Fearless Speaker Award Page1 Expressions of Peace Page 2 The Dalai Lama Page 3 Tibetan Film Festival Page 4 House Honors Suu Kyi Page 5 Tourists invade Tibet Page6
The Tibet P st
to Tibetan woman writer, Woeser. Front Side
to Tibetan woman writer, Woeser. Back Side
Vol. 01, Issue 05, 18 December, 2007 T P I S h o r t s Ta k e s
W e e k l y
ATJ’s First Fearless Speaker Award to Tibetan Woman Writer
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, right, gestures as Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, left, looks on during the annual summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners, Rome Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007. "Our right hand has always reached out to the Chinese government," the Dalai Lama said. "That hand has always remained empty, so with our left hand we appeal to you: help us." China condemned the visit by the Dalai Lama to Rome, saying Thursday it opposed any country supporting or sympathizing with the exiled spiritual leader. (AP Photo/ Pier Paolo Cito)
Freedom of Expression
Tibetan Youth Discussion Forum closed TPI, December 19, 2007. The freedom of expression is undergoing serious problem in China and all the Tibetan language websites in Tibet are being closed and opened frequently. Even discussion forum of Woeser in Chinese language has been blocked in last year and also other Tibetan related Medias are facing lot of problem in Tibet under Chinese rule. Recently on December 6, the Youth Discussion Forum of Snowland (Gang-Shoen-Leng-Teg) www.tibet123.com which is the most popular and favorite website among the young-educated Tibetans has been closed by Chinese authorities. When it was about to close, it has 6200 registered members and the number of the member increases day by day. Sometimes, there come around 3000 members (Users) to chat at the same period of time in the discussion forum. Therefore, such type of discussion forum is extremely essential to us at this very critical time. It has become one of the most important platforms for Tibetan youngsters to exchange ideas and experiences between each other. But unfortunately, such an important forum has been closed due to its contents related to the true plight of Tibet. Likewise, the Chinese government never leaves any stone unturned to fail any thought or work which is likely to be against the ideology of the Communist government. Therefore, it is very clear that China is on top of the global list that violates the freedom of expression the most.
Tibet tourism ‘hits record high’ The number of tourists travelling to Tibet has hit a record high, Chinese state media has reported. Just over four million tourists will have visited Tibet in 2007, an official said, an increase of 64% year on year. The official put the increase down to better marketing and improved transport links, including the controversial high-speed rail service to China. Critics say China is using the link to increase control over Tibet and further erode its traditional culture. Local Communist Party secretary Zhang Qingli said that Tibet was entering a “golden era” of tourism. Revenue from tourism was expected to hit 4.8bn yuan ($650m, £322m) in 2007, up 73.3% on the previous year, he said. Both the rail link and a new airport had contributed to the rise, he said. ‘Deep concern’ In the past, Lhasa could be reached only by plane or after a long, arduous road journey. Since the rail link opened 17 months ago, Chinese tourism and trade to Tibet has surged. But the new train service is a source of concern to many Tibetans. They argue that it has facilitated an influx of Chinese settlers, who are increasingly dominating business and making Tibetans a minority in some towns and regions. In a statement in March, the Dalai Lama warned that both the number of settlers and environmental degradation in Tibet had increased since the train line became operational, describing it as a source of “deep concern”. Earlier this month, the train line was used to carry Chinese troops to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, fuelling concerns that China is using the train to cement its hold on Tibet. China invaded Tibet in 1950. A Tibetan governmentin-exile led by the Dalai Lama is based in Dharamsala, northern India.
Tibetan woman writer, Woeser. TPI, Dharamsala, 17th December 2007. The Association of Tibetan Journalist’s (ATJ) First ‘Fearless Speaker Award’, the Silver Medal honored to Tbetan woman writer, Mrs Tsering Woeser. By presenting Tsering Woeser’s friend Miss. Dekyi, the editor of Voice of Tibet Madarin Section receives the award from Mr. Thupten Samphel, the secretary of Department of Information & International relationship, Tibetan government in exile, it is the first time to honour a medal by the Association. The ATJ is recognizing her role as one of the Tibet’s foremost moral, culture, religious and freedom of speech figure, who is using her articles role to peacefully demanding for the freedon of expression of Tibetan people. “The Tibetan media - including the print and electronic - have the responsibility to promote democracy and freedom of speech,” said Mr Thubten Samphel this morning, during a function to mark the 10th founding
Mr. Narkyi Ngawangl, former secretary of Department of Information & International relationship with Miss. Dekyi, the editor of Voice of Tibet Mandarin Section receives.
anniversary of the Association. Mr Samphel said, “The democracy bestowed upon Tibetan people by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very precious ... so, the various sections of Tibetan press must promote it.” Refuting the allegation that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) viewed some Tibetan press as an impediment, he said, “The CTA always respect the principle of freedom of speech and democracy as enshrined in the exile Tibetan Charter.” During the function, the ATJ honoured renowned Tibetan poet and essayist, Tsering Woeser with the Freedom of Speech award, for her intrepid writings calling for freedom of speech and telling the real situation inside Tibet based on facts. In 1988, she graduated from South West University for Nationalities in Chengdu with a degree in Chinese litera-
Beijing talks to focus on Tibet DNA[Tuesday, December 18, 2007 14:03] Seema Guha Foreign secy will also discuss the border issue NEW DELHI: When foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon visits Beijing later this week for the third round of India-China strategic dialogue, the focus will be on the Tibet issue and border talks. Menon will also use the opportunity to give finishing touches to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official visit to Beijing scheduled for mid-January 2008. Though India’s position on Tibet is well known, it is likely to be brought up by the Chinese during Menon’s meeting with China’s deputy foreign minister Wu Dawei. Ever since the US Congress decided to honour the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold medal, the highest civilian award conferred by US lawmakers, the Chinese have been wary. The Dalai Lama’s well-publicised visit to Capitol Hill was followed by his trip to Canada and a meeting with Germany Chancellor Merkel. Germany paid for this because when Merkel visited China she was given a cool reception. In sharp contrast, the Chinese inked business deals worth 20 billion euro with French president Nicholas Sarkozy. France had not entertained Tibet’s spiritual leader. The Chinese wanted to drive home this message to the Germans. Soon after the Tibetan spiritual leader returned to India, ministers in the UPA government were
asked not to attend a felicitation function organised by the Gandhi peace foundation. This move was noted and appreciated by Beijing. New Delhi has always regarded Tibet as an autonomous region of China. But now that the Dalai Lama is getting on in years and is publicly hinting at choosing a successor, the Chinese would like a reiteration of New Delhi’s position on Tibet, which will be reflected in the joint declaration at the end of the PM’s visit. India is likely to ask for a similar response from China on Sikkim, though Beijing had by the mid 1990’s come to acknowledge it as a part of India. Despite frequent reports in the Indian media about the Chinese army’s incursions into Indian territory, South Block has refrained from making harsh public statements against Beijing. This is because both sides realise the boundary demarcation is yet to be finalised and the border remains “disputed”. The border issue, which has now reached the sensitive land exchange stage, is also likely to come up in the talks between Menon and Wu Dawei. There has been little progress in the negotiations in the last few rounds. But now the two sides are looking to forge ahead. When national security advisor MK Narayanan visited Beijing ahead of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s trip in October, he found the Chinese much more accommodating and he had privately hoped the tricky boundary problem would move towards a final resolution.
ture. She worked as a reporter in Kardze and later in Lhasa and has lived in Beijing since 2003 as a result of political problems. In his briefing, the ATJ President Lobsang Wangyal said the association aims to provide information based on truth, regarding activities relating to the Tibetan community, both within and outside of Tibet. It also acts as a bridge between the Central Tibetan Administration and the people through the dissemination of information, and by providing a forum for discussion on issues of major importance and other related activities.” he added. Established in September 1997, ATJ is an independent non-profit making organisation, which aims to facilitate free, fair and accurate delivering of news of the situation and developments both within and outside Tibet and to protect the democratic right of freedom of speech.
X I L E
Dy Speaker to Attend Freedom of the City Award Function in Italy 10, December 2007. Dharamshala: Dolma Gyari, the deputy of the Tibetan Parliamentin-Exile, will attend an award ceremony for conferring the “Freedom of the City” of Turin to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the city hall on 16 December. The deputy speaker will be accompanied by under secretary of Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat, Tenzin Choedon during a weeklong visit to Italy. Prior to the award function, the deputy speaker will attend a meeting with the mayor of Turin, Mr Chiamparino and with other officials of the city. Also during the visit, the deputy speaker will attend a press conference by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Turin’s Arturo Toscanini. Mrs Gyari will attend a meeting with Turin’s main regional authorities and official representatives of Association of Commons, Provinces and Regions for Tibet and other local associations. Mrs Gyari will return to Dharamshala on 23 December.
18 December, 2007 Dharamsala
THE EDIT PAGE
The Crying Voices of a Snowland “Tibet” Ethnicity or Diverse? Not only do Tibetans feel part of an independent nation politically, but they also have an ethnic consciousness that is distinct from the Chinese. Most Chinese have a broad definition of what it means to be “Chinese.” In sharp contrast to this, Tibetans maintain a very specific idea of what it means to be “Tibetan,” and this concept reinforces a strong underlying “us vs. them” feeling of a separate Tibetan identity. These different views are best illustrated by the words Chinese and Tibetans use to describe each other. In the Chinese language, China is known as Zhongguo, or “the Middle Kingdom,” and is conceived of as a land mass incorporating the Han majority and 55 minorities. Similarly, the Chinese word Zhongguoren, meaning “Chinese people,” includes both the Han Chinese ethnic majority and the fifty-five so-called ethnic minorities living within the borders of China, including the Tibetans, Mongolians and Muslim Uighurs. The word Hanren refers to the ninety-four percent of the Population of China that is ethnic Han Chinese. In contrast, Tibetan language and literature have no equivalent words or phrases that encompass both Chinese and Tibetans as one people. Instead, the Tibetan language makes a clear-cut distinction: Chinese people are called Gyami and Tibetans, Bhoepa. In Tibetan operas, for example, characters are introduced by their distinct ethnicity with terms such as Gyami (Chinese) or Gyakar (Indian). Furthermore, the Tibetan word for China, Gyanak, is linguistically distinct from the word for Tibet Bhoe, as are the words for the Tibetan and Chinese languages, Bhoekey and Gyakey respectively. These linguistic expressions of a separate Tibetan identity are but one indicator of the different views of Chinese and Tibetan nationhood and of the historical relationship between the two peoples. China, it seems, has considered Tibet as an integral part, while Tibet has viewed itself as separate and independent of Chinese political control. This dichotomy challenges the fundamental definition of nationality itself. What constitutes nationality and who defines a nation? Is the decision in the hands of an ethnic majority of a particular area, like the Tibetans, or is it made by a dominant, more powerful ethnic group like the Chinese? Ernest Gellner writes that one of the key elements in defining nationality and nation is the common culture, whereas Walker Connor recognizes Tibetans as a distinct nationality and defines “nations” as human groupings “who share an intuitive sense of . . . sameness, predicated upon a myth of common descent.” As Tibetans have a common culture and share an intuitive sense of sameness and common descent, Tibet is a nation in its own right. Buttressing this separate Tibetan identity is the Tibetans´ shared historical memory of Tibet as an independent and powerful nation. When Tibetans are asked why they are ethnically and nationally different from Chinese, Tibetans will claim that the Tibetan empire was once so powerful that its army marched to the Chinese capital of Chang-an (now Xian) and captured it for nearly a month, forcing Emperor Tai Tsung (763-804 AD) to flee, imposing its own puppet emperor, and exacting an annual tribute from Tibet. Many Tibetans also point to the Sino-Tibetan peace treaty of 821 AD. This treaty proclaims that the “Tibetans shall be happy in Tibet and the Chinese in China,” clearly establishing that Tibet and China had equal status at that time and that each treated the other as an independent entity. This treaty still exists today in the form of an inscription on the stone pillar in front of Jokhang Temple in Tibet´s capital of Lhasa. This shared historical narrative strongly under girds the perception of Tibetan identity as separate from that of the Chinese. Thus, the Tibetan resistance to ethnic assimilation and Chinese policies is deeply rooted in historical, linguistic, and cultural reality, a reality now heightened by modern nationalistic sentiment. Religion has also given Tibetans a spiritually charged national identity. In contrast to the Tibetans´ deeply held belief in Buddhism, Communist China views Buddhism? Like all religions? As the opiate of the masses. This major clash of ideology was clearly demonstrated when the Chinese government destroyed every remnant of the religious institutions in Tibet. Recently, however, the Chinese government has blamed this destruction on the nationwide excesses of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and its attack on “the four olds”: old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits. Most Tibetans find this explanation a factually incorrect account that downplays Chinese efforts to eradicate religion and to institute a deliberate policy to destroy the spiritual foundation of Tibetan identity and culture. The destruction and closing of monasteries in Tibet were in fact carefully orchestrated well before the Cultural Revolution. In my father´s hometown NyagChu (now located in Sichuan), the local monastery where he was a monk was destroyed in 1956, ten years before the Cultural Revolution even started. The previous Panchen Lama, in his famous “70,000 Character Petition” to Chairman Mao Zedong, wrote that out of 2,500 monasteries in the Tibet Autonomous Region, only 70 (3%) were left in 1962, three years before the Cultural Revolution began. According to the Panchen Lama´s survey, ninety-three percent of the 100,000 clerics had been forced out of the monasteries. The situation was reportedly even worse in Eastern Tibet, with 98-99% of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries shut down. This account is consistent with two other Chinese sources. Despite such destruction, Tibetans have held firmly to their spiritual beliefs. When a small period of political openness appeared during the initial phases of China´s new liberalization policies in the early 1980s, Tibetans began to voluntarily finance the rebuilding of their destroyed monasteries. Today they have revived many, but the quality of religious practice is limited to rituals and is often quite minimal, due to arbitrary and restrictive measures still imposed on religious practices. This brief discussion cannot address in any depth related issues, such as the imprisonment and torture of 121622 lay people, monks and nuns for taking part in political activities, including for refusal to denounce the Dalai Lama and recognize the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama. However, April 25, 1999, marks the tenth anniversary of the birth of the Tibetan Panchen Lama, which will be observed worldwide by Tibetans and Tibet support groups, including those in Boston, as marking the disappearance of possibly the youngest political prisoner in the world. As many tourists who have been to Tibet since liberalization know, it is a common experience to be followed by Tibetan children asking for the “Dalai Lama´s photo” even though the photograph is officially banned. If, as the Chinese have argued, the monastic system had been so oppressive and the Dalai Lama the head slave owner, this popular revival of Buddhist institutions and desire for the return of the Dalai Lama would be hard to understand. If the pre-1951 order had been so horrible in the eyes of the Tibetans, the Cultural Revolution ought to have been an opportune moment for them to “liberate” themselves from religion and the Dalai Lama. However, as both these examples prove, Tibetans take great pride in their religion, which dates back 2500 years. In contrast, Communism is a modern foreign ideology brought in from China, with little hold on Tibetans´ hearts and minds. Communism failed in Tibet and has never been able to compete with Buddhism’s rich spiritual message. However, this is not to say that religion is the right basis for political rule; all religions have both good and bad effects on society and the concept of a religious political order is a very complex one. Rather, it suggests that the Tibetan way of life and values are quite distinct from and in many ways foreign to that of the contemporary Chinese. Religion matters to Tibetans in a way most Chinese find hard to understand.
The Tibet P st I
Advicer Advicer Adviser Editor Sub Editor Reporter Reporter Circular Publisher
Press of Tibet, Room # 306, Nechung Hostel, Gamru Village P.O. Dharamsala - 176215 Distt. Kangra, H.P., INDIA
Mr. Vincent Brossel Geshe Thupten Phelgye Mr. Shalinder Kumar Mr. Yeshe Choesang Mrs. Rigzin Wangmo Mr. Palden Gyatso Miss. Dolma Lhamo Mr. Tenzin Sangpo Mr. Tenzin Kunga
Tele: 0091-1892-224641 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.thetibetpost.com
The Tibet Post
Expressions of peace By Sara Wykes for the Mercury News, Article Launched: 12/11/2007 01:34:57 AM PST BuddhaPeace is one of those ideas with as many definitions as there are people in the world. The Dalai Lama - the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whose official title includes such powerful honorifics as “Ocean of Wisdom” - has symbolized the hope of peace for millions. And in this one man, who wears glasses and utilitarian shoes, lies a world of possibilities. “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama,” an exhibit of work by 88 artists from 25 countries, offers a symphony of images voiced by a full orchestra of aesthetic instruments riffing on the powerful life force of this religious leader. “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama,” an exhibit of work by 88 artists from 25 countries, offers a symphony of images voiced by a full orchestra of aesthetic instruments riffing on the powerful life force of this religious leader. This is not an exhibit to be rushed through like a cafeteria line. Within the high-ceilinged spaces of the first-floor galleries at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the paintings, photographs, sculpture and multimedia installations furnish long moments for meditation on the surprising ways the artists responded to the exhibit’s organizing themes. “Why do thousands go to hear him?” said Darlene Markovich, president of the Committee of 100 for Tibet and executive director of the show. “What is the message? How can art help to amplify that message? The Committee of 100 for Tibet, founded in 1992 in Palo Alto as a group to support self-determination for the Chinese-controlled country, joined with the Dalai Lama Foundation to bring together the organizational and financial support to produce the exhibit. The effort began in 2000 - and the show is planned to be on display around the world for many years. The next stop for “Missing Peace” will be Tokyo. And there are talks with museum officials in Moscow, Taiwan, Zagreb and Vancouver
about displaying the show. Zurich will host the exhibit in spring 2009. Two local benefactors were instrumental in bringing the show to the Bay Area, Markovich said: Sandra and Bernard Magnussen of Magnussen Toyota of Palo Alto and the San Francisco-based Betlach Family Foundation. The Bay Area has long been home to varied Buddhist communities - including San Jose’s historic Buddhist Church Betsuin, the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Big Sur, the Green Gulch Farm in Marin County and the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. The Dalai Lama’s regular visits to the Bay Area - most recently in April - draw thousands from around the Bay and the West Coast. The Dalai Lama Foundation is based in Redwood City and its board members include several noted Silicon Valley figures. Several artists in the “Missing Peace” exhibit are from the Bay Area - one of the show’s most popular works was created by David and Hi-Jin Hodge of Half Moon Bay. The couple asked more than 100 people to talk about change. The process would stop, the couple agreed, when their subjects began to duplicate one another. But that never happened. And when technical problems led the Hodges to use iPods with video screens to display the many mini-films, this practical choice provided an appropriate visual wallop for our gadget-culture weary eyes. The show is structured in sections that begin with work focused on the Dalai Lama himself. Here are photographs by Richard Avedon, Chuck Close and Sylvie Fleury. Bill Viola’s video documents a blessing from the Dalai Lama so all can share in it. A group of images focuses on Tibet and its people. One large canvas - it measures 6 1/2 feet by 10 feet - is titled “Brief History of Tibet” and its brilliant colors and intertwined images tell a story in striking fashion. Another part of the exhibit springs from the artists’ response to the basic beliefs of Buddhism, and visitors are guided through
the works with a series of “lessons” from the Dalai Lama. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion,” or “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” With these thoughts as guideposts, visitors may find themselves opening up to the images before them. From Ichi Ikeda’s photographs of hands cupped to hold water, with superimposed messages on the theme of water conservation to the “World Buddha Head Project,” a stack of Manhattan phone books carved out to reveal three Buddha faces, every work sounds mental and emotional bells. The nature of “The Missing Peace” founded on a spiritual leader - clearly has had an impact on the visitor experience. Markovich has witnessed reactions that are not typical at more standard museum fare. “I’ve seen people laughing, crying, compelled to talk to the stranger next to them to comment on the art,” she said. “It’s such a good feeling - and it is the Dalai Lama doing his work in this world.” The exhibition has expanded exponentially beyond its original parameters. Its Web site (http://gallery.tmpp.org) includes an educational curriculum, a virtual tour and a wall of visitor responses. In development is an electronic gallery of work done by anyone who wants to participate by finding visual ways to express peace. Each answer will become part of a mosaic that can be accessed in a variety of electronic ways. The works were originally intended to be auctioned off or to be sold as a group for permanent installation in a museum, but that future seems to be evolving, too. Just as the original idea for the exhibit changed in unexpected ways, it’s impossible to predict just how the exhibit will end - or if it ever will, Markovich said. “You must let go of what you think you want to happen and something much more wonderful could happen.”
It’s Principles vs. Profits in Dealing With China German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s principled diplomacy vis-a-vis China has become a hot topic among diplomatic circles in Hong Kong and Beijing in recent days. Merkel, an advocate of the so-called “value-oriented diplomacy” which attaches prime importance to human rights and freedom, met with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama who is the spiritual leader of Tibet, in her office in September. AFP reported that “Merkel signaled that she supported the Dalai Lama’s quest for cultural autonomy for the Himalayan region, sticking to the course she steered during a visit to China in August in which she readily tackled human rights issues.” German opposition leaders and former government officials had met with the Dalai Lama before, but this was the first time an incumbent German chancellor had ever officially sat down with him. The enraged Chinese government has continued indiscriminate “retaliatory offensives” against Germany over the past three months. China has canceled two high-level bilateral talks, one on economics and trade, the other on human rights, and it bailed out of bilateral finance ministers’ talks scheduled for early December in Beijing. “Bilateral relations can be improved if Germany admits its mistake,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said pointedly on Nov. 28. But in an interview with the German press, Merkel countered Wen’s threat by saying determinedly, “As the chancellor of Germany, I will decide on whom to meet and where. I
can’t give up my own principles for a trade relationship with China.” Merkel’s principled policies have put into circulation a few newly-coined terms, such as the “Merkel cost” and “new Sino-German Cold War.” Relations between Germany and China are frozen solid. Interestingly, despite some worries that her efforts might have ill effects on the German economy, many experts have a positive view of Merkel’s tenacious diplomacy. “In the long term it will prove beneficial to the German people and future German leaders,” said Judy Dempsey, a political commentator. Merkel is winning support for her diplomatic style, which stands in sharp contrast to the way other world leaders go to great efforts to avoid any conflict with China. Many experts attribute the strength of Merkel’s diplomacy to the rock-solid political foundation she has laid — it didn’t come for free. First of all, she restored Germany’s traditional alliance with the U.S., the world’s sole superpower. German relations under Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schröder were quite rocky. Unlike Schröder, Merkel has placed top priority on her country’s practical relations with the U.S. In her two years in office, Merkel has met with U.S. President George W. Bush seven times. In early November she was invited to Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, a first for the German chancellor. Under Merkel’s stewardship, U.S.-German relations have been at a peak. In addition, Germany has been suc-
cessful in finding an alternative to China in Asia. In late October, Merkel visited India, where she met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At that summit, she agreed with Singh on a strategic cooperative relationship between the two countries. An alarmed press in China and Hong Kong said Germany has clasped hands with India to get ahead of China. Lastly, Germany has an economic and technological prowess with which it can outperform China. This year Germany will be overtaken by China and slide down to fourth among world nations in terms of GDP. But Germany has been awarded 15 times more patents and has spent 2.3 times more on R&D than China this year, according to OECD statistics. The Germans will also likely enjoy 14 times as much per capita income as the Chinese in 2008 as in 2007. And what about South Korean-Chinese relations? Fifteen years after the establishment of ties with China, South Korea leads the world in investment in China and the number of students studying there, and it is concentrating more on China than ever before. But unlike the German case, South Korean politicians and diplomats are always trying to curry favor with China. In order to prepare for possible conflicts of interest, perhaps it’s time we took a lesson from Merkel’s successful diplomatic approach to China. This column was contributed by Song Eui-dal, the Chosun Ilbo’s correspondent in Hong Kong.
TPI DALAI LAMA
The Tibet Post
Dalai Lama appeals for support at end of private visit to Italy
The Dalai Lama of Tibet (Photo: AFP)
AFP[Monday, December 17, 2007 09:20] TURIN, Italy: The Dalai Lama on Sunday wrapped up a private 11-day visit to Italy during which he met fellow Nobel peace prize laureates and appealed for continued support for Tibet’s bid for autonomy.”Tibetans have a very resistant spirit, but ultimately they begin to get irritated,” the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader told regional lawmakers in northern Turin, according to the ANSA news agency.”For this reason it is extremely important that your support continue,” he said. “Ours is a just cause... (Ti-
betan) culture should be preserved not just for the Tibetan people but for the entire international community because it is a culture of peace, compassion and non-violence,” he added.The Dalai Lama made a similar appeal last Thursday in Rome, urging lawmakers to offer both concrete help as well as moral support.The Tibetan Buddhist leader spoke in the parliament building but not in the assembly chamber as some lawmakers had wanted.”We do not want independence for Tibet, but only to preserve our cultural traditions, which enrich
even those of China,” the Dalai Lama said. China made clear its disapproval of the trip to the Italian foreign ministry.Beijing has complained to the Italian foreign ministry over the visit, which took the Dalai Lama to Rome, Milan and Turin.Recent meetings between the Dalai Lama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President George W. Bush have angered Beijing. Also last Thursday, the 1989 Nobel peace prize winner met other Nobel laureates including former Russian and Polish presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa at an annual summit in Rome.In Milan, the Dalai Lama led a three-day conference attended by some 8,000 people.The Dalai Lama and the pope met in October 2006, but an initially scheduled meeting during the current visit was cancelled, in a decision that Italian media reports said facilitated the recent ordination of a new bishop in Guangdong, southern China, with the Vatican’s approval.China sent troops into Tibet in 1950 and officially “liberated” it the following year. The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet following a failed uprising in the region in 1959, now travels the world seeking support for his calls for Tibetan autonomy.
Why Canada Should Boycott the Beijing Olympics By OnTheWeb: Martin Tampier Tuesday, December 18, 2007 In 2010, the world will get together in Vancouver-Whistler for the Olympic Winter Games. We will welcome them to an open society that appreciates different cultures and grants its citizens the freedoms that are so important to living with of dignity. Not so next year, at the Beijing Olympics. China has been, and still is today, a society that denies these rights and freedoms to its citizens. You may have heard about their killing prisoners to sell the organs to Western customers. Or their disregard of local residents in their rapid expansion of construction, industry and power generation projects. Or the child workers employed to make souvenirs for the upcoming Olympics. We also know what happened in 1989 at Tiananmen Square, where the army brutally suppressed a worker and student protest, leaving several hundred dead. And we would all like to believe that these things are past, and that China is now becoming more open and a more responsible citizen of the world. But this is far from being the case. Since the announcement that Beijing would get the Olympics, we are seeing a drastic, but underreported, crackdown on religious minorities. This time it’s not only Falun Gong members, but also Christian churches that are being raided by the Chinese military police. Here are some examples from this year: 22 evangelical leaders were arrested in June. Authorities of the eastern Shandong province condemned two leaders of evangelical house churches to a year of “reeducation through labour”. Others were detained for several days without charge, or were also likely to be condemned to work in a labour camp. In July, 15 house church leaders were detained by military police within one week in Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Anhui province. A Vacation Bible School for 150 children was attacked and two teachers were beaten and hospitalized. Police did not provide any legal paper for the arrest, blaming one pastor of being involved in “illegal religious activities.” This December, 270 Chinese pastors were arrested during a Bible study gathering. 4050 policemen from 12 different towns were
involved in the massive detention. Last year alone, according to China Aid Association, the Chinese government arrested 1,958 pastors and members of unregistered Protestant churches. A similar number was reported for 2005. This absolute disregard for what we hold dear in Canada – religious freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to assemble – shows that the Western strategy of “opening up” China with increased trade and the Olympic Games is not working. Canada has a long history of standing up for what’s right. Our own government website states, “Canada has been a consistently strong voice for the protection of human rights and the advancement of democratic values, from our central role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1947-8 to our work at the United Nations today.” It also states, “Responses to specific situations depend upon a number of considerations, including a government’s relative commitment to human rights and the effectiveness of the means of influence at our disposal.” When could there be a more effective moment to act than when we host the Winter Olympics just two years after Beijing? A 2006/2007 scorecard report by UN Watch praised Canada for its stance on human rights, but went on to say that it fails to speak out often or strongly enough for victims of most of the world’s worst regimes, remaining silent when it came to notorious abuses in China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. Is this the legacy we want? A boycott by Canada would but follow good advice from many others who are concerned. For example, actor Richard Gere, Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, is calling for a boycott of the Games because of the Tibet question. Reporters without Borders have asked for a boycott because of human rights violations. Others, including 106 lawmakers in the U.S., call for a boycott because of China’s support for Omar al-Bashir, who is responsible for governmental violence in Darfour (Sudan). From within China, voices of disappointment about the impact of the Olympic Games can also be heard. An open letter sent to the Chairman of the Olympic Committee by a group of Chinese lawyers and human rights activists in 2006 states,
“The Chinese government is already preparing an illusion of peace and prosperity to mislead visitors. In doing so, they feel that voices critical of the government need to be crushed. That is exactly why they are engaging in large scale suppression of the human rights movement in China”. Then again, why mix sports with politics? Should we not keep these issues out of the Olympic Games? The problem is, the entire idea if having the Games in Beijing is pure politics. Beijing’s bid for the Games ran against Istanbul, Osaka, Toronto, and Paris. Was the decision to go to China taken because of their better plans? The nicer environment? The more accommodating culture? No – it was taken precisely in order to engage China and to help it integrate better with the rest of the world. Even the Olympic Charter states, “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” So, from the start, the Olympics were meant to make China a better place. And that certainly is not happening. If we don’t use this opportunity now to speak out against Chinese Gestapo practices (meant to “clean the streets” before the Olympics take place), we never will. And China will never change. They will have gotten away with it once again and the West will have turned a blind eye. That’s politics, too: remaining silent for political reasons. Not wanting to upset anybody. When is enough, enough? To quote the letter from the group of Chinese lawyers again, “the Seoul Games and those held in South Africa were turning points for the countries hosting them and this is why we are writing to you: we know the IOC is not a humanitarian or a political organization but according to its expressed goals, we believe the committee is obligated to press the Chinese government to improve human and civil rights in China.” A boycott will upset our trade relationships with China. It will upset the 2010 Winter Olympics. Is it worth the price? Ask the ones who were imprisoned; ask the ones who are praying for them. They are hoping for a different China. We must not miss our chance to take a stand before it is too late!
18 December, 2007 Dharamsala
China condemns Dalai Lama’s visit to Rome By Alberto Pellaschiar, 16 December 2007. AP, The Dalai Lama is seen at the beginning of a three-day teaching event called BEIJING (AP) — China condemned a visit by the Dalai Lama to Rome, saying Thursday it opposed any country supporting or sympathizing with the exiled spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama is at the end of a 10-day visit to Italy and will attend an annual summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Rome. Later Thursday, he was to meet with Fausto Bertinotti and Franco Marini, respectively the presidents of the lower and upper chambers of parliament. There are no plans by the Vatican for a papal audience for the Tibetan spiritual leader despite earlier reports there would be one. “As to the Dalai’s visit to other countries, we’ve expanded on our positions on many occasions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regu-
lar news briefing. “The Dalai is not a pure religious figure but a political exile under the cover of religion who has long been engaged in activities aimed at splitting the motherland and national unity,” Qin said. “Therefore, we are opposed to any country in any form to support or sympathize with the Dalai’s activities,” he said. The Dalai Lama met with Pope Benedict XVI last year, but his current visit comes as the Vatican has stepped up efforts to improve church relations with China and an audience would clearly anger Beijing. The Dalai Lama’s recent meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President George W. Bush drew strong rebukes from Beijing, which says he wants to split Tibet from China. The Dalai Lama insists he only seeks autonomy for Tibet, which China has ruled since 1951.
Dalai Lama says China hardening its stance on Tibet December 13. The Associated Press, ROME: The Dalai Lama said Thursday that China is taking an increasingly harsh stance on Tibet and he appealed for international help during a visit to Rome. Addressing Italian lawmakers in the lower chamber of parliament, the exiled spiritual leader said Tibet was not seeking independence from China but only wished to preserve its culture. “Our right hand has always reached out to the Chinese government,” the Dalai Lama said. “That hand has always remained empty, so with our left hand we appeal to you: help us.” The spiritual leader was at the end of a 10day visit to Italy that, like most of his recent international trips, has drawn criticism from China. China condemned the visit, saying it opposed any country supporting or sympathizing with the exiled spiritual leader.
“The Dalai is not a pure religious figure but a political exile under the cover of religion who has long been engaged in activities aimed at splitting the motherland and national unity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing. The Dalai Lama’s recent meetings with President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also drew strong rebukes from Beijing, which says he wants to split Tibet from China. The Dalai Lama insists he only seeks autonomy for Tibet, which China has ruled since 1951. Despite progress since 2001, Chinese officials in recent talks have “intensified the accusation” of separatism and claimed “there is no Tibetan issue,” the Dalai Lama said. The Dalai Lama stopped in Rome for an annual summit of Nobel peace laureates organized by a foundation headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Dalai Lama’s visit spurs controversy
The Europe Weekly, 15 December 2007 - Issue : 760. Meeting on December 13 with Italian lawmakers in Italy, the Dalai Lama showed thanks for their support of religious freedom and autonomous rule in Tibet. His visit to the European country has been criticised by China. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader had been invited by Italy’s lower house of Parliament Chamber of Deputies speaker Fausto Bertinotti to address the lawmakers at the Montecitorio Parliament building in Rome. In what has been widely seen as a compromise move to avoid angering Beijing, the Dalai Lama spoke to the lawmakers not in the main assembly hall, but in a side room. The lawmakers most of them members of the 280 member bipartisan “For Tibet” group - Bertinotti and Italy’s Foreign Affairs Undersecretary, Gianni Vernetti, the most senior government official present, warmly applauded the Dalai Lama. Reiterating that he is not advocating secession for Tibet, which has been occupied by China since 1951, the Dalai Lama said his was a campaign for the Himalayan region’s autonomy and religious freedom for its people. “We follow the two handed approach. Our right hand always reaches out to the Chinese government asking them to recognise minority rights. Our left hand ask(s) supporters, in Italy and elsewhere in the world to help us,” the Dalai Lama said. “Once China grants us our rights, then we will use our left hand to thank our international supporters and wave goodbye,” he added. Tracing the recent history of negotiations with China’s Communist government, the Dalai Lama said that five meetings held since 2001 had made “great progress.” However, a sixth
meeting held in June-July had witnessed a hardening of China’s attitude with Beijing officials subsequently claiming: “There is no Tibetan issue,” the Dalai Lama said. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Vernetti, speaking to reporters after the Dalai Lama’s speech, said he had met the Buddhist leader on behalf of Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s government. “I was again struck by the great balance and moderation of the Dalai Lama’s attitude towards China,” Vernetti said. “He again said he is not seeking full independence for Tibet but greater autonomy achieved through open dialogue,” said Vernetti, adding that the Dalai Lama could count on Italy’s support. Earlier on December 13, the Dalai Lama addressed a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners organised by Rome’s city hall and a foundation headed by former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. In his address as in the one with the lawmakers the Dalai Lama stressed the need for “human compassion.” “Things will not change with just a few nice words,” the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner said. “But things to change depend on our action.” Earlier on December 13, China condemned the Dalai Lama’s visit to Italy, with foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang saying at a routine press briefing that the Buddhist leader “is a political exile who under the cover of religion who has long been engaged in activities aimed at splitting the motherland and national unity.” China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama who lives in exile in India - of treason and Beijing’s consul-general in Milan previously criticised the city’s mayor Letizia Moratti for meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The Tibet Post
Tibet tourism ‘hits record high’ The number of tourists travelling to Tibet has hit a record high, Chinese state media has reported. AP. 14, December 2007. Just over four million tourists will have visited Tibet in 2007, an official said, an increase of 64% year on year. The official put the increase down to better marketing and improved transport links, including the controversial highspeed rail service to China. Critics say China is using the link to increase control over Tibet and further erode its traditional culture. Local Communist Party secretary Zhang Qingli said that Tibet was entering a “golden era” of tourism. Revenue from tourism was expected to hit 4.8bn yuan ($650m, £322m) in 2007, up 73.3% on the previous year, he said. Both the rail link and a new airport had contributed to the rise, he said. ‘Deep concern’ In the past, Lhasa could be reached only by plane or after a long, arduous road journey. Since the rail link opened
17 months ago, Chinese tourism and trade to Tibet has surged. But the new train service is a source of concern to many Tibetans. They argue that it has facilitated an influx of Chinese settlers, who are increasingly dominating business and making Tibetans a minority in some towns and regions. In a statement in March, the Dalai Lama warned that both the number of settlers and environmental degradation in Tibet had increased since the train line became operational, describing it as a source of “deep concern”. Earlier this month, the train line was used to carry Chinese troops to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, fuelling concerns that China is using the train to cement its hold on Tibet. China invaded Tibet in 1950. A Tibetan government-in-exile led by the Dalai Lama is based in Dharamsala, northern India.
Tibetan Film Festival begins in New Delhi on 22 Decembe Monday, 17 December 2007, 5:15 p.m Dharamshala: A collection of sterling films on Tibet, made by world's leading directors, will hit the screen in New Delhi during a week-long Tibetan Film Festival, organised jointly by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Habitat Film Club. Starting on 22 December, the festival will open with "Kundun", a classic film narrating the life story of the young Dalai Lama by Martin Scorsese, followed by sterling series of films, including, Sacred Sites of Dalai Lama - a pilgrimage in Tibet, award winning 10 Questions for The Dalai Lama, Himalaya and Destroyer of Illusion & Spirit of Tibet. Martin Scorcesse's "Kundun" is a spiritual and deeply moving film on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Preaching peace and understanding among all people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama eventually travels to China to meet Chairman Mao Tse Tung, to no avail. In a heartbreaking decision, His Holiness the Dalai Lama must decide whether to remain in Tibet and fight for his people or flee his homeland and avert almost certain death. "10 Questions for The Dalai Lama" a Grand Festival Award Winner at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival by Rick Ray contains rare historical footage as well as footage taken inside Tibet. It is a story is woven between a journeyman's personal observations, and the life and wisdom of one of the premiere spiritual leaders of our time. "Sacred Sites of The Dalai Lama - a pilgrimage in Tibet" by Michael Wiese explores the caves, where the early Buddhist masters meditated, enters the monasteries where His Holiness the Dalai Lamas and others taught, and - at an altitude of over 16,000
feet - looks down into the famous oracle lake of Lhamo Lhatso where every Dalai Lama has had prophetic visions. Eric Valli's Himalaya - Oscar Nominee, Best Foreign Film was filmed over seven months in the forbidding Dolpo region of Nepal. The Himalaya tells the story of a generational struggle for the leadership of a tiny mountain village between its proud old chief and a headstrong young caravaner. The balance of power shifts uneasily as they make their annual salt trek across the Himalayas. In "Destroyer of Illusion & Spirit of Tibet", Richard Gere narrates as the filmmaker offers a glimpse into a mystical and rarely seen side of the Tibetan tradition and of one of the world's greatest living saints. "Cry of the Snow Lion" brings audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an unprecedented richness of imagery from rarely-seen rituals in remote monasteries, to horse races with Khamba warriors, to magnificent Himalayan peaks still traveled by nomadic yak caravans. (www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)
18 December, 2007 Dharamsala
TCHRD PRESS STATEMENT ON INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 December 2007, On the occasion of the 59th International Human Rights Day today, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) salutes those around the world who struggle to defend, protect and promote the fundamental freedoms, the inherent dignity, and the equal and inalienable rights that are the birthright of all members of the human family. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was passed by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 and was proclaimed as the ‘common standard of achievement for all people and nations’ in respect of human rights. Despite taking years to formulate and decades of existence, the struggle to ensure just entitlement of the thirty rights and freedoms enshrined in the UDHR requires our attention today and everyday. Boycott Beijeing Olympic 2008On 10 December, Tibetans commemorate not only International Human Rights Day, but also the conferment in 1989 of the Noble Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama for His continued struggle for peace and human rights through non-violence. TCHRD commemorate the UDHR, the values it enshrines and our ongoing effort to promote and defend human rights of Tibetan people in Tibet. In the past eleven months, the human rights and freedom of Tibetans in Tibet have witnessed an unprecedented beating at the hands of Chinese authorities. It is highly regrettable and condemnable that the People’s Republic of China (PRC), despite being a permanent member of the United Nations and a state party to UN treaties on human rights, fails to respect and uphold the basic principles set forth in the UDHR and that the most blatant forms of violations are regularly occurring in the region with impunity. Chinese authorities continue to practice a systematic denial of human rights of the Tibetan people. During the past eleven months of 2007, TCHRD has documented, among others, the following known events: TCHRD received information on scores of new known cases of arrests of Tibetans suspected of political activities; On 1 January 2007, new “Measures for the ‘Regulation on Religious Affairs’” with 56 articles, issued by the 11th Standing Committee of the “TAR” People’s Government was entered into force. This new regulation, instead of providing protection for religious affairs, aimed to enforce compliance with governmental regulations and policies on religious organizations, religious personnel and religious citizen, place of worship and activities; Tibetan Communist Party members, and civil servants, even the ordinary people, in Lhasa were banned from visiting temples for a week corresponding to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference being held in Beijing in March. Party members and civil servants were issued stark warning of facing expulsion and dismissal, if they prayed at Buddhist temples in the Capital. China intensified prohibition of religious activities in Tibet with severe restrictions and prohibitions during the holy month of Saka Dawa, which began on17 May 2007. The China State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) office’s issuance of the 14-article; “Management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism,” which came into effect as of 1 September this year, clearly demonstrates the Chinese Communist Party’s adamant attempt to undermine and tarnish the centuries-old Tibetan tradition of religious practice. The new measures described by the official press as ‘an important move to institutionalize the management of reincarnation,’ are deliberately targeted at one of the core belief systems of Tibetan Buddhism and set out ‘approval procedures’ for new living Buddhas. It also underscores the Communist Party’s agenda to undermine and supplant the Tibetan religious hierarchy and weaken the authority of legitimate Tibetan religious leaders including the Dalai Lama;
China intensified restrictions in Trulku Tenzin Delek’s Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchub Choeling Monastery with the arrest of two elderly women Odho and Apha Bomo, both in their late 50’s and residents of Othok Village, Nyagchuka County, Kardze “TAP” Sichuan Province, on 19 July 2007 by the Nyagchuka County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials. The women were alleged to have committed the ‘crime’ of instigating people to join their call for Trulku Tenzin Delek’s release. They were later released on 27 August after the authorities called the head of the Othok village to stand as guarantor for their release; On 1 August 2007, Ronggye A’drak was arrested for staging a public protest during the annual Lithang horse race festival. In the aftermath of Ronggye A’drak’s arrest, severe restrictions were imposed in Lithang and surrounding areas for the fear of massive popular uprising by his supporters. The authorities sent additional contingents of People’s Armed Police (PAP) forces as reinforcements to monitor and restrict the activities of his supporters. Later on 21 August, three nephews of A’drak-Adruk Lopoe, Adruk Nyima and Adruk Gyatso were arbitrarily arrested. Although Nyima and Gyatso were released after six hours, A’druk Lopoe’s whereabouts remained unknown until his court trial; On 19 August 2007, Lothok, a 36-year old Tibetan nomad and a father of five children from Drakar Latse Village, Lithang County was arbitrarily detained from a guesthouse in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan Province; A near complete gold and copper plated colossal statue of Guru Rinpoche in Samye Monastery, in Dranang County, Lokha Prefecture, “TAP” was demolished by Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) during the Buddhist holy month of Saka Dawa in mid May this year; and another statue of Guru Rinpoche was also demolished in the first week of October in Ngari Darchen, Purang County, Ngari Prefecture, “TAR”. In a similar incident on 14 August 2007, a statue of Guru Rinpoche under construction at Rongpatsa Village, Kardze County, Kardze “TAP” was suspended following the local authorities’ issuance of an order prohibiting construction of the statue; Since the first week of September 2007, the Chinese authorities have commenced an intense “Patriotic Education” Campaign in Lithang and the surrounding counties. On 2 September, Adruk Kalgyam, a Tibetan nomad from Youru Kharshul Village, was arrested for challenging the Chinese authorities during the campaign. In a similar case on 3 October 2007, Jamyang Tenzin, a monk of Youru Geydenling Monastery in Lithang County was arrested for his open opposition to the authorities during the ‘Patriotic Education’ Campaign. The fate of these two still remains unknown; On around 7 September, police detained some 40 students alleged to have written slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and a free Tibet the previous day on the walls of the village police station and on other walls in the village. Within 48 hours, all but seven of the students were released from police custody. The seven students, all from nomadic families, are students of Amchok Bora Village Secondary School, in Labrang County (Ch: Xiahe xian), Gannan/ Kanlho “TAP” in Gansu Province. Four schoolboys from the group of seven detained are still in custody after being tortured for the alleged offence of scribbling graffiti. The use of torture is still an endemic and prevalent practice in Tibet despite China’s signature and ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture. The prohibition on torture is well established under international law. It is unambiguous and absolute. It is binding on all States in all territories under their jurisdiction or effective control. It applies in all circumstances and times. Nor is torture permissible when it is called something else: cruel and inhuman treatment is unacceptable and illegal, irrespective of the name it is given; Continued on page 5
IOC rebuffs Tibetan request for own team at Beijing Olympics The Canadian Press, 12, December LAUSANNE, Switzerland - The International Olympic Committee has rejected an attempt by Tibet to field its own team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Delegates from the unofficial Tibetan National Olympic Committee met with Olympic officials today at the I-O-C headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Outside, more than 100 supporters, including some Buddhist monks, waved banners and Tibetan flags. However, a spokesman for the Tibetan group, Wangpo Tethong, said later that the I-O-C was not in a position to accept its application. Michel Filliau, a senior I-O-C official who took part in the meeting, said a rule change in 1996 means only national committees from countries recognized by the international community can take part in the Olympics. A special exemption is granted only to those territories whose national committees were recognized before 1996, such as those for the Palestinian territories, Hong Kong and Taiwan. which competes as Chinese Taipei. “In this particular case, athletes from the (Tibet) region would fall under the National Olympic Committee of China,” said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies. Beijing dismissed outright the request from Tibet, which has been controlled by China since 1951. “Tibet is part of China’s territory,” the Beijing organizing committee said Monday in a statement. “The possibility of participating in the Beijing Olympics as a separate group does not exist.” Tethong said he was “frustrated” by what he felt was the IOC alienating itself from its original principles. “We have about 30 athletes, all Tibetan refugees, scattered around the world,” he said. “None of them want to start under the Chinese flag.” Tethong was accompanied at the meeting by Jigme Puenkang, a 25year-old sprinter from Zurich, and Dominik Kelsang Erne, a table tennis player who has competed at the national level in Switzerland. “We want to send a message of hope to the people of Tibet, who are suffering under the Chinese occupation,” Erne said. Adolf Ogi, a former Swiss president who now serves as United Nations envoy for sports and peace, said it was unlikely that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would intervene on the Tibetans’ behalf. “We tried it with Kosovo for the soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games, and we failed,” he told The Associated Press. “Even if the U.N. expressed an opinion, the decision rests with the IOC.” Tibet is one of several delicate issues Olympic officials have had to deal with in the run-up to next year’s games. Worries over Beijing’s high air pollution, reporting restrictions on foreign journalists and criticism of China’s human rights record have also forced the IOC to engage in careful diplomacy ahead of the Olympics, which begin Aug. 8.
The Tibet Post
House Honors Suu Kyi
WASHINGTON (AP 18-12-2007) — The House voted Monday to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest civilian honor, on Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Supporters of the legislation, which passed 400-0, made clear the award was meant to send a message to the military leaders in Myanmar, or Burma, who have suppressed political freedoms in that Asian country the past two decades. Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, WordpressBy honoring Suu Kyi, said Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., “we will continue to pressure the junta to release her and bring freedom and democracy to the people of Burma.”
Continued from page 4
Heightened vigilance and strict measures prior to and after the conferment of the highest civilian award by the US to the Dalai Lama on 17 October 2007 have resulted in China’s violation of fundamental human rights of Tibetans in Tibet. The Chinese authorities utilized various precautionary measures including heightened vigilance, closer supervision of suspected individuals and former political prisoners, even resorting to arbitrary arrest and detention. In particular, the atmosphere at Drepung Monastery remains tense, with monks under continued heightened surveillance. A massive contingent of PAP forces were deployed around the monastery, restricting people’s right to freedom of movement. A monk and four laypersons were arrested in Amdo Labrang Tashikyil Monastery in Sangchu County, Kanlho “TAP”, Gansu Province following offering of Sangsol Prayer and bursting firecrackers in celebration of the award to the Dalai Lama. There were also reports of two Tibetans having been arrested from Othok Village, Lithang County, Kardze “TAP” on 17 October following hoisting prayer flags and offering Sangsol prayer in honor of the Dalai Lama’s receiving the US’ highest civilian award; Another shooting incident on fleeing Tibetan refugees at Nangpa Pass on 18 October this year left nine missing and three arrested from the initial group of 46 Tibetans; On 20 November, Kardze Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Ronggye A’drak to eight years of imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for four years on charges of “inciting to split the country to undermine the country unity,” and “severely disrupting the public order”. Whereas Adruk Lopoe, a nephew of Ronggye A’drak received the heaviest sentence of ten years’ imprisonment on charges of “colluding with foreign separatist forces to split the country and distributing political pamphlets.” Kunkhen (“Jacmyang Goinqen”), an artist who was arbitrarily arrested on 22 August by the Lithang County PSB officials for unknown reason, was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment on charges of “carrying out splittist activities,” and Lothok was given three years imprisonment by the same court. Over 130 Tibetans still remain detained in various prisons in Tibet for exercising their freedom of expression. The Panchen Rinpoche, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and many more senior religious leaders’ whereabouts still remain unknown.
Suu Kyi, 62, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has been detained for 12 of the past 18 years. Her National League for Democracy party won elections in 1990 but the military junta refused to cede power, placing her under house arrest. In October, over Chinese objections, President Bush attended ceremonies in the Capitol to award the gold medal to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual and human rights leader who lives in exile because of his opposition to the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet. Other non-American recipients include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, South African political leader Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. George Washington received the first Gold Medal, which originally was given to military heroes but was later expanded to include scientists, explorers, artists, athletes, humanitarians and others with notable achievements and contributions. More than 300 individuals and groups have received the award. The Senate must also approve the legislation. The bill is H.R. 4286. H.R. 4286: to award a congressional gold medal to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in recognition of her courageous and unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, human rights, and democracy in Burma At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed. 2:43 P.M. - DEBATE - The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 4286. Considered under suspension of the rules. 2:41 P.M. - Mr. Crowley moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill.
The case of Ronggye A’drak and three others from Lithang County and the lengthy prison terms given by Kardze Intermediate People’s Court under vaguely defined charges of ‘endangering state security’, clearly epitomize the magnitude of repression and the price Tibetans inside Tibet are paying for the peaceful exercise of rights enshrined in Chinese constitution and other fundamental human rights, which are protected by international covenants which China is a party. On this important occasion, TCHRD expresses its concerns over China’s increasing use of the vague terms - “endangering state security”, “disrupting social order” and “public order crimes”, etc., as a part of Chinese law, to arrest and imprison Tibetans. TCHRD urges the Chinese leadership to put an immediate end to the practice of torture in Tibet and the conduct of “patriotic education” campaigns in the monastic institutions of Tibet. The Centre urges China to respect the provisions in the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), both to which it is a state party. China should honor its commitments to and ratify the optional protocol to the CAT and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Centre also calls upon the Chinese government to respect and comply with international standards of human rights practices and its constitutional guarantees. On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, TCHRD has released a poster and sticker entitled “Celebration of Human Rights Violations, Beijing 2008- One World, One Dream, Let There Be Human Rights In Tibet.” It depicts various human rights violations -viz. torture, curtailment of freedom of expression, arbitrary arrest and detention, lengthy prison term, and repression of religious freedom - taking place inside Tibet by using the symbolic Olympic mascots inside the five Olympic rings. The overall human rights situation in Tibet and China remains grim despite international scrutiny of China’s human rights policies and practices before the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics. The international community should remind itself that behind all the glitz and glamour of the biggest international sporting event next summer, there are people inside China and Tibet who are harassed and imprisoned everyday for exercising their fundamental human rights enshrined in the UDHR and in China’s very own Constitution.
18 December, 2007 Dharamsala
Why Canada Should Boycott the Beijing Olympics By OnTheWeb: Martin Tampier Tuesday, December 18, 2007 In 2010, the world will get together in Vancouver-Whistler for the Olympic Winter Games. We will welcome them to an open society that appreciates different cultures and grants its citizens the freedoms that are so important to living with of dignity. Not so next year, at the Beijing Olympics. China has been, and still is today, a society that denies these rights and freedoms to its citizens. You may have heard about their killing prisoners to sell the organs to Western customers. Or their disregard of local residents in their rapid expansion of construction, industry and power generation projects. Or the child workers employed to make souvenirs for the upcoming Olympics. We also know what happened in 1989 at Tiananmen Square, where the army brutally suppressed a worker and student protest, leaving several hundred dead. And we would all like to believe that these things are past, and that China is now becoming more open and a more responsible citizen of the world. But this is far from being the case. Since the announcement that Beijing would get the Olympics, we are seeing a drastic, but underreported, crackdown on religious minorities. This time it’s not only Falun Gong members, but also Christian churches that are being raided by the Chinese military police. Here are some examples from this year: 22 evangelical leaders were arrested in June. Authorities of the eastern Shandong province condemned two leaders of evangelical house churches to a year of “reeducation through labour”. Others were detained for several days without charge, or were also likely to be condemned to work in a labour camp. In July, 15 house church leaders were detained by military police within one week in Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu and Anhui province. A Vacation Bible School for 150 children was attacked and two teachers were beaten and hospitalized. Police did not provide any legal paper for the arrest, blaming one pastor of being involved in “illegal religious activities.” This December, 270 Chinese pastors were arrested during a Bible study gathering. 40-50 policemen from 12 different towns were involved in the massive detention. Last year alone, according to China Aid Association, the Chinese government arrested 1,958 pastors and members of unregistered Protestant churches. A similar number was reported for 2005. This absolute disregard for what we hold dear in Canada – religious freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to assemble – shows that the Western strategy of “opening up” China with increased trade and the Olympic Games is not working. Canada has a long history of standing up for what’s right. Our own government website states, “Canada has been a consistently strong voice for the protection of human rights and the advancement of democratic values, from our central role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1947-8 to our work at the United Nations today.” It also states, “Responses to specific situations depend upon a number of considerations, including a government’s relative commitment to human rights and the effectiveness of the means of influence at our disposal.” When could there be a more effective moment to act than when we host the Winter Olympics just two years after Beijing? A 2006/2007 scorecard report by UN Watch praised Canada for its stance on
human rights, but went on to say that it fails to speak out often or strongly enough for victims of most of the world’s worst regimes, remaining silent when it came to notorious abuses in China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. Is this the legacy we want? A boycott by Canada would but follow good advice from many others who are concerned. For example, actor Richard Gere, Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, is calling for a boycott of the Games because of the Tibet question. Reporters without Borders have asked for a boycott because of human rights violations. Others, including 106 lawmakers in the U.S., call for a boycott because of China’s support for Omar alBashir, who is responsible for governmental violence in Darfour (Sudan). From within China, voices of disappointment about the impact of the Olympic Games can also be heard. An open letter sent to the Chairman of the Olympic Committee by a group of Chinese lawyers and human rights activists in 2006 states, “The Chinese government is already preparing an illusion of peace and prosperity to mislead visitors. In doing so, they feel that voices critical of the government need to be crushed. That is exactly why they are engaging in large scale suppression of the human rights movement in China”. Then again, why mix sports with politics? Should we not keep these issues out of the Olympic Games? The problem is, the entire idea if having the Games in Beijing is pure politics. Beijing’s bid for the Games ran against Istanbul, Osaka, Toronto, and Paris. Was the decision to go to China taken because of their better
plans? The nicer environment? The more accommodating culture? No – it was taken precisely in order to engage China and to help it integrate better with the rest of the world. Even the Olympic Charter states, “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” So, from the start, the Olympics were meant to make China a better place. And that certainly is not happening. If we don’t use this opportunity now to speak out against Chinese Gestapo practices (meant to “clean the streets” before the Olympics take place), we never will. And China will never change. They will have gotten away with it once again and the West will have turned a blind eye. That’s politics, too: remaining silent for political reasons. Not wanting to upset anybody. When is enough, enough? To quote the letter from the group of Chinese lawyers again, “the Seoul Games and those held in South Africa were turning points for the countries hosting them and this is why we are writing to you: we know the IOC is not a humanitarian or a political organization but according to its expressed goals, we believe the committee is obligated to press the Chinese government to improve human and civil rights in China.” A boycott will upset our trade relationships with China. It will upset the 2010 Winter Olympics. Is it worth the price? Ask the ones who were imprisoned; ask the ones who are praying for them. They are hoping for a different China. We must not miss our chance to take a stand before it is too late!
USA Bush Cabinet Meeting
17, December 2007. Word picture news. President George W. Bush, with Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and the Cabinet, speaking to the press in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2007.
FRANCE Donors Conference for Palestinian State
17, December 2007. Word picture news. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, from left to right, walks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and French Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, at the Paris conference of donors for the Palestinian state, on Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. Fayyad is asking for US$5.6 billion (€3.9 billion) in donations over the next three years, 70 percent of it for budget support and the rest for development projects.
Printed at Imperial Printing Press, Gurudwara Road, Kotwali Bazar, Dharamshala-176215 (H.P.) Tel: - 222390/224453
18 December, 2007 Dharamsala
Reporters Without Borders stages demo in Hong Kong after being banned from mainland China eight months ahead of Olympic games rsf.org, A large flag showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs was unfurled outside the Liaison Office of the central people’s government of China in Hong Kong today by five Reporters Without Borders representatives, including secretary-general Robert Ménard, in a protest to mark Human Rights Day. Two days before Chinese authorities refused to give visas to members of the press freedom organisation. (JPEG) “We had initially planned to stage this demonstration in Beijing, but the authorities refused to give us visas,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We know that some of us are blacklisted by the Chinese immigration services (photo below). At a time when the government is compiling files on foreign journalists and human rights activists in advance of the Olympic Games, this refusal is evidence of its determination to keep critics at a distance. “The Chinese authorities are clearly not prepared to let people remind them of the undertakings they gave to improve the situation of human rights and, in particular, press freedom when they were awarded the 2008 Olympics in 2001. “We have to do something as we are just eight months away from the start of the Olympic Games. In view of the International Olympic Committee’s silence and the Chinese government’s refusal to keep its promise to improve respect for rights and freedoms, we have a duty to draw attention to the disastrous situation for free speech in China. The Chinese government must take firm action before the games, starting with the release of the hundred or so detained journalists and cyber-dissidents.” Reporters Without Borders added : “We are not trying to spoil a major sports event, but who will be able to say these games have been a success when thousands of prisoners of conscience languish in Chinese jails overshadowed by these sports stadiums ? Who will be able to believe in the ‘One World, One Dream’ slogan of these games when Tibetan and Uyghur minorities are subject to serious discrimination ?”\ (JPEG) The five Reporters Without Borders activists unfurled the 15-square-metre flag outside the Chinese government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong at 2.30 p.m. local time. The image on the flag, the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs, and the accompanying words, “Beijing 2008,” refer to the terrible situation of free expression in China. In a previous protest, four Reporters Without Borders representatives, including its president, Fernando Castello, its vice-president, Rubina Möhring, and Ménard gave an unauthorised news conference outside the building of the Olympic Games Organising Committee, the BOCOG, in Beijing on 6 August. They were arrested later the same day at their hotel and escorted to the airport. The world’s biggest prison for journalists China is the world’s biggest prison for journalists (33 detained), cyber-dissidents (49 detained) and free speech activists. In all, about 100 of them are currently serving prison sentences in appalling conditions after being convicted on charges of “subversion” or “disseminating state secrets.” Although the Chinese media, now subject to the law of the market, have been evolving rapidly, the Propaganda Department and the political police continue to monitor, censor and arrest recalcitrant journalists. In January, the authorities eased the regulations governing the work of foreign journalists because of this year’s Olympics. Since then there have nonetheless been at least 60 cases of police detaining, manhandling or otherwise obstructing foreign correspondents in the course of their work. In one recent case, a Swiss TV reporter was hit and detained for seven hours by officials in a village near Beijing. After Beijing had just been awarded the 2008 Games in Moscow in 2001, a representative of the Beijing Candidate Committee said : “By entrusting the organisation of the Olympic Games to Beijing , you will help the development of human rights.” Six year later, Reporters Without Borders has not seen any durable improvement in press freedom or online free expression. Chinese journalists continue to push back the limits of censorship but the authorities monitor and punish the most critical ones. In November, the Propaganda Department banned the Chinese media from carrying “negative” stories on matters such as air pollution, a dispute over Taiwan’s inclusion in the Olympic torch relay, and public health issues. The Internet is also controlled. Chinese Internet users are prevented from accessing
thousands of news websites based abroad. Chinese cyber-police and cyber-censors scrutinise online content looking for criticism. Around 20 companies, some of them American, had to sign a “selfdisciplinary pledge” in August undertaking to censor the blogs they host in China and to ask bloggers to reveal their real identity. The IOC’s silent complicity All over the world, concern is growing about what is happening with the 2008 games, which are being exploited by a government that refuses to take action to guarantee freedom of expression and respect the Olympic Charter’s humanistic values. Reporters Without Borders has written several letters to IOC president Jacques Rogge asking him to intervene. He has never replied personally, but his close aides regularly point out the IOC is not a “political” organisation and cannot put pressure on a “sovereign state.” The IOC is constantly trumpeting the progress being made with the work on the Beijing games infrastructure but it has not made any public statement of concern about the lack of freedom of expression, which will undermine the work of the media and the transparency that is needed for the games. In a letter to Rogge on 29 November, Reporters Without Borders wrote : “It is your silence that has unfortunately made all these abuses possible. We continue to think that the IOC should do everything it can to influence the policies of the Beijing games organisers towards Chinese and foreign journalists. A failure to rise to this key chal-
lenge would represent an enormous setback in the history of the Olympic movement.”
Tibetans Detail Chinese Exploitation of Their Homeland’s Environment By Steve Herman VOA, New Delhi, 10 December 2007 Tibetan exiles say China’s exploitation of the Himalayan land is degrading the environment and will have an impact beyond Tibet. They say they believe China will be forced to respond to their accusations because of the current worldwide attention on the environment. VOA’s Steve Herman reports from New Delhi. A report by the Tibetan government-in-exile contends Beijing’s policy of building largescale infrastructure projects is destroying the fragile Tibetan grasslands and displacing pastoral nomads. T h e g o v e r n m e n t - i n e x i l e ’s s e c r e t a r y of information and international relations, Sonam Dagpo, told reporters here Monday that the problems highlighted in its report will have an impact far beyond Tibet. “This report is not to shame China but to ... highlight the problems which we face in Tibet,” he said. “And it’s not only for the Tibetan people. Tibet being one of the highest plateaus in the world - we call it ‘the roof of the world’ - it’s the source of all the major rivers of Asia. Whatever impacts in Tibet, it impacts Asia and the world.” Two Tibetan woman stand at the foot of the 7,191-metre Nojing Kangtsang glacier, 27 Feb 2007 The United Nations says more than half of the world’s population depends on water from the Tibetan plateau. The Tibetans’ report says plans for hydroelectric dams in Tibet will mean decreasing water supplies in India and Bangladesh, and
as far away as Vietnam. It says these projects are meant to supply electricity to Chinese cities, not to address Tibet’s water and electrical needs. The Tibetans, who operate their government-in-exile from the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, say the roads, railways and bridges that Beijing is building to exploit Tibet’s natural resources are destroying a traditional culture that the Chinese regard as out of step with the modern era. Kate Saunders is the spokesperson for the U.S.based International Campaign for Tibet. She says despite the central government’s previous refusal to acknowledge warnings of environmental destruction in Tibet, the topic is being discussed within Chinese society. “From a central level there’s intransigence,” she says, “but on different levels, multiple levels within Chinese society, it’s still possible to make some headway and have some discussion on environment.” The activists acknowledge that Tibetan warnings have been ignored by Beijing before. But they say that with climate change now a major issue on the world stage, they are finding it easy to locate scientists and environmentalists who will help to bring pressure on Beijing. The 250-page report is likely to be viewed by Beijing as a political attack on it by followers of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, who the Chinese leaders regard as a separatist. The Dalai Lama said last month that the Chinese government has begun steps to limit deforestation in Tibet, but he said corruption is hampering the effort.
EU-China: Beijing summit and human rights dialogue
European Parliament, Human rights 13-12-2007. In a resolution on relations with China, Parliament welcomes closer ties but highlights remaining differences over trade, Tibet and human rights, notably with a view to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.EU-China summit: trade, counterfeiting and human rights
Tourists invade Tibet AP. 15, December 2007, Railway linking Lhasa with China brings thousands to holy sites THREE crimson-robed monks chant quietly as they file through the ancient palace, pausing every now and then to pray in the candlelit rooms filled with Buddhist statues and religious murals. At the Potala Palace, the mountaintop Tibetan landmark where the Dalai Lama lived until he fled to India in 1959 to escape Chinese control, they are in the minority. A year-old rail line linking Lhasa, capital of the remote Himalayan region of Tibet, with the rest of China has brought a deluge of Chinese tourists. Once quiet holy sites are now filled with sightseers, many of them trailing behind guides loudly explaining their cultural significance. “In the past, this was a very comfortable place to come for Buddhists. You could see a lot of lamas and Tibetans in this place and it made you feel like this was a place for your faith,” monk Renzin Gyaltso said as he strolled down a stone path at the Potala Palace. Tibet’s Buddhist culture, often besieged in the past half-century of Chinese rule by religious restrictions and communist political movements, is facing a new threat: mass tourism. Pilgrimages to sacred sites are an integral part of Tibetan Buddhism. Renzin Gyaltso, 29, has visited the sprawling Potala Palace 14 times since joining a monastery as a small boy.
The Tibet Post
“Now I feel sad when I come here because I cannot see any good people, I can’t see any people wearing lama robes. You can’t see anything special, they all look the same,” he said of the tourists, dressed in fleece jackets and sneakers. The Dalai Lama has warned that Tibet’s religion and culture are imperilled as he travels the world meeting heads of state and drawing harsh rebukes from China. “Every year, the Chinese population inside Tibet is increasing at an alarming rate. And if we are to judge by the example of the population of Lhasa, there is a real danger that the Tibetans will be reduced to an insignificant minority in their own homeland,” he said when accepting the U.S. Congress’ highest civilian honour in October. Few government plans have succeeded in bringing Chinese to Tibet like the “Sky Train,” which has become a popular alternative to expensive flights or long, bonecrunching bus rides. Beijing wanted to build a railway to Tibet for decades but was put off by engineering challenges. The project got underway in earnest in 2001 and the train began running in July 2006, on a specially designed track to protect the delicate permafrost that lies under much of the last third of the rail line. According to government statistics, 3.2 million tourists visited Tibet in the first nine month of this year, an increase of 67 per cent over the same period in 2006.
While welcoming the Joint Statement of the 10th EU-China Summit of 28 November 2007, in which both sides speak of developing a comprehensive strategic partnership to meet global challenges, Parliament’s resolution calls for “a more balanced trade and economic partnership which should lead to sustainable growth and social development, in particular in the areas of climate change, environment and energy” It also notes that “the pirating and counterfeiting of European products and brands by Chinese industries constitutes a serious violation of international trade rules” and urges the Chinese authorities to take action. In addition, Parliament regrets that “once again the Council and Commission have failed to raise in a firm manner human rights issues” and that “the EU did not take the opportunity of the approach of the Olympics to address serious human rights concerns in China”. It calls on the Council “to make a comprehensive evaluation of the human rights situation before finalizing any new Partnership and Cooperation Framework Agreement” and stresses that any such agreement will require the EP’s formal assent. MEPs also insist that the EU arms embargo on China following the Tiananmen events “must remain intact until substantial progress is made on human rights issues”. Human rights dialogue: Tibet, Olympic Games, Myanmar and Darfur In addition, the resolution refers to the recent rounds of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights. It stresses that “China’s human rights record remains a matter of serious concern” and stresses the need to improve the EUChina human rights dialogue. MEPs highlight key issues that must continue to be raised in the dialogue: ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reform of the criminal justice system, freedom of expression, particularly on the Internet, freedom of the press, freedom
of access to information, freedom of conscience, thought and religion, the situation of minorities in Tibet, the release of Tiananmen detainees and workers’ rights. On Tibet, MEPs regret that “the sixth Sino-Tibetan round of talks has brought about no results”. They call on the Chinese government “to engage in substantive negotiations taking into due consideration the demands of the Dalai Lama for autonomy for Tibet”. China is also urged to refrain from exerting pressure on states that have friendly relations with the Dalai Lama. Reports of “continuing human rights violations in Tibet and other provinces inhabited by Tibetan people” are noted with concern and MEPs call on China to allow an independent body to have access to the Panchen Lama. Turning to the 2008 Olympic Games, Parliament argues “that human rights concerns should receive much more focus in the build-up to the Beijing Olympic Games” and points in this connection to Articles 1 and 2 of the Olympic Charter. It also requests the International Olympic Committee “to publish its own assessment of China’s compliance with the undertakings given in 2001 before the Games were awarded to Beijing”. The resolution highlights political persecution related to the Olympics, of human rights defenders, journalists and others. The repression of ethnic groups such as the Uighurs and religious groups such as the Falun Gong is also condemned, as is the surveillance and censorship of information on the internet. In addition, Parliament wants the Chinese authorities “to establish a moratorium on executions during the Olympic Games in 2008, and to withdraw the list of 42 banned categories of people”. Lastly, among other demands, the resolution calls on China “to implement the recommendations of the UN special rapporteur on torture” and “to stop its ongoing support for the regimes in Myanmar and Darfur”.