Tibetan Headlines

Jun 23: Tibetan Activist

Migmar, also known as Tsedor Sherab, 30, and a well-known activist in the Tibetan exile community has died following a cardiac arrest. He was cremated this morning in Dharamshala. Migmar attempted self-immolation outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi six years ago in protest against the illegal occupation of Tibet by China. Members of various Tibet non-government organisations, supporters and friends paid their last respects at his funeral.

Jun 23: 7000 Homes Demolished

7,000 dwellings have been demolished at Larung Gar Buddhist academy since 2001 in the Chinese government’s drive to reduce the number of residents there. A senior abbot has confirmed that over 4,800 nuns and monks have been expelled since 2016. The authorities say the project is targeting 4,320 dwellings for demolition, but give no explanation why more houses now said to have been destroyed.

Jun 22: Appeal from Congressmen

Thirty-seven members of the United States Congress have issued a written appeal to President Trump urging him to appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the US Department of State, stressing the need to preserve Tibet’s religious, cultural and linguistic traditions in the face of the suppression of basic human rights in Tibet. The signed letter was posted on the Office of Tibet, Washington’s Facebook page.

Jun 22: Flood in Tibet

Flooding has caused serious damage in Village No 5 in the Gyalchen township in Sog in the Nagchu prefecture, leaving four families homeless and many others with major damage to their property. Local monks provided help on the scene. It is believed locally that the flood was caused by accelerated glacier melt – the result of global warming; other areas in Tibet are experiencing similar problems.

Jun 22: Monks Sentenced

Gendun Drakpa, 40, and Lobsang Sherab, 36, both monks from Sichuan who have been missing since being detained last year, have been sentenced. News has come through that they were put on trial around June 17 and Drakpa was sentenced to five years, Sherab four for “engaging in separatist activities”. Tibetans attending the trial had their phones confiscated to prevent them from sharing pictures. While in detention they have not had access to lawyers or been allowed visits from family.

Jun 21: New Educational Films

Two short animated educational films were released by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s education department. The films, The Forgetful Agu Phagpa and Life of Buddha, were created by Dharamshala owned and run Jamphel Animations and aim to promote language, identity, culture and traditional history through digital storytelling. The project was funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Jun 21: Reports of Repression

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international human rights watchdog, has released a report Tibet: A Glossary of Repression which highlights how China is using “opaque policy terms” to tighten repression in Tibet. Sophie Richardson, China director of HRW, said, “Political nonconformity will be punished, severely”.

Jun 20: Concern for Tibet

Concern has been expressed at the United National Human Rights Council session currently being held in Geneva over the human rights situation in China, with particular reference to Tibet and Xinjang (East Turkestan in north western China). The United States, United Kingdom and Germany all raised the issue. A briefing on Tibet was held at a side event Human Rights Situation: Seeking Solution (Case of Palestine and Tibet).

Jun 19: His Holiness in US

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in San Diego in the United States, where he delivered the keynote address at the commencement ceremony of University of California San Diego’s class of 2017 to around 6,000 students and 15,000 guests. He said that world peace originates from inner peace and happiness, and urged graduating students to shun violence and create a more peaceful world.

Jun 16: Excellent Health

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, currently at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in America for his routine annual checkup, has been pronounced to be in “excellent health”. “Doctors have [said] there is no need to worry about his health,” said Penpa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America. His Holiness will be in America for two weeks.

Jun 16: Nomads to Return

Tibetan nomads are being told to go home to their traditional grazing lands. They were forced to leave in a state-directed resettlement scheme, but the alternative housing provided for them is now wanted for development as tourist centres and housing for government employees. The nomads livelihood depends on their herds – which they had to reduce or sell when they left the land and no funding is available to replace them.

Jun 16: Boy Released

A young Tibetan man who was detained over two weeks ago for being in possession of a photo of HH the Dalai Lama on his phone, has been released. He lives in Golug. Speaking to Radio Free Asia by phone he said, “I cannot accept that possession of His Holiness’s picture should be considered illegal.” He said he was interrogated in prison but not physically harmed.

Jun 15: Award-winning Film

A documentary film about Tibetans living in exile in Bylakuppe in south India has scooped awards at a number of international film festivals. The 39 minute film, Rangzen, was made by three Indian students from St Joseph’s College in Bengaluru – Santosh Chandrasekhar, 26, Aiman S, 24, and Sumit Dasgupta, 24, as part of their final project for college.

Jun 14: Increased Fire Power

The Chinese news site Guancha has reported on Chinese military buildup on the Tibet side of the India-Tibet border, including the deployment of its new Xinqingtan tank, in a show of force aimed at deterring the Indian military. Guancha says the Chinese technology and firepower is "far more advanced" than that of India. The Chinese military buildup is ongoing since last year.

Jun 13: No Protests?

Initiatives for China (IFC), an organisation set up in America to work towards the peaceful transition to democracy in China, has expressed support for HH the Dalai Lama’s invitation to the University of California San Diego later this month, and has urged Chinese students to stop protesting against the visit, accusing them of “parroting” the “party line”. IFC’s president Yang Jianli, said he is “deeply troubled” by the protests.

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