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Dharamsala, Feb. 13: The US Wednesday expressed its concern on situation in Tibet, but did not specify if the issue would definitely be taken up by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to China later this month, according to a media report.

“You know, the situation in Tibet is something the US government has been concerned about for some time. We’ve raised that issue with the Chinese in the past,” PTI reported the State Department spokesperson, Robert Wood, as saying.

“The Secretary (of State) will be having a wide-ranging discussion with the Chinese when she is in China. I am not going to get beyond what we have said publicly about our engagement with China,” he said.

“But human rights issues are something that will be at the top of the Secretary’s agenda, no matter where she goes,” Wood said.

Wood was reportedly responding to a question about the latest statement from the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama that the situation in Tibet is very tense and there could be a popular uprising any moment.

“The issue could very well come up. I just don’t want to get into specific subject areas at this point. But you can expect that the Secretary is going to be bringing up human rights issues throughout the trip, where she deems it necessary to do so”, he said when asked about whether the issue would come up or not.

Mrs. Clinton, only a month into the job, as announced by the State Department last week, would be travelling on her first overseas trip in this position to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China during her week-long trip beginning February 15.

Meanwhile, seven prominent organizations, mostly based in US, Tuesday issued a joint press statement asking Mrs Clinton to put Human Rights on top of the agenda in her visit to Beijing next week.

In the statement, Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, and Reporters Without Borders urged Secretary Clinton to speak publicly about Tibet and Xinjiang, torture in police custody, domestic press censorship, extrajudicial detention, and abuses of human rights defenders.

The statement recalls the secretary’s own past comments on human rights in China, in which she stressed: “not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions.”

“If Secretary Clinton remains silent on these issues – as the US did earlier this week during China’s review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva – the Chinese government is likely to get the wrong message,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

“We ask the secretary to stress human rights, the rule of law, and protections for civil society as a centerpiece of US policy going forward,” she said.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has backed away from a DMCA take-down request to remove a YouTube video of a Tibetan protest at the Chinese consulate in New York.

The video in question (see below) was clearly not an example of copyright infringement. YouTube and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) both pushed back against the IOC, which then withdrew their complaint. As the EFF notes, however, the inaccurate title of the video was “Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony,” so in all likelihood, the IOC was filing DMCA notices for Olympics content, which has been springing up on YouTube faster than they can take it down.

Anthony Falzone, Executive Director of the Fair Use Project, was impressed that YouTube went beyond the call of duty in pushing back at the IOC. With the sheer volume of DMCA requests that YouTube must be fielding with the Olympics, taking the time to double-check the content is certainly impressive. At the same time, however, it highlights how much work YouTube has to do in terms of policing copyrighted content. The number of legal notices they have to respond to consume time and resources that might be put to better use.

Do you, like me, care about freedom and want to have a say about it?

Please join more than 100,000,000 people in the Biggest Light Protest on Earth for a Free Tibet.

Light a candle on August 7th at 9:00 p.m. (At your home, or in public)
Join and enjoy special light actions on the same night.
Drive with you car’s headlights on during August 8 2008.
Watch “Sad Smoky Mountains” teams paint the sky with red smoke.
Watch those attending the opening ceremony in Beijing light candles, flashlights, cell phones and lighters. All for a FREE TIBET.
Please us join ,

Love,

Candle for Tibet
http://www.candle4tibet.org/

Subject: FreeTibet2008.org: SFT Launches New Olympics Website/Video

With the start of the Beijing Olympics only 49 days away, SFT HQ is stepping up our Olympic campaign efforts. To ensure that you are kept up to date with news, analysis, and ways to participate in creative, strategic and effective actions for Tibet leading up to and during the Games, we are excited to launch SFT’s Olympics website: http://www.FreeTibet2008.org.

Visit http://www.FreeTibet2008.org now and watch our new SFT Olympics Campaign video, a moving account of what is at stake inside Tibet and the power we have – as Tibetans, supporters, and people of conscience – to make history for Tibet at this crucial time.

We are about to enter the most critical stage in our organization’s history, and indeed in the history of the Tibet movement, and we need your help.

After you watch SFT’s new Olympics Campaign video, download it and share it with your friends and family. Post it on your Facebook page, send it to all your email contacts and encourage everyone you know to donate to SFT in this Olympic year.

With your help, we will raise the necessary funds to seize this once-in-a-lifetime Olympic opportunity to make history for Tibet.

Make a donation right now: http://www.FreeTibet2008.org/donate

As the Chinese government prepares to launch its single-largest propaganda exercise ever, all of us at SFT are working with ever-greater intensity to keep the world’s attention focused on the Tibetan people’s cries for freedom. Tibetans continue to speak out despite the terrible risks, and need you in this critical time.

Please support our efforts by donating to SFT’s Olympics action fund now.

This is the most urgent time to support SFT as we effectively expend tremendous physical and financial resources toward realizing our goal – and the goal of the Tibetan people – human rights and freedom for Tibet.

This truly is the time. With your help, Tibet will be free.

Yours,
Lhadon Tethong

P.S. Please visit http://www.FreeTibet2008.org today. We’ve designed it as a one-stop resource for everything related to SFT’s Olympics campaign, featuring a media center, a photo and video gallery, resources and tools to help you get involved and take action, and streamlined information and analysis from SFT’s website and leading blogs.

YI BUI KHAW, Myanmar – The saffron-robed monks who spearheaded a bloody uprising last fall against Myanmar‘s military rulers are back on the front lines, this time providing food, shelter and spiritual solace to cyclone victims.

The military regime has moved to curb the Buddhist clerics’ efforts, even as it fails to deliver adequate aid itself. Authorities have given some monasteries deadlines to clear out refugees, many of whom have no homes to return to, monks and survivors say.

“There is no aid. We haven’t seen anyone from the government,” said U Pinyatale, the 45-year-old abbot of the Kyi Bui Kha monastery sharing almost depleted rice stocks and precious rainwater with some 100 homeless villagers huddled within its battered compound.

Similar scenes are being repeated in other areas of the Irrawaddy delta and Yangon, the country’s largest city, where monasteries became safe havens after Cyclone Nargis struck May 3 — and the regime did little.

“In the past I used to give donations to the monks. But now it’s the other way around. It’s the monks helping us,” said Aung Khaw, a 38-year-old construction worker who took his wife and young daughter to a monastery in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingtharyar after the roof of his flimsy house was blown away and its bamboo walls collapsed.

One of the monastery’s senior monks said he tried to argue with military officials who ordered the more than 100 refugees to leave.

“I don’t know where they will go. But that was the order,” he said, asking for anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The government has not announced such an order, which appeared to be applied selectively. Other monasteries in Yangon have been told to clear out cyclone victims in coming days, the monk said, but in the delta, refugees were being allowed to remain or told they could come to monasteries for supplies but not shelter.

“They don’t want too many people gathering in small towns,” said Hla Khay, a delta boat operator. The regime “is concerned about security. With lots of frustrated people together, there may be another uprising.”

Larger monasteries were being closely watched by troops and plainclothes security men — “invisible spies” as one monk called them.

Such diversion of manpower at a time when some 1.5 million people are at risk from disease and starvation reflects the regime’s fear of a replay of last September, when monks led pro-democracy demonstrations that were brutally suppressed.

Monks were shot, beaten and imprisoned, igniting anger among ordinary citizens in this devoutly Buddhist country. An unknown number remain behind bars, and others have yet to return to their monasteries after fleeing for fear of arrest.

“I think after the September protests, the government is afraid that if people live with the monks in the monasteries, the monks might persuade them to participate in demonstrations again,” said a dentist in Yangon, who also asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

Newspapers have been ordered not to publish stories about monks aiding the people, and at least one monastery and one nunnery in Yangon were prohibited from accepting any supplies from relief organizations.

“The government is very controlling,” said U Pinyatale, the abbot at the Kyi Bui Kha monastery. “Those who want to give directly to the victims get into trouble. They have to give to the government or do it secretly. (The military) follows international aid trucks everywhere. They don’t want others to take credit.”

It appears unlikely that foreign aid organizations seeking to enter Myanmar will be allowed to use monks as conduits for relief supplies as many had hoped.

“One of the best networks already in place in the country are the monks,” said Gary Walker of PLAN, a British-based international children’s group, speaking from Bangkok. “So we’ll be exploring ways in which we can see whether the monks can start distributing supplies throughout the country.”

At the Kyi Bui Kha monastery, located on the banks of the Pyapon River deep in the delta, U Pinyatale glanced anxiously at the remaining 10 bags of rice.

“At most, we have enough for the week. We will have to find a way to get more food,” he said as monks and villagers worked together to try to dry the sodden rice, even as rain clouds gathered above the largely roofless monastery.

In Yangon, monks have been able to go out on their traditional morning rounds to accept food donations from the faithful and then share these with refugees at their monasteries. But in devastated areas of the delta that is not an option.

About 90 of the 120 houses in Kyi Bui Kha have been totally destroyed. Gaps in the monastery’s storm-riddled wooden walls revealed a 360-degree view of ravaged rice fields.

U Pinyatale said the sanctuary’s two dozen monks and nuns were also trying to offer spiritual comfort to the traumatized villagers.

“We pray with them. We pray for the dead to go to the peaceful land of the dead and for the living to rebuild their lives,” he said.

“When the cyclone came, all of us hid in the rice warehouse. I saw one person holding tightly onto a tree but he did not make it,” the abbot added. “After the storm, there were dead bodies floating everywhere. Some people get nightmares. Some hear voices at night that their dead children are calling for help. Some haven’t spoken since.”

BUENOS AIRES, April 11 (Reuters) – Argentine police kept small groups of pro- and anti-China activists apart as they gathered along the route of the Olympic torch before it was due to start its relay through Buenos Aires.

A small group of pro-China activists crossed the plaza at the obelisk monument along the down-town route to shout and wave flags at another group of activists opposed to China’s human rights record and rule of Tibet.

Police quickly separated the two groups, but there were no clashes. The city has braced for possible violence after intense protests in San Francisco, Paris and other cities where the torch relay has been held.

The torch was scheduled to begin its run through the city at 2:15 p.m. local time (1715 GMT), being carried past the pink presidential palace, then past the obelisk and other city landmarks.

“It’s not China that is organizing the Olympics, it’s the the Communist Party, to show a harmonious country, to say that all Chinese are happy, that they respect human rights. But it’s exactly the opposite,” said Alberto Peralta, who was among the pro-Tibet group.

Argentine pro-Tibet activists have promised to carry out nonviolent “surprise actions” during the day, but said they will not try to snuff out the flame as protesters in London and Paris did.

Around 1,500 Coast Guard officers, 1,200 police and 3,000 city workers will stand guard as Argentine athletes and personalities carry the torch through the capital.

So far there seems to be little action. The relay is scheduled to start at 1.15EST which is in just a couple of minutes. Scouring the web and news channels throws up little information other than a few tidbits regarding the ‘alternative torch relay’ arranged by human rights protesters, and the gathering of Falun Gong protesters.

I’ll keep updated as best I can.

[from Phayul.com]

New Delhi, April 10 – Thousands of Tibetan demonstrators carried 154 shrouded effigies, representing the compatriots they believed were killed in a crackdown on anti-China protests in the Himalayan region, in a rally Thursday in the Indian capital.

Carrying placards saying “Stop Cultural Genocide in Tibet” and “China has turned Tibet into a Killing Field,” protesters urged China to release imprisoned Tibetans and remove its heavy military presence from the region.

Roughly 200 protesters marched to New Delhi from Dharmsala, the seat of Tibet’s government-in-exile and home to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. The rest of the demonstrators arrived from neighbouring states.

(Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)
(Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

The crowd carried effigies to represent the 154 victims they believe were killed in the protests and the ensuing crackdown in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, last month. Chinese authorities say 22 people died in the riots that broke out March 14.

China has accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of orchestrating the violence to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games in August and create an independent state.

Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said Tibetan leaders were hoping for a peaceful settlement with China.

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile speaking to the media. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile speaking to the media. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

“If they are wise enough, some path for reconciliation might be opened,” Rinpoche told reporters in New Delhi, where he addressed the protesters. “If they remain rigid, the movement will not end and it will sustain by itself.”

The protests are the longest and most sustained challenge to China’s 57-year rule in the Himalayan region, and have focused increased international scrutiny and criticism on China in the run-up to this summer’s games.

The Olympic torch was scheduled to pass through New Delhi on April 17. The international torch relay has faced chaotic protests in London and Paris because of China’s human rights record in Tibet and elsewhere.

On Thursday, five Tibetan protesters briefly displayed a banner reading “No Olympic torch through Tibet” on the path the torch was scheduled take through New Delhi, but they left before police arrived.

[From Phayul.com]

SAN FRANCISCO — A New York environmental activist selected to carry the Olympic torch, Majora Carter of the Bronx, signaled her solidarity with Tibetan protesters by unfurling a Tibetan flag soon after she was handed the torch here yesterday afternoon.

Ms. Carter said that after she pulled the flag from her sleeve the torch was quickly taken from her and she was pushed out of the Olympic entourage. “The Chinese security and cops were on me like white on rice, it was no joke,” she told the Associated Press. “They pulled me out of the race, and then San Francisco police officers pushed me back into the crowd on the side of the street.”

Ms. Carter foreshadowed her action when she spoke Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil staged by Tibetans and pro-Tibet activists. “I’m going to be carrying that torch because I do see it as a light for freedom and for justice,” she said at a candlelight vigil at San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza.

Some in the crowd booed as Ms. Carter was announced, but they seemed to warm to her as she spoke. “I know that I’m getting the kind of love that I’m feeling from all of you tonight, that a little bit of that love is going to transfer into that flame and it is going to go all the way to China,” she said.

Ms. Carter, 41, the founder of Sustainable South Bronx and GreenforAll.org, won a so-called genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation for her environmental efforts among the inner-city poor. She was selected as a torch bearer by one of the relay’s international sponsors, the Coca-Cola Corporation.

At Tuesday’s vigil and rally, Tibetan leaders called on Coca-Cola not to sponsor the portion of the relay where the torch is scheduled to travel through Tibet en route to the summit of Mount Everest. Tibetan activists say taking the torch through Tibet is offensive because martial law is reportedly in place in the region after recent unrest. China has put the death toll from the violence at 22, but the Tibetan government in exile in India says about 140 were killed.

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola did not respond to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment for this article.