Beijing Pushes Mandarin, Punishing Ethnic Tongues

19 January, 2014 at 07:18 | Posted in censorship, China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Carol Wickenkamp, Epoch Times | January 12, 2014

Last week eight Tibetans were detained in the latest effort in Beijing’s battle against ethnic and local languages.

The Tibetans were linked to a grassroots effort to preserve their language and cultural identity, said Radio Free Asia. The practice of teaching the local language is considered illegal by authorities in both Tibet and Uhygur regions, where the Chinese regime seeks to eliminate ethnic languages, replacing them with Mandarin, China’s official language.

The Tibetans were detained in Karma township, where a popular Tibetan religious figure, Khenpo Kartse, was detained nearly a month ago, accused of carrying out anti-state activities including teaching the Tibetan language, sources told RFA.

In Tibet, the Chinese regime represses Tibetan culture by making the language redundant throughout society, says the Central Tibetan Administration. Pointing to the education system, which is controlled entirely by the Chinese Communist Party, the Administration argues that the system is entirely set up to suit the needs of Chinese immigrants rather than the Tibetan students.

In Xinjiang, similar language repression is enforced on the Uyghur population.

“Compounded by the near elimination of the Uyghur language in the education system and restrictions on cultural practices, the Uyghurs face losing their ethnic distinctiveness,” Rebiya Kadeer, president of the exile World Uyghur Congress, told a 2012 U.S. congressional hearing in Washington.

Even minor dialects are besieged. China’s State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has instructed all media presenters be out in front in promoting Beijing’s Mandarin dialect, boosting the “soft power” of Chinese culture, reported state media Global Times.

Television and radio hosts were instructed to speak proper Mandarin and not to imitate dialects, the article said.

Fully a third of the Chinese population, or 400 million people, can’t speak Mandarin, Ministry of Education representative Xu Mei told state media Xinhua in a September 2013 article. Xu went on to say that the ministry would focus on promoting the use of Mandarin in the remote countryside and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities in the coming year.

via Beijing Pushes Mandarin, Punishing Ethnic Tongues » The Epoch Times

China Clamps Down Harder on Tibetan Writers and Singers

16 December, 2013 at 10:12 | Posted in China, Culture, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Carol Wickenkamp
Epoch Times

Police recently detained two popular Tibetan singers, as the Communist Party CCP continues to crack down on freedom of expression in Tibet, further implementing President Xi’s Maoist “mass line” campaign of repression and surveillance. These arrests follow several other recent arrests of Tibetan writers and musicians.

Singers Trinley Tsekar and Gonpo Tenzin were detained late in November. Both men are from Driru (Biru) County, where the CCP has been implementing a highly unpopular campaign to force Tibetans to display loyalty to China and fly the Chinese flag from their rooftops.

Both singers had released and distributed DVDs with lyrics on Tibetan culture, literature and language, and the pains of the Tibetan people under the rule of the Chinese, said the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The arrest of the singers follows the recent arrests of Tibetan writers.

Tobden, 30, a nomad and writer who was arrested on Oct. 28, was sentenced to a five-year term on Nov. 30, along with two other residents of Shakchu township in Driru county.

Tobden’s writings on the suffering of Driru’s people and calling for the world to “urge justice for the county’s residents, who suffer under unjust laws and regulations,” are judged by the CCP to be threatening, a source told Radio Free Asia.

Earlier in October, Chinese police detained popular writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen,27, and a friend, charging them with “allegedly engaging in activities to destroy social stability and for splitting the Chinese motherland,” a source told The Tibet Post International (TPI).

Since this spring, at least seven other Tibetan writers or musicians have been either jailed or sentenced, including two who were “disappeared” and later found to be in detention.

‘Mass Line’

The CCP says its “mass line” campaign in Tibet is meant to bring the Party officials closer to the people. The reality of the campaign, says the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, “is the policy is aimed at bringing every Tibetan under the direct surveillance of the party’s human and technological surveillance machinery.”

On November 1, the CCP’s top-ranking official in the Tibet region, Chen Quanguo, wrote in an editorial in Party policy journal Qiushi that he would “ensure that the voices of hostile forces and the Dalai group are not seen or heard.”

He pledged that local officials would “make sure that the voice of the party is heard and seen everywhere in this vast 120 million square kilometer region.”

Recently released China Law Yearbook 2013, an official Party publication, states “[We must] resolutely fight the crimes of splittism, subversion, terrorism and all kinds of cult organizations in accordance with the law to maintain state security and social and political stability, consolidate the party’s ruling position, and defend the socialist regime.”

Any writer, artist, musician, blogger, or religious figure who articulates or expresses any term or example of Tibetan culture is considered a “splittist,” a threat to the CCP and is thus severely punished.

“By daring to refute China’s official narrative of events surrounding the 2008 Tibetan uprising, these courageous Tibetans represent a significant new challenge to the Chinese authorities,” said Tsering Tsomo, the director of the TCHRD, regarding the targeted writers and singers.

via China Clamps Down Harder on Tibetan Writers and Singers – The Epoch Times

Asia’s Water Tower at Risk

8 September, 2013 at 06:51 | Posted in China, Environmental issues, human rights, persecution, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Maura Moynihan

When Chinese Premiere Hu Jintao flew into New Delhi on March 28, 2012, for the BRIC Summit, he careened onto unfamiliar terrain: a democracy with a free press where a 27-year-old Tibetan refugee, Jamphel Yeshi, walked to a public protest, poured kerosene over his body, and lit himself on fire while shouting for an end to Chinese atrocities in Tibet.

The searing images from India of Jamphel Yeshi’s burning body exposed to the world the cost of China’s reign of terror in Tibet, which has been well concealed for 61 years.

Since March 16, 2011, 121 people inside Tibet and 6 people outside Tibet have lighted themselves on fire in public in defiance of Chinese Communist assaults on their Buddhist faith, but there are no journalists or diplomats to bear witness to the carnage, only raw video that reaches the Internet.

There is another potent source of this explosion of Tibetan outrage, which receives negligible international coverage: the covert history of China’s rape and pillage of Tibet’s ancestral lands and waters.

In Asian folklore Tibet is known as “The Western Treasure House.” Its people have been careful stewards of this bounteous terrain for millennia. Tibet’s blessing, its remote plateau, is now its curse: China controls the “Third Pole” with an iron fist, and there is no one to stop it.

The elemental facts about Tibet are not widely known, yet any map of the Tibetan Plateau reveals the enormous resource and strategic advantage gained by its capture.

Tibet is a unique geomorphic entity; its 46,000 glaciers comprise the Earth’s third-largest ice mass. This “Third Pole,” filled with pristine riches of wildlife, minerals, timber, and above all, water, is a vital component of the planet’s ecosystem.

Tibet is the fount of the Yangtze, Yellow, Indus, Brahmaputra, Chenab, Sutlej, Salween, and Mekong rivers, which flow through 11 nations, nourishing 3 billion people from Peshawar to Beijing. Today, all but one of Asia’s great rivers—the Ganges, which rises from the Tibetan plateau but fortunately just outside the Chinese border—are controlled at the Tibetan headwaters by the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2000, China launched a vast development project titled Xi bu dai fa, the Opening and Development of the Western Regions (of Xinjiang and Tibet, which together comprise one half of China’s land mass). A massive influx of Chinese settlers, urbanization, and forced relocation of nomads swiftly followed.

The Xizang railway, which opened in 2006, transports Tibet’s vast supplies of minerals, stone, and lumber to the mainland and brings in a flood of Chinese engineers and laborers who have built at least 160 hydro dams across Tibet and have plans for hundreds more.

Chinese engineers now operate multiple dams and mines all across Tibet, polluting the rivers at their source—you can see all of this on Google Earth. The Chinese government dismisses concerns of its own scientists and those of neighboring states alarmed by a sudden decline in water levels and fisheries.

In the 1990s, China refused to sign the U.N. treaty on transboundary rivers and increased militarization of the Tibetan Plateau, while denying journalists and international observers access to the troubled region.

Author Michael Buckley, who captured rare footage of dam construction in his film Meltdown in Tibet, observes: “China doesn’t have to listen to anyone on this. China has Tibet, so China has all the cards.” (For Mr. Buckley’s videos and archives visit www.meltdownintibet.com)

When recently asked about the crisis in Tibet, Chinese official media stated: “The Dalai Lama reminds us of the uncontrolled and cruel Nazis during the Second World War. … How similar it is to the Holocaust committed by Hitler on the Jews!”

Many diplomats and journalists are puzzled by China’s obsessive demonization of the Dalai Lama, the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, but the Politburo’s Stalinoid hysteria works. It squelches any and all rational discussion of China’s exploitation of Tibet’s resources, and subverts attention away from how Chinese mines and dams have created a looming environmental catastrophe on the world’s most populous continent.

The preservation and management of Tibet’s glaciers and the rivers they sustain is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. In the 11 countries through which Tibet’s waters flow, population growth and industrial development is projected to double within 50 years.

The combined effects of rapid development, desertification, and water scarcity have already created extreme cycles of droughts and floods, food shortages, and pandemics. The Chinese mainland is so imperiled that in April 2011, the Yangtze River water flows were at their lowest level in record.

Yet, despite irrefutable evidence of the dangers of overexploiting Tibet’s water resources, the Chinese government will not modify or downscale plans for dams, tunnels, railroads, and highways across the Tibetan plateau.

Since Chairman Mao invaded Tibet in 1951, China has deployed a huge military infrastructure across the Tibetan Plateau, which gives China a continuous border with Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The border areas are now filled with military airfields and PLA battalions. In the coming age of “water wars,” China has a firm hand on the water tower of Asia.

China insists that Tibet is “an internal affair of the state,” and for decades, the world has turned away in uncomfortable silence as the slaughter of a helpless civilian populace continues without impediment or penalty. The Chinese Communist Party has for 61 years controlled the narrative, but to ignore Tibet is to misread how the Chinese occupation intensifies environmental, economic, and military instability in Asia and the world.

Tsetan, a Tibetan journalist based in Delhi, says: “For years, we have protested the desecration of our culture, the yoking of our rivers, and the mining of our sacred mountains, but China will not listen: They shoot us, torture us, and there is no one to stop them. Now people inside Tibet are driven to burning their bodies to get the world to understand what China is doing to Tibet, and the world had better wake up before it’s too late.”

Maura Moynihan is a journalist and researcher who has worked for many years with Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal. Her works of fiction include “Yoga Hotel” and “Kaliyuga.”

This article was first published by Rangzen Alliance (rangzen.net).

via Asia’s Water Tower at Risk

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Chinese Officials Will Pay for Tibet Immolation Tip-Offs

31 October, 2012 at 09:28 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff

Chinese police in a Tibetan area in Gansu Province, where many self-immolations have taken place in recent days, are offering as much as $8,000 for information about Tibetans who are planning to set themselves on fire.

As many as 58 Tibetans, according to some accounts, have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest against the perceived destruction of their culture, religion, and way of life at the hands of Chinese authorities.

The reward notice was sent out on Sunday. It said, “Anyone who reports and informs the legal authorities on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation will be awarded 50,000 RMB,” according to the International Campaign for Tibet, which posted the notice online. The amount is around slightly over $8,000.

The notices were posted in Gansu Province’s Gannan prefecture and police confirmed with the news agency that they put them up.

People who give authorities information on those who organized the four most recent self-immolations will be rewarded as much as 200,000 yuan (about $32,000), the notice added.

Tibet’s government-in-exile has said that Tibetans inside China should not set themselves on fire, saying that there is a “small population and each life is precious.”

The International Campaign for Tibet said there is “an intense military buildup in the town of Labrang and Labrang Tashikyil monastery” in Gansu Province, one of the most influential and largest in the Tibetan region.

Two days ago, a man who sold bread outside the monastery set himself on fire, just a day after another carried out a self-immolation.

Mary Beth Markey, who heads the Tibetan rights group, said that the language on the tip-off notices “is consistent with the absence of official acknowledgement of policies or practices that have assuredly contributed to the 58 self-immolations in Tibet since February 2009.”

“Instead officials continue to characterize the Tibetan self-immolations as imitative, criminal, or misguided acts of ‘terrorism-in-disguise,” she continued.

The Central Tibetan Administration made similar comments earlier this week.

It said the “systematic repression of their freedom of religion and human rights, destruction of Tibetan language, culture and environment, and assimilation of Tibetan nationality through induced massive influx of Chinese population into Tibet” is triggering the immolations.

via Chinese Officials Will Pay for Tibet Immolation Tip-Offs | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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How China’s ‘Fifty-Cent Army’ Manipulates Online Opinion

7 June, 2012 at 08:49 | Posted in China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, IT and Media, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Michelle Yu
Epoch Times Staff

The number of Chinese Internet users soared to 513 million in 2011, and half of them use micro-blogging services, according to official statistics. Ever wary of this powerful new media and its implications and influence over public opinion, Chinese authorities have made tremendous efforts to gain and maintain control of the virtual battlefield. Besides the Great Firewall, a less obvious tactic employed is the use of paid web commentators, known as the fifty-cent army, or Wu Mao.

The once-secret fifty-cent army has increasingly become visible to the public, as politically driven postings, recruitment notices, and detailed work schemes have been posted online. Internal training materials, and photos taken at official training meetings for government-sponsored web commentators, reveal previously unknown facets of the complex operation.

Monthly Salaries

It is unclear when the Chinese regime started using commentators systematically, but the earliest known record can be traced to 2004 when the Changsha municipal government built a web commentator team, according to an official report. The commentators were required to not only post opinions and news with a spin, but contact public websites to delete “harmful” posts in order to maintain the regime’s positive image, the report said. Each commentator received a 600 yuan (about US$100) monthly base salary. The report was later removed from the official website, but not before it was widely circulated by netizens.

Other universities followed suit. In 2005 Nanjing University officials closed a student-run Internet bulletin board system, or BBS, which refused to “harmonize” (a euphemism for censorship) its content. When they launched a new official version using the old domain name, school authorities appointed student cadres and a few “enthusiastic” individuals to be web commentators. They received payments based on monthly performance evaluations.

The responsibility of web commentators at Nanjing University was to “neutralize” information critical of the authorities by posting positive information, replying to posts, and by “establishing an active and healthy” university web environment.

‘Positive Publicity’ Construction

It is not clear how many Internet bloggers the Chinese regime has hired, though some estimates run into the hundreds of thousands.

During a Politburo meeting on Jan. 23, 2007, Chinese leader Hu Jintao demanded the “reinforcement of the ideological and public opinion front and the construction of positive publicity” (also translated as “propaganda”).

Soon the Communist Party’s Central Committee and General Office of the State Council required all large Chinese websites and local governments to select “comrades of good political quality” and form teams of Internet commentators.

The size of these teams varies greatly by region. Early on, such teams were reported to consist of 10-30 people. But in June 2009 Beijing announced plans to recruit 10,000 Internet monitors, and announced that other cities would soon follow its example.

This announcement was apparently in response to a March 2009 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) document, which urged local governments to “strengthen Internet control” and “expand Internet law enforcement” forces.

An internal document issued in May 2009 warned local governments that, “the Internet could drastically change the public’s opinion of the Party and the government.”

In January 2010 Gansu Province, a relatively small and remote region, announced plans to establish a 650 person Internet blogger team.

Well-known Chinese blogger Han Han made fun of the Gansu authorities’ announcement of their secret force. The news was quickly removed from the official site, but was widely circulated by netizens.

‘Inspiring hostility and fear’

A number of internal training material and guidelines for Internet commentators have been published in recent years. Though it is difficult to prove their authenticity, these materials seem to accurately summarize key principles and tactics often employed by Internet users identified as pro-regime commentators.

New fifty-cent blogger recruits are told in the training manuals to “thoroughly understand” instructions from the leaders and faithfully execute orders; to stay immune to dissident thoughts and remain unswervingly loyal to the Party.

New fifty-cent blogger recruits are told in the training manuals to “thoroughly understand” instructions from the leaders and faithfully execute orders.

“Cherish your own political future,” one document said.

Students are also asked to “use various skills to hide [their] identity and pretend to be an ordinary netizen,” one document says. They are to “expand [their] online influence through networking with other netizens, especially influential bloggers.”

Common techniques listed in the training materials include “inspiring hostility and fear” for democratic countries, labeling dissidents as traitors, creating debates or controversy of trivial matters to distract attention from politically-significant topics, and encouraging nationalism.

There are also major projects or themes, for which talking points are developed. One document listed techniques on how to attack democracy, for example. It included arguments like: “Democracy is the Western world’s weapon to invade China,” “there is no real democracy,” “democracy leads to turmoil and chaos,” and “democratic countries also have corruption and crime.” All these arguments closely shadow official Party propaganda.

Staged Debates

One individual identifying himself as a paid web commentator told dissident artist Ai Weiwei in an interview that a fifty-cent blogger typically has many different online IDs, and in order to stage dramatic online debates often plays different roles.

When the government raised gas prices, for example, this person was instructed to control negative comments. In one remark he said: “I don’t care. It should rise more, so you poor people can’t afford to drive and it’ll free up the roads. Only the rich should drive.” Then he used several other IDs to quote and attack his own comment. His strategy worked: people attacked the provocative remark instead of the Communist Party, and the discussion was diverted away from the high gas prices.

“I usually debate with myself … It’s like playing a mind game,” he said to Ai Weiwei.

Another strategy he cited is to use apocryphal details when citing negative news reports, in order to undermine the story.

The blogger also said that 10 to 20 percent of the comments he sees online are by paid commentators. “Chinese netizens are really quite stupid. They become easily agitated. I can very easily control them,” he said.

Though he justified his work, he also said he thought the Chinese regime had gone too far on certain issues, such as carefully-crafted attacks against the Falun Gong spiritual practice and the Dalai Lama.

via How China’s ‘Fifty-Cent Army’ Manipulates Online Opinion | Society | China | Epoch Times

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‘Three Generations of Suffering’ Ignite Tibetan Self-Immolations

13 November, 2011 at 18:35 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps | Leave a comment
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Monastery head in the US to testify before Congress about CCP repression

By Aron Lamm
Epoch Times Staff

Since March 2010 a dozen young Tibetans have immolated themselves in the Ngaba Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China. That area, and the Kirti Monastery there, has also been the epicenter of the Chinese regime’s attempts to stamp out among Tibetans any demands for religious freedom and basic human rights.

The Supreme Head Lama of all Kirti monasteries in and outside of Tibet, his eminence Kirti Rinpoche, discussed what has driven young people to perform the most desperate act of protest imaginable: self-immolation.

Kirti Rinpoche was previously Religion and Culture Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration in exile. He is one of the many Tibetans who followed the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959 and has since re-established the Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala, India. As such, he has very close contact not only with the Kirti monastic communities in and outside of Tibet, but also with the lay people connected to them.

Speaking softly and calmly with the help of an interpreter, Kirti Rinpoche (Rinpoche a Tibetan religious honorific meaning “precious one”) detailed the horrors that the Chinese communist authorities have visited upon Kirti Monastery and the Tibetan community at large.

“It is an outburst of three generations of suffering,” he said, explaining why young people had resorted to self-immolation. “There has been so much repression against the Tibetan people, and the Ngaba area has suffered so much for so long. They could not endure anymore.”

This “wound of three generations” is detailed in his Nov. 3 testimony to the U.S. Congressional Commission on Human Rights.

Ever since the Red Army destroyed and plundered Lhateng Monastery in 1935, and continuing with the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, the Tibetan people in Ngaba have been subjected to a cultural and physical extermination campaign: looting, defiling and destruction of temples, mass arrests, torture, executions, public “struggle” sessions, starvation, and, in recent years especially, a concerted effort to force the community to pledge allegiance to the communist regime and denounce their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

‘Re-education’ Camp’

After the large-scale protests in Tibet in March, 2008 and the bloody crackdown that followed, the Chinese regime has stepped up its repression of Tibetan monasteries.

The Kirti monastery in Ngaba has since been turned more or less into a prison, or “re-education” camp. The whole area has been cordoned off, and more than 800 Chinese officials have moved in, to perform so-called “political re-education” and “patriotic education.”

In practice, this means that the whole monastery has been divided up into groups of 20 who spend most of their days listening to endless lectures designed to make them loyal to the Chinese Communist Party. These are followed by sessions where the monks must “share their opinions,” but where any opinions disagreeing with what has been taught are answered with beatings.

At night, random searches of the monk’s quarters occur, and the whole place has been equipped with closed-circuit TV cameras, listening devices, and watchtowers. Monks are forced to stamp on photos of the Dalai Lama and holy scriptures are cut to pieces with knives. Hundreds of monks have been rounded up and detained at unspecified locations, where many are subjected to torture.

“The whole community lives in constant fear,” Kirti Rinpoche said.

The desperate acts of self-immolation started in February 2009, when 27-year-old monk Tapey set himself on fire. Since then 11 others have followed suit, with repression against the community and their relatives increasing as a result.

Most of the self-immolators were very young: Lobsang Phuntsok, 20; Lobsang Kalsang, 18; Kalsang Wangchuk, 17; Choephel, 18. On Oct. 17, the first woman, 20-year-old nun Tenzin Wangmo, from Mamae Deshen Choekhorling nunnery, set herself on fire.

Since he lives in exile in India, Kirti Rinpoche did not know any of them personally, but he declared that as their spiritual teacher, he feels very close to them nonetheless.

“From a Buddhist perspective, it all boils down to motivation,” he said. “Action is important, but motivation is more important. The action itself may not be appealing, but their motivation was pure; they wanted to benefit others, alleviate the suffering in their community.”

To illustrate his point, he mentioned the story of how Buddha in a previous life threw himself off a cliff to feed a starving tigress and her cubs with his own flesh.

Rinpoche indicated that it is not possible to generalize about whether these acts are encouraged or discouraged by the monastic community, that it all depends on the individual situation. He said they are typically spontaneous acts that others are not informed of beforehand.

The suffering the immolation manifests is carried away by all those who see it, however, and it creates sympathy, he said. “People feel that they are part of it.”

The acts of the self-immolators may be extreme, but they have indeed brought the world’s attention to their shared demands: freedom for Tibetans, religious freedom in Tibet in particular, and permission for the Dalai Lama to return.

Rinpoche said that although he hopes that the international community can put pressure on the Chinese regime, it is basically up to the regime itself to stop the repression and instead implement rational policies, so that people can lead a normal life with basic human rights. This is the only thing that can defuse the increasingly explosive situation, he said.

But at the end of the interview, he also mentioned that, from a broader perspective, morality is the key issue for China.

Rinpoche took the recent case of little Yueyue as an example of what happens to a society when morality degenerates, and that the repression against the Tibetans reflects the same lack of morality among the Chinese leadership. Once the leaders’ morality improves, it can also improve among the people, having a positive impact on society.

“Whether you are a religious believer or not, improving morality can only facilitate this ‘harmonious society’ the regime so often talks about,” he said.

via ‘Three Generations of Suffering’ Ignite Tibetan Self-Immolations | Fashion & Beauty | Life | Epoch Times

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Dalai Lama and Beijing at Odds Over His Reincarnation

17 October, 2011 at 15:21 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Albert Ding & Gary Pansey
Epoch Times Staff

The Dalai Lama has emphatically stated that he alone and not the Chinese Communist Party CCP will determine who will be the reincarnation of the “Living Buddha” revered by Tibetans. He asserts that the CCP has no power over spiritual matters, calling such interference “outrageous and disgraceful.”

Speaking on Sept. 24 at the 11th bi-annual meeting since 1963 of Tibet’s chief monks, he also said that he will wait until he reaches 90 to decide whether or not he will reincarnate. The Dalai Lama is now 76 years old.

However, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Sept. 26 that any decision made by the Dalai Lama on his own concerning this Tibetan tradition will violate Chinese laws.

Clarifying the Chinese regime’s position, spokesperson Hong Lei said that only Beijing has the authority to bestow the title of “Dalai Lama,” or else it will be invalid under Chinese law.

The Dalai Lama and four other of Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual leaders held a religious convention in Dharamsala, India to address the rebirth issue.

The Dalai Lama issued a statement saying: “Dalai Lamas have functioned as both the political and spiritual leaders of Tibet for 369 years since 1642. I have now voluntarily brought this to an end, proud and satisfied that we can pursue the kind of democratic system of government flourishing elsewhere in the world.

“In fact, as far back as 1969, I made clear that concerned people should decide whether the Dalai Lama’s reincarnations should continue in the future. However, in the absence of clear guidelines, should the concerned public express a strong wish for the Dalai Lamas to continue, there is an obvious risk of vested political interests misusing the reincarnation system to fulfill their own political agenda.

“Therefore, while I remain physically and mentally fit, it seems important to me that we draw up clear guidelines to recognize the next Dalai Lama, so that there is no room for doubt or deception.”

“Today, the authoritarian rulers of the People’s Republic of China, who as communists reject religion, but still involve themselves in religious affairs, have imposed a so-called re-education campaign and declared the so-called Order No. Five, concerning the control and recognition of reincarnations, which came into force on 1st September 2007. This is outrageous and disgraceful.”

Officials of the Tibetan government in exile have commented on the controversy.

A representative of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dawa Tsering, told New Tang Dynasty TV, “The system of reincarnation exists because it’s consistent with Buddhist principles, not because it follows the wish of the ruling class.”

Special Envoy of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Kelsang Gyaltsen, believes that the methods for searching for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama follows the doctrine and customs of Tibetan Buddhism, and already forms a complete system. He regards the CCP’s attempt to decide the next Dalai Lama is trying to turn sacred religious affairs into politics.

“First, a decision based on political power will violate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and traditions; second, such a decision will not be accepted by believers. This will only complicate the issue, and will not benefit anyone.”

Gyaltsen also asserted that the CCP tries to control the Dalai Lama in order to control the Temple and the region. However, he feels that the statement made by the current Dalai Lama will foil the CCP’s plans.

“During the meeting between leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama said that he will leave clear directions for finding his reincarnation. The reincarnated Dalai Lama discovered in this way will be accepted by all believers of Tibetan Buddhism.”

Dawa Tsering also regards the CCP’s attempts to control the rebirth as completely political, but the issue of the Lama’s rebirth is a sacred and serious matter.

A Chinese political affairs expert, Hu Ping, believes that the rebirth is an internal issue of Tibetan Buddhism, which has nothing to do with an atheistic political party such as the CCP.

In 1995, after the death of the Panchen Lama, the CCP rejected the boy picked by the Dalai Lama and appointed another person. The young man recognized by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama has not been seen since 1995.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Dalai Lama and Beijing at Odds Over His Reincarnation | China News | Epoch Times

Tibetan Monks Subjected to ‘Patriotic Education’

27 September, 2011 at 07:12 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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..

.Epoch Times Staff

In a Tibetan monastery located 10,500 ft high on the plateau, a new form of education is underway. The Chinese regime calls it “patriotism education,” but for the monks it’s a form of severe persecution.

“This [so called] patriotism education is simply slamming Dalai Lama. The monks are forced to sign a declaration to support communism and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Dawa Tsering, representative of the Tibetan Parliament in exile in Taiwan, in a statement to the Voice of America.

On March 16, a young monk from the Kirti monastery of Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Sichuan Province, set himself ablaze protesting the Chinese regime’s repressive rule in Tibet.

On March 21, armed police forces entered the monastery, starting a round of so labeled patriotic education. For those who didn’t comply, it meant beatings, arrests, and being disappeared to unknown jails. Over 300 monks have been arrested.

The Voice of Tibet reported on Sept. 19 that the regime promised 20,000 yuan (US$3,130) to an expelled monk if he chose not to return to the monastery. Additionally, he is eligible for a 50,000 yuan (US$7,800) zero interest loan within the first 3 years.

Those who choose to leave the monastery voluntarily after March, get 10,000 yuan and a 50,000 yuan zero interest loan.

Not one of the around 2500 monks in the monastery, established in 1472, accepted the offer.

“How insignificant are those 10,000 or 20,000 yuan. Even the treasure of the entire world will not sway a true monk’s mind. It is pitiful for a country that does not respect Buddhism. We can foresee their consequences,” Master Yuanji who lives in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, told The Epoch Times, when asked “Will the monks return to the secular world for this[the reward]?”

Lay Buddhist Zeng Xiaoyu says, “It’s simply strange because one’s belief cannot be measured by money. According to Buddhism, everyone experiences many obstacles when one enters the monastery. But urging a monk to leave the temple is like a demon luring the monks away.”

If one signs the declaration slandering Dalai Lama, and praising the communist rulers, one can stay in the monastery. If one refuses to sign, one is expelled from the monastery. Hence, many monks ended up leaving the monastery, some going into exile. If all monks leave, the monastery will be closed down.

The purpose of this harsh treatment is “to educate the monks and prevent infiltration from foreign countries,” Zheng Dui, China’s official scholar and director of the religion department in China Tibetology Research Center, told the media in 2008.

Huang Qi, human rights activist and co-founder of the Tianwang Human Rights Center, told The Epoch Times that the regime uses similar tactics on monks in Tibet, as they use on house church members and practitioners of Falun Gong. The purpose is to force them to give up their belief.

“I met Falun Gong practitioners both times when I was jailed. They conduct themselves according to truth, compassion, and tolerance. One of them was in his 70s. They would not sign any paper nor give up their belief,” Huang said.

via Tibetan Monks Subjected to ‘Patriotic Education’ | China News | Epoch Times

Tibetan Culture Website Shut Down in China

23 March, 2011 at 08:37 | Posted in China, human rights, IT and Media, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Matthew Robertson
Epoch Times Staff

A prominent Tibetan cultural website in China has been shut down, despite a history of attempting to mollify censors.

TibetCul, a contraction of Tibetan Cultural Net, fostered a community of 80,000 Tibetans and Chinese interested in Tibetan culture. The site was founded in 2003 by two brothers, Wangchuk Tseten and Tsewang Norbu, in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province in northwestern China.

On March 16 the owners wrote on their Sina microblog that they suddenly found it impossible to access their website.

Later, the service provider clarified to Tseten that “higher authorities” ordered the closure but that the “specific reasons” were “confidential.”

The brothers also host a Tibetan travel and encyclopedia website. That site wasn’t closed down, but they were told to submit new applications to run it. “Please everyone tell us whether this is a reasonable legal request?!” Tseten wrote on their blog.

The shutdown is a blow to the small community that enjoys a narrow cultural space carved out by enterprising use of the Internet.

Dechen Pemba, a prominent blogger on Tibetan matters based in London, called it “an immeasurable loss to Tibetan netizens.”

Read more: Tibetan Culture Website Shut Down in China | China | Epoch Times

Tibetans in Exile Elect a New Leader

23 March, 2011 at 08:26 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Nicholas Zifcak
Epoch Times Staff

Across the globe, a scattered Tibetan diaspora voted to elect a new prime minister-in-exile, or “Kalon Tripa,” on Sunday. The vote comes just 10 days after the Dalai Lama announced his retirement from all political duties.

While not unexpected, the announcement was a blow to many, especially the parliament-in-exile that passed a resolution last Friday asking their leader to reconsider. The Dalai Lama rejected the request insisting on transferring political authority while he is still healthy.

“I take pride and freedom to voluntarily relinquish the political power wielded by the institution of the Dalai Lama,” said the 75-year old Tibetan leader to a gathering of thousands of Tibetans at the main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, reports Tibetan news agency Phayul.com.

The Dalai Lama’s retirement makes the election “all the more important for the Kalon Tripa to be someone who can take the role of the of the Dalai Lama. Not exactly take the role, but do everything the Dalai Lama used to do for the Tibetan people,” said Dolma Yangzom. Yangzom now lives in New York but previously worked at the Central Tibet Administration (CTA), the formal name for the government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

Citizens of Tibet protest the retirement of the Dalai Lama, who announced ten days ago his retirement from political power.

Read more: Tibetans in Exile Elect a New Leader | World | Epoch Times

Congressman: China’s Hu a ‘gangster’

20 January, 2011 at 13:50 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution | 1 Comment
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GOP Rep: China A ‘Gangster’ — And Religion-Sup…
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Quote: “Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says China should be treated as a ‘gangster regime that murders their own people.'”

(If problems with the video, you can also see it here )

Finally someone who dares to speak the truth about CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

US Congressman: Chinese Regime a ‘Gangster Regime’

While Hu Jintao was being treated very diplomatically during the press conference at the White House, one congressman was not pulling any punches. Other congressmen are distancing themselves from Hu.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) on Wednesday morning referred to the Chinese regime as a “gangster regime.”

In an interview on CNN’s “Parker-Spitzer” talk show Wednesday evening, Congressman Rohrabacher explained what he meant.

Rohrabacher said of China, “This is a gangster regime that murders their own people and should be treated that way or they won’t respect us…

“There has been no reform, no liberal reform in China at all. There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of assembly. … There are no opposition parties in China. Anyone who sticks their head up in China is immediately thrown into prison.”

Rohrabacher said the worst feature of China’s human rights record was its “ongoing repression of religion.”

Link to article

Confronting China’s Failure on Religious Freedom – The Huffington Post

By Leonard Leo, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and Don Argue, Vice Chairman of USCIRF.

For decades, the United States has failed to address the abysmal human rights record of China, the world’s most populous nation, with sufficient clarity or strength.

As President Obama meets Chinese President Hu Jintao, he has a unique opportunity to correct this failure. For the sake of freedom, and the ultimate interests of both countries, he should seize the opportunity, advocating a new approach to conventional U.S.-China diplomacy. He should proclaim that a fundamental aim of our China policy is the expansion of liberty, including freedom of religion and belief.

Religion, like capitalism, is expanding rapidly in China. Involving hundreds of millions of people, it is one of the biggest parts of China’s civil society, a point not lost on senior-level Communist officials. President Hu has acknowledged this fact, as well as the notion that religion can promote “morality” and “economic and social development.”

Yet while China is lightening the regulatory load on business, it continues its egregious oppression of religious groups and individuals. Official recognition of religion is limited to those religious groups that have effectively surrendered control to the government by “registering” with the authorities.

Groups that refuse to register or that peacefully resist attempts at government control are deemed enemies of the state and are treated as such. Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, and movements like the Falun Gong face severe sanctions, including fines, confiscation of property, imprisonment, and torture in detention, as well as control over the selection of religious leaders, as evidenced in November by the appointment of a Catholic bishop without papal recognition. Thousands of individuals languish in jail and hundreds more are detained each year for peacefully expressing their beliefs or desire for greater religious freedom.

Chinese lawyers who defend religious freedom are often dealt the harshest abuse. There have been a number of “disappearances” of such advocates, most notably Gao Zhisheng, who defended Tibetans, Uighurs, the Falun Gong, and unregistered Protestants.

Read more here

More articles: Obama hosts Hu Jintao on state visit, presses China on human rights

Chinese Embassy Pays Students to Welcome ‘Chairman Hu’

China, Easing and Edging US Out of Asia

Shanghai Expo’s ‘Heavenly Tibet’ Pavilion a Farce, Says Group

23 May, 2010 at 09:40 | Posted in China, human rights, persecution | Leave a comment
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By Joan Delaney
Epoch Times Staff

The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is asking Canadian officials and tourists visiting the Shanghai 2010 World Expo to stay away from the pavilion showcasing Tibet.

The CTC’s Dermod Travis says the pavilion, called “Heavenly Tibet,” is an attempt by the Chinese regime to whitewash China’s human rights abuses in Tibet.

The pavilion is billed as displaying “the unique charms of Tibetan culture, Tibetan people’s patriotism, resolution to make progress, and aspiration for well-off life, peace, and harmony, through exhibited items like Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Housing Project, multimedia interactive streets, and short videos.”

Pointing to religious repression, and the arrest and imprisonment of thousands of activists since the unrest in 2008, Travis says the pavilion’s portrayal “flies in the face of what the world knows all too well about life inside Tibet.”

“We’ve always seen whenever China does any type of exhibit related to Tibet, whether it’s inside China or a traveling exhibit abroad, that they present a very biased view, a very jingoistic view, talking about the patriotism of Tibetans, their role, what they believe, and the liberation of Tibet in 1949—which was in fact a military occupation of the country,” he said.

Travis also notes that in addition to its failure to depict human rights abuses, the pavilion does not include a single photo of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader who lives in exile in India.

Having a Tibet pavilion without mention of the Dalai Lama, he says, is “equivalent to somebody doing a pavilion on the Roman Catholic faith and not having a photo of the pope.”

“It’s completely incongruous to ban a core element of Tibetan’s religious life, their cultural life from an exhibit, that ironically enough, they’re calling ‘Heavenly Tibet.’”

The CTC will be writing to Canadian dignitaries and politicians who plan to visit Expo 2010, asking them to cross the Tibet pavilion off their itineraries.

Travis also warns Canadian officials of the possibility that a visit to the pavilion could be used for propaganda purposes by the regime—as happened when a Tibet exhibit toured Canada last year. Politicians who attended the exhibit found that “their smiling photo would end up in [state mouthpieces] Sing Tao or Ming Pao the following week, giving the exhibit an aura of credibility that it otherwise would not have had,” he said.

“We want Canadian leaders to understand that there is not just the jingoistic bias of this pavilion, but there’s also the danger that they could find that they’re lending it a credibility that it doesn’t deserve by visiting, and then being used in these types of propaganda efforts.”

Read more: Epoch Times – Shanghai Expo’s ‘Heavenly Tibet’ Pavilion a Farce, Says Group.

Difficult Situation in Tibet – Earthquake

21 April, 2010 at 09:15 | Posted in China, Nature | Leave a comment
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Regime Stops Civilian and International Quake Rescue Teams

Epoch Times
By Fang Xiao & Ren Zihui

Civilian and international rescue teams have been denied access to regions hit by the earthquake in Qinghai. All roads to the quake-affected region in Yushu County from Qinghai’s capital of Xining were shut down on April 16.

Despite the escalating tragedy, a team from Japan—a country with considerable expertise in earthquake rescue work was also denied access. However, according to an announcement made by the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 15, at the request of the Chinese government, Japan has agreed to donate one billion JPY (US$1 million) to aid rescue work in the earthquake region.

The quake-affected regions are under strict military surveillance, and civilian volunteer groups, including those from Xining, have been denied access. Several volunteer groups are stuck at Xining, 522 miles from Yushu.

Further hampering efforts to help is the authorities’ directive that only those who are bilingual in Chinese and Tibetan are qualified to volunteer.

The regime enforced similar policies of hindering independent relief efforts during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Dire situation

Currently, efforts are targeted at recovering bodies, and authorities are lacking resources to care for the survivors and the injured. With the lack of aid, the death toll is expected to increase. These victims are in urgent need of medical care, food, warm clothes, and lodging.

Read more: Epoch Times – Regime Stops Civilian and International Quake Rescue Teams.

Other articles: Earthquake Predictions Ignored, Again

Earthquake survivors in Tibet mourn loss of treasured heritage

Atheistic regime of terror selects important Lama in state-controlled Buddhism

6 March, 2010 at 08:46 | Posted in China, persecution | Leave a comment
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Yes, isn’t that funny? Or strange is perhaps more accurate to say… But that is what CCP in China did. And the real Panchen Lama, a little boy, and his family has disappeared…

Chinese Communist Party Raises Profile of its ‘Panchen Lama’

The second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism is the Panchen Lama and he’s traditionally chosen by the Dalai Lama. But Chinese Communist Party leaders have endorsed their own ‘Panchen Lama.’ They named him on Sunday to a committee that advises the National People’s Congress—China’s legislative body.

The 20-year-old Gyaincain Norbu’s appointment to the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is seen as an effort by the Chinese regime to raise the profile of their candidate.

The announcement came on the heels of the Dalai Lama’s high profile visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with United States President Barack Obama.

The Dalai Lama chose a young Tibetan boy named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to be the next Panchen Lama back in 1995. The boy and his family “disappeared” soon after and are thought to be held under some form of house arrest.

via Epoch Times – Chinese Communist Party Raises Profile of its ‘Panchen Lama’.

Video from NTDTV in the article

Beautiful Tibet – Free Tibet!

28 February, 2010 at 14:17 | Posted in China, Culture, human rights, Nature, persecution | Leave a comment
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So beautiful and so sad… The Tibetans are kept in big poverty by the Chinese people who have taken their land and are living there. The Tibetans don’t get any jobs and are kept outside of society.

China’s “Civilizing” Mission in my Country, Tibet.
http://tinyurl.com/SaveTibetFromChina

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy http://www.tchrd.org

“Chinas Favorite Propaganda on Tibet & Why Its Wrong”
http://tinyurl.com/SaveTibet

UnderCover in Tibet
http://www.guba.com/watch/3000132055

Tibet: Her Pain, My Shame
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/03/…

First Time I Feel Ashamed to be Han, and Lucky to Not Be a Party Member
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/04/…

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