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There are hundreds of Tibetan Political Prisoners held in horrendous conditions by the Chinese. These are just a handful of those who are dead or missing. There were and are many others…

This year marks 50 years of resistance to the Chinese occupation of the Tibetan homeland, but like the flowers that grow on the barren mountainside, the Tibetan people will not give up the fight until Tibet is Free!

Bhod Rangzen!

I wrote the poem at the start of the video. I’m no one special and it’s nothing much–but this is my way of paying tribute to those who have lived and died for Tibet.

Music – Yunghen Lhamo

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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.

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.

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,

valiant heroes,

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

It appeared to be a typical New Year in Rebkong county, a remote part of Qinghai province in western China where the countryside is dotted by Tibetan monasteries and white stupas.

At Gomar monastery, colourful prayer flags flapped in the wind and the faithful spun rows of large brass prayer wheels and tossed pieces of coloured paper squares from a tall stupa, sending countless prayers swirling into the sky. Meanwhile, a steady line of pilgrims carried out an exhausting circumambulation of the temple, prostrating their bodies fully across the ground after every three steps.

But not everyone was joyful. Losar, the Tibetan lunar new year, comes 11 months after unrest broke out in Tibetan areas of China last year, and despite government attempts to erase the memories, few families seem in the mood to celebrate.

Calls for a boycott of the Tibetan New Year began spreading months ago via blogs, mobile phone messages and word of mouth, travelling from Tibetan communities in Dharamshala, India, London and New York to rural villages and towns in western China. Some Tibetans celebrate the New Year according to the Chinese lunar calender, which began on Jan 26 this year, while others follow the Tibetan lunar calendar, which marks the first day of 2136, the year of the Earth Ox, on Feb 25.

The sense of fear is palpable in this area, which saw disputes break out between Muslims and Tibetans last February and then again in March. But those who are willing to talk essentially tell the same story.

“It wasn’t a joyous New Year,” said a Tibetan farmer standing in the courtyard of the Nyentog Temple, dressed in a black Tibetan robe with a red sash tied around his waist. “Last year was not a good one,” he said. He then slowly brought his two fists together to express his meaning before disappearing into the crowd.

“Few people celebrated the New Year this year,” said one outspoken monk, standing in the corner of another monastery. “A lot of young people were killed last year and people are sad. There is no feeling of happiness.”

A former monk who produces tankas, Tibetan religious scroll paintings, said most people chose to remember those who lost their lives in last year’s melee rather than mark the new year.

“We didn’t set off any fireworks, bathe, or put on our best clothing,” he said. “We didn’t sing, play music or dance. We didn’t put couplets on the doors. We normally give gifts at New Years, but we didn’t do that either.”

Woeser, a popular Tibetan writer, said the Chinese government is pressuring Tibetans to celebrate the holiday. “This is to give an impression to the outside world that Tibetan areas are calm and harmonious, and that people are happily celebrating.” She described how local cadres demanded farmers sign or put their fingerprint on a statement saying they will hold festivities.

In other areas, officials offered bribes and gifts and distributed fireworks, lanterns and couplets, more a part of the Chinese New Year than the Tibetan one.

Woeser said the government effort has been a failure, describing how some 2,000 Tibetans showed up at one temple wearing old and worn-out clothing, a clear sign of civil disobedience. Monlam Chenmo, the Great Prayer Festival, went ahead this year in Qinghai much as it has since it first started in 1409.

On Thursday at Gomar monastery, monks prepared for the traditional mask dance, donning their yellow hats and other elaborate accessories worn on special occasions. They played three-metre long horns, clanged large brass cymbals and beat drums. Crowds of Tibetans arrived continuously from the surrounding countryside, wearing elaborate costumes and silver jewellery embedded with turquoise and coral stones, watching as monks emerged from the temple, wearing demon-like masks as they performed their dance to exorcise ghosts.

The next day monks at the Nyentog Monastery held the Sunning of the Buddha ceremony, in which a massive tanka was shouldered to the mountainside by dozens of people, where it was unfurled down the mountain, exposing a huge image of the Buddha in the bright afternoon sun.

The call to cancel Losar celebrations kicked off an outpouring of comments on Tibetan blogs, with most expressing support.

A blogger named Lobsang, supported the boycott, arguing that Chinese injustices have not stopped.
“Why should we put on this fake smile on Losar? Why should we give the Chinese government the satisfaction of their decades of brutality on us by smiling and celebrating Losar as if nothing cruel has happened to us.”

Gelek Badheytsang opposed the idea in a commentary posted on the Tibet Talk blog, saying one way to resist Chinese oppression “is to be happy”.

“Happiness is a force that buckles the steely reins of dictators and seeps effortlessly through the shackles and cloaks of oppression,” he wrote, adding that by celebrating Losar every year, it “is a victory for a small nation of people numbering less than two per cent of China’s total population”.

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.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7863707.st

Chinese government has moved some 300,000 Tibetan farmers and herders from 57,800 families into permanent brick houses in Tibet this year, under a government-led program, Chinese state-controlled news agency said Saturday, a controversial practice rights groups say has been marked by gross abuses.

“Another 312,000 farmers and herders from 57,800 families moved from shanty homes into new solid brick houses in Tibet this year under a government-subsidized housing project aimed at improving living conditions,” China’s Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.

“I only spent 18,000 yuan (2,647 U.S. dollars) on the construction of my new house, and the rest, totaling more than 40,000 yuan, were all granted by the government,” the report cited Drolkar, a resident of the Yamda Village near Tibetan capital Lhasa as saying.

The report said, like Drolkar, all 208 families in the village moved into new brick houses this year.

To date, 860,000 farmers and herders from 170,000 families have moved into the new houses, the government statistics show, the report said.

The report said the five-year housing project was started in 2006 with a plan to build “solid homes for 220,000 families”

Once finished, it would mean housing for 80 percent of the region’s farmers and herders by the end of 2010, the report said of the controversial resettlement program that recalls the socialist engineering of an earlier era.

China calls the project the “comfortable housing program,” and its stated aim is to present a more modern face for Tibet, which China has controlled since 1950 after sending troops to occupy the region.

It claims that the new housing on main roads, sometimes only a mile from previous homes, will enable small farmers and herders to have access to schools and jobs, as well as for the sake of ecological conservation and for the health of the farmers and herders.

Saying Tibet has been experiencing double-digit economic growth for the last 16 years; the Xinhua report quoted a communist official as saying: “Farmers and herds people re the beneficiaries of the economic development” under China.

Independent reports however, indicate otherwise.

China’s broader aim seems to be remaking Tibet – a region with its own culture, language and religious traditions – in order to have firmer political control over its population.

Forceful resettlement of nomadic Tibetans in Tibet and in adjacent ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces actually began way back in 2000 and have taken place more intensively since 2003.

Observers say the massive mass relocation is linked to Beijing’s effort, launched in 1999, to develop China’s poor, restive west and bind it to the bustling east. Since then, human rights groups say, China has also been forcing nomadic Tibetan herders to settle in towns to clear land for development, while leaving many unable to earn living.

To prepare for an influx of millions of tourists in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the resettlement drive was more vigorously implemented across the Tibetan plateau.

Ahead of the Beijing Olympics, Chinese state media reported of increasing relocation of nomadic herdsmen in Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu provinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) into fixed residences, but said they were done so to help protect the environment and boost their living standards.

Between 2006 and 2007 alone, Chinese government relocated some 250,000 Tibetan farmers and herders, nearly one-tenth of the population, to resettle to new “socialist villages” from scattered rural hamlets. Reports show they were often ordered to build new housing largely at their own expense and without their consent.

In doing so, these Tibetan nomads have been forced to abandon their traditional lifestyles with many driven to frustration and despair, unable to cope up with the pressures of earning their livelihood through means alien to their traditions and upbringing.

Also resettlement often involve the slaughter of animals belonging to the mostly nomadic herders, relocation to poorly built accommodation and inability to find work due to lack of skills, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said its June 2007 report.

Others are forcibly evicted to make room for public works projects, like dams and roads, the group said in the report.

China says its presence in Tibet has resulted in modernization of the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan country.

Critics rubbish the claim and say modernisation in Tibet has been crushingly imposed by the Chinese authorities along with draconian measures that restrict freedom of expression, freedom to follow a religion of choice and curtailment of opportunity.

While pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into road-building and development projects in Tibet, China is maintaining a large military presence and keeping close tabs on the citizenry through a vast security apparatus of cameras and informants on urban streets and in the monasteries to contain its tight grip on the restive Himalayan region and to quell any impending demonstrations, like the one that broke out in March, against its rule.

Xinhua’s latest report on relocation of Tibetans appears to be part of a major propaganda drive on Tibet launched by China last month to highlight what it calls the “social and economic development of Tibet over the last 30 years.”

Chinese media report last month said starting November 5th China’s top nine state-run media, including the official Xinhua news agency and People’s Daily Online, will start “a series report on the last 30 years of Tibet after the reform and opening-up policy in China.”

The massive state-sponsored drive was described as a move to “help international readers to better understand Tibet”. The report said the purposeful coverage activity on Tibet would be jointly sponsored by the Publicity Department of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Publicity Department of the Party Committee of TAR, with the network sponsorship of China Tibet Information Centre.

The use of torture in the restless Chinese region of Tibet is widespread and routine and officials regularly ignore legal safeguards supposed to be in place to prevent it, a new report said on Wednesday.

Courier Mail)
This photo, taken in the second week of November, shows Chinese soldiers patrolling the area around the Jokhang Temple in central Lhasa. Recent reports indicate China has intensified its military presence in Tibet amid fears of recurring protests in the restive Himalayan region. (Phayul/Photo: Courier Mail)

Even when detainees are released, they may die of their injuries, be scarred for life mentally or physically and not be able to afford medical treatment or be denied it completely, the Free Tibet group said.

“Despite claims by the Chinese government that there are ‘extremely few cases of torture’, the evidence tells a different story,” Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said. “There is no doubt that the Chinese government is permitting the use of torture as a weapon to suppress the Tibetan people.”

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment and calls to the spokesman’s office of the Chinese-run Tibetan government in Lhasa went unanswered.

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.

Mountainous and remote Tibet was rocked by anti-Chinese protests earlier this year, which China blamed on the Dalai Lama, whom it brands a separatist. He has repeatedly denied the claims.

Free Tibet said it had profiled numerous cases of torture carried out against people detained following the demonstrations, which spilled over into other ethnically Tibetan parts of China such as Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.

It said that one monk at the Labrang monastery in Gansu, Jigme Gyatso, had to be hospitalised for almost a month after his injuries received in detention.

“They would hang me up for several hours with my hands tied to a rope … hanging from the ceiling and my feet above the ground. Then they would beat me on my face, chest, and back, with the full force of their fists,” he said in the report.

“Finally, on one occasion, I lost consciousness and was taken to hospital. After I regained consciousness at the hospital, I was once again taken back to prison where they continued the practice of hanging me from the ceiling and beating me.”

China has vowed to stamp out torture in its judicial system, described as widespread by some critics, in the face of international and domestic pressure.

Last month, the U.N. Committee Against Torture, in a rare public review of China’s record, expressed dissatisfaction with a “very serious information gap” about abuses in the country where criminal justice information is often considered a state secret. Free Tibet, in the report issued to coincide with International Human Rights Day, said Chinese laws aimed at protecting detainees were regularly ignored in Tibet.

“The international community can no longer hide behind sound bites condemning China’s human rights track record in Tibet and must now take specific actions to reverse the worsening crisis in Tibet,” Brigden added.

China and envoys of the Dalai Lama have been meeting on and off for the past few years, but with little to show for their talks.

Beijing has rejected the Dalai Lama’s calls for greater autonomy as being part of a plot for covert independence.

On Wednesday, the semi-official China News Service quoted Si Ta, a deputy head of the United Front Work Department which handles relations with non-Communists and ethnic and religious minorities, as repeating that the door to talks was always open.

“The Party still has expectations of the Dalai Lama and plenty of patience, but ‘Tibet independence’, ‘half independence’ or ‘covert independence’ are unacceptable,” it paraphrased him as saying in Washington.