Tibet is officially No.1 “Not Free” country/territory, Freedom House 2022 Report

For full report, please visit: https://freedomhouse.org/country/tibet/freedom-world/2022

In its latest annual report titled, “The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule”, Freedom House puts Tibet joint-worst country/territory in the world. This leading US Think Tank rates people’s access to political rights and civil liberties in 210 countries and territories through its annual Freedom in the World report. Individual freedoms—ranging from the right to vote to freedom of expression and equality before the law—can be affected by state or nonstate actors.

Below is the excerpt on Tibet from the Freedom House Report:

Overview

Tibet is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government based in Beijing, with local decision-making power concentrated in the hands of Chinese party officials. Residents of both Han Chinese and Tibetan ethnicity are denied fundamental rights, but the authorities are especially rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of Tibetan religious beliefs and cultural identity. State policies, such as incentives for non-Tibetan people to migrate from other parts of China and the compulsory relocation of ethnic Tibetans, have reduced the ethnic Tibetan share of the population over time.

Key Developments in 2021

  • In March, the authorities announced that nearly 2,000 “inspectors” were being deployed to police Tibetan rural communities and enforce tighter travel restrictions, particularly near international borders in the south.
  • Chinese government officials continued to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic, among other justifications, to restrict religious practice, including by closing or limiting access to Buddhist temples and monasteries. Officials also imposed increasingly oppressive ideological controls and political indoctrination within temples and monasteries, and supplemented internal video surveillance at such sites with human supervisors and informants.
  • As part of a broader program of military training and indoctrination for ethnic Tibetan students, new rules introduced during the year required students who receive government aid for their schooling to enroll in two years of military training.

Political Rights

A Electoral Process

A1 0-4 pts

Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections?0 4

The Chinese government rules Tibet through administration of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and 12 Tibetan autonomous prefectures or counties in the nearby provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan. Under the Chinese constitution, autonomous areas have the right to formulate their own regulations and implement national legislation in accordance with local conditions. In practice, however, decision-making authority is concentrated in the hands of unelected ethnic (Han) Chinese officials of the CCP, which has a monopoly on political power. Wang Junzheng, former deputy party secretary and chief security officer in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), was appointed to replace Wu Yingjie as TAR party secretary in October 2021, raising grave concerns that the leadership was planning to expand the draconian policies it had adopted in the XUAR to the TAR.

The few ethnic Tibetans who occupy senior executive positions serve mostly as figureheads or echo official doctrine. In October 2021, Yan Jinhai, an ethnic Tibetan official who had most recently served as the Lhasa party secretary, was chosen as chairman (governor) of the TAR. He replaced Che Dalha, another ethnic Tibetan who had held the post since 2017. The TAR chairman is formally elected by the regional people’s congress, but in practice such decisions are predetermined by the CCP leadership.

A2 0-4 pts

Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections?0 4

The regional people’s congress of the TAR, which is formally elected by lower-level people’s congresses, chooses delegates to China’s 3,000-member National People’s Congress (NPC) every five years. In practice, all candidates are vetted by the CCP. The current TAR people’s congress held its first session in January 2018, and the current NPC was seated that March.

A3 0-4 pts

Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies?0 4

As in the rest of China, direct elections are only permitted at the lowest administrative levels. Tight political controls and aggressive state interference ensure that competitive races with independent candidates are even rarer in Tibet than in other parts of the country. Regulations published in 2014 placed significant restrictions on candidates for village elections, excluding those who have attended religious teachings abroad, have communicated with overseas Tibetans, or have relatives studying at monasteries outside China.

B Political Pluralism and Participation

B1 0-4 pts

Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings?0 4

All organized political activity outside the CCP is illegal and harshly punished, as is any evidence of loyalty to or communication with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)—a representative body based in Dharamsala, India, that is often referred to as a government-in-exile.

The CTA includes an elected parliament serving five-year terms, a Supreme Justice Commission that adjudicates civil disputes, and a directly elected prime minister, also serving five-year terms. Votes are collected from the Tibetan diaspora around the world. The unelected Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who also traditionally served as head of state, renounced his political role in 2011. In May 2021, Penpa Tsering was elected as prime minister of the CTA, replacing Lobsang Sangay, who stepped down after serving two terms.

B2 0-4 pts

Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections?0 4

As in China as a whole, the one-party system structurally precludes and rigorously suppresses the development of any organized political opposition. Tibet has never experienced a peaceful and democratic transfer of power between rival groups.

B3 0-4 pts

Are the people’s political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means?0 4

The authoritarian CCP is not accountable to voters and denies the public any meaningful influence or independent participation in political affairs.

B4 0-4 pts

Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, racial, religious, gender, LGBT+, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities?0 4

Political opportunities for ethnic Tibetans within Tibet remain limited. Ethnic Chinese officials dominate top-level and strategic positions in the CCP and government, while ethnic Tibetans are restricted to lower-level and rubber-stamp positions. The authorities vigorously suppress and harshly punish any independent political or civic engagement by ethnic Tibetans, even on local community issues that were considered less politically sensitive in previous decades.

Women are well represented in many public-sector jobs and CCP posts within the TAR, though most high-level officials are men, and women are unable to organize independently to advance their political interests.

C Functioning of Government

C1 0-4 pts

Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government?0 4

As elsewhere in China, unelected CCP officials determine and implement government policies in Tibet. Constitutionally, the TAR, like other ethnic minority regions, should enjoy greater autonomy than other provinces, but in practice it is controlled even more tightly by the central government.

In March 2018, the CCP Central Committee announced significant structural reforms that reduced the already limited separation between the party and state governance, placing CCP entities—like the United Front Work Department—more explicitly in charge of policy areas including religious affairs and ethnic minorities, which are especially relevant for Tibet.

C2 0-4 pts

Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective?1 4

Corruption is believed to be extensive, as it is in China more generally, though little information is available on the scale of the problem.

There have been moves in recent years to curb graft among the region’s officials as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s nationwide anticorruption campaign. However, many prosecutions are believed to be politically selective or amount to reprisals for perceived political and religious disloyalty. Efforts to control corruption are monopolized by the CCP leadership; as elsewhere in China, citizens who seek to expose official misdeeds in Tibet have faced detention and prosecution.

C3 0-4 pts

Does the government operate with openness and transparency?0 4

Governance is opaque in all of China but even more so in Tibet. A study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, published in 2017, ranked cities and counties nationwide by their level of government transparency; Lhasa, the capital of the TAR, scored lowest among the cities, and the TAR’s Nang County was the lowest among the counties under examination.

Add Q

Is the government or occupying power deliberately changing the ethnic composition of a country or territory so as to destroy a culture or tip the political balance in favor of another group?-3

In recent years, the Chinese government has accelerated policies that decrease the proportion of Tibetans in the TAR and undermine their cultural and religious identity—part of a renewed, nationwide campaign to “Sinicize” religious and ethnic minority populations. The implementation of the government’s 2019–20 Farmer and Pastoralist Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan forced tens of thousands of additional Tibetan farmers and nomads to surrender their land-use rights to state-run collectives, become wage laborers, and move to urban areas where they are crowded into large apartment blocks. While the plan’s stated goal is to alleviate rural poverty, in practice it has prevented tens of thousands of Tibetans from pursuing their traditional way of life, depriving them of their economic livelihood and connection to the land. Moreover, transferring Tibetans to urban areas facilitates their exposure to more intense state surveillance and CCP propaganda. Authorities have also invoked the goal of environmental conservation to justify the forcible relocation of Tibetans from their ancestral land. Parallel government policies continue to encourage ethnic Chinese migration to the TAR, for example by recruiting workers for infrastructure projects in the region; such migrants typically do not change their household registration, meaning their numbers are not reflected in official statistics. “Ethnic unity” regulations promote intermarriage between Han Chinese and Tibetans through financial incentives, further eroding Tibetans’ distinct cultural and religious identity.

More than 500,000 Tibetans have been sent to military-led “vocational training” facilities since the beginning of 2020. The programs separate individuals from their communities, subject them to political indoctrination, and pressure them to abandon their religious beliefs and “backward thinking.” Local officials are said to be given specific quotas for the number of Tibetans they are required to enroll in such programs. Trainees are forced into wage labor, making them dependent on the state and allied private employers for their jobs and income. All those who receive state benefits, as well as state employees, are required to denounce the Dalai Lama, abandon their religious beliefs, and profess political loyalty to the CCP.

The authorities have set up military-style summer “education camps” for Tibetan children between the ages of 8 and 16 in areas near the militarized border with India. The official purpose of the camps is to train young people in military discipline, increase their patriotism, and prepare them to take part in national defense. The compulsory program separates children from their families, further weakening their connection to Tibetan culture, and prevents them from attending Tibetan language classes during school breaks; Tibetan has been phased out as a language of instruction in schools over the past decade. New rules introduced during 2021 required Tibetan secondary-school and college students who receive government aid for their education to enroll in two years of military training.

Civil Liberties

D Freedom of Expression and Belief

D1 0-4 pts

Are there free and independent media?0 4

CCP authorities control traditional and social media in Tibet even more strictly than in Han Chinese areas of the country. Individuals who use the internet, social media, or other means to share politically sensitive news content or commentary face arrest and heavy criminal penalties. Tibetan cultural expression, which the authorities associate with separatism, is subject to especially harsh restrictions; scores of Tibetan writers, intellectuals, and musicians have been incarcerated in recent years.

Deliberate internet blackouts occur periodically in Tibet, including in areas where public demonstrations have occurred. International broadcasts are jammed, and personal communication devices are confiscated and searched. The online censorship and monitoring systems in place across China are applied more stringently in the TAR, while censorship of Tibet-related keywords on the popular messaging application WeChat has become more sophisticated.

The TAR is the only provincial-level region of China that requires foreigners to obtain a special permit to enter, and foreign journalists are regularly prevented from visiting. Journalists also face barriers in access to Tibetan areas of Sichuan and other provinces, though no permission is officially required to travel to those places. Tibetans who communicate with foreign media or other foreign contacts without permission face criminal prosecution and long prison sentences. Four Tibetan monks were tried in September 2020 and sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years for sending messages to colleagues outside Tibet regarding charitable aid to a monastery in Nepal that was damaged by an earthquake. Sharing local information online can also lead to punishment. In August 2021, a group of 110 Tibetans were detained for posting photos of the police presence ahead of a traditional annual horse-racing festival.

D2 0-4 pts

Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private?0 4

Religious practice is carefully managed and increasingly restricted in Tibet. The government’s efforts to “Sinicize” Tibetan Buddhism have accelerated in recent years, with officials requiring Tibetan Buddhist clergy and lay believers to pledge their loyalty to the CCP and socialism above their religious beliefs, to denounce the Dalai Lama, and to attend increasingly long political education sessions. The Chinese authorities view Tibetan reverence for the Dalai Lama and adherence to the region’s unique form of Buddhism as a threat to CCP rule. Possession of Dalai Lama–related materials—especially in the TAR—continues to result in detention and possible criminal prosecution.

Political and ideological indoctrination within monasteries and nunneries intensified during 2021, with monks and nuns subjected to invasive and onerous supervision. “Management committees” made up of CCP cadres and police were given increased authority to directly control the daily operations of religious communities. “Intelligent temple management” systems operate in nearly all religious institutions, including pervasive video surveillance in all temples and monasteries. In 2021, authorities continued to use the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to shut down monasteries and nunneries and to restrict hours for worship in many temples. The authorities employ a range of strategies to reduce the number of individuals pursuing religious education or engaged in religious activities. Those who wish to become monks or nuns must be at least 18 years old, and religious education for children is prohibited.

The Chinese government has asserted its intention to select the successor of the current Dalai Lama, who turned 86 in July 2021, and has promoted its own appointee to serve as the Panchen Lama, a religious figure who plays an important role in identifying the reincarnation of a Dalai Lama, according to Tibetan Buddhist rituals. The location of the Panchen Lama who was originally recognized by the current Dalai Lama remains unknown; he was abducted by Chinese officials in 1995, when he was six years old.

D3 0-4 pts

Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination?0 4

University professors cannot lecture on certain topics, and many must attend political indoctrination sessions. The government restricts course materials to prevent circulation of unofficial versions of Tibetan history and has phased out the use of Tibetan as the language of instruction in schools over the past decade. Private and monastery schools have been largely shut down in recent years in an effort to force students into government-run schools—many of them boarding schools—where Mandarin is the only language of instruction.

D4 0-4 pts

Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution?0 4

Freedom of expression, including in private, is severely limited by factors including authorities’ monitoring of electronic communications, a heavy security presence, recruitment of informants, and regular ideological campaigns in Tibetan areas. The authorities in Tibet make use of an invasive security and censorship system that features nearly ubiquitous video cameras, use of facial-recognition technology, “smart” identity cards, and integrated surveillance systems that allow tracking of residents and tourists in real time. Hundreds of “security centers” operate across the region, with more than 130 in Lhasa alone.

Ordinary Tibetans are regularly detained or sentenced to prison for verbally expressing support for the Dalai Lama and independence for Tibet, sharing images of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag on social media, or sending information abroad about self-immolation protests. Scores of Tibetans have been detained for expressing support for Tibetan language rights on social media.

E Associational and Organizational Rights

E1 0-4 pts

Is there freedom of assembly?0 4

Chinese authorities severely restrict freedom of assembly as part of the government’s intensified “stability maintenance” policies in Tibet. Control and surveillance of public gatherings extend beyond major towns to villages and rural areas. Even nonviolent protesters are rapidly and often violently dispersed and harshly punished.

The number of self-immolations, typically intended to protest CCP rule, has declined sharply in the last few years due to information blackouts, heightened security and surveillance, and harsh punishments of those associated with self-immolators. Engaging in self-immolation and organizing, assisting, or gathering crowds related to such acts are considered criminal offenses, drawing charges of intentional homicide in some cases.

Despite the restrictions, Tibetans continue to seek ways to express their views on government policies through sporadic solitary or small-scale protests in public places, with participants briefly calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, the release of the Panchen Lama, or independence for Tibet, before being seized by police.

E2 0-4 pts

Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work?0 4

It is virtually impossible for Tibetans to establish and operate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) without facing punishment by the authorities. Even seemingly apolitical social and community engagement is no longer tolerated. At least 121 Tibetans, many of them members of the Association for the Preservation of the Tibetan Language, were detained in an August 2021 sweep in Kardze Prefecture, Sichuan Province, for supporting Tibetan language rights and possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama. Foreign NGOs are generally not allowed to operate in Tibet.

E3 0-4 pts

Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations?0 4

Independent trade unions are illegal in Tibet, as they are in China as a whole. The only legal union organization is the government-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which has long been criticized for failing to properly defend workers’ rights. Labor activism in Tibet is riskier and therefore much rarer than in other parts of China. According to the NGO China Labour Bulletin, no strikes were documented in the TAR during 2021, and only one protest over wage arrears was recorded in Lhasa for the whole year, compared with more than a thousand labor actions in the rest of the country.

F Rule of Law

F1 0-4 pts

Is there an independent judiciary?0 4

The CCP controls the judicial system, and courts consequently lack independence. Courts at all levels are supervised by party political-legal committees that influence the appointment of judges, court operations, and verdicts and sentences. Given the political sensitivity of Tibetan issues, the scope for autonomous judicial decision-making in Tibetan areas is even more limited than elsewhere in China.

F2 0-4 pts

Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters?0 4

Tibetans are systematically denied due process in criminal matters. Among other abuses, they are subjected to arbitrary arrest, denial of family visits, long periods of enforced disappearance, solitary confinement, and illegal pretrial detention. Authorities often fail to inform families of the detention, whereabouts, and well-being of loved ones. Following the detention of writer and Buddhism teacher Lobsang Lhundup in June 2019, nothing about his whereabouts or status was publicly known until it was reported in October 2021 that he had been sentenced to four years in prison, after a secret trial, for writing a book in which he criticized the Chinese government’s policies in the TAR. Tibetans have even less access to legal representation of their choice than Han Chinese; lawyers seeking to defend them are routinely harassed, denied access to their clients, blocked from attending relevant hearings, and in some cases disbarred in retaliation. Trials are closed if state security interests are invoked, which sometimes occurs even when no political crime is listed.

Estimates for the number of Tibetan political prisoners in detention range from 1,000 as of the end of 2020 to more than 1,800 as of 2021, according to the NGO Dui Hua and the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, respectively.

F3 0-4 pts

Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies?0 4

Detained suspects and prisoners are subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Many Tibetan prisoners of conscience die in custody under circumstances indicating torture, and others are released with severe injuries and in extremely poor health, apparently to avoid deaths in custody. Many of the latter subsequently succumb to their injuries. The 121 or more Tibetans who were detained in Kardze Prefecture in August 2021 were reported to have been denied food, clothing, and medical care.

F4 0-4 pts

Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population?0 4

Ethnic Tibetans face a range of socioeconomic disadvantages and discriminatory treatment by employers, law enforcement agencies, and other official bodies. The dominant role of the Chinese language in education and employment limits opportunities for many Tibetans. While Tibetans are supposed to receive preferential treatment in university admission examinations, this is often not enough to secure entrance. Changes in the scoring system in 2021 made it more difficult for Tibetan students to gain admission to top-tier national-level secondary schools that offer study of the Tibetan language. Tibetans who apply for public-sector jobs—including cleaners and other low-level staff—are required to denounce the Dalai Lama, renounce their religious beliefs, and demonstrate their political loyalty in other ways that fundamentally negate their ethnic and cultural identity.

As in the rest of China, gender bias against women remains widespread, despite laws barring workplace discrimination. LGBT+ people suffer from discrimination, though same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized. Social pressures discourage discussion of LGBT+ issues.

G Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

G1 0-4 pts

Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education?0 4

The TAR features extreme restrictions on freedom of movement that disproportionately affect ethnic Tibetans. Obstacles including troop deployments, checkpoints, roadblocks, required bureaucratic approvals, and passport restrictions impede freedom of movement both within Tibetan areas—especially the TAR—and between those areas and the outside world. In March 2021, the authorities announced that nearly 2,000 “inspectors” were being deployed to police Tibetan rural communities and staff about 700 “discipline committees” across the region. The increased state scrutiny included tighter travel restrictions and the need for permits to enter certain areas, particularly near international borders in the south.

While Han Chinese tourists have been encouraged to visit the TAR, the movements of foreign tourists, journalists, diplomats, and others are tightly controlled, and they are often denied entry. Foreign tourists must travel in groups with state-approved tour guides and obtain official permission to visit the TAR. Even then, last-minute travel bans are periodically imposed. Tibetans face nearly insurmountable hurdles in obtaining a passport for foreign travel, and foreign nationals of Tibetan origin face enormous challenges when seeking a visa to visit Tibet, in some cases waiting for years only for their request to be denied.

Increased security efforts and Nepalese government cooperation have made it difficult for Tibetans to cross the border into Nepal. In recent years some Tibetan pilgrims who have traveled abroad have faced detention upon return to China.

G2 0-4 pts

Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors?1 4

The economy is dominated by state-owned enterprises and private businesses with informal ties to officials. Tibetans reportedly find it more difficult than ethnic Chinese residents to obtain permits and loans to open businesses.

The multiyear policy of forcing Tibetans off their rural land and into the urban wage economy has given the state additional leverage over a growing proportion of the population, as those affected lose their self-reliance and increasingly depend on market wages and government subsidies for their income.

G3 0-4 pts

Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance?1 4

The central government further loosened family planning regulations nationwide in 2021, allowing all families to have up to three children—after having ended the long-standing one-child policy in 2016 by allowing couples to have up to two children. While the change means a likely decrease in the number of people who experience punitive aspects of the system, such as high fines, job dismissal, reduced government benefits, and detention, the authorities continue to regulate reproduction, and related abuses and punishments are occasionally reported.

In the past, China’s family-planning policies were formally more lenient for Tibetans and members of other ethnic minority groups. Officials limited urban Tibetans to two children and encouraged rural Tibetans to stop at three, at a time when Han Chinese couples were limited to one child. As a result, the TAR is one of the few areas of China without a skewed sex ratio.

State policies that actively encourage interethnic marriages with financial and other incentives, and that require couples to designate a single ethnicity for their children, are among the ongoing policies that have reduced the ethnic Tibetan share of the TAR’s population. Tibetan women are vulnerable to human trafficking schemes that result in forced marriage.

G4 0-4 pts

Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation?1 4

Exploitative employment practices are pervasive in many industries, as is the case across China, though ethnic Tibetans report additional disadvantages in hiring and compensation. Human trafficking that targets Tibetan women can lead to forced prostitution or exploitative employment in domestic service and other economic sectors elsewhere in China. The herders, farmers, and other Tibetans who are forced off their rural land and resettled in towns and cities are extremely vulnerable to exploitation by public and private employers alike.

Useful Link:

Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/country/tibet/freedom-world/2022

This Day in History | 5th April 1990 | The Baren Uprising, East Turkistan

Photo: nationalawakening.org

Today marks the 32nd Anniversary of the Baren Uprising, which took place in Akto County, Kizilsu Kirghiz Prefecture, near Kashgar in East Turkistan, from 5th to 10th April 1990. This Uprising saw the loss of up to 3000 lives which subsequently resulted in the deterioration of human rights of the Uyghurs in their own country.

Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress

According to Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, “The Baren Uprising is still fresh in our collective memory. The police brutality against peaceful protestors then was witnessed again decades later”. The exiled Uyghur leader further added, “The Baren Uprising should have alarmed the international community, but the silence then only contributed to the brutal repression that followed.”

On 5th April 1990, the first day of the Baren Uprising, local leader Zeydin Yusup led a group of around 200 Uyghur men and marched to the local government office in Akto County, demanding greater representation and speaking out against the significant influx of Chinese migrants into East Turkistan as well as the wider discriminatory policies and religious and cultural restrictions on the Uyghur people. By the end of 6th April, over 18,000 China’s PLA troops had been reportedly dispatched to the region to crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations. The population of Baren at the time was only about 19,000. Four days later, the demonstrations had been brutally dispersed, leading to the deaths of countless Uyghurs. 

Rahima Mahmut, Executive Director, Stop Uyghur Genocide

London-based Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmut, Executive Director of the Stop Uyghur Genocide, said, “The international community must recognise that the Chinese government will continue to terrorise the Uyghur population if they feel they can do so with impunity. We call on governments, institutions and corporations around the world to disentangle themselves from the atrocities being carried out in my homeland, and to hold the Chinese government accountable for the history of repression that has culminated in the genocide currently being perpetrated against my people.”

Tsering Passang, Founder & Chairman, Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

Tsering Passang, Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, who monitors China’s policies in its occupied countries, said, “Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Tsetung sent PLA troops to invade East Turkistan and Tibet in 1949 and 1950 respectively. People in these occupied countries continue to endure severe crackdowns under the Chinese rule. On this poignant 32nd anniversary of the Baren Uprising, we at the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities stand in solidarity with our friends in East Turkistan. We condemn China’s ongoing persecutions. We also call on the international community to exert maximum pressure on the Chinese regime to respect the fundamental rights of the China’s persecuted communities.”

Useful links:

www.uyghurcongress.org 

www.stopuyghurgenocide.uk 

This Day in History | 31 March 1959 Tibet’s Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama in Exile

India welcomes young Dalai Lama of Tibet after his escape from Communist China

The Dalai Lama arrived in India on March 31, 1959, who was granted political asylum by PM Nehru.

On 17th March 1959, a few minutes before ten o’clock in the evening, His Holiness the Dalai Lama disguised as a common soldier, slipped past the massive throng of people along with a small escort and proceeded towards the Kyichu river, Lhasa where he was joined by the rest of his entourage, including some members of his immediate family. A week earlier on 10th March 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans surrounded Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama where he was staying at the time. Each year, Tibetans worldwide commemorate the Tibetan National Uprising Day on 10th of March. (Click here Why Tibetans worldwide commemorate March 1oth?)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama received by PN Menon and other Indian officials at Bomdila, Indo-Tibet border in March 1959
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and late Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru
(Photo courtesy: Phayul)
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet into exile with Khampa (men from the Eastern province of Kham) bodyguards in March, 1959. (Photo courtesy: http://www.dalailama.com)
An Indian official greets the Dalai Lama on the latter’s arrival at a military camp on the frontier of Assam April 18, 1959, in India. (Photo courtesy: http://www.qz.com)

After several weeks of trek across the Himalayas, on 31 March 1959, His Holiness and his entourage reached the Indian border from where they were escorted by Indian guards to the town of Bomdila in the present day Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian government had already agreed to provide asylum to the Dalai Lama and his followers in India. 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s first press conference in India, in Mussoorie in 1959, repudiating the 17 Point Agreement which was signed under duress in Beijing on May 23, 1951. Photo courtesy: http://www.dalailama.com

Soon after his arrival in Mussoorie on 20 April 1959, His Holiness met with the Indian Prime Minister and the two talked about rehabilitating the Tibetan refugees.

Realising the importance of modern education for the children of Tibetan refugees, His Holiness impressed upon Nehru the need to create a Special Section for Tibetan Education within the Indian Ministry of Education. The Indian Government agreed to bear all the expenses for setting up the schools for the Tibetan children.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s first press conference in India, in Mussoorie in 1959, repudiating the 17 Point Agreement which was signed under duress in Beijing on May 23, 1951.

Thinking the time was ripe for him to break his elected silence, His Holiness called a press conference on 20 June 1959 during which he formally repudiated the Seventeen-Point Agreement. In the field of administration, too, His Holiness was able to make radical changes. He oversaw the creation of various new Tibetan administrative departments. These included the Departments of Information, Education, Home, Security, Religious Affairs and Economic Affairs. Most of the Tibetan refugees, whose number had grown to almost 30,000, were moved to road-building camps in the hills of northern India.

On 10 March 1960 just before leaving for Dharamsala with the eighty or so officials who comprised the Central Tibetan Administration, His Holiness made a statement on the first anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising. “On this first occasion, I stressed the need for my people to take a long-term view of the situation in Tibet. For those of us in exile, I said that our priority must be resettlement and the continuity of our cultural traditions. As to the future, I stated my belief that, with truth, justice and courage as our weapons, we Tibetans would eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet”.

Never Forget Tibet

The World Premiere of a very special new documentary about His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is being screened on 31st March 2022, for one night only, across the US. Please see the trailer here.

Useful Links:

Office of the Dalai Lama: www.dalailama.com

Central Tibetan Administration: www.tibet.net

Never Forget Tibet: www.neverforgettibet.com

NGO Introduction: Radio Free Asia highlights the work of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

As a part of NGO introduction to its audience, the Radio Free Asia (RFA) Tibetan programme interviewed Tsering Passang, Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) about the new non-governmental organisation. The interview, conducted by RFA journalist Rigzin Chodon, was broadcast on Friday, 25th March on its channels.

Screen shot of the RFA interview

Here is the gist of the interview compiled by the interviewee:

Tsering Passang gave an overview of the situation of Tibetan affairs in the UK and beyond. He began by explaining his over 20 years of service to the Tibetan cause mainly in the form of development work through raising funds to support Tibetan school children, university students, monks, nuns and old people in India, Nepal and Tibet as well as organising many cultural programmes and public talks, in addition to his community leadership roles in the UK. He said that the Tibetans in Exile have achieved a great deal in various fields since coming into exile in March 1959 but the main political resolution – to secure freedom for the Tibetan people has yet to be achieved.

He then spoke on the slow decline of Tibet supporters in the West, particularly in the UK. He also explained the situation of closure of Tibet-related organisations as well as the deaths of long-time Tibet friends/supporters due to old-age. Whilst many older supporters could no longer join Tibet protests in London he said that Tibetans and the remaining Tibet groups have not been able to draw in new/younger friends/supporters to the Tibetan cause. 

Passang also said that since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic a new opportunity has risen for Tibetans and all those who are being persecuted by the CCP regime and this should not be missed. He explained that the GATPM was started as an ‘online platform’ and the very first events were held in August 2020 in the form of a webinar with parliamentarians, scholars and activists; and a protest with submission of petition to the UN Secretary-General. Soon, Passang started lobbying MPs and giving them briefings. He said that the GATPM was formally registered as a company, non-profit in nature, in England and Wales, on 2nd November 2021.

He also said that the key objective of setting up the GATPM is to work with like-minded causes who are facing persecutions in the hands of the same brutal regimes. He explained that during his past Tibet activism a little attention was given to other causes such as Uyghurs, Falun Gong and more recently Hong Kong. With this new opportunity, Passang said that Tibetans and others have to come together and confront the Chinese regime which would be more effective to bring about some positive change to their respective causes. He also said that by working together with like minded causes they not only share their own experiences but support each other too. He said that the GATPM continues to develop new friends, alliances and connections.

He said that GATPM’s current programmes are conducted via various channels. He said that by working with parliamentarians, scholars, activists as well as others the GATPM hopes to raise the plight of Tibetans and other persecuted communities whilst exposing China’s ongoing atrocities. He said that the current programmes/activities are based on the significant dates for each community. 

On budget and expenditure, Passang said that the GATPM has incurred very little expenses as it has no paid-staff and all works are done on voluntary capacity. So, any expenses incurred were all paid from his own pocket. 

About Radio Free Asia Tibetan Programme: 

RFA Tibetan programme has listeners in Tibet, India, Nepal and Bhutan. It also has reporters/stringers in India, Canada and Switzerland. In addition, the RFA transmits its programmes on radio, satellite channels as well as via website and social media channels. The programmes are accessible via its website – http://www.rfa.org/tibetan. The Washington-based Radio Free Asia is the leading Tibetan broadcasting channel outside Tibet, which is being funded by the US government.

Useful link:

RFA coverage link Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

[DEF Talks] Retired Indian Army General and Tibetan activist discuss India, China and Tibet

In what seems to be a beginning of dialogue between a retired Indian Army General and an exiled-born Tibetan activist, Aadi Achint of DEF Talks invited Lt Gen Ravi Shankar and Tsering Passang on his show. They candidly discussed about Tibet, India and China.

Lt Gen Ravi Shankar is a retired Indian Army General. He is also an author and expert on Geo-political affairs.

Tsering Passang is the Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM).

Soon after Tibet was invaded by Mao’s PLA troops, India and China came into direct contact on the Himalayan borders. These two Asian giants, with one-third of the world’s total populations, waged several wars since the 1960s. There is ongoing tension on the borders where both sides have deployed tens of thousands of armed personnel and military installations.

India is home to the Tibetan Government in Exile (officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, northern India). Dharamsala is also home to the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, since 1960. Some 80,000 Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into exile exactly 63 years ago this month. The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees stepped into Indian soil, via Tawang, north-eastern frontier, on 31st March 1959.

The Tibetan Government in Exile seeks dialogue with the Chinese leadership in Beijing to find ways to secure a lasting political resolution to the China-Tibet conflict. But, so far Beijing has not responded favourably. Like many Tibetans, Tsering Passang believes that they needed to keep the flame of Tibetan freedom struggle alive until an opportunity arises.

Update: Chinese Foreign Minister in Nepal and Tibetans feared being arrested

Tibetans in Tibet continue to experience severe travel restrictions in their own homelands. For example, Tibetans living in Kham (eastern Tibet) cannot travel to Lhasa (central Tibet) without a special permit issued by the Chinese authorities. Likewise, Tibetans in central Tibetan cannot travel to other parts of Tibet without special permits. However, any Han Chinese from any part of mainland China can travel freely across the Tibetan plateau with no requirements of any paperwork. Moreover, the Chinese authorities stopped issuing passports to Tibetans since 2012 to curb their foreign travel. This is the current reality for Tibetans in China’s occupied Tibet.

Meanwhile, Tibetans in Nepal face restriction on their movement and public gatherings. This is because the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is undertaking a 3-day State Visit to Nepal from 25th to 27th March. Over 10,000 Tibetan refugees live in Nepal. Notices were issued to avoid public gatherings and restrict their mobility during these three days. Local officials issued this caution to Tibetans to avoid being arrested by the police.

Useful links:

Gunners Shot: All About Strategic and Defence Matters. https://www.gunnersshot.com

Def Talkshttps://www.youtube.com/c/DEFTALKSbyAadi

Remembering 12th March 1959: Tibetan Women’s Role in National Freedom Struggle

Women play important roles in any society. In Tibetan society too, Tibetan women have played and continue to play important roles in all aspects. 

Exactly 63 years ago, on 12th March 1959, over 5,000 Tibetan women marched through the streets of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, carrying banners demanding “Tibet for Tibetans” and shouting “From today Tibet is Independent”. They even presented an appeal for help to the Indian Consulate-General in Lhasa. At the time there were only a few foreign missions stationed in Tibet including from India and Nepal. 

Mimang Tsongdu members and their supporters had erected barricades in Lhasa’s narrow streets while the Chinese militia had positioned sandbag fortifications for machine guns on the city’s flat rooftops. 3000 Tibetans in Lhasa signed their willingness to join the rebels manning the valley’s ring of mountains.

Only a few days earlier, on 10th March 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans surrounded NorbuLingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, to protect the young Dalai Lama from the Chinese troops. Click here to find out Why Tibetans commemorate 10th March?

The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) is delighted to replay a discussion on ‘Tibetan Women’s role in their National Freedom Struggle’. Tsering Passang spoke with Tenzin Sangmo, a Tibetan activist based in England, in March 2021. 

In August 2020, Tenzin Sangmo organised and led a 5-day peace march – “Walk for Tibet” from Bristol to London, covering over 150 miles with three other Tibetans to raise awareness of China’s occupation of Tibet. She is passionate and advocates for the rights of Tibetans and others who are persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

On 10th March 2022, Sangmo gave a passionate speech outside the Chinese Embassy, London. Please watch it here.

An Appeal from a Tibetan Activist

MARCH 10, 2022 | BY DR. SUBROTO ROY

Presently, Tibet is under the illegal occupation of the People’s Republic of China and is without any United Nations’ representation. A full-fledged embassy status would help to take their peaceful freedom struggle to the next level.

London-based Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM), Tsering Passang has urged leading democracies including India, the UK, and the USA to recognise Dharamsala-based Central Tibetan Administration as the “Tibetan Government-in-Exile” and its overseas agencies (Offices of Tibet) as full-fledged Embassies. This, according to him, will give the Tibetan people the much needed footing to participate in “international platforms like the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO”.

Presently, Tibet is under the illegal occupation of the People’s Republic of China and is without any United Nations’ representation.  The Department of Information & International Relations (DIIR) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), has representative offices in 13 countries. These offices act as de facto embassies of the CTA and are based in New Delhi, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; Washington DC, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; London, UK; Brussels, Belgium; Canberra, Australia; Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Pretoria, South Africa; Taipei, Taiwan and Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

“A full-fledged embassy status would help us to take our peaceful freedom struggle to the next level,” Passang stressed.

Passang was speaking to this journalist as a curtain raiser to the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day that will be observed world over on March 10. The GATPM and Tibetans in the UK will demonstrate in front of the Chinese Embassy and its consulates. “But due to the Covid pandemic and fear of Chinese backlash on families back in Tibet, the participation has been unfortunately dwindling,” he lamented. 

On this day in 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans had banded together around the Norbulingka (the summer palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Lhasa) to revolt, in defiance of the Chinese invasion that took place in 1949 and to protect their spiritual leader. This peaceful protest was violently crushed by China’s PLA troops soon after the H.H Dalai Lama fled Tibet into exile, to India.

I must note here that while India has boldly demonstrated its practical assistance on the ground by way of inviting Tibetans to live in Dharamsala of Himachal Pradesh and set up their government in exile, whilst facilitating towards the education of young children as well as the preservation of their unique culture, the international powers that be, need to do much more than what has already been done. The minimum one can do in helping Tibet regain its past glory is to facilitate and declare its overseas representative offices (Offices of Tibet) as full-fledged embassies.

Although it might seem a long time in one’s lifetime that Tibet has not been freed for over six decades, Passang thinks the time is not too long considering it to be a freedom struggle of a nation. “After H.H the Dalai Lama was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Tibetan issue gained a greater attention from the international community. European countries and the US recognised our just and peaceful freedom struggle,” he pointed out.

However, he agreed that a lot needs to be achieved “peacefully without the loss of a single life on either the Chinese, Indian, or Tibetan sides,” considering that Tibetans believe in a peaceful resolution as advocated by their spiritual leader H.H Dalai Lama, a champion of peace and non-violence. “We know that there are tens of thousands of armed troops with military hardware installations on the borders of China’s occupied Tibet and India. A small misunderstanding on either side can lead to something that Tibetans don’t want for all sides,” he cautioned. 

In fact, Passang is of the view that the Chinese, the Indian, and the Tibetan sides should all sit down and chalk out a peace plan in everyone’s interest. “Re-establishing Tibet as a buffer zone between the two big countries can de-escalate the tension whilst respecting and fulfilling the interests of all parties concerned. This is exactly what His Holiness the Dalai Lama has proposed in his ‘Middle-Way’ approach,” he said.

Notwithstanding this suggestion, Passang was suspicious of the Chinese regime. “It is also high time that Tibetans should be able to participate in major international bodies, at human level, say, the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO,” he added.

“China has been weakened due to the Covid-19 pandemic which originated in its lab in Wuhan. Nearly 6 million people have died as a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the unprecedented levels of disruptions worldwide.  The good thing that came out from this pandemic is that the international community has woken up to what China is capable of.” Passang argued with reference to the global Covid pandemic.

China grew with the support of the West and today the USA recognises the Frankenstine they and Europe have created. According to Passang, “It is clear that the western democratic and liberal values are in direct conflict with the Chinese regime’s closed society and its brutal repressions. The earlier hopes of certain western political and business leaders on China becoming a more liberal society after gaining a certain level of economic development has proved completely wrong. Leading democracies led by the US are now reversing what was done over the past four decades and allocating a huge sum of funds to counter China’s growing expansionism as it threatens their very basic democratic principles and liberal values.”

It is time for all those persecuted communities by the Chinese regime to come together and fight with unity. “Uighurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians, Hong Kong and perhaps Taiwan must join hands in the freedom struggle against China,” Passang said.

China’s expansionism into Tibet has been for strategic and economic reasons. “China is taking away all the natural resources available in Tibet, including the unpolluted waters which would have otherwise flowed down into countries to its south,” he revealed.

The major rivers that flow down from Tibet are Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra in India), Machu (Yellow River in China), Drichu (Yangtse in China), Senge Khabab (Indus in India), Phungchu (Arun in India), Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween in Burma) and Zachu (Mekong in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), which makes the country a water source for many countries. But if China violates the right to natural resource like water to other countries, “they must protest jointly”, according to Passang,

Passang also argued that diverting the natural course of Tibet’s rivers into China’s hinterlands was against human rights and a “selfish act”, by China and must be addressed by countries lying to its south. It must be noted that India’s most sacred lake ‘Manasarovar’ and the most important pilgrimage site ‘Kailash’ are both located in China’s occupied Tibet.

Tibet is situated 4,000 metres or 13,000 feet above sea level and is 2.5 million square kilometres in size, which includes U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo provinces. The “Tibet Autonomous Region”, consisting of U-Tsang and a small portion of Kham, consists of 1.2 million square kilometres. The bulk of Tibet lies outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The total Tibetan population in Tibet is 6 million. Of them, 2.09 million live in the TAR and the rest in the Tibetan areas outside.

If China is allowed to do as it wishes with Tibet’s natural resources, one can imagine what might happen to Manasarovar and Kailash. The fear of cultural genocide is real. It was reported on February 11 that China recently destroyed monasteries, learning centres for Tibetan Buddhists. It violently obliterated Buddhist statues and monastic schools in Kham Drango, eastern Tibet. Sikyong Penpa Tsering and the 16th Kashag had thanked the Super Samgha, an Association of Japanese monks for their solidarity in condemning China.

“Under H.H the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle-Way’ approach, Tibetans are not seeking independence. Keeping Tibetan Buddhist culture and its civilisation alive is the main goal,” Passang said for which a conducive atmosphere of “peace is necessary”. Following the footsteps of H.H the Dalai Lama, Passang and his fellow Tibetans are avoiding a violent confrontationist approach. “But the world has to take a serious note and reward the peace champions,” he added.

“History shows that great empires collapse. We know that the Roman, British, American and European empires have all collapsed,” observed Passang insinuating that China was not an exception. He was responding to a query whether Balkanisation of China was imminent or not.

This interview was first published by Center for Indic Studies.


Royal Borough of Greenwich raised Tibet Flag to show Solidarity with Tibetan people on 10th March

Tibetans reciting prayers at the Tibet Flag Raising ceremony | 10th March 2022

As a show of solidarity and support to the people of Tibet, Cllr. Denise Hyland, the Mayor, on Thursday 10th March raised the Tibet Flag at the Town Hall, Woolwich with HE Sonam Tsering Frasi, London-based Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Woolwich is the headquarters of the London Royal Borough of Greenwich. This ceremony was attended by Cllr. Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and a small contingent of local Tibetan Community.

Tibetans recited Buddhist prayers for World Peace and the Long Life of the Dalai Lama. They also sang the Tibetan National Anthem whilst the Mayor and the Dalai Lama’s Representative hoisted the Tibet Flag.

This annual Tibet Flag raising was organised by the Mayor’s Office, Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) and the local Greenwich Tibetan Association (GTA), of the Tibetan Community UK. The RBG is home to over 100 Tibetans, which is the single largest concentration of Tibetans in one borough in the whole of the UK.

Members of local Greenwich Tibetan Association, Tibetan Community UK

Tsering Passang, Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, who is also a former Chairman of the Tibetan Community UK, coordinated the Tibet Flag raising ceremony on behalf of the Greenwich Tibetan Association. At the reception, whilst thanking the Leaders of the Royal Borough of Greenwich for their continued support and solidarity, Passang urged them to confer “Champion of Peace” Award to the Dalai Lama to increase the Council’s support for the Tibetan people’s non-violent freedom struggle.

The Tibet Flag was first raised at this English Town Hall in September 2015 to honour and welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to The O2 Centre, which falls within the boundaries of the RBG. The Tibetan spiritual leader was giving public talks and Buddhist teachings to over 10,000 people at this big venue in 2015.

Cllr. Danny Thorpe, Representative Sonam T Frasi, Cllr. Denise Hyland and Tsering Passang (Photo credit: Uygan Norbu)

On 10th March, Tibetans worldwide observed the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959, when tens of thousands of Tibetans rose up against the invading Chinese forces in Lhasa. China’s invasion of Tibet forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India where he set up the Central Tibetan Administration (de facto Tibetan Government-in-exile).

Read more on Why Tibetans commemorate March 10th?

After the Tibet Flag raising ceremony, Tibetans joined the annual march and protest in central London, organised by the Tibetan Community UK and Free Tibet.

Bharat Ratna for Dalai Lama: VOTE NOW!

Bharat Ratna for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is an appeal initiated by the students of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, in India.

We believe that Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, is an icon of all that is good in the world, and strives everyday to reinforce the human values that can make sentient beings happy. Values of brotherhood, ahimsa, karuna and compassion, kindness and forgiveness.

Through this initiative we are making a formal appeal to the Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi ji to nominate, and the President of India, Sri. Ram Nath Kovind ji, to confer the next Bharat Ratna on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

The initiative is steered under the guidance of Dr. Anita Kamath Dudhane and Dr. (Prof) Renuka Singh. The initiative is supported by students and followers around the world of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who have taken small and big tasks to make this program a success.

This initiative calls all citizens of India to participate in a voting process that supports the appeal for the nomination and conferring of the next Bharat Ratna on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

Voting Process

The voting process is both online and offline. Please follow the website for further details.

An Appeal

We the people of India earnestly request and appeal to the honourable Prime Minister to please confer the highest award, the Bharat Ratna, to His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Great 14th Dalai Lama, an Ocean of Wisdom, who was born in 1935 at Taktsar, Northeastern Tibet. His Holiness is the spiritual leader of Tibet and was formerly the temporal head as well. He took refuge in India and arrived as a guest of the Indian Government in 1959. In exile ever since, he calls himself a son of India — his body sustained by Indian food, and mind by ancient Indian philosophical wisdom. The intellectual and emotional lineage of Lord Buddha is alive and flourishing under his guidance. He has made an exceptional contribution to the preservation and promotion of Buddhist thought, principles, and values. A true ‘Chela’ of Aryabhumi (Mark of respect for India by the Tibetans as the land of Enlightened Beings since millennium ago), indeed, who has brought back the complete form of Buddhism to the land of its origin!

His Holiness is the embodiment of Avalokiteshwara, the Buddha of Compassion and is known the world over as a man of peace. Throughout his life, His Holiness has faced religious and political/cultural conflict with great poise, patience, non-violence and a kind heart. His is an enduring voice for universal brotherhood and responsibility that draws our attention to resolving exigent challenges such as Covid-19, the catastrophic effects of climate change, and divisive forces splitting our communities and humanity itself. Behind his intense compassion is the penetrating vision of a scientific mind.

His Holiness has been intensely engaged in dialogue with scientists around the world regarding emotional balance, the development of global compassion, and the roots of love, anger, and hatred. He has fostered inter-religious harmony through inter-faith meetings; his educational projects promote and preserve the ancient Indian knowledge and culture of the Buddhist Nalanda tradition. Each time you meet His Holiness, the freshness and fullness of his whole being touches your heart directly. His Holiness’s humility, simplicity, serenity and scholarship are equally captivating. He is a refuge for millions belonging to different religions, regions, classes and ethnicities, both within India and around the world. In response to the depressing and discouraging scenarios wrought by hyper-consumerism and by cultural and political strife, His Holiness has constantly advocated for people of all ages the Middle Way’s approach of love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance.

His Holiness has openly, inclusively, and anonymously helped and supported many social, cultural and educational projects. He helps even those who wish to hurt him. Through His Holiness’s skill and goodness of heart, the harsh become gentle, the miserly munificent, and the cruel tender. Beautiful yet tranquil, brilliant yet not dazzling, powerful yet still, His Holiness is naturally inclined toward solitude, but his compassion has inspired him to meet and collaborate with countless multitudes of people. The wind cannot blow out the light of his flame. Blazing forth, he illuminates the world!

His Holiness emphasizes universal interdependence and the need for developing a pure mind that brings harmony and compassion to bear on human suffering. In his person he has embraced the wisdom of broadly diverse cultures, bridging multiple globalities with multiple modernities and creating a democratic liberal order, and yet always speaking truth to power. Besides authoring, co-authoring and contributing to over 160 books, and receiving countless international/national awards, His Holiness was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, and his deep concern for global environmental problems. Even in the face of aggression, His Holiness has consistently advocated the policies of non-violence and the Gandhian notion of Satyagraha, bringing international repute and recognition to inspirational and aspirational India and its ancient wisdom culture. His kindness and compassion roar! We the people of India are indebted to His Holiness for his constant guidance, spiritual presence and deep investigation into the workings of the mind, pointing to the fact that material development has to go hand in hand with one’s inner development.

Renuka Singh

7th September 2021

New Delhi.

For full details, please visit: https://www.bharatratnafordalailama.in

Appoint Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs, Tibetan activist urges India

Ahead of the 63rd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, Tsering Passang, Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, spoke to Dr. Subroto Roy, who is the Founder and Chairman of OneAsia.

They discussed a range of issues pertaining to Tibet, China and India. Passang urges the Government of India to appoint a Special Coordinator for the Tibetan Affairs to up its support whilst calling on foreign governments to recognise Offices of Tibet as embassies of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.