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The Tibetan National Congress (TNC), an independent Tibetan political party, launched a Twitter campaign to highlight the regional security implications of China's occupation of Tibet, as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to visit India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that President Obama will be joining his monthly "Mann ki Baat" radio address on Tuesday, January 27. Modi said he was "eagerly looking forward" to the event, and invited people to submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #AskObamaModi.
In response, TNC launched a social media campaign to tweet the following question to the two world leaders: "China's occupation of #Tibet is a regional security threat. How can we resolve it to secure peace? #AskObamaModi”
supporters from around the world have been re-tweeting this question, making it
one of the leading tweets yesterday.
"TNC is strongly encouraged by the deepening ties between India and the United States," said TNC’s President Jigme Ugen. "From the perspective of regional security, it is critical that India and the U.S. enhance their cooperation to address the destabilizing situation in Tibet. Our Twitter campaign seeks to place this issue on their agenda, as well as in the larger public discourse."
explained, "The Chinese occupation of Tibet is the root cause of major
security threats to the entire region: the constant danger of Sino-Indian
border conflict, trans-boundary water disputes over rivers originating in
Tibet, China's interference in Nepal's internal affairs, and undeclared martial
law in Tibet due to the ongoing self-immolation crisis. It is only through Tibetan self-rule that
these problems can be resolved.
"India and the U.S. share a national interest in resolving the destabilizing Tibet issue, to say nothing of also promoting their values of human rights and democracy," said Ugen. "It is a natural partnership that these two great democracies -- India and the U.S. -- promote their security and their values, by jointly promoting Tibetan self-rule."
Contact: Jigme Ugen 612-812-5846
By Freedom House (January 2015)
The Politburo’s Predicament—which examines the evolution of the censorship and internal security apparatus under the leadership of Xi Jinping—finds that the overall degree of repression has increased since Xi rose to power in November 2012 but at a cost to the Communist Party's resilience.
Xi has combined populist and coercive policies in an attempt to strengthen the party’s hold on power. These efforts have proven somewhat effective, but they have also fueled resentment and recruitment to the cause of rights defense, both within society and among some party members, security personnel and censors, author Sarah Cook concludes.
The result is that the Chinese Communist Party is trapped in a vicious cycle, whereby the actions taken to maintain power risk alienating the population and some of its own members, undermining the regime’s long-term legitimacy and security.
Read the full report at: https://freedomhouse.org/china-2015-politiburo-predicament#.VL1AmMn9V2D.
By Tibetan Review (January 10, 2015)
(Editorial appeared in the November-December 2014 edition of Tibetan Review.)
On Oct 20 this year, the government of India issued a document titled “The Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy, 2014”. It is a significant document which enables one to know what the policy status of the Tibetans living in India since 1959 is. With some long lists, the policy document also explains what welfare and other facilities may be, but not necessarily will be, extended to them.
To begin with, the document explains that “Tibetans in India are considered refugees and they are staying temporarily in India on Humanitarian considerations”. The term ‘refugee’, however, does not occur in the Indian statute books and should, therefore, be understood in its proper context. In the case of Tibetans, it necessarily means those holding the Foreigner’s Registration Certificate (RC) issued by the government of India and which they are required to get renewed annually or, as the case may be, every five years, unless their permit to stay in the country gets revoked before that.
The RC is therefore nothing like the permanent residence document that successful asylum applicants get in the USA or Canada or other Western countries. Such asylum grantees get almost all the rights that the country’s citizens are entitled to, short of voting in elections and possibly standing for election to the country’s highest office. India does not have a law or standard system or process for granting such kind of asylum.Read the full editorial at: http://www.tibetanreview.net/rehabilitation-policy-unlikely-to-stem-tibetans-emigration-dreams/.
By www.tibet.net (January 15, 2015)
DHARAMSHALA: A three-day training for trainers workshop on the Middle Way Approach (UMAYLAM) is being held from 14-16 January at Mcleod Ganj. The workshop is organised by the Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administration to boost awareness on the Middle Way Approach among the grassroots level Tibetan public by training local leaders and activists.
Fifteen participants took part in the workshop including staff from the Settlement Office, members of the local Tibetan assembly, staff from Mentseekhang and Tibetan NGOs.
Mr. Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary of Department of Information and International Relations, spoke to the participants on the nature, evolution and achievements of the Middle Way Approach. He also spoke on the Central Tibetan Administration’s firm commitment to continue dialogue with the Chinese leadership to seek genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people. He answered questions from the participants following his talk.
The workshop is specifically designed to engage people at grass roots level in understanding the Middle Way Approach by training local leaders who are engaged in day-to-day interaction with the public, a DIIR staff told Tibet.net.
The three day workshop is being presided over by Mr. Tsering Wangchuk and Ms. Kalden Tsomo.
By Simon Denyer (Washington Post, January 15, 2015)
BEIJING — "Je suis Charlie," Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote as he made a passionate defense of free speech this month, arguing that extremists would never be able to silence other voices and opinions on his social media platform.
But Tibetan writer and dissident Tsering Woeser says her experience with Facebook tells a different story, after the video of a Tibetan self-immolation was deleted and a fellow dissident’s account temporarily suspended last month. Zuckerberg, Woeser wrote, is “not exactly being honest about defending freedom of expression,” as he tries to make more money by getting a block on his service lifted in China.Read the full story at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/01/15/no-mark-zuckerberg-you-are-not-charlie-argues-tibetan-writer/.
By Buchung K. Tsering (ICT), January 13, 2015.
Three weeks back, Freedom House, the Washington, D.C. based organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world issued a report titled “The Politburo’s Predicament: Confronting the Limitations of Chinese Communist Party Repression”.  I have just finished reading it and the encouragement to do so came from an op-ed by Fred Hiatt about it in the Washington Post  of January 12, 2015 and a discussion that took place in Freedom House on January 13, 2015.
Written by Sarah Cook, a senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House, the report examines the state of censorship and internal security apparatus in China, under President Xi Jinping.
It says repression has intensified under President Xi and that the Chinese Communist Party is also trapped in a vicious circle whereby increasing coercion breeds growing resistance, requiring ever more intense crackdowns.
In brief, the report finds:
The report notes with interest an extreme attention to detail leading to a sense of information-control overkill. The example it cites is a censorship directive  on a music video by a Taiwanese singer Deserts Chang.
The report says, “… on April 10, 2014, the following directive was issued by the State Council Information Office: “At 0:49 in the music video for Deserts Chang’s song ‘Rose-Colored You,’ the person in the ambulance is holding a ‘Free Tibet’ kerchief…. Please delete this video.”
Fred Hiatt has also highlighted this example in his op-ed. 
I watched the music video  and indeed if you observe carefully (as can be seen from this screen shot) the person on the stretcher appears to be holding a Tibetan national flag and the flag seems to be printed on his shirt, too.As would be the case, many of the study’s findings are applicable to the present situation in Tibet.
On the situation in Tibet now compared with pre-November 2012 levels, the study says, “As self-immolations reached their peak in November 2012 and then continued periodically, official reprisals for those involved intensified. In a form of collective punishment, a regulation allowed those found to have assisted a self-immolator to be charged with homicide. A late 2013 crackdown in one county alone led to at least 58 detentions and 15 prison sentences of up to 18 years. At least two monks, including a popular religious leader, were beaten to death in custody in 2013 within weeks of their detention.”
So, what should the international community do? The author says, “The United States and other democracies should work together to more effectively assist victims of repression and challenge official impunity. They should also seriously reconsider assumptions that the Communist Party will rule indefinitely, and that any liberalization will come from the top down.”
Reposted with permission. Originally posted at: http://weblog.savetibet.org/2015/01/13/my-thoughts-on-reading-freedom-house-report-on-china-and-censorship/.
By Woeser (December 28, 2014)
On December 26, 2014, I reposted on my Facebook page a video of Tibetan Buddhist monk Kalsang Yeshe’s self-immolation that occurred on December 23 [in Tawu county, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, China], accompanied by an excerpted report explaining that self-immolation is a tragic, ultimate protest against repression. A few hours later, my post was deleted by the Facebook administrator. I was rather shocked when a Facebook notice of deletion leapt out on screen, which I tweeted right away with the thought, “It’s been more than six years since I joined Facebook in 2008, and this is the first time my post was deleted! Does FB also have ‘little secretaries?’”
“Little Secretaries” refer to censors hired by Weibo, the Twitter-like microblog in China, and their job is to delete posts that are deemed “politically sensitive.” In China, that means content not welcomed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. As the government’s foot soldiers to suppress expression, the Little Secretaries are roundly loathed by Chinese Internet users and regarded as enemies of freedom. In China, my posts had been constantly subjected to censorship on domestic social media platforms that took orders from the Party’s propaganda department, to the point that my accounts were repeatedly removed altogether. To avoid censorship, I took the trouble, like many Chinese netizens, to scale the Great Fire Wall to visit websites outside of China, including Facebook. You can very well imagine then my moment of disbelief when I realized that Facebook had censored my post: Have Big Brother and his Little Secretaries taken over the world?
The incident attracted a lot of attention. It made rounds in Twitter’s Chinese community; media outlets such as the Voice of America and the New York Times reported on it. Today, VOA’s Chinese website published Facebook’s response:
Facebook has long been a place where people share things and experiences. Sometimes, those experiences involve violence and graphic videos. We work hard to balance expression and safety. However, since some people object to graphic videos, we are working to give people additional control over the content they see. This may include warning them in advance that the image they are about to see contains graphic content. We do not currently have these tools available and as a result we have removed this content.
The VOA report also said that, “a Facebook employee familiar with operational details at Facebook who prefers to remain anonymous told VOA on December 27 that Woeser’s post was reported by users but the number of users who reported the post cannot be revealed to the media out of consideration for protecting sources. He said that Facebook evaluates a post even if it is reported by only one user. He iterated that the post was deleted because of graphic content, not out of political motivation.” The VOA report further reported that, “In response to what Woeser pointed out, that Facebook allowed video of ISIS executions of hostages, the anonymous Facebook employee said the ISIS video didn’t show the moment of beheading. He said that he believes Woeser could re-post the video on Facebook if she excises it.”
While I appreciate Facebook’s response, as censors in China never bothered to answer my inquiries, it has not expelled all my questions.
This particular self-immolation occurred outside a police post. Whoever videotaped it took great risk to do so. Anyone involved in taping, photographing or disseminating videos or photos of self-immolation, once caught, would face severe punishment. Over a hundred Tibetans have been imprisoned for these acts. Tibetans who burn themselves to death are not seeking death for their own sake but to call attention to the plight of the Tibetan people. They die so that the Tibetans as a people may live in dignity. Those who took tremendous risk to videotape the self-immolation and to upload it online know perfectly that such videos will not be able to spread on Chinese websites, and they must be posted on websites in free societies such as Facebook for the world to see. When Facebook decides to delete the video to get rid of “graphic content,” it renders the sacrifice of the self-immolator and the risk taken by the videographer as nothing. Is that what Facebook wants to accomplish?
It seems that Facebook defends its deletion of my post from a professional, technical and neutral point of view. My question is, if the self-immolation video I posted is deemed “graphic,” what about the photo of Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc burning himself to death in 1963 in protest of government persecution that was widely published in papers worldwide? Similarly, photos of exiled Tibetan Jamphel Yeshi running down a New Delhi street on March 26, 2012, during Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to India, were also widely published and viewed. Should these photos be censored too for being “graphic”? What could be more graphic than terrorists crashing airplanes into the World Trade Towers and victims jumping out of windows of the skyscrapers? In all the cases here, the very “graphicness” bespeaks the evil and the terror, and it calls for a moral response.
Western democracies have recently resolved to strike ISIS, and the public support for this is largely the result of the Jihadist videos of beheading hostages that have been disseminated online. Facebook defended its inclusion of these beheading videos which it claims do not show the graphic moment of beheading. But I, for one, saw videos of the beheading moment on Facebook. I even saw footage of the executioners putting the severed head on the torso of the dead. Even with a video without the moment of beheading, does it not “involve violence” and is it therefore not “graphic?” Terrorists want to terrify people, but instead, they have rallied the world to eradicate them.
If Facebook, out of professionalism, deletes content about dark realities and makes them go away from in front of our eyes, is it making “each Facebook user safely communicate with each other and with the world” as it claims? The fact of the matter is, such self-imposed blindness will only numb the mind and feelings, emboldening, even encouraging the evil.
It is not enough for Facebook to have Face; it must also have Faith. When evaluating content, it should not be content to skim over the mere surface. It must see and understand the meaning and value of an image. When professing neutrality, I hope Facebook remembers the words of Jewish writer and Nobelist Elie Wiesel: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
When I discussed the matter with friends, they thought, by limiting my questioning of Facebook to whether technical neutrality helps or hinders justice, I am in essence accepting Facebook’s claim that the deletion of my post was not politically motivated. They think that the incident is not as simple as that, and that I need to question whether Facebook was trying to curry favor with Beijing. On Facebook, videos of Tibetan self-immolations have not been censored before, and my friends argued that we have reason to worry that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is compromising on defending users’ freedom of expression as he seeks China’s permission to allow Facebook in China, given that he visited Beijing two months ago and met with high-ranking Chinese officials, and that a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Zuckerberg received Lu Wei, China’s Internet czar in Facebook’s headquarters where he ingratiated himself to his guest by showing that he and his employees were reading Xi Jinping’s writings to learn about China.
This chain of logic, should it really exist, shows how dictatorial power can directly limit freedom of expression in the free world through indirect manipulation. This is what’s most sinister and what the liberal democracies need to be vigilant about.
December 28, 2014, Beijing.
Translated from Chinese by China Change: http://www.voachinese.com/content/facebook-deletes-post-of-woeser-20141229/2577156.html.
By Ian Johnson, New York Times (December 1, 2014)
James Leibold is a senior lecturer in politics and Asian studies at La Trobe University in Australia, and is currently based in Beijing. His research has focused on the Chinese government’s policies toward ethnic minorities and their effects on people’s daily lives. He recently returned from a trip to the western region of Xinjiang, the nominally autonomous homeland of China’s ethnic Uighurs, a mostly Sunni Muslim, Turkic-speaking people. In recent years, government restraints on cultural and religious expression have bred resentment in Xinjiang that has sometimes erupted in deadly violence.
In an interview, Mr. Leibold discussed the origin of the Chinese government’s ethnic policies, its efforts to control the borderlands where most ethnic minorities live and its demands that Muslim women remove their veils.
Read the full interview: http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/01/q-and-a-james-leibold-on-ethnic-policies-in-china/.
INTERVIEW Alan Cantos, president of the Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT)
Published in Spanish in EL PERIODICO DE IBIZA Y FORMENTERA
“The victims of the Tibetan genocide are regaining some of their hope and dignity”
This Madrid native living in Ibiza has managed, together with José Elías Esteve, to spread the word about the situation in Tibet, raise funds for social projects in exile and lodge two lawsuits against Chinese leaders for international crimes committed in Tibet.
The name Alan Cantos is very closely linked to that of Tibet. And also to China. Born in Madrid but resident in Eivissa, Cantos, who studied physics at Madrid’s Complutense University “until the blows from the grises [grey-uniformed police] and a serious illness” forced him to continue his studies abroad, is an oceanographer by profession and the current president of the Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT). Together with the lawyer José Elías Esteve, he has managed to denounce for the first time in history the genocide, crimes against humanity, torture, state terrorism and war crimes committed in Tibet, to name those responsible within the Chinese Government, to investigate in depth the acts committed, and to enable victims, witnesses and international experts to explain and prove what happened.
Photo: Alan Cantos second from the right, with the Valencian lawyer José Esteve and Tibetan former polticial prisoners, from left to right Takna Jigme Sango and Palden Gyatso. (Photo Ángel López-Soto)
- Elvissa and Tibet are many miles apart, but thanks to your work they are closer…
- Justice and reparation to the victims should always be close, regardless of where a crime is committed or judged. Justice doesn’t understand about distance.
- Many people think Tibet is a poor country, but that is not the case. Is there a lot of ignorance about that country?
- Yes, tremendous ignorance regarding political, social, environmental and spiritual [matters]. Tibet is large and very rich in things like water in its rivers, minerals, areas in which to install missile platforms or to colonise. Perhaps what people talk about most is Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama because they represent values that are rapidly lost in the West, but such talk hides a narrative that is just as huge: namely, the impunity of the Chinese Communist Government and the future of the Tibetans and their culture under Chinese occupation. Also, we must not forget the danger to the sovereignty of modern democracies when they submit to so-called business and China’s economic threats.
- Why did you both decide to become involved with Tibet’s cause?
- The CAT has been trying to help in whatever way it can for over 20 years. This was our own personal choice, mainly motivated by the injustice that has been committed and is still being committed against the Tibetans, but also influenced by the example offered by their non-violent resistance in the face of genocide and the occupation they endure.
- What does your work entail?
- From the very start it has been helping Tibet in every possible way: spreading the word about their situation, raising funds for social projects in exile, and, since 2001, preparing and lodging the two lawsuits against former Chinese presidents for international crimes committed in that country. CAT is the main plaintiff representing the victims in both lawsuits, while Thubten Wanchen is the private accusation and co-plaintiff, together with Barcelona’s Casa Fundación del Tíbet, in both lawsuits. These lawsuits are the result of nearly a decade of brave and groundbreaking work by José Elías Esteve Moltó, professor of international law at Valencia University, and others in the CAT’s legal team which includes two of the best lawyers of international criminal justice: Manuel Ollé Sesé and Maite Parejo Sousa.
- What have you achieved?
- To denounce for the first time in a court of law in history the genocide, crimes against humanity, torture, state terrorism and war crimes committed, to name those considered responsible, to investigate in depth the acts committed, and to enable victims, witnesses and international experts to explain and prove all that took place.
- And now, what lawsuits are open?
- Although the ruling is not final, both Tibetan lawsuits against former presidents Jiang Zhemin and Hu Jintao are currently shelved due to the Chinese Government’s threats to the Spanish Government, which has twice modified a Constitutional Law in order to limit universal justice and bar the way to justice in Tibet and in other areas that inconvenience superpowers like the United States, China and Israel. Even so, both cases are under appeal; the former at the Constitutional Court, and the latter, after the second modification in 2014, at the Supreme Court.
- It has recently been reported that the Pope did not wish to receive the Dalai Lama for fear of Chinese reprisals. Do the Asian giant’s tentacles reach that far?
- China uses “economic repercussions and the loss of friendly relations” to threaten all governments in which it has interests, if they do not behave themselves. China acts on the world stage like the thug cousin [in a reference to well-known Spanish TV advert] but with no humour when it comes to human and international rights. They all obey. For example, the South African Government and heir to Mandela refused to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a meeting of Nobel Peace laureates. With help from the international Tibet movement, a campaign by a brilliant young leader of a small Tibetan organisation asked the organisers to change the venue of the meeting to another country, considering the shame of not granting the Dalai Lama entry, and the organisers chose Rome. However, the new Pope gave in to the usual pressure and excuses, and refused to greet a Nobel laureate who has mediated between religions and beliefs. Yet another kowtow to China!
- So why doesn’t anyone dare to do anything about it?
- Because we have created a system of production and consumption that is based on greed, and China is the temporal power that keeps it going. The multinationals rule, governments obey, and they sell a mirage of cheap production and millionaire sales that is going to shatter sooner of later into a thousand pieces.
- And the Spanish Government?
- With its recent reform of universal justice, killing judicial independence while obeying China’s orders, the government of the Partido Popular (PP) with their present absolute majority has committed one of the most serious and shameful attacks on Spanish democracy. They will pay for it with their already weak democratic credibility, like the PSOE did, who also played their part but are now trying to redeem themselves.
- And what about the media? Have they too been bought?
- It has been very hard to get a mention in the press despite the relevance of Tibet and the advance of the Chinese empire. In Spain if Ronaldo scratches his hair, it´s all over, so to speak. It’s also obvious that the media depend economically on political and business groups and need to sell newspapers and attract the public with popular headlines and bait. Which is something the Tibet struggle rarely is, because it inconveniences both left and right-wing parties.
- Because we are blind to the importance of this matter. Which is not helped by ignorance, fear of China and fear of looking a fool on such a complex matter that no one seems to understand. It is much easier to talk about the crisis, Ronaldo’s gestures, Artur Mas or Rajoy.
- Yet despite your bravery, your efforts are just a grain of sand in the desert.
- We’re all a grain in the cosmos, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling or acting. Over the last 15 years José Elías’ work with CAT’s help has produced enormous results. China’s impunity for its abuse against the Tibetan people has begun to crumble. The victims and their families have regained some of their hope and dignity. Oblivion, which is what hurts the victims most, has been prevented. Fortunately, the Chinese Government lashes out at us and does nothing but issue threats and dodge the issue. These are important drops in the ocean.
- So, how can one fight against something so huge?
- By cloning José Elías and all the brave international lawyers who help us! But at a more practical level, with patience, rigour and infinite perseverance, and always with the bravery and permanent support of the victims. And if one had to choose a logo for a campaign, it could be, for example: Say NO to China! As simple as that. By doing so, we would be saving fundamental principles, business would still be as usual, and the world would not come to an end.
Photo: Esteve and Cantos at a conference at the U. of Westminster, London (click this link to watch).
(Click photo to enlarge)
“The best way is self-determination with a referendum”
Asked about the future, Cantos felt sure that [the Tibetan people] “will endure with their exemplary non violent resistance with or without the Dalai Lama” and that China “should sooner or later change its intransigence”. With regard to the latest declaration by the Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile, Lobsang Sangay, in which he expressed himself in favour of Tibet being an autonomous community within China, Cantos expressed respect “for the Tibetans’ decisions” and always “tried to understand them, in view of the pressure they are under”, although he was convinced that the way forward was “self-determination with a referendum; an international right that is recognized by the United Nations.”
Originally published in Spanish at: http://periodicodeibiza.es/pitiusas/local/2015/01/06/141457/victimas-del-genocidio-tibetano-estan-recuperando-parte-esperanza-dignidad.html
By Tibetan Review (Dec. 30, 2014)
China had sought to improve what it said were largely negative mainstream foreign opinion about its record on Tibet not by taking steps to improve the situation there but through multiplicity of public relations exercises, including by sending delegations on expensive trips to hold and give talks, according to a commentary in its official Global Times newspaper Dec 28. However, the campaign has been a failure, the commentary admitted, but called for more such efforts.
Over the last few years China had sent Tibetan legislators, experts and cultural representatives abroad to share their views about their home, in addition to making documentary films and staging cultural activities in attempts to reverse this trend and win over supporters, said the commentary written by one Huang Jingjing.
It noted that a lot of criticism of China’s Tibet policies had come from the parliaments and congresses of Western countries, noting that currently there were more than 20 parliaments in Western countries where “Tibet question groups” had been established to assist “Tibet independence” forces to enlarge their international influence. To counter it, China had sent nine delegations of Tibetan legislators on overseas trips since 2009, following “the deadly March 14 riot in Lhasa which claimed 19 lives and injured hundreds of civilians and police officers.”
The commentary said the last delegation from the Tibet Autonomous Region, which included two deputies to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), wrapped up an eight-day visit to five cities in Canada and the USA on Dec 7. It cited Tenzin Lhundrup, deputy secretary general of the Tibetan government and a member of the delegation that recently returned from the North America trip, as saying the parliaments where “Tibet question groups” had been set up “were the key targets of, as well as barriers to, our communication efforts.”Read the full article here: http://www.tibetanreview.net/china-admits-overseas-tibet-propaganda-efforts-a-failure/.
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