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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.
Zhu Weiqun, Vice-Minister of the United Front Work Department, received a noisy reception during his visit to London, Students for a Free Tibet said. Tibetans and supporters chanted slogans against Zhu and Chinese government at Chatham house at St. James square where Zhu took part in a ’round-table’ discussion on the recent failure of the eighth round of talks.
A Chinese FedEx employee briefly disrupted the protest as he stormed towards the Tibetan protesters in an attempt to provoke the Tibetans into confrontation. He snatched a Tibetan national flag from a Tibetan protester and snapped the flagpole. The Chinese man was warned by the police for his provocative behavior.
Padma Dolma, a Tibetan student, threw herself in front of the Chinese diplomat’s entourage carrying a Tibetan national flag. Four other Tibetans splashed tomato sauce onto the windows of the car in which Zhu was traveling.
A protester splashes tomato sauce on a van carrying Chinese officials in a symbolic representation of bloody killings in Tibet.
The protesters banged the glasses and yelled, “Zhu Weiqun, liar, liar.” Pema Yoko, who took part in the skirmish, said the Tibetans will not stand down to the Chinese government. “We showed the London public that the Chinese government is responsible for the bloodshed and death of hundreds of Tibetans in a brutal crackdown after the protest in Tibet in March this year.”
Zhu Weiqun in the firs ever press conference by China after talks with Tibetan envoys accused the Dalai Lama as being responsible to for the failure to make any progress.
Zhu Weiqun was among the Chinese representatives who met with the Tibetan delegation during the two-day talks in Beijing last week. The Executive vice minister of China’s Central United Front, the Chinese government department in charge of talks with representatives of Dalai Lama, said Monday that no progress was made at recent talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama and accused the exiled leader of trying to split Tibet from China.
“The sovereignty is the most fundamental issue. The Dalai has — by denying Chinese sovereignty over Tibet — been trying to seek a legal basis for his claims of independence or semi-independence over Tibet,” Zhu said at the press conference on Nov 10.
Tibet supporters also condemned the Chinese government’s latest wave of hard-line rhetoric. “To spuriously blame the Tibetan side for the collapse of talks was patently false, but to accuse the Dalai Lama of plotting ‘apartheid’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Tibet is both ludicrous and deeply offensive to all Tibetans,” said Terry Bettger, Campaigns Coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet UK. “Rhetoric like this only serves to embarrass Chinese diplomacy on the world stage, and exposes the absolute lack of sincerity the Chinese government have shown to talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoys.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gestures as he comes out of the Gaggal Airport, which is an hour drive from Dharamsala, his exile hometown in northern India, on Monday, October 20, 2008. The 73-year old Tibetan leader arrived from Delhi, where he successfully underwent a surgery to remove gallstones at a private hospital a week ago. An overwhelming crowd, holding ceremonial scarves and burning incense, was seen lining up along the route leading to His Holiness’ residence in McLeod Ganj to extend a warm traditional welcome to him. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul)
The two-month ultimatum for Tibetan members of the Communist Party and government workers to confess that they had or have children in schools run by the exile government in India ended last week. In July, Communist Party authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region issued measures stating that Tibetan children must confess if they have been to schools in India and whether they believed anything they had been taught there, according to the official Communist Party paper, Tibet Daily.
The measures, issued by the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee Discipline Department, state that children who return from schools in exile and parents who fail to bring children back to Tibet could face unspecified ‘disciplinary action’.
Over the past decade, thousands of Tibetan children have made the dangerous journey across the Himalayas through Nepal into India in order to receive an education based on Tibetan cultural values in exile schools and monasteries, Education inside Tibet can be unavailable and unaffordable, says the International Campaign for Tibet.
The new measures, which probably was issued in mid-July, goes further than earlier statements by the Chinese authorities saying that all of the Tibetan children studying in exile were “lured” abroad by the “Dalai Clique” “so that they can be infiltrated [back into Tibet] in a conspiracy aimed at undermining our future capacity.” The measures also state that children returning must confess not only to any participation in “splittist and terrorist activities” abroad, but also to what they thought and believed while in India, and that they may face punishment for the latter.
It is not known yet if any children have been withdrawn from India, nor is it known whether these punishments could apply to any children who have returned in the past few years, according to the ICT.
The new measure is more stringent than the one imposed in 1994 demanding that Tibetan Party members and government workers recall their children from India. This new measure stated that if Tibetans did not follow the ruling they would be demoted or expelled from their jobs, and their children would lose their rights to residence permits if they did not return to Tibet within a specified time. According to the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, some parents did recall their children, which meant that they were unable to complete their education in exile.
According to Tibet Daily, the new regulations are an essential element of “the struggle against splittism”, and they are in line with the intensified focus on patriotic education among the lay as well as monastic population being implemented by the authorities as part of the crackdown since protests swept across the Tibetan plateau from March 10, continuing into August.
Following is a full English translation of the measures: