Tibetan Headlines

Aug 21: Aug 21: Botswana Retaliates

The proposed visit by HH the Dalai Lama to Botswana has drawn the usual objections and threats from China who say that Botswana should cancel the visit and “earnestly respect China’s core interests and make the correct political decision.” Botswana’s president Ian Khama, however, is reported as saying that despite China’s heavy investment in the country, “We are not your colony” and that His Holiness is welcome there.

Aug 20: Aug 19: Religious Freedom

'International Religious Freedom', the United States State Department’s annual report, has highlighted Chinese interference in religious practices in Tibet, particularly in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries there. It also mentions the forced disappearance of religious practitioners, physical abuse and prolonged detention. It speaks of US instigated “sustained and concerted effort to encourage greater religious freedom in Tibetan areas” at the highest level.

Aug 18: Film Award

The Tibetan film Pawo [or martyr, in Tibetan] has won the Best Director for a Feature at the Revolution Me Film Festival 2017. Pawo was directed by Marvin Litwak and Sonam Tsetan and was shortlisted for six other nominations. The film crew was Tibetan-German crew and the actors all Tibetan. It tells the story of Jamphel Yeshi who self-immolated in 2012 in protest against China’s continued rule in Tibet. JJI Exile Brothers from Dharamsala co-engineered the film’s music.

Aug 18: Policy for Arunachal

The Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy Act for Tibetans has been accepted by the north eastern Indian state of Arunachal which is predominantly Tibetan, although claimed by China as part of “their” territory. The Act was formalised by the Government of India in 2014. The state Cabinet meeting accepted the Policy on August 12. Arunachal Chief Minister Shri Pema Khandu has written to Sikyong Sangay, leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Aug 17: Prospects and Challenges

The Young Tibetan Research Scholar’s Conference is underway at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarah near Dharamshala. The three day conference, Tibet and Tibetans: Prospects and Challenges, is organised by the Tibet Policy Institute – the Central Tibetan Administration’s think tank and was inaugurated by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the President of the CTA. Around 40 young Tibetan research scholars from across India are taking part.

Aug 16: Demolition Begins

The expulsion of 2,000 Tibetan monks and nuns living and studying at the Yachen Gar Buddhist Centre in Sichuan has started, along with the demolition of their residences. Until recently 10,000 monks, nuns and lay practioners lived and studied at Yachen Gar. Earlier this year 200 tents belonging to Tibetan pilgrims visiting the centre were demolished. Senior monks there have asked people to “exercise patience and tolerance”.

Aug 16: Monk Freed

Gomar Choephel, 48, a Tibetan monk, has been released from jail where he served two years for “subverting the state” when he was found in possession of a picture of HH the Dalai Lama. He was released from the Ho Min Xian prison in Qinghai and has returned to Rongwo Monastery in Rebgong. He has restrictions placed on his movements and no “welcome home” reception was allowed.

Aug 15: New Ethics Course

His Holiness the Dalai Lama launched a new course Secular Ethics for Higher Education at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). The course is aimed at fostering critical thinking and an inquiring mind. His Holiness said that India is the only country in the world which can effectively combine secular ethics and modern education to produce sustainable results for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Aug 12: Trip Cancelled

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has cancelled his trip to Botswana this month on the advice of his doctors, as he is suffering from exhaustion following his very demanding recent schedule. He was due to attend the Mind and Life conference there. His physicians have advised him to rest and so His Holiness is returning to Dharamshala to recuperate.

Aug 11: TYC Demo

The Tibetan Youth Congress held a rally in New Delhi to show support for India in the current standoff between China and India at the Tibetan Border. The TYC President said the rally was to “highlight that Tibet's independence is the safest guarantee for India's security and peace along the Himalayas. We believe that Tibetans must be a part of discussions concerning the borders".

Aug 11: Larung Gar

Larung Gar, the famed Buddhist academy in eastern Tibet that has undergone partial demolition and the eviction of half of its residents over the last year, is now being turned into a destination for tourists. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has reported on developments there, saying that an infrastructure to accommodate tourists, including luxury hotels, is being built.

Aug 10: Population Restrictions

The Chinese Communist Party has announced, via the Chinese state run Global Times, that the population of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is to be restricted to below 500,000 by 2020 and its urban land to 78 square kilometres (30 square miles). The current population is around 560,000 of whom 92% are Tibetans. They cite environmental reasons and protection of historical and cultural sites.

Aug 9: Earthquake in Tibet

An earthquake has hit the Ngaba region of Tibet, in the Sichuan Province. At least seven people are reported dead with fears that 100 more may have died. 88 are reported as injured, 21 of those seriously, in the 6.5 magnitude earthquake which occurred near the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which attracts thousands of tourists, some of whom were among the dead and injured.

Aug 8: Russian Buddhists

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has attended the first Russian and Buddhist scholar dialogue which is taking place at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. The dialogue includes presentations from both Russian and Buddhist scholars with around 50 observers. In his address His Holiness said, “We must make 21st century as century of peace”.

Aug 8: New Books for Children

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile has launched 40 new books for early grade reading. Education Kalon [Minister} Ngodup Tsering suggested that “Parents should gift books to children as presents and gifts to cultivate the reading habit of children and to encourage them”. The books form an element of the Early Grade Reading project which is funded by USAID through The Tibet Fund.

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