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From the International Campaign for Tibet:
An anonymous Tibetan blogger posted the following on a Chinese-language, Tibetan-run website recently:
“The 2009 Losar was always going to be unusual because so many people have been killed. In our family, our father can never come back, our mother has visibly aged, uncles and brothers have been detained—some of whom we still don’t whether they’re dead or alive. Last night, the eldest brother in the neighbor’s family was taken away…
“I myself will not be celebrating the new year because those who died were my compatriots, and I knew several of those who died—they were shot dead. I haven’t dared call home since March of last year because I don’t want to cause them any trouble. And so I don’t know how they are. I’ve had no information on them, and just hope they’re okay.”
In a posting entitled “Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased,” the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:
“…let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”
Late one night in October 1988 I was woken by a telephone call from the United States. I was living in Japan then, teaching English and writing the occasional book review for the Japan Times. My twenty year work stint in exile Tibetan society had ended a few years earlier when I had been dismissed (with the aid of a violent McLeod Ganj mob) from my post as director of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) for the alleged irreverence of a couple of my plays.
An urgent voice in Tibetan asked “Jamyang Norbu, Jamyang Norbu, can you hear me. I am Thupten Jigme Norbu.” For a while I couldn’t place the name and then realized it was Taktser Rimpoche, the Dalai Lama’s oldest brother.
“Yes Rimpoche I can hear you, how are you?”
“Jamyang Norbu, Jamyang Norbu, do you know what has happened.”
“What is it Rimpoche?”
“They have given up our rangzen.”
“Rimpoche, what are you saying?
“Gyalwa Rimpoche made a statement at this place, Strasbourg…”
And he told me what had happened.
Dharamsala, August 30: Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, led a 12-hr mass fasting and prayer service, in conjunction with Tibetans and supporters around the world, to draw attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.
While observing fasting, the Tibetan exiles and supporters simultaneously offered prayers for the wellbeing and long life of the Dalai Lama, world peace and, for freedom from oppression in China, Tibet and elsewhere.
Tibetan Government offices, schools and usual businesses run by Tibetans here remained closed to observe the day-long mass prayer service and fasting. In a massive show of strengthening their nonviolent commitment to end China’s oppression in their Himalayan homeland, the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag-Khang), the official venue for the peaceful action, remained packed to the fullest. Some five thousand or more, including Tibet supporters and people from Himalayan region, congregated since 7:00 in the morning to take part in it.
Fasting with prayers are also being observed by Tibetans at respective Tibetans schools, monasteries, nunneries and dharma centres that are located around Dharamsala but could not make it to the main Tibetan Temple here.
Many others are known to be observing the day-long fasting and holding prayers at their homes.
Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and others members of the cabinet, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and members of the Tibetan Parliament and other senior government officials have taken part in the non-violent action for Tibet.
Senior leaders of the Tibet’s Government-in-exile, including Kalon Tripa (PM) and his cabinet ministers, and Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament took part in the day-long fasting and prayer service in Dharamsala on Saturday
“We are immensely fortunate and grateful that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consented to take part in person here, but due to a slight indisposition this could not happen,” PM Prof. Rinpoche said this morning in his official address to the gathering.
“However, His Holiness is observing the fasting and prayer from Mumbai today and we convey our immense gratitude and respect to him,” he added.
Rinpoche said this kind of activity was not a “protest led by hatred, rancour and anger but by the teachings of the Lord Buddha in all the vehicles to refrain from harming others and do everything to benefit others with love and compassion, which is the essence of spiritual practice”.
“Due to the consistent effort and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to pursue non-violent methods to resolve the Tibetan issue, it has been many years that most of the Tibetan movements remained free from gross physical violence, he said. “This garnered immense support from around the world for the just cause of Tibet,” he added.
“Our pursuit of non-violence has not only enabled us to keep alive the Tibetan issue but also compelled the People’s Republic of China to respond to our policy of rapprochement irrespective of their sincerity” he said.
Rinpoche expressed hope that the sincere practice of non-violence by Tibetan people would “ultimately help change the mind of the PRC authorities to more compassionate” and urged all Tibetans to put “concerted non-violent efforts to bring natural end to the torture and persecution in Tibet”.
The Tibetan PM said “We pay our condolence and homage to those who lost their lives and those who are imprisoned, tortured and beaten in the recent uprisings in Tibet,” he said.
“We also pray and sympathise for the victims of the earthquakes in Sichuan and the one in South-western Tibet recently and the disaster caused by flood in some other part as well”.
Speaker Karma Chophel, also the chairman of the Tibetan Solidarity Committee, said today’s non-violent action was guided to enhance collective merits of all those people in the world in general and Tibetans in particular who have been victims of forced oppression and violence and deprived of fundamental human rights.
He said the non-violent action was to offer prayers for the long and healthy life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to relieve those Tibetan who are still enduring atrocities under the brutal Chinese oppression.
Since March this year, major anti-China unrests broke out in Lhasa that slowly spilled out into other Tibetan regions. Chinese communist authorities responded with military crackdown on Tibetan demonstrations leading to deaths and arbitrary arrests of hundreds of Tibetans, and left many more injured and missing.
The March protests in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet were among the biggest in almost 50 years of oppressive Chinese rule.
China sent tens of thousands of troops into Tibetan regions to quash the demonstrations. Its harsh response brought worldwide criticism, and several world leaders even threatened to boycott the Beijing Olympics, which ended last Sunday.
China repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan religious leader, and his followers of instigating the unrest and trying to derail the games. Facing strong international pressure, Beijing agreed to hold talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives two times after large scale unrests across Tibet.
However, Beijing has continued to vilify the exiled Tibetan leader, most recently for a trip to France that ended last week.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he accused Beijing of imposing a new, long-term “plan of brutal repression” and building new military camps in Tibetan areas.
The Dalai Lama has said that despite China’s harsh crackdown on the March demonstrations, he still supports a peaceful solution of meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China’s rule, not independence.
Today’s worldwide non-violent action campaign, initiated by Tibetan Solidarity Committee, is to further reinforce Tibetan people’s commitment to nonviolence and strengthen its force in their struggle for freedom under the Dalai Lama’s leadership.
[Thursday, August 21, 2008 17:55]
By Maura Moynihan
The Beijing Summer Olympiad commenced with the Parade of Nations streaming through Bird’s Nest, dancers, canons, fireworks, with scores of diplomats, dignitaries and heads of state cheering from the stands. At 40 billion dollars and counting, one would expect a good show, and indeed it was.
In New Delhi, crowds gathered near Jantar Mantar for a different purpose. There are no fireworks, no corporate sponsors, no VIP lounge. Just a large tent under a neem tree, where the Tibetan Youth Congress has launched a counter Olympic tournament; “Indefinite Fast for Tibet – without food or water – to represent the plight of the six million Tibetans.”
The TYC statement reads; “We request responsible citizens and governments worldwide to stand up against China’s appalling human rights record in Tibet and not commit moral violence by remaining indifferent to the sufferings of the Tibetan people.”
Buddhist monks, refugees from Tibet lie on chairpois, day after day, without food or water in the monsoon heat. Lay Tibetans, and a beautiful wife and mother from Chennai, Asha Reddy, join the fast. You can see dehydration and exhaustion in their eyes and limbs, but their resolve transcends all pain. Their mission has summoned them to a feat of physical endurance to challenge every athlete in Beijing.
Reports from Tibet describe a chilling military crackdown. PLA soldiers stationed on every corner, in every temple. Every day, another soul and body broken by torture. Luractive payments for anyone willing to inform on friends and relatives. Above the TYC tent, banners show the faces of hundreds shot, tortured, killed by the PLA five months before the Olympics. Students and monks, carrying the Tibetan flag through the streets of Lhasa. An act of astonishing courage, a plea for justice, met with bullets, jail, death. No Olympic festivities for the citizens of Tibet.
Here in India the Tibetan flag flies, safely. Delhi’s official protest zone at Jantar Mantar is filled with citizens agitating for One Language One Law, Down with Dowry, Fair Representation for Cooch-Bihar, and The Tibetan People’s Mass Uprising. In the first week of the Beijing Games, a man from Southern China traveled to Beijing, to protest corruption by local Communist officials. He obtained a permit, entered the designated Olympic protest zone and was promptly arrested.
The Tibetan Youth Congress, founded in 1972, is committed to ahmisa and satyagraha, in the tradition of its model, the Indian Congress Party. The Chinese Communist Party has labeled the Tibetan Youth Congress a ‘terrorist organization”, as it launches vicious attacks on the TYC in the international press. Why is the mighty People’s Republic of China so petrified of an unarmed band of monks, students and housewives? Why is the Chinese Embassy sealed by armed commandoes? What do they so fear?
Monks on a hunger strike, in the monsoon heat. Banners with faces of the tortured and the dead. Citizens of the world calling for justice for Tibet. This is what the Chinese Communists Party fears. The truth.
Late into a rainy night, I bade farewell to the TYC volunteers and wandered into the Imperial Hotel, where a sumptuous lobby is filled with tales from the Raj. Redcoats in battle, the Sepoy Mutiny, Queen Victoria upon the throne, sultans, nawabs, maharajas on bended knee before their sovereign. Near the doorway, a small photo of Gandhi and Lord Mountbatten.
Around the corner, the people of Tibet surrender their bodies to the truth, as did the Mahatma to win India’s freedom struggle.
Empires rise, and then they die.
Maura Moynihan first lived in India where her late father, Amb. Daniel Patrick Moynihan served as US Ambassador in New Delhi
Five pro-Tibet activists unfurled a banner spelling out “Free Tibet” in English and Chinese in bright blue LED “throwie” lights in Beijing’s Olympic Park tonight. The five were detained by security personnel after displaying the banner for about 20 seconds at 11:48 pm August 19th. Their whereabouts are unknown.
The detained activists are Americans Amy Johnson, 33, Sam Corbin, 24, Liza Smith, 31, Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, and Lauren Valle, 21.
“The Chinese government is desperate to turn the world’s attention away from its abuses in Tibet as the Olympics take place, but the creativity and determination of Tibetans and their supporters has once again ensured that Tibetan voices are heard and seen in Beijing despite the massive security clampdown,” said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The Chinese leadership must realize that the only way it can make the issue of Tibet disappear is to acknowledge the demands of the Tibetan people and work with them to bring an end to China’s occupation of Tibet.”
The lights used on the banner are blue 10 mm light-emitting diodes (LEDs) powered by small batteries, commonly known as “throwies.” Throwies are open-source technology attributed to OpenLab and Graffiti Research Lab, developed as a means of creating non-destructive graffiti and light displays. This is the first time ever that they have been used on a banner. James Powderly, free speech activist and co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), was detained in Beijing early this morning (link).
Students for a Free Tibet has staged seven protests in Beijing over the last two weeks, placing the issue of Tibet’s occupation front and centre as China hosts the Olympic Games. The protests have included a dramatic banner hang near the Bird’s Nest Stadium; a display of Tibetan flags near the Bird’s Nest just before the opening ceremony began; a symbolic die-in at Tiananmen Square; a protest by a Tibetan woman with flags outside Tiananmen Square; a blockade of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park; and “Free Tibet” banner hang outside the CCTV headquarters. Thirty-seven members and supporters have been detained and deported, not including those detained today.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 700 chapters in more than 30 countries worldwide. SFT’s international headquarters are in New York, with offices in Toronto, London, and Dharamsala, India.
Contacts: In Asia, Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, and Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director, +1 917 289 0219 or +44 20 7084 6245
PARIS, Aug 16 – The Dalai Lama said on Saturday China was mistreating and torturing civilians in Tibet while the Olympic Games were going on.
“Unfortunately the Olympic spirit is not being respected at all by Chinese officials in Tibet,” he said in an interview on France’s TF1 television, when asked if the tradition of an Olympic truce was being respected.
“There are restrictions on the circulation of information, very strong censorship,” he said.
“Civilians are often arrested, violently tortured to the point where they die. It’s really very, very sad,” he said.
The Dalai Lama is on a two-week visit to France, mostly focused on religious commitments. He has made few political comments but he criticised China’s actions in Tibet at a meeting on Wednesday with French legislators.
The visit has triggered a domestic row in France, where critics accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of caving into Chinese pressure by declining to meet him.
On Saturday he met Sarkozy’s challenger in last year’s presidential election, Segolene Royal, who said she intended to visit Tibet.
Foreign activists have staged a number of protests in Beijing to highlight what they say is repression of Tibetans in the Himalayan region but the Dalai Lama has appealed to supporters not to disrupt the Games.
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.
“Candle for Tibet” is a non-profit, non-violent light protest that aims to help in the process of freeing Tibet, supporting the value of freedom of all mankind, and to help in creating a new tool of influence for individuals from all over the world.
H.H. the Dalai Lama acknowledged today the importance of the Candle for Tibet (CFT) campaign for Freedom in Tibet and for all mankind.
“We hope your Candle for Tibet campaign will inspire the Chinese authorities to appreciate the value of freedom of all mankind and the importance of the Tibetan Buddhist culture that is benefiting millions of people and has the potential to serve humanity as a whole, including the Chinese people,” said Tsering Tashi representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama.
“Candle for Tibet” asks people to put a candle in their windows, on their desks, or anywhere else where other people will see it and hopefully do the same. Over 100 million people will participate in vigils and other light actions throughout the world. Billions on TV screens all over the world will see it on the day the Beijing Olympics open.
CFT organizers also encourage all freedom lovers in the world to drive their cars with headlights on during the entire day of Friday, August 8th, 2008—the day of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony—in appreciation of their own freedom.
CFT is additionally calling on all people attending the opening ceremony in Beijing to light candles, lighters, flashlights and cell phones at the moment the Chinese delegation enters the Olympic stadium.
On the following day letters will be issued to every head of state in the world reporting how many people from each country wish Tibet to be free, and demanding that each one of them will act for the freedom of Tibet.
Synchronized with the beginning of the opening ceremony, teams from “Sad Smoky Mountains” will flare the skies with red smoke from skyscrapers, monuments and major buildings In major cities, and from the summits of more than 100 mountains on three continents. (For more information on Sad Smoky Mountains, visit http://www.sadsmokymountains.net/.)
CFT is endorsed and supported by the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN), and, almost all other major International Tibet support groups.
Tibetan musician, Yungchen Lhamo, has joined the “Candle for Tibet” campaign and is leading it into people’s hearts with her divine voice, music and spirit.
CFT is a peaceful light protest and a show of unity for freedom and human rights.
We are not against the Olympics or the Chinese; we stand for freedom for all peoples.
“Like you, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile is not against the coming Olympics to be held in Beijing,” added Tsering Tashi. “We are also not against the Chinese people, who also do not enjoy genuine human rights and freedoms that the people in the free world take for granted.”
“We are elated to have the blessing of His Holiness,” said David Califa, who created the Campaign for Tibet four months ago. “It strengthens the values on which our non-violent action is based.”
Please add your voice and your light to our campaign.
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 ,
Candle for Tibet