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Visiting Chinese official on Thursday asked Nepal to control possible anti-China activities in the upcoming months on its soil, according to media reports.
March 10 this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising, which forced Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans to flee into exile in 1959.
In 1959, anti-Chinese and anti-Communist revolt erupted in Lhasa leading to the deaths of 86,000 Tibetans and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile, according to figures of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue arrived arrived in Kathmandu with a 13-member delegation on Wednesday. The delegation met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, and other senior government officials and urged them to curb possible anti-China demonstrations.
During the meeting with Nepali officials on Thursday, Zhengyue said that the year 2009 was a “sensitive year” for China and urged increased surveillance to curb anti-China activities on Nepali soil, ekantipur.com reported.
During the visit to Nepal in December, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had also expressed concern regarding possible “Free Tibet” protests in Nepal in 2009.
Prime Minister Dahal reaffirmed Nepal’s commitment to adopt strong measures to control anti-China activities, media reports quoted his Press Advisor Om Sharma as saying. Defence Minister Thapa also reportedly told the delegation that the government would beef up security along Nepal-China border to prevent the “Dalai Lama’s supporters from entering Tibet.”
“We are committed to addressing the national security concerns of China,” Thapa told reporters after meeting the delegation. He, however, maintained that the matter was “more than a bilateral issue” between Nepal and China. “The issue of Tibet is a tripartite issue between Nepal, India and China. So the three countries must work together to solve it,” Thapa told reporters.
According to media reports, the delegation also met with Home Secretary, Chief of Nepal Police and Chief of the Armed Police Force jointly and held an hour’s discussion on ways to control anti-China activities.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister described the development as being “regular and normal exchange” of the visits.
As usual, the exchanges have, however, come not without Beijing’s favour to increase its aids to the economically-starved landlocked Himalayan country. The Chinese envoy reportedly told the Nepalese counterparts that his government was going to increase its assistance to Nepal in various fields.
Nepalese foreign ministry spokesman Suresh Pradhan said Prime Minister Dahal will make an official visit to Beijing by the end of April or the first half of May.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Dahal also reportedly requested the Chinese side to fund the construction of the 400 MW Narsinghgad Hydropower Project in Jajarkot as a “gift project.”
It is also reported that during the Nepalese prime minister’s trip to Beijing, both governments would finalise a landmark Peace and Friendship Treaty, which would redefine the relationship between China and Nepal.
The Chinese delegation is scheduled to leave for New Delhi on Friday, media reports said.
Tibetans in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal staged some of the most sustained and regular anti-China protests last year after unrest against Chinese rule in Tibet faced brutal Chinese military crackdown.
A group of self-proclaimed Tibetan activists on Wednesday, which marked the first day of Tibetan New Year, hoisted a Tibetan National flag on the wall of Chinese Embassy’s visa office in Kathmandu and painted “Free Tibet” on its main gate.
The district administration in Kathmandu, which last year witnessed continuous protests by Tibetans for almost eight months, has prohibited all protests near the Chinese embassy and its visa office from Saturday, IANS reported today.
According to the report, the indefinite curb extends to all areas within 200 metres of the Chinese embassy.
Nepal had come under international criticism last year for its brutal treatment of Tibetan protesters, and was accused of acting under pressure from China.
Nepal police this week arrested twelve Tibetan nationals, including four women, who entered the country through Nepal-Tibet border and were handed over to authorities in kathmandu.
Every year, many Tibetans escape via Nepal to India, often after undertaking incredibly risky journey across the harsh Himalayan terrains.
Chinese police today shot a burning Tibetan monk before they put him out, the Free Tibet campaign said.
The monk had set himself on fire in a protest over Tibetan new year rituals in Aba county, Sichuan province, the group said. The area saw some of the worst unrest during Tibetan protests last March.
Free Tibet said witnesses saw Tabe, a monk aged in his 20s, walking from Kirti monastery into town this afternoon. He was carrying a hand-drawn Tibetan flag with a picture of the Dalai Lama at its centre.
“He doused himself in petrol. The armed police could not get near him because he was burning,” said Matt Whitticase, a campaign spokesman. “Witnesses heard three gunshots fired. The monk fell to the ground and the police managed to put the flames out. He was immediately put into a van and taken to an undisclosed location. His present condition is unknown.”
The claims could not be confirmed independently, but Whitticase said the group had indirect accounts from three witnesses. Tibetans have been heavily punished for passing details of incidents to outsiders.
Free Tibet said up to 800 monks had reportedly gone to Tabe’s home village of Trinkin to say prayers, believing him to be dead.
The group said Tabe’s protest followed an attempt by almost 1,000 monks at Kirte to use a prayer hall to observe the Monlam festival – part of Tibetan new year – despite being told not to do so. They were told to return to their rooms.
The authorities have been angered by some Tibetans deciding to boycott new year celebrations other than religious rituals as a mark of protest against Chinese rule.
Last year, Tibetan exile groups said police shot dead several protestors in Aba county. The campaigners released graphic photographs of bodies and the names of five alleged victims.
Chinese state media subsequently said that officers shot and wounded “rioters” in self-defence.
More than 100 monks from the Lutsang monastery in Qinghai province held a candlelit vigil and protest march on Wednesday, the US government-funded Radio Free Asia reported today.
By Woeser, translated by High Peaks Pure Earth
Losar is almost upon us and, as we all know, Tibetans have very different feelings towards this year’s Losar. The concerned authorities took notice of this very early on. Party Secretary Zhang Qingli has repeatedly given the orders, saying “playing the first move of the chess well, and wage a war on one’s initiative well”. Various state media have attributed this “Not celebrating Losar” to the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Tibetan Youth Congress. In reality, “Not celebrating Losar” was first proposed by Tibetans in Tibet and originated out of spontaneous wishes. Nobody organized Tibetans “Not celebrating Losar”; nobody called on Tibetans “not to celebrate Losar”, no, no. However, the impact is tremendous, everyone is aware of this great ‘civil disobedience’ all over Tibet.
Some say that this kind of “civil disobedience” is only at a low-level, that it is merely not celebrating and nothing more. They maintain that it is a safe action which ends on the individual level, is short-term and does not entail much great risk. In fact, this is not true. Over the past year, the military might all over Tibet has been so great that all Tibetan areas have become prison-like. In today when you could even be arrested for listening to music, “not to celebrate Losar” has been regarded as a serious “separatist” activity, so much so that some Tibetans have been accused of spreading “not to celebrate Losar” rumours and been arrested. In fact, ‘civil disobedience’ in Tibetan areas is even more difficult to carry out than in other places, therefore any kind of result obtained is worth paying attention to.
The way this government treats Tibetans is inhuman. Any kind of Tibetan demands have been trampled on contemptuously. All Tibetan hopes have been shattered contemptuously. The Dalai Lama has not been able to return to his own homeland for fifty years. The Panchen Lama has been missing from the world for thirteen years. It has been ten years since the Karmapa left his home…there is also the wrongly imprisoned Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, how many elderly people in Kham called out his name as they breathed their last words, and they all died with the injustice unaddressed. Those locals haven’t been celebrating any festivals or holidays for the last few years…Many predictions have become an alarming reality, the thirteenth Dalai Lama once said: “Tibetan people will be stripped of their rights and property, and we will become the slaves of the invaders…” One of my monk friend’s 70 year old mother took to the streets last year to protest. Later, a working group went from door to door to investigate why they had participated in protest, were they not demanding “Tibetan Independence”? The old woman said: “Independence or no independence, I don’t know, neither do I understand it, but I know very well that we don’t have freedom, we don’t have rights, I took to the streets, and what I want is freedom and rights.”
And Tibetans have never stopped voicing their demands and protesting: major episodes of dissent occurred in 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999… and right up until last year when the scale of demonstrations shocked the world. Of course, the inhumanness of the authorities once again became reality: its response is still heavily armed military police, armoured vehicles and jails. It has always been nothing but “strike hard” campaigns. People who live under such state violence usually fear the violence, and they have to be silent because of their fear. It is a long-term silence and a silence in which people are leading a befuddled life. It is also a silence in which “people are deeply grateful”; and it is a silence in which they can only prostrate, hang up prayer flags and distribute lungtas (wind-horses)… This is not something one can not understand. But this time it is different.
A Tibetan went back to Lhasa from the west and after spending a short time very cautiously, he returned to the free world. He sent me a letter and said that when he went back before, he was always disappointed with what he found. He said people only talked about money or having fun. But this time when he went back he felt there was hope because it was totally different. I also have a Tibetan friend who went back to Amdo from a Chinese area. This friend visited cities and towns and villages and he was encouraged by everyone he met: everyone from government officials to herdsmen from his hometown. So he told me: “I have been surprised again. Last year Tibetans surprised everyone, and this year it’s the same. This is so great, we are of one mind. It gives people hope.”
What’s striking here is that these two friends independently expressed to me their hope. And this struck me as unusual. It reminded of a Czech intellectual who once commented on the relationship between the citizens and the unjust authorities: The more one acts like a slave and a servant, and is full of fear, the less seriously the authorities will take you. Only if you have them understand that injustice and despotism can not proceed without obstruction, will you have some hope that they will restrain themselves to some extent. People must forever keep their dignity, not to be scared of threat, not to servilely beg others, and only to tell the truth. In doing so, people can create a kind of pressure because all these are acutely set against the actions of the authorities.”
19th February, 2009, Beijing
PARIS – The former partner of Yves Saint Laurent, who is selling the art collection he built up with the late fashion designer, said he would hand over two sculptures claimed by China — but only if Beijing agreed to free Tibet.
Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent’s former business partner and companion, is organizing the biggest private auction of art seen in Paris for years, selling the huge collection built up by the two in a three-day auction next week.
Among the works of art are two Chinese bronze sculptures of a rabbit and a rat head, taken during the Opium Wars of the 19th century that the Beijing government said earlier this month belonged to China and should not be auctioned.
Berge said he was not concerned by a claim due to be heard by Paris judges on Monday seeking to have the bronzes returned.
“I acquired them and I am completely protected by the law, so what the Chinese are saying is a bit ridiculous,” he told Reuters Television on Friday. “But I am prepared to offer this bronze head to the Chinese straight away.”
“All they have to do is to declare they are going to apply human rights, give the Tibetans back their freedom and agree to accept the Dalai Lama on their territory,” he said.
“If they do that, I would be very happy to go myself and bring these two Chinese heads to put them in the Summer Palace in Beijing.”
“It’s obviously blackmail but I accept that,” he said.
Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and the region’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled into exile in 1959 after a failed uprising against Beijing’s rule.
The official Xinhua news agency said earlier this month that the two sculptures, estimated to be worth 8-10 million euros ($10-12 million) each, were taken from Beijing’s Imperial Summer Palace, burned down by invading French and British forces in 1860.
Xinhua said China and France signed a 1995 convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects, “which stipulated that any cultural object looted or lost because of reasons of war should be returned without any limitation of time span.”
The Berge-Saint Laurent collection, gathered over decades, ranges from the two Chinese bronzes to paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Degas as well as art deco treasures and ancient Roman and baroque sculptures.
Saint Laurent, whose clothing designs revolutionized women’s fashion, died at the age of 71 last year and bequeathed his share of the collection to the charitable foundation he set up with Berge.
Auctioneers Christie’s expect the sale to raise up to 300 million euros, which Berge has said he will donate to AIDS research.
Dharamsala, February 19: A communist Party in Official in Tibet has warned Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns against political activity in the run-up to the first anniversary of last year’s massive unrest against Beijing’s rule in Tibet, according to a report by AP Thursday.
The warning also comes just little less than three weeks before the 50th anniversary of the abortive Tibetan uprising against China’s rule which forced Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to flee into exile in India in 1959.
The warning from Lobsang Gyaincain, published in the China’s official Tibet Daily on Thursday, followed a reported crackdown earlier this week on Tibetan protesters in Lithang, a volatile traditionally Tibetan region of Sichuan province.
Lobsang Gyaincain, who is a member of the standing committee of the regional Communist Party, also demanded that monks and nuns recognize what he called the “reactionary nature” of the Dalai Lama clique, as well as plots to use temples and clergy to carry out “infiltration and disturbances,” Tibet Daily reported.
Clergy must “refuse to take part in activities aimed at splitting the motherland, and not take part in illegal marches, demonstrations and other activities that disrupt social order,” it quoted Lobsang as telling a meeting of clergy on Wednesday.
The official also heads the regional party committee’s United Front Work Department, which is in charge of directly supervising Buddhist temples and clergy.
Chinese authorities in Tibet have also come with a fresh order calling on local nuns and monks to reject the Dalai Lama and separatist activities at an annual meet this week, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.
Monks and nuns should “safeguard social stability, the socialist legal system and fundamental interests of the people”, and should “consciously keep themselves away” from separatist activities and illegal demonstrations that impair social order, Xinhua quoted the new order as saying.
It asked Tibetan Buddhist monks to “see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is the ringleader of the separatist political association which seeks ‘Tibet independence’, a loyal tool of anti-China Western forces, the very root that causes social unrest in Tibet and the biggest obstacle for Tibetan Buddhism to build up its order”, the agency said.
The authorities had also awarded 36 monks and nuns and 10 monasteries with the title of “patriotic and law-abiding” models,Xinhua said.
China, which sent military troops to forcefully occupy Tibet in late 1949, regularly vilifies the 73-year-old Dalai Lama, who remains widely popular among Tibetans 50 years after fleeing to India and is revered by them as their supreme leader.
Beijing accuses elements of the Dalai Lama’s self-proclaimed government in exile of organizing last year’s anti-China unrest in Tibet, and claimed they “clear evidence” to prove the allegations.
Dalai Lama and the Tibet’s Government in exile rejected the accusations as baseless and unfounded, and openly challenged Beijing to produce evidence, if any. The Tibetan government also repeatedly urged Beijing to allow international monitoring body to independently assess the situation in Tibet and the nature of the unrest.
However, Beijing did not show any response to such calls, despite some international insistence also.
Wednesday’s meeting is a further sign of official nervousness ahead of the protest anniversary, particularly as next month also marks 50 years since the Dalai Lama’s flight abroad, AP said in its report.
Chinese security forces on Sunday and Monday swiftly broke up the protests in Lithang. At least 21 people were detained and troops were reportedly searching for others who might have joined in the demonstrations in which protesters shouted slogans calling for Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and demanded “independence for Tibet.”
According to media reports, Lithang, like other Tibetan regions, has been practically sealed off from the rest of China by road blocks and travel bans.
According to additional information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) from reliable sources regarding the protest demonstration by 15 Tibetans in Lithang County yesterday, Sonam Tenpa, 29 years old and Lobsang Tenzin, 23, in particularly sustained severe injuries from the brutal beating at the site of the demonstration and the whereabouts of Gelek Kunga, still remains unknown.
According to sources, “following a peaceful protest by fifteen Tibetans in the streets of Lithang main market, they were later joined by few Tibetan onlookers in the street. The Lithang County Public Security Bureau (PSB) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) detained five more Tibetans along with 15 other known Tibetans who staged a peaceful protest demonstration in Lithang on 16 February 2009 and were brutally beaten, manhandled at the site of the demonstration before being forcibly loaded into military trucks. They are, Damdul (only one name) the head of Dekyi Village, Lithang County, two other Tibetans whose identities could not be ascertained at the moment, and two Tibetan nomad ladies of Sako Village in Lithang County, Yanglo and Dolma.” The latter two were known to have been released last evening.
The total number of Tibetans known to have been detained, since 15 February solo protest by Lobsang Lhundup of Nekhor Monastery and subsequent peaceful on 16 February, has reached 21.
According to some close associates, “Lobsang Lhundup is currently detained at Lithang County PSB Detention Centre whereas other Tibetan detainees are currently held in Lithang Tsagha PSB Detention Centre.” According to sources, on learning about their detention at Tsagha PSB Detention Centre, the family members and relatives went to visit the detainees, however, to their shock, Gelek Kunga who was detained along with other Tibetans was nowhere to be seen in the detention centre. Many fear for the safety and the well being of Gelek Kunga since his detention and disappearance.
“The Shops and restaurants remain closed yesterday following the peaceful protest in Lithang town. The vehicular traffic movement between Lithang and Bathang, which is around 6-7 hours journey distant, was brought to a grinding halt after the protest and subsequent deployment of massive troops into the areas to check further Tibetan protest,” sources added.
TCHRD calls upon the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to immediately locate the whereabouts and safety of Gelek Kunga and in all circumstances guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all the detainees, and should guarantee immediate and unconditional access to legal representation, their families and any medical attention required for the injured detainees. The Centre deems the case as an outright clampdown on the freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet.
This year no Losar.
Last year was washed by blood.
In Lhasa countless compatriots
were fallen under a piercing arrow.
This year no Losar for us.
In Szechuan, countless people buried
under the earth.
This year no Losar for us.
There is only the word “No” on your lips,
We are speechless.
You are filled with anger.
We have no bitterness.
For the sake of the deceased,
Let us offer our regrets.
For the deceased people,
Let us make offerings.
– By an anonymous Tibetan blogger (heard on Students for a Free Tibet “Our Nation”).
Students for a Free Tibet: Our Nation Episode 4
BADEN BADEN, Germany – The Dalai Lama warned Wednesday of a fresh uprising in Tibet in the “very tense” run-up to the 50th anniversary of the failed rebellion against Chinese rule that prompted his flight into exile.
“Today there is too much anger… The situation is very tense,” said the 73-year-old Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader during a visit to the German spa town of Baden Baden.
“At any moment there can be an outburst of violence,” he told a group of journalists. “This is my worry because with more uprising, there will be more crackdown. Things are very sad.”
He added: “It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on the trigger when they carry weapons… So long as there is a Chinese military presence, there will be tension.”
“Since public execution is difficult, they use torture when Tibetans are detained, As soon as people are arrested, they use torture — and sometimes they kill them.”
Next month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising by Tibetans against communist Chinese rule — a violent episode that prompted the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in India.
China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist agitating for independence for Tibet. It lodges strong protests whenever he meets with political leaders overseas or is accorded an official welcome of any kind.
Now based in Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama denies he is seeking independence, saying he only wants real automony for Tibet and an end to Chinese cultural oppression.
He was in Baden Baden for a ceremony on Tuesday in which he received the 2008 German Media Prize, which is awarded every year by a panel of German editors and journalists.
Previous recipients have included Bill Clinton, the former US president; Nelson Mandela, the Nobel laureate and former South African president; and Helmut Kohl, Germany’s former chancellor.
Unrest most recently erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14 last year, and spread to Tibetan-populated regions around China.
Tibet’s government-in-exile, which is led by the Dalai Lama, said more than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent Chinese crackdown. The figures disputed by Beijing.
Earlier on Wednesday, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency revealed the sentencing of 76 people in connection with the violence — an increase from a previously reported figure of 55.
The Dalai Lama said Wednesday his information about the situation in Tibet came from “Tibetan groups or individuals who come to see me when they leave Tibet”.
He said he understood that, after more than a half-century under Chinese rule, many Tibetans have “desperate opinions,” but he argued that non-violence was the only way forward.
“The Chinese systematically suppress Tibetan identity,” he said. “The Chinese are determined to crush it mercilessly.”
In many places in Tibet, he said, schools have been closed, including privately funded schools which are “more free to teach Tibetan identity”.
It is essential, he said, “to create a signal (to Beijing) that the Tibetan question won’t go, unless a mutually accepted solution is found. That is important.”
“The interest for Tibetan culture and Tibetan human rights is now worldwide.”
Scuffles broke out between police and protesters at a pro-Tibet demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in London.
The protest was organised to coincide with a state visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.