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Inside Tibet people have made the decision not to celebrate Losar this year. It appears to be not just an expression of sorrow for those Tibetan shot, tortured and imprisoned in last years uprising, but also an act of defiance against the Chinese government that wants to show the world that Tibetans enjoy religious and cultural freedoms under its rule. In exile there has been some debate on whether or not to celebrate Losar. There are valid arguments on both sides, but then again the logic of revolution is another thing altogether. When the struggle calls we can only obey.
Earlier I had written a cultural essay for Losar, but then I decided on a a more political gift for Rangzen advocates and activists. The following piece is actually a pamphlet to be distributed on March 10 and future rallies and meeting, but I thought that those who believe in Rangzen might enjoying sitting back with a chang-koe and reading it on Losar day. Most of us have a general idea of the facts that have been presented before the UN and the world, to show that Tibet was an independent country before the Communist invasion: treaties, the Shakabpa passport, the flag and so on. I have tried to provide details that are probably not that well known but which I hope will edify and perhaps even cheer and encourage.
I have attempted to be scrupulously honest with the facts and have provided authentic references for nearly every claim or statement made in the pamphlet. Since the pamphlet had to be kept short, all the references, additional material, related documentation, photographs, maps, illustrations, audio clips and bibliography will be on a website http://www.rangzen.net. You can access what you want on the section “Independent Tibet – Some Facts” and clicking on the reference number.
The fully laid-out and illustrated pamphlet can be downloaded (in black & white or colour) at the website and can be printed at home or at a commercial printer. Individuals or organization can print and distribute the pamphlet, and space is provided on the front cover for the organizations credit line. The website will be up in a few days – definitely before March 10.
INDEPENDENT TIBET – SOME FACTS
Compiled by Jamyang Norbu for the Rangzen Alliance
Before the Chinese Communist invasion of 1950 Tibet was a fully functioning and independent state. It threatened none of its neighbors, fed its population unfailingly, year after year, with no help from the outside world. Tibet owed no money to any country or international institutions, and maintained basic law and order. Tibet banned capital punishment in 1913 (mentioned by a number of foreign travelers ) and was one of the first countries in the world to do so. There is no record of it persecuting minorities (e.g. Muslims ) or massacring sections of its population from time to time as China and some other countries do – remember Tiananmen. Although its frontiers with India, Nepal and Bhutan were completely unguarded, very few Tibetans fled their country as economic or political refugees. There was not a single Tibetan immigrant in the USA or Europe before the Communist invasion.
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.
The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) recommends the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to probe the deaths of Tibetans killed in the spring 2008 protests in Tibet and to adopt measures to prohibit and prevent enforced disappearances and to provide information on the fate of missing persons including the XIth Panchen Lama.
The Committee in its concluding observations (CAT/C/CHN/CO/4) on the fourth periodic report of the PRC on the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment released on 21 November 2008 asked China to ensure that all persons detained or arrested in the aftermath of the Spring 2008 events have “prompt access to an independent lawyer, independent medical care and the right to lodge complaints free from official reprisal or harassment.”
The Committee in its observations “identified three over-arching problems, which, collectively, stood in the way of ensuring the legal safeguards that the Committee generally recommended to all States parties to the Convention as necessary for the prevention of torture: the 1988 Law on the Preservation of State Secrets in the People’s Republic of China; the reported harassment of lawyers and human rights defenders; and the abuses carried out by unaccountable “thugs” who used physical violence against specific defenders but enjoy de facto immunity.”
The Committee earlier received a wide range of alternative reports from the non-governmental organizations including the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) on PRC’s violations of the UN Convention Against Torture. The alternative reports alleging widespread torture in China is available at the CAT’s website at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats41.htm.
Some notable recommendations include:
“The Committee notes with great concern the reports received on the recent crackdown in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighbouring Tibetan prefectures and counties in the State party which has deepened a climate of fear and further inhibits accountability. These reports follow longstanding reports of torture, beatings, shackling and other abusive treatment, in particular of Tibetan monks and nuns, at the hands of public officials, public security and state security, as well as paramilitary and even unofficial personnel at the instigation or with the acquiescence or consent of public officials. Notwithstanding the numbers provided by the State party on persons arrested and those sentenced to imprisonment in the aftermath of the March 2008 events in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighbouring Tibetan prefectures and counties, the Committee regrets the lack of further information on these persons. In particular, the State party reported that 1231 suspects “have redeemed themselves and been released after receiving education and administrative punishment”, but has provided no further information on these cases or their treatment. In particular, the Committee expresses its concern at:
(a) The large number of persons detained or arrested in the aftermath of the March 2008 demonstrations and related events in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighbouring Tibetan prefectures and counties in Gansu, Suchuan and Qinghai provinces, and the reported lack of restraint with which persons were treated, based on numerous allegations and credible reports made available to the Committee;
(b) The failure to investigate the deaths resulting from indiscriminate firing by the police into crowds of reportedly largely peaceful demonstrators in Kardze county, Ngaba county, and Lhasa;
(c) The failure to conduct independent and impartial investigations into allegations that some of the large number of persons detained or arrested have been subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
(d) The failure to allow independent and impartial investigators into the region;
(e) The consistent allegations that some of those arrested could not notify their relatives, did not have prompt access to an independent doctor, nor to an independent lawyer, that lawyers offering to represent them were warned and otherwise deterred from providing that legal assistance, and that the speeded
up trials of 69 Tibetans led to them being reportedly sentenced in a summary manner;
(f) The large number of persons who have been arrested, but whose current whereabouts remain unknown and which the State party has been unable to clarify despite written and oral requests from the Committee (list of issues, question 2(l), CAT/C/CHN/Q/4) (arts. 2, 11 and 12).”