download the entire issue as a PDF. - International Campaign for Tibet

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download the entire issue as a PDF. - International Campaign for Tibet

MANDALA SOCIETYYOUR LIVING LEGACY TO TIBETThe Mandala Society is an intimate group of Tibetsupporters, committed to helping future generations ofTibetans. By including the International Campaign forTibet in their will or trust, Mandala Society membersensure that ICT will continue to have the resources topromote a peaceful resolution of the occupation of Tibet,and will be able to help rebuild Tibet when Tibetansachieve genuine autonomy.For more information about Mandala Society membership,please contact Chris Chaleunrath at 202-785-1515,ext. 225, chris.chaleunrath@savetibet.org, or use theenvelope attached to this newsletter to request a call.2012 ICT Calendar — Tibet: Breaking the SilenceThis year’s calendar highlights the courage andthe eloquence of the Tibetan people. It featuresremarkable photography to accompany excerptsof Tibetan poems, essays, and songs translatedinto English. Order yours now to provide anotheropportunity for these voices to be heard.To see the images and accompanying excerptsof Tibetan poems, essays and songs, please visitsavetibet.org/resource-center/tibet-breakingsilence.Time is running out. Limited quantities are stillavailable. Go to savetibet.org to order your 2012International Campaign for Tibet calendar today.2


Tibet Press CoverageNews from around the WorldAs the people of Tibet feel increasing desperation in the face of unbearable Chinese repressions,news of their few outlets for expression — including, most tragically, self-immolation — are leakingpast even the rigid Chinese news black-out. We’ve pulled a small collection of the global press foryour review and recommend you read these to gain a more accurate understanding of what happenswithin and beyond Tibetan borders.Dalai Lama Says China Policy inTibet Cause of Self-ImmolationDeathsAssociated Press, October 29, 2011TOKYO — Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama,pointed to what he called China’s “ruthless policy” as promptingthe recent deaths of Tibetan monks who set themselves onfire in protest.The Nobel Peace Prize laureate called on Beijing to change itsapproach to ruling over the Himalayan region.“For their owninterest, not just the interest for certain sort of problem hereand there, but for the whole country’s sort of future, they have toact (with a) realistic sort of policy,” he told reporters Saturday.The self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile has described theself-immolations as tragic acts and called for the internationalcommunity to urge Beijing to open a dialogue on its policies inTibet and traditionally Tibetan regions of western China.“Actually, the local leader must look what’s the real causes ofdeath,” the Dalai Lama said of the China.“It’s their own sort ofwrong policy, ruthless policy, illogical policy.”Nepalese Police DetainMore than 100 Tibetan ExilesProtesting Chinese RuleAssociated Press, November 1, 2011KATMANDU, NEPAL — Nepalese police detained more than100 Tibetan exiles on Tuesday who had gathered to pray fornine Tibetans who set themselves on fire to protest againstChinese rule.About 400 Tibetans, including 150 monks, held a prayermeeting on the outskirts of Katmandu in honor of the monks,former monks and a nun who have immolated themselves sinceMarch in a restive Tibetan area of western China that is undermartial law-type police controls. At least five died of theirinjuries, while the condition of the others is not known.Nepalese police in riot gear entered the prayer meeting at theTibetan Refugee Center and pulled down a banner of the exiledTibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. This angered theTibetans at the meeting, who poured into the streets to protest.They chanted anti-China slogans calling for a free Tibet andfor China to “leave our home.”More than 100 protesters were taken in trucks to detentioncenters. The monks were not among those detained. There havebeen a number of similar protests in the past in Nepal. Policegenerally don’t charge the protesters and they are usuallyreleased by nightfall.Nepal’s government has said it cannot allow protests againstfriendly nations, including China. Nepal is also under pressurefrom the Chinese government to stop them.In China, Tensions Rising overBuddhism’s Quiet ResurgenceUSA Today, November 2, 2011SERTHAR, China — Breathless but beaming, Sheng Zisusounds confident after five months in a maze-like Buddhistencampment high on the eastern Tibetan plateau, nearly 400miles of bad road from the nearest city.“Look around. They could never find me here,” Sheng, 27, saysof parents so anxious about their only child’s turn to TibetanBuddhism that they have threatened to kidnap her.Sheng is far from her home — and from the bars where sheused to drink and the ex-boyfriends she says cheated on her.She is here with 2,000 other Han Chinese at the Larung GarBuddhist Institute in Serthar, Sichuan province, the rain-soakedmountainous region of southwest China.The academy and its rising number of converts from China’sdominant ethnic group, the Han Chinese, reflect a remarkableand quiet recovery for Buddhist teachings here. Just how manyHan Chinese have converted to Tibetan Buddhism is a sensitiveand unanswered question in China.Han students say the institute’s popularity lies in its Chineselanguage provision and inspirational teachers such as Khenpo4


So Dargye, who embraces social media. Over a half-millionfollowers, on China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging service SinaWeibo, receive his posts, usually Buddhist advice.Don’t expect Han converts to soften Beijing’s hardline Tibetpolicy, cautions Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetangovernment-in-exile. Their numbers are dwarfed by China’s1.3 billion population, and their motives are apolitical, he says.“Through Buddhism, Chinese students will come to a betterunderstanding of the values of Tibetan culture, and realize thereis no innate sense of anti-Chineseness in Tibetan culture,” Samphelsays. “We hope and pray that the same attitude andunderstanding will be shown by the Chinese Communist Party.”Tibetan Nun Dies inSelf-ImmolationNew York Times, November 3, 2011BEIJING — A Buddhist nun in southwest Sichuan Provincedied Thursday after setting herself on fire, becoming the 11thTibetan to embrace a grisly protest against Chinese rule and atleast the sixth to die doing so.The death of the nun, Qiu Xiang, 35, was reported by Xinhua,the official news agency, and confirmed by exile groups, whogave her Tibetan name as Palden Choetso. She was the secondnun in the predominantly Tibetan region to take her own lifeby self-immolation.Like two previous cases, the most recent suicide took place inGanzi Prefecture, known as Kardze in Tibetan, which is the siteof several important Buddhist monasteries that have beenunder especially tight restrictions in recent months. Last week,a Tibetan monk, Dawa Tsering, set himself on fire during areligious ceremony at a monastery there.Xinhua wrote a short news article about the latest case, sayingthe nun set fire to herself at a road crossing in Dawu Countyshortly before 1 p.m. The report said the local authorities wereinvestigating her motives.Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet saidthe nun reportedly made a plea for religious freedom and thereturn of the Dalai Lama as her robes went up in flames. Ms.Saunders, citing the account of a local Tibetan, said fellow nunstook the injured woman back to their monastery, where shedied a short time later.The ruling Communist Party has sought to portray the selfimmolationsas a form of terrorism inspired by the Dalai Lama.Beijing consistently accuses the Dalai Lama of agitating foran independent statedespite his insistenceon greater autonomyfor the region’s fivemillion ethnic Tibetans.Palden Choetso died in November2011 after setting herself on firein protest in Tibet.Tibetan Monks Hope MakingUltimate Sacrifice Will Turn Callfor Freedom into aPressing IssueThe Irish Times, November 16, 2011THE MONK doused himself in kerosene, then set himself onfire, running 200m down the street outside the Kirti monasteryin Aba, in China’s Sichuan province. As he ran he shouted wordsin Tibetan, phrases the eyewitness, an ethnic Han Chinese, didnot understand.“Many police and armed police ran to him, some soldiers, butthey didn’t extinguish the flames. A stallholder brought a bucketof water to put out the fire,” the witness says. “Then he wastaken away by police and two days later he was dead.”Some riot police carry fire extinguishers in case a monk or nunchooses to make the ultimate sacrifice by burning himself orherself to death.Kirti monastery has become the focal point of Tibetan anger atwhat they see as efforts by China’s ethnic Han majority toswamp Tibetan culture. Sichuan province covers 485,000 sq km(187,000 sq miles) and has a population of 84 million, makingit bigger and more populous than Germany. Aba County, whichis about the same size as Ireland, is a 9½-hour bus journey fromthe Sichuan capital, Chengdu.Outside Kirti monastery itself a large bus for riot police isparked, and there are lots of police in evidence. The mainpolice station is near the monastery. In Aba most people havehad no internet access for more than a year, and mobile-phonecontact has been mostly cut off, though text messages work.Anyone using a phone to make calls about anything to do withimmolations is visited soon afterwards by the police.One of the most senior Tibetan Buddhist leaders, the KarmapaLama, has called on nuns and monks not to set themselveson fire, praising their bravery but hoping they adopt moreconstructive ways to further their cause.“In Buddhist teaching, life is precious. To achieve anythingworthwhile we need to preserve our lives,”he said.“We Tibetansare few in number, so every Tibetan life is of value to the causeof Tibet.”5


ICT RespondsUpdates and Press Releases from ICTU.S. Government Speaks Strongly on TibetanSelf-Immolations November 14, 2011U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the occasion of the Asia Pacific EconomicCooperation forum to address the issue of self-immolations in Tibet.Speaking at the East-West Centre in Honolulu on November10, Secretary Clinton said the United States is“alarmed by recentincidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire indesperate acts of protest. … We continue to call on China toembrace a different path.”Secretary Clinton’s public remarks, made shortly before ameeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, follows astrong statement at the State Department’s November 4 pressbriefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, who said “We haveconsistently and directly raised with the Chinese governmentour concerns about Tibetan self-immolations, and we haverepeatedly urged the Chinese government to address itscounterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have createdtensions and that threaten the unique religious, cultural,linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.“And let me take this opportunity to again call on the governmentof China to respect the rights of all of its citizens whopeacefully express their desire for internationally recognizedfreedoms, and particularly the rights of Tibetans to resolve theirunderlying grievances with the government of China … sincethis new spate of self-immolations has begun, we’ve had extensiveconversations based in Beijing with our Embassy personnel.”ICT Recommends: Governments and United Nationsbodies should call on China to abide by its obligations tointernational human rights conventions with respect to thereligious freedoms and basic human rights of the monastic andlay communities in Ngaba.The Chinese government should suspend implementation ofreligious control regulations, review religious and security policiesimplemented since 2008 in Ngaba, and begin a transparentdialogue with the leaders of Tibetan Buddhist schools.The Chinese government should resume its dialogue with therepresentatives of the Dalai Lama toward genuine autonomyfor Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China.On January 9th a spokesperson for the U.S. State Departmentreiterated the concern of the U.S. government when she said,“We’re seriously concerned by reports that more Tibetans haveself-immolated over the past few days. …We have consistentlyand directly raised with the Chinese Government this issue ofTibetan self-immolation …”In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weiminstated, “We firmly oppose such remarks and practices making useof Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s domestic affairs, whichcould disrupt Chinese social stability and national unity.”Launch of the CulturalGenocide ReportA new ICT report on cultural genocide in Tibet, undertakenin collaboration with the Department of Informationand International Relations in Dharamsala, has beenreleased. The report makes a political argument thatcultural destruction in Tibet both justifies and compelsa vigorous international response.To download a copy, visit our website at savetibet.org.6


The Dalai Lama OutlinesHis Master PlanBhuchung K. Tsering, September 26, 2011On September 24, 2011, the fourteenth Dalai Lama made yetanother statement that will have great impact on the futuredirection of the institution that he represents. I am of coursereferring to his statement about the evolution of the Dalai Lamainstitution and the reincarnation system.Through a succinct explanation of historical development,His Holiness has outlined his decisive role in matters relating tothe next Dalai Lama. As expected, the Chinese Governmenthas taken this personal with its spokesman asserting onSeptember 26, 2011 that only it that had the authority. In general,recognition of reincarnation is a spiritual process in whichtemporal leadership had at best only marginal roles.The September 24 statement … is about the future of TibetanBuddhism and the role of the Dalai Lama in it. The presentDalai Lama’s master plan, if I dare to think aloud, is to institutionalizea system whereby the essence of the Tibetan Buddhistculture is understood by Tibetan Buddhists as well as others;and to create the necessary space so that this culture that cancontribute greatly to the development of the world civilizationcan be preserved and promoted.Delinking the institution of the Dalai Lama from a purelyTibetan political system is a step in line with his objectives. HisSeptember 24, 2011 statement says, “If it is decided that thereincarnation of theDalai Lama shouldcontinue and there is aneed for the FifteenthDalai Lama to be recognized,responsibilityfor doing so will primarily rest on the concerned officers of theDalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust.” The Gaden PhodrangTrust is a reference to the formalization of the office that iscurrently the “Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama.”Given that the Chinese Government uses religious institutionsto serve its political ends and given the central role of the DalaiLamas in Tibetan spiritual life, the statement categorically says,“Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognizedthrough such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptanceshould be given to a candidate chosen for political ends byanyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China.”China needs to understand that recognition of reincarnation inTibetan Buddhism is different from selecting a Party Secretaryor priest for a Church, or even an abbot for a Buddhistmonastery.However, it is my contention that while this statement verymuch concerns the role of the present Dalai Lama in his nextincarnation, it is also a reflection of the vision that he has for thefuture of Tibetan Buddhism.An Excerpt from His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Statementon the Issue of His Reincarnation September 24, 2011… Reincarnation is a phenomenon which should take placeeither through the voluntary choice of the concerned person orat least on the strength of his or her karma, merit and prayers.Therefore, the person who reincarnates has sole legitimateauthority over where and how he or she takes rebirth and howthat reincarnation is to be recognized. It is a reality that no oneelse can force the person concerned, or manipulate him or her.It is particularly inappropriate for Chinese communists, whoexplicitly reject even the idea of past and future lives, let alonethe concept of reincarnate Tulkus, to meddle in the system ofreincarnation and especially the reincarnations of the DalaiLamas and Panchen Lamas. Such brazen meddling contradictstheir own political ideology and reveals their double standards.Should this situation continue in the future, it will be impossiblefor Tibetans and those who follow the Tibetan Buddhisttradition to acknowledge or accept it.When I am about ninety I will consult the high Lamas of theTibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concernedpeople who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluatewhether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue ornot. On that basis we will take a decision. If it is decided that thereincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue and there is aneed for the Fifteenth Dalai Lama to be recognized, responsibilityfor doing so will primarily rest on the concerned officersof the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust. They should consultthe various heads of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions andthe reliable oath-bound Dharma Protectors who are linkedinseparably to the lineage of the Dalai Lamas. They should seekadvice and direction from these concerned beings and carryout the procedures of search and recognition in accordancewith past tradition. I shall leave clear written instructions aboutthis. Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognizedthrough such legitimate methods, no recognition oracceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for politicalends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republicof China.7


Understanding the Self-Immolations:A TimelineIn 2008, spontaneous protests ignited across Tibet, protesting China’s repressive rule and thedeliberate subversion of the Tibetan culture and of Tibetan Buddhism. The resulting governmentalcrack-down has further limited Tibetan freedom. Numerous Tibetans have found their only outletfor protest to be publicly setting themselves on fire — begging the question: How bad do things haveto be for self-immolation to be the best alternative?The International Campaign for Tibet is working to ensure that each Tibetan’s sacrifice is seen andunderstood as a desperate cry for international support. The following timeline must, for reasonsof space, omit the many protests, arrests, and violence visited upon the people of Tibet — fromschoolgirls to nuns and monks to laypeople — who have courageously raised their voices in protest.FEBRUARY 27, 2009Tapey, a young monk from Kirtimonastery, sets himself on fire toprotest the cancellation of prayerceremonies. He douses himselfwith gas and lights himself on fireat the market while holding ahomemade Tibetan flag. He isshot several times by police while afire, apparently to stop himfrom shouting pro-Tibet slogans. Tapey is removed; destinationunknown. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, acknowledgeTapey’s self-immolation but denied police shot him.WELLBEING: UnknownMARCH 16, 2011Phuntsog, 20, a Kirti monasterymonk, sets himself on fire on thethird anniversary of a protest inKirti in which at least 10 Tibetanswere killed. He shouts slogansincluding “May His Holiness theDalai Lama live for ten thousandyears!” Police extinguish the flames and are seen beatingPhuntsog before he dies. WELLBEING: DeceasedIn the aftermath, several hundred security personnel are postedto Kirti monastery. Around 300 monks are removed for “legaleducation,” and two elderly Tibetans are beaten to death. Threemonks are sentenced to prison terms of up to 11 years as“accomplices” in Phuntsog’s death.EARLY JULY, 2011Authorities in Kardze indicate their alarm over the continuingpeaceful actions by Tibetans. Li Dao Ping, the Vice President ofthe Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference inSichuan province, visits Kardze and says “We should firmlysmash separatist activities, firmly protect social stability andmake an effort to equally develop all nationalities.”AUGUST 15, 2011Buddhist monk Tsewang Norbu,29, drinks gasoline, sets himselfon fire, and calls for freedom andthe return of the Dalai Lama toTibet. Chinese state media confirmshis death shortly afterwards,stating: “It was unclear why hehad burnt himself.” WELLBEING: DeceasedSEPTEMBER 26, 2011Kirti monastery monks Lobsang Kunchok (left) and LobsangKalsang (right), both believed to be 18 years old, set themselveson fire while shouting “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama”in a protest in Ngaba. After putting out the flames, policetake the two young monks into custody. WELLBEING: Bothreportedly hospitalized.OCTOBER 3, 2011Kelsang Wangchuk, 17, of Kirtimonastery sets himself aflameon Ngaba’s main street. He carriesa photo of the Dalai Lama andshouts slogans against the Chinesegovernment. Sources say policesurrounded him, extinguished theflames, and beat him before taking him away. He is said to bedetained in the county hospital with a head injury from thebeatings. WELLBEING: Unknown8


Additional security forces are deployed in Ngaba and Kirti.Anonymous pamphlets appear around Kirti monasterystating that if the current security crackdown in the area wereto continue, “many more people were prepared to give uptheir lives.”OCTOBER 7, 2011Two former monks — Kayang, 18 (left), and Choepel, 19(right) — clasp hands and set fire to themselves on the mainroad of Ngaba before security personnel extinguish the flamesand take them to the government-run hospital. It is not knownif the two monks opted to leave the monastery or were expelledby government authorities; they were not wearing monks’ robeswhen they self-immolated. Chinese media reported they were“slightly injured.” WELLBEING: Both deceasedOCTOBER 11, 2011Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled head of Kirti monastery, explains hisviews on the self-immolation of monks, saying:“With the Chinesegovernment making arbitrary arrests and passing unimaginablyharsh sentences on the basis of false representations andallegations, Kirti has been turned into a virtual prison. All themonks, young and old, are subjected day and night to deprivationof all freedoms. Internally the monastery’s teaching programis not allowed to function, and externally, Tibetan religionand culture is under such unthinkable repression that it hasreached a point of desperation where people would choose todie rather than go on living.”OCTOBER 15, 2011Norbu Damdrul, a former monkfrom Kirti Monastery, self-immolatesin Ngaba. He is badly burnedbut reportedly alive when policeextinguish the flames, kick him,and drive away with him in theopposite direction of the hospital.The large Tibetan crowd of witnesses is dispersed at gunpoint.WELLBEING: DeceasedKirti monastery is forbidden by authorities to help families ofmonks who have committed self-immolation, such as prayersfor those who have died. Four permanent security policeoffices are built within the monastery compound. Internetaccess is cut off.OCTOBER 17, 2011Tenzin Wangmo, 20, from Mame Nunnery in Ngaba, dies afterself-immolating at the Sumdo Bridge. As she dies, she calls forthe Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and for religious freedom. Herbody is taken back to the nunnery; authorities demand herbody be turned over or buried the same day. The nuns refuse.Soldiers and police cordon off the nunnery and surroundingvillages. WELLBEING: DeceasedOCTOBER 25, 2011Dawa Tsering, a monk from KardzeMonastery, sets fire to himselfand shouts slogans calling for theDalai Lama’s return to Tibet duringa religious ceremony attendedby hundreds of local people insidethe monastery. Monks put out theflames; Chinese police are immediately deployed around andinside the monastery in an apparent stand-off with the monksand lay-people protecting Dawa Tsering from interrogationand detention. WELLBEING: UnknownNOVEMBER 3, 2011Palden Choetso, a Tibetan nun,sets fire to herself in Kardze. Asher body burns, she calls for thelong life and return of the DalaiLama. Her sister nuns take her tothe nunnery, and she dies soonafterwards. Local authorities havelocked down the area, closing a major road in Tawu, anddeploying troops to the nunnery. WELLBEING: DeceasedDECEMBER 1, 2011Tenzin Phuntsog, a former monk in the Tibet AutonomousRegion, sets himself on fire to protest dramatic repressionsin Chamdo. He was a monk of the Karma monastery inChamdo, founded in the 12th century by the first Karmapa.Tenzin Phuntsog was reportedly hospitalized after his protest.WELLBEING: DeceasedJANUARY 6, 2012Tsultrim and Tennyi (both around 20 years old) set themselvesafire in Ngaba and run into the street calling for the return ofand long life for His Holiness. Tennyi is believed to be a monkat Kirti monastery, and Tsultrim may have been expelled fromKirti by Chinese authorities.WELLBEING: Both deceasedWELLBEING: DeceasedJANUARY 8, 2012Sonam Wangyal, believed to bea reincarnated lama, drinks keroseneand lights himself on fire inAmdo. Before his death he writesthat he does not “act for my personalglory but for Tibet and thehappiness of Tibetans.”As this edition of the Tibet Press Watch went to print welearned of the self-immolation and death of Lobsang Jamyang,21, on January 14. For the most dependable information onthe situation inside Tibet, please visit savetibet.org9


The International ResponseGovernments from around the world honor the death of these Tibetans and speakout in protest of China’s repressions.UNITED STATESSecretary of StateHillary Rodham Clinton:We have madevery clear our serious concerns aboutChina’s record on human rights. Whenwe see reports of lawyers, artists, and otherswho are detained or disappeared, theUnited States speaks up both publiclyand privately. We are alarmed by recentincidents in Tibet of young people lightingthemselves on fire in desperate actsof protest. We continue to call on Chinato embrace a different path.GERMANYGerman foreign ministryspokesperson:The federal governmentis horrified at the rising number ofself-immolations in the Tibetan regionsof Southwest-China. The foreign officeurged China on Friday to shape theirpolicies in a way that existing tensions arerelieved. It asked the Dalai Lama — thereligious head of the Tibetans — to discourageyoung monks and nuns fromfurther self-immolations.UNITED KINGDOMExtract from Foreignand CommonwealthOffice update regardingTibet: We understand at least tenmonks have now been imprisoned inconnection to these [self-immolations].We have raised these incidents with theChinese Embassy in London and theMinistry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.British Embassy officials in China makeregular visits to Tibet, and have kept incontact with the Foreign Affairs Office inSichuan and local Public Security Bureauoffices regarding access to these areas.AUSTRALIAMichael Danby MP,Melbourne Ports, AustralianLabor Party:The process of eliminating Tibetan cultureand the removal of monks and nunsis a direct violation of the freedom ofreligion. The Australian government isdeeply concerned about reports of selfimmolationsby monks and nuns. Australianofficials last week made renewedrepresentations in Canberra and Beijingto their Chinese counterparts about thesereports. Our embassy in Beijing has raisedour concerns about reports of the continuingcrackdown around the monasteryand the province and increased securitymeasures in the Tibetan areas. I entreatthe Chinese authorities to respect the religiousrights of Tibetan monks and tocease their repressive actions againstthose in the Kirti Monastery.CANADAHouse of Commons,Ottawa, Canada: Fromthe statements of Canadianmembers of Parliament: “Thedesperation of these people has now ledto self-immolation acts, an act of desperationfor anyone who understandsBuddhist religion and culture. This is thesign that things have become a crisis forthose in Tibet.” “It is time for the Governmentof Canada to take a lead incoordinating an international responseto condemn the Chinese government’srepressive measures against the Tibetans.Canada should also work to ensure theUnited Nations to immediately send afact finding mission to Ngaba to assessthe situation. We cannot afford to wasteanother day.”POLANDDeputy Director ofAsia and Pacific Desk,Polish Ministry ofForeign Affairs (translated by the Tibetancommunity in Poland): Ministry of ForeignAffairs with the utmost care and concernis watching developments aroundthe Kirti monastery. Particularly movingis information regarding new acts of selfimmolationamong young Tibetans —their tragic loss of life and are the causeof sincere sorrow of Polish society.EUROPEAN UNIONEuropean Parliamentresolution on Tibet:The European Parliamentcondemns the Chinese authorities’continued crackdown on Tibetan monasteriesand calls on them to lift therestrictions and security measures imposedon monasteries and lay communities,restore the lines of communicationto the monks of Kirti Monastery, lift therestrictions and heavy-handed securitymeasures imposed on the Kirti Monastery.China’s ReactionChinese authoritiescontinue to downplaythe desperation of theTibetan people, whilean editorial in a Beijing newspaper withties to the Communist Party blames theDalai Lama and the West, implying hebenefits from the tragedies. The GlobalTimes warns,“China’s Tibetan region hasbeen affected by outrageous political influencesunder the name of religion. Theselfishness and ruthlessness of the Dalaigroup are carefully packaged by the West[and] the fact is the more self-immolationshappen in Tibet, the more comfortablethe life of the Dalai group becomes.”Kelsang Gyaltsen, Envoy of His Holinessthe Dalai Lama, addressed the EuropeanParliament’s Conference on Autonomyon November 29 to update them on talksbetween China and the Tibetan governmentin exile.“The last round of meeting was held inJanuary 2010. Since then we have repeatedlyurged our Chinese counterparts tomeet. As recently as about two weeks agoin view of the tragic self-immolationsand the overall deteriorating situationin Tibet we urged our counterparts inBeijing to meet as soon as possible inorder to explore ways to diffuse and calmthe situation in Tibet. We are, however,still waiting for a positive reply.”10


Making Our Voices HeardLobby Day 2012: March 19 -20Each year in March, the International Campaign for Tibet hosts a Lobby Day event in Washington, DC somembers and interested friends can speak out to our nation’s lawmakers with the greatest possible impact.Our Invitation to YouRepresentatives and Senators tell us thatconstituent visits help them measurethe intensity of support for an issue;this means that your visit could make thedifference for a member of Congresswho’s been sitting on the fence aboutsupporting the people of Tibet.Many people think that visiting theirmembers of Congress is intimidating;they feel unprepared and uneasy at thethought of participating in a Lobby Day.But we sincerely hope you decide to participatethis year. We hold special trainingsessions just to familiarize first-timeactivists with the best ways to expressthemselves, and we set up the meetingwith your members or their staff. By thetime you get to Capitol Hill, you’ll be readyand eager to make your voice heard.Traveling to Washington, DC for TibetLobby Day is a valuable experience.You’llmeet like-minded people while visitingone of the most beautiful cities in thenation, and you can strengthen your tiesto the International Campaign for Tibet.We’d like the chance to shake your handand thank you for your support. For moreinformation, visit tibetlobbyday.us.The deadline to register for Tibet LobbyDay in February 17.Proposed Schedule:MARCH 18 Evening Lobby Trainingfor first time lobbyists.Distribution of Lobbying Materials/Informational Packets to all participants.MARCH 19 8:30am–5:00pm: Meetingswith Representatives, Senators, and theirstaff on Capitol HillMARCH 20 8:30am–5:00pm:Meetings with Representatives, Senators,and their staff on Capitol Hill.5:30pm–8:00pm: Possible eveningnetworking reception.DC Visit of Tibetans in ExileTibet’s new Kalon Tripa (head of theCentral Tibetan Administration, thepolitical authority for Tibet in exile) madehis first visit to the nation’s capitol sincehis confirmation. Dr. Lobsang Sangaydemonstrated his leadership by meetingwith US officials, members of Congress,scholars, experts, members of the Tibetancommunity, and more to draw attentionto his twin goals: To draw attention tothe ongoing critical situation in Tibet —especially considering the self-immolations— and to seek support for theempowerment of the Tibetan people. Hisop-ed was published in the WashingtonPost, and he was a guest at the newsmakerprogram of the National Press Club.During the same week, Kirti Rinpoche(spiritual leader of the Kirti monasticcommunity) visited Washington, DC. Sixof the seventeen recent self-immolationshave been current or former monks fromKirti, and Rinpoche was reaching out toglobal leaders (including governmentofficials and members of Congress) to ensurethese desperate acts were recognizedin the halls of power as a plea for help.Both men testified on the situation in Tibetand on the conditions of the Tibetanpeople at a hearing by the US Congress’Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission,as did Bhuchung K. Tsering, ICT’s VicePresident for Special Programs, who providedICT’s recommendations, found inthis issue of Tibet Press Watch on page 6.Dr. Sangay briefed Congress on theachievements of democratic governmentin the Tibetan exile community followingthe Dalai Lama’s decision to relinquishhis political role. He spoke to thepriorities of his administration to revitalizeTibetan settlements, includingits focus on improving education. Tosupport the Dalai Lama’s vision of avibrant diaspora to sustain the Tibetancause, Dr. Sangay asked Congress to passthe Tibetan immigration bill (H.R. 699)and to urge the Administration to resettleTibetan refugees in South Asia.Kirti Rinpoche spoke eloquently, tellingthe attending members that the selfimmolationswere not an overnight developmentbut the outcome of woundssuffered for decades by the Tibetan peopleat the hands of the Chinese authorities.Rinpoche noted that three generations ofTibetans have endured constant abuses— and that the Chinese government andinternational leaders needed to understandthe underlying causes of “sudden”outcries like the self-immolations if theydon’t want to see such developmentsrepeated.In a blog posting on ICT’s web sitewww.savetibet.org, Bhuchung K. Tseringnoted that “Rinpoche had a very somberanalysis of the self-immolations. He saidthat these were the highest form of nonviolentactions that Tibetans were takingand hence signified the level of desperationof the people. He said unless the Chinesegovernment took positive measuresit was quite likely that the Tibetan movementwould take a different turn.”11


Ngawang Sangdrol:Life after PrisonNgawang Sangdrol was a young nun of just 13 when she wasfirst imprisoned and tortured; her crime was shouting theslogans “Free Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama.” By thetime she was 15, her prison sentence was two years — and withevery “infraction” committed while in the notorious DrapchiPrison in Lhasa, Ngawang Sangdrol’s sentence was extended— ultimately to 23 years.She was one of the famous “singing nuns” — a small group ofTibetan nuns in prison who dared to sing pro-Tibet songs intoa tape recorder. When the cassette was smuggled out of theprison, it became a global sensation. Her sentence was extendedfor another six years.The International Campaign for Tibet and other groupslobbied vigorously on her behalf out of concern for her health.Drapchi’s death rate is notorious; roughly one in every 27women dies from her treatment and injuries, and NgawangSangdrol was a vigorous defender of human rights and religiousfreedom; thus she was a frequent target for beatings andtorture by prison officials. The international spotlight shined onher case proved too bright for Chinese authorities. In 2002when she was 25, she was released from prison and into thecustody of ICT, with the stipulation that she leave Tibet andnever return.Ngawang Sangdrol moved to the United States where shecontinued her ardent activism on behalf of the people of Tibet.She has spoken twice before the Congressional Executive Commissionon China, clarifying the oppressions of life for Tibetansunder Chinese authority by sharing the intimacy of onewoman’s horrible experiences. From her testimony:“While I value my freedom, I am continuously reminded ofthe plight of my fellow Tibetans, particularly those in prison.RecommendedListening—Semshae:Heart Songs“Semshae: Heart Songs” is a Tibetanchildren’s CD to help children learnbasic Tibetan language and culture.It can be purchased atwww.semshae.org.ICT’s then-Director of Government Relations Mary Beth Markeyand then-President John Ackerly greet Ngawang Sangdrol atthe airport in 2002 when she was released into ICT’s care.I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to urge upon theUnited States Government to do whatever possible so that theinnocent Tibetans who have been detained and tortured, solelyfor exercising their political rights, can gain their freedom.”“In my own experience as a political prisoner, when I was insolitary confinement for six months, the conditions were terrible.For the first ten days in this small dark cell I would be givenonly one meal a day of a tiny dumpling without any meat.There were rats, which terrified me, and it was so cold. The bedwas a thin piece of cloth and the blanket was very thin. But everyday I imagined His Holiness at the top of my head. This gaveme peace of mind, although physical conditions were terrible.This was the only thing that gave me some strength to live.“I feel the Dalai Lama should be allowed to go home. Of course,that is not going to solve the whole problem. But this is somethingthat would be so powerful and important for the Tibetanpeople. He is not only important forthis generation, but for generations tocome. China tried to extinguish Tibet.But it is because of the Dalai Lamathat the Tibetan spirit and culture isstill so strong today.“Tibet has many problems, but ourbiggest problem is the political situation.If the political problem is solved,all our other problems can be managed.Therefore, please do everythingyou can to bring peace and freedomin Tibet.”Ngawang Sangdrol now lives in Bostonwith her husband (also a former politicalprisoner) and their young son.12


Tibet in the ArtsBook review:Off to Save the World: How Julia Taft Made a Differenceby Ann BlackmanLong a friend to the International Campaignfor Tibet and a former boardmember, Julia Taft lived a remarkable life.A new book by Ann Blackman providesan intimate, moving look into the lifeof one of the United States’ top humanitarianexperts.From her start working to resettlerefugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodiain 1975 and following a legendarycareer through securing American reliefduring the Armenian earthquake, LifelineSudan, the siege of Sarajevo, the crisis inKosovo, and her trip to Afghanistan in2001, the book brings her history to lifethrough interviews giving in the yearbefore she died as well as from conversationswith her friends and colleagues. Ofparticular interest to ICT supporters, thebook explores her friendship with HisBook review:Prisoner of Conscienceby Rep. Frank WolfPrisoner of Conscience takes a clear-eyedlook at the victims of political and religiouspersecution overseas. The author,a long-time U.S. Congressman fromVirginia, has long been an ally of Tibetand has supported funding for Tibetancauses through his position on theHouse of Representatives AppropriationsCommittee.In his book, Rep. Wolf outlines his oftendaringtravels to personally witness therepressions of authoritarian regimes. Hewas the first to enter Tibet without anofficial minder (in 1997) and was the firstwestern official inside a Soviet prisoncamp (in 1989). He notes that he’sbattled for international humanitariancauses since the mid 1980s when he wasHoliness the Dalai Lama during her timeas the State Department’s coordinator forTibetan issues.Taft, who married into a famous Americanpolitical family, dedicated her life tothose far less fortunate than herself. Evenwhile working in a hide-bound bureaucracy,she became a role model for everyonewho hopes to help make the world abetter place. At a time when undevelopedcountries are overwhelmed by severerefugee problems and people in the developedworld are struggling with theconsequences of immigration, Taft’s storydeserves to be told.The stories are funny and poignant,heroic and terrifying. We are glad torecommend an excellent book about awoman who received ICT’s Light ofTruth award in 2009.shocked after visiting famine victimsin Ethiopia and those oppressed by thedictatorship in Romania.“What I saw and experienced in Ethiopiaand later in Romania fully awakened meto the suffering of other people. As botha U.S. congressman and as a Christian,I knew I had to do something about it.”His life of service to those abused byoppression makes a fascinating book andincludes journeys taken to the world’smost troubled regions — regardless ofofficial opposition. The results of hisjourneys has been a voting record inCongress clearly influenced by a commitmentto human rights.We recommendthis book by a good friend to Tibet.13


Membership CornerIn Memoriam:Václav HavelThanks to Our Members!We asked our members to share thenews with friends and family about theself-immolation of monks and nuns inTibet, so the news would ripple outacross the globe. And you responded!By our estimates:• Over 15,000 ICT supporters haveshared the stories of those who haveself-immolated with friends and familyvia social networks and email.• ICT supporters have spread the wordof what’s going on inside Tibet in over80 countries around the world.• As of this printing, over half a millionpeople have signed an online petitionseeking access for an independent missionto review the situation inside Tibet.We thank you for your help. For morethat you can do, see the opposite page.To Keep You InformedOn December 18, 2011, VáclavHavel, the playwright and formerCzech president, died. He was amember of the InternationalCampaign for Tibet’s InternationalCouncil of Advisors and aninspiration to many.The Dalai Lama had visited withHavel in Prague just a few daysbefore; he wrote a condolence letterto Havel’s wife, Mrs. DagmarHavlova. “The world has lost agreat statesman whose steadfastand unflinching determinationplayed a key role in bringingfreedom and democracy to then-Czechoslovakia.”The Dalai Lama recalled that hehad the privilege of first meetingPresident Havel in February 1990,months after the Velvet Revolution,“which he had led with anextraordinary display of peoplepower.” ICT sincerely appreciatesthe example Mr. Havel set for theTibetan people.Across the nation, ICT senior staff oftenmeet with supporters and allies in executivebriefings where they can learn moreabout the issues and meet with likemindednew friends. On Dec. 7th, oneof these briefings was held in San Francisco.Attendees were updated on thesituation in Tibet and the advancementof Tibetan democracy by Lodi Gyari,ICT Executive Chairman and SpecialEnvoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.Mary Beth Markey, ICT President,summed up the critical importance ofunited support. “It’s always wonderfulto have the opportunity to be amongstsuch devoted friends of Tibet and tohear directly what concerns them aboutthis issue. It certainly helps inform ourwork as we advocate for the Tibetanpeople in Washington and national capitalsaround the world.”Tsering Bawa performed on traditional Tibetan instruments at the 2011 executivebriefing in San Francisco. ICT was delighted to connect with over 100 supportersin the area that evening.14


Take Action:Two Ways You Can HelpThe repressions in Tibet have become so arduous that monks, nuns and laypeople are self-immolatingin protest. Their actions demand that the world witness their anguish and alter the way each nation andeach person supports Tibet. The ruling Chinese government fears international condemnation; they dowhat they can to minimize or hide the desperation of those who are willing to die for Tibetan freedom.We who support Tibet must do everything we can to ensure that those who suffer are not forgotten.We offer two ways that you can help:First, make a generous contribution now to the InternationalCampaign for Tibet. This newsletter has a reply envelope at thecenter spread; please use it to return your special contributionnow in support of our mission to inspire Tibetan support incapitals around the world.If the envelope is gone, please send your contribution to ICTat 1825 Jefferson Place, NW; Washington, DC 20036.As of this printing, 17 Tibetan Buddhists have taken the desperatestep of self-immolation; perhaps in their honor, youcould make a donation in a multiple of 17 (a gift of $17, $34,$51, or more) to commemorate their extraordinary sacrifice.Second, spread the word. Clip out the box below and post it ona community bulletin board where others can see. You mighthave an “announcements” board at work, or there could be aplace for public notices at your grocery store. Perhaps you couldpin it up at your local post office. Or send it to the editor ofyour local paper, along with your request that they print theinformation for everyone to see.The more people we can alert, the brighter will shine our spotlighton Tibet, and on the Chinese repressions that are makinglife unlivable in a once-peaceful nation.Thank you!AttentionAs of January 2012, seventeen Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet have lit themselves on fire in adesperate protest of Chinese repressions.These men and women opted to die so that their fellow Tibetans might benefit from your attention.China is deliberately repressing Tibetan freedoms — including the repression of TibetanBuddhism, one of the purest and most ancient forms of Buddhism.The Tibetan people are deeply committed to peace, but the brutality of the Chinese authoritiesis becoming unendurable.China wants to hide their cruelty; they want you to believe they’re helping the Tibetan people.So look past the propaganda to the reality: People in Tibet are dying so you can know the truth.For more information, visit the website of the InternationalCampaign for Tibet at savetibet.org.Thank you.PLEASE CLIP HERE:15


Visit us at savetibet.org1825 Jefferson Place, NWWashington, DC 20036NONPROFIT ORG.U.S. POSTAGEPAIDMILWAUKEE, WIPERMIT NO 4550Stay in Touch,Connect with Others!Join us for the online conversationat our blog at weblog.savetibet.orgVisit our website in Chinese atwww.liaowangxizang.netPass the Word —Help the Planet!When you’re finished with this issue of Tibet Press Watch, why notpass it on to someone who might be interested? By doubling yourissue’s readership, you’ll help avoid the landfills — and perhaps ICTcan make a new friend. Thank you!“Like” us on Facebook.International Campaign for TibetFor up-to-the-minute news, follow@SaveTibetOrg (in English)@BhuchungTsering (in Tibetan)@LiaoWangXiZang (in Chinese)Share us with your contacts and join in the Tibetconversation. The more people who care aboutTibet, the bigger the impact we can have!From left to right: ICT Directorof Government Relations ToddStein, Assistant to the KalonTripa Jigme Namgyal, KalonTripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay,Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT),ICT Executive Chairman LodiG. Gyari and Representative ofHis Holiness the Dalai Lama forthe Americas, Lobsang Nyandak.The group met during theKalon Tripa’s first official visitto Washington, DC in November.For more on this, please readthe story on page 11.Printed on recycled paper with soy inks

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