibet arrest warrants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

China dismisses as absurd Spanish arrest warrants over Tibet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most of those who set themselves on fire have died.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Spanish criminal court orders arrest warrants against Chinese leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 15 November 2013

China unveils boldest reforms in decades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 11 November 2013

Karmapa: Chinese activities in Tibet disastrous for whole Asia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 9 November 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'No one is flying the flags'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 7 November 2013

China, the next Giant North Korea?

"President Xi Jinping vowed last month that country would break free of the "middle income trap", the fate of countless states in Latin America and around the world after their catch-up booms in the 1960s, all failing to make the switch in time to a grown-up growth model.

The reforms will, in theory, break China's destructive reliance on investment - a world record 49pc of GDP - and allow the hard-working Chinese people to enjoy a less miniscule sliver of what they produce. 

Yet at the same time Mr Xi is tightening the grip of the Party, reviving the Maoist "mass line" and rectification campaigns of the Cultural Revolution. 

Qian Gang from the Hong Kong's China Media Project says it is an assault on China's fragile rule of law, warning that Mr Xi is "playing with fire".

What we see is a crackdown on the internet, the media, academia and even science. Mr Xi has studied what happened to the Bolsheviks when Mikhail Gorbachev began to open up the Soviet system, and seems to have drawn a grim conclusion. While I don't attach much importance to the six bomb attacks on Party offices in Taiyuan on Wednesday, or the Uighur attack days earlier in Tiananmen Square, this will strengthen the hand of the hardliners. A few cycnics even claim that is the purpose of such terrorism.

China experts are deeply divided. Minxin Pei says the reforms are skin deep and that the door is fast closing on a benign outcome. The rising risk is that the Party will try to retain power by repression, ultimately turning China into a "giant North Korea".

A joint report last year by the World Bank and China's Development Research Centre - brain trust of premier Li - warned that failure to ditch the old model would leave China languishing in the middle income trap, failing to join Japan, Korea, Taiwan and a rare vanguard of countries that have made it into the elite league and achieved vastly higher incomes per capita.

The only way for China to break out of this impasse is with a blast of Sino-Thatcherism and a sledgehammer blow to the Party apparatus that lives off the deformed structure. That is not on offer at the Third Plenum. Xi Jinping wants affluent Leninism, on his own terms. No such thing exists."

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Blasts kill one near Communist Party offices in China

(CNN) -- A series of explosions in front of Communist Party offices in a northern Chinese province killed one person and wounded eight others Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The blasts occurred in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, police said in a post on Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog platform.

State broadcaster CCTV reported on its Weibo account that several devices exploded in flower bushes in front of the gate of the Shanxi Provincial Communist Party offices. The Communist Party has ruled China for more than 60 years.

The blasts shattered the windows of nearby vehicles and shredded some of their tires, CCTV reported.

Footage from the scene showed cars with smashed windows and smoke rising in central Taiyuan.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported that steel beads were scattered at the scene, suggesting the explosive devices were homemade.

Police halted traffic for several hours on roads near the scene of the explosions.

At least one of the wounded people is severely hurt, CCTV said, adding that the exact number of casualties remained unclear.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blasts, which occurred days before a major Communist Party leadership meeting is set to start in Beijing this weekend.

Heightened security

Security concerns are already heightened in China following a deadly attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last week in which a vehicle drove into a crowd of people, crashed into a footbridge and burst into flames.

Chinese authorities have blamed Uyghurs from the western region of Xinjiang for that attack, which killed five people -- including the three in the vehicle -- and wounded 40 others in the heavily policed heart of the Chinese capital.

A top Chinese security official said last week that a murky Islamic separatist group had instigated the attack.

But there were no initial suggestions Wednesday that the blasts in Taiyuan were related to the Tiananmen attack.

Acts of violence, sometimes using rudimentary explosive devices or gasoline, take place from time to time in China. The culprits, according to authorities, are often local residents with personal grievances.

In May 2011, a series of explosions hit government facilities in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou. The blasts killed three people, including an unemployed local man who authorities said was suspected of setting off the bombs.

Earlier that month, a disgruntled former employee threw an ignited bottle of gasoline into a bank in a rural area of Gansu province. Authorities said the man had carried out the attack, which wounded 49 people, in retaliation for being fired.

In July 2010, a disgruntled businessman set off a homemade bomb at a local tax bureau in Hunan province in southern China, killing four people and wounding 20 others.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Excerpt: The Chinese are anxious over the future

By Fred Hiatt, BEIJING
"One result is that not only China’s billionaires but also, increasingly, the new middle class is hedging bets, thinking about obtaining foreign passports and moving money abroad. The mirthless joke is that President Xi Jinping’s inchoate slogan of “a Chinese dream” refers to getting your kids into an American university.

The challenges are well understood. People have to bribe their children’s teachers for a desk near the front of the class and bribe their bosses for a promotion. Political power has become a ticket to loot: The 50 wealthiest members of the U.S. Congress have assets of $1.6 billion, the Economist recently reported, while their 50 Chinese counterparts have amassed $95 billion.

The Communist Party pledges to weed out this corruption. But police and judges are subservient to the party, and so far the party dares not allow an independent rule of law.

Last Tuesday the sun, when visible, was an eerie orange disc behind the smog. People in Beijing and many other cities won’t let their children play outside for fear of the poisoned air, and they worry too about poisoned rivers and adulterated foods. Again, the party pledges reform. Again, it’s hard to know whether reform can succeed as long as well-connected polluters need not fear the law.

China needs to transition from a catch-up, copy-cat economy to one that innovates. But can you have unbridled innovation in a society where the media are controlled, books are censored, and bloggers, while much freer, are punished or silenced if they stray too far?

There is growing inequality. There is unfavorable demography: Thanks to longer lives and the enforced one-child policy, China will have fewer and fewer workers to support more retirees. There is tension with Tibetans and Uighurs, who want more autonomy.

China’s people, having had no say in Xi’s selection, will be watching, anxiously, to see what they have in mind."

Saturday, 2 November 2013

China hasn’t earned a spot on Human Rights Council

By Yang Jianli
While it is debatable whether the United States should intervene in criminal cases in China, such as that of the recently executed street vendor Xia Junfeng, it is unacceptable for Washington to ignore China’s human rights record when it can raise the issue without being accused of “interfering in internal affairs.” Washington will have such an opportunity when the U.N. General Assembly chooses new members of its Human Rights Council this month.

China, after a year of leave, is seeking a three-year term on the council. It is critical for the United States to show Beijing’s new leaders that their horrific treatment of citizens matters. U.S. government agencies, Congress, U.N. human rights monitors and human rights organizations show the atrocious extent of Chinese repression. Putting China on the U.N. Human Rights Council would be like picking the fox to guard the henhouse — while it was still wiping feathers off its mouth. Yet the Obama administration appears to approve of doing so.
For many reasons, China is unfit to sit on a council charged with protecting human rights: As the Congressional-Executive Commission noted in its 2012 annual report, forced abortions and sterilizations are still common in China. The State Department’s 2012 report on human rights said that the denial of religious freedom in China remains pervasive and was particularly severe against Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uighurs, Falun Gong practitioners and members of house churches.

China tortures its citizens. This is a violation of the Convention Against Torture, to which Beijing is a party. Beijing also returns refugees to North Korea, where they will be imprisoned and tortured. This is a violation of the Convention on the Status of Refugees, which China has signed.

Dungeons across China hold tens of thousands of Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols,Christians, Muslims, Falun Gong and Han Chinese who bravely seek to defend the human rights of those persecuted for their faith or ethnicity or for seeking the rule of law. China is the only country in the world that detains a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.Tibetans are driven to self-immolation by their continued oppression. TheCongressional-Executive Commission on China annually details gross violations of human rights.

China’s brutal actions belie its claim that economic modernization would lead to decreased human rights abuses. Such notions are disproved by headlines about the latest outrages, such as when human rights lawyers were beaten earlier this year while seeking to visit unlawfully jailed political prisoners. China’s “reforms” involve change in economic and governmental institutions or minor procedural improvements. They do not extend to meaningful human rights reform.

President Xi Jinping’s “commitment” to the rule of law was exposed as a lie when one of China’s most prominent human rights advocates, Xu Zhiyong, was detained in July. The Post editorialized: “The detention of Mr. Xu suggests that the powerful machinery of the Chinese state security remains on the prowl against those who challenge the [Communist] party’s monopoly on power . . . a system in which the party-state stands above human rights, freedom and rule of law.”

Some believe that the United States cannot press China on human rights because it seeks Chinese cooperation on economic and national security issues. But Washington hasnegotiated arms-control and trade agreements with other countries, including the Soviet Union, while pressing for human rights reform.

Other nations have risked economic ties to criticize Beijing, including Norway, which awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo over China’s strong objection; Canada, which has sharply criticized Chinese treatment of Tibetans; and the European Union, which has condemned China’s human rights abuses.

To be elected to the council, candidates must get 97 votes from General Assembly members. If each U.N. democracy votes no, China will not succeed. U.S. resolve would help other democracies summon the courage to confront China. The United States has opposed other candidates for the council that have terrible human rights records, including Syria and Iran. Beijing’s record of rights abuses is even worse.

How could U.S. representatives at the United Nations vote to place the torture capital of the world on the international body charged with protecting human rights? The United States may not have been able to intervene in the case of Xia Junfeng. But opposing China’s candidacy for the U.N. Human Rights Council is the least Washington can do.

Yang Jianli is founder and president of Initiatives for China. He was imprisoned in China from 2002 to 2007 for attempting to observe labor unrest.

China vows to silence Dalai Lama in Tibet

Beijing — China's ruling Communist Party aims to silence the voice of the Dalai Lama in his Tibetan homeland by tightening controls on media and the Internet, a top official said on Saturday.

The party's top-ranking official in the Tibet region Chen Quanguo vowed to "ensure that the voices of hostile forces and the Dalai group are not seen or heard," in an editorial published in a party journal called Qiushi.

Officials would "make sure that the voice of the party is heard and seen everywhere in this vast 120 million square kilometre region," Chen wrote in the editorial.

China has worked for decades to control the spread of information in Tibet, but some Tibetans remain able to access non-official sources of information including from exiles abroad by using radio, television and the Internet.

But the party will attempt to stamp out access to such sources by creating party cells in some websites, confiscating satellite dishes and registering telephone and Internet users by name, among a host of other measures mentioned in the the article.

China calls Tibetan exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and accuses him of masterminding violent efforts to seek independence for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, says he advocates greater autonomy for Tibetans rather than independence.

Chen referred to Tibet as "a front line of the struggle against separatism" and vowed to "strengthen the role of party committees at every level, as the sole power", in the editorial.

Tensions between Tibetans and the Chinese government continue run high, with more than 120 members of the minority setting themselves on fire in protest in recent years, leading to a security crackdown.

Chinese police opened fire on Tibetans marking the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday in July, shooting at least one monk in the head and seriously wounding several other people, overseas rights groups said.