Tibet’s Exile Government Leader in UK, Sikyong Penpa Tsering to address to Oxford Union

London | 30th January 2023

Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration (aka Tibetan Government-in-exile), arrived in London this morning.

Sikyong greeted by members of Tibetan Community UK, Chairman Tenzin Kunga | Photo: Tsamtruk

He was accorded a very warm welcome reception by a small contingent of his fellow countrymen and women from the Tibetan Community UK and The Office of Tibet at the world’s busiest London Heathrow Airport. After the traditional welcome, Sikyong Penpa Tsering was escorted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Sonam Frasi and Secretary Lochoe Samten of The Office of Tibet to central London.

Photo: Office of Tibet, London

London resident Youdon Lhamo, who was born in Tibet, is amongst those who welcomed the Tibetan leader at the airport. She said: “I’m so happy to meet and greet Sikyong Penpa Tsering la. I came here simply because I wanted to convey our Sikyong a very warm welcome to England. I really appreciate and thank our Sikyong for his tireless work for the Tibetan cause”.

Youdon Lhamo with Sikyong Penpa Tsering

This is Sikyong Penpa Tsering’s first UK trip since he became Sikyong, the elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, in May 2021. Amongst official engagements during his short UK visit, Sikyong Penpa Tsering will deliver an address to the Oxford Union on Tibet.

This year also marks The Oxford Union’s Bicentenary year. Founded in 1823 at a time when The University of Oxford restricted students from discussing certain topics, The Union continues to uphold the principle of free speech through the exchange and debate of a wide range of ideas and opinions, presented by a diverse range of speakers – some inspiring, others controversial. 

The Oxford Union has a rich history and a long tradition of bringing together world leaders, thinkers and influencers across politics, religion, science and the arts. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking are just some of the famous figures that The Oxford Union had the honour of hosting. 

According to its website, The Oxford Union invites speakers from around the world and across the political spectrum, and always provides members the opportunity to challenge the speaker during events. 

More recently, the Union has hosted Morgan Freeman, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Natalie Portman, Stephen Fry, Anna Wintour, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Jackson, Shakira, Senator John McCain, General David Petraeus, Malala Yousafzai, Sepp Blatter, Nancy Pelosi and David Cameron, to name but a few.

In 2016, former Sikyong Lobsang Sangay gave an address to the Oxford Union.

After his UK engagements, Sikyong Penpa Tsering will travel across the pond to the US and Canada on 1st February. The Tibetan leader is due for a longer UK visit in the spring when he is expected to give an address to the Tibetan Community.

Who is Penpa Tsering?

Born in India in 1967, Penpa Tsering is Tibetan politician. He is the second democratically elected Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration. He succeeded the last Sikyong Lobsang Sangay on 27 May 2021. Penpa Tsering was also the elected Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile for two terms between 2008 and 2016.

He was first elected to the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in 1996. After serving two terms until 2006, Tsering became the speaker of the 14th and 15th Parliament between 2008 and 2016.

He contested in the 2016 Sikyong election against the then incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay. 

After conceding defeat in the Sikyong election, Penpa Tsering was appointed the North America Representative of the Dalai Lama, Representative to The Office of Tibet, Washington, D.C. in July 2016.

Sikyong Penpa Tserin has spoken about “resolving the issue of Tibet”, “taking care of the welfare of Tibetans in exile”, pursuing “all possible ways to communicate with China,” “facilitating a visit of the Dalai Lama to China,” and advocating for the release of “Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and all other political prisoners”.

Useful links:

Central Tibetan Administration

Sikyong Penpa Tsering

The Oxford Union

Office of Tibet, London

Tibetan Community UK

Climbing Mt Everest 1922 – The First Film of Tibet by Captain John Noel from 1922 British Expedition (BFI)

The first film of Tibet, by Captain John Noel from the 1922 British expedition to Mount Everest, which was led by Brigadier General Charles Bruce. This silent film with captions is split into five parts telling the story of the 1922 Everest expedition, from commencement in Darjeeling, and the employment of porters to the record-breaking climb at the end. The sections are: ‘The Long Road to Tibet’, ‘Our Adventures in Tibet’, ‘A strange religious dance festival in Tibet’, ‘Laying Siege to the Great Mountain’ and ‘The Assault on the Mountain’.

The main aim of the 1922 expedition was to make the first ascent of Mount Everest; they took bottled oxygen with them on this expedition. There are two attempts in May via the North Ridge. The first by Mallory, Morshead, Norton and Somervell is without oxygen and reaches 26,985ft. The second by Geoffrey Bruce and Finch reaches 27,300ft and sets a new altitude record. On a post-expedition tour in 1923 a reporter asked George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mount Everest; it is here that he gives his infamous reply “Because it is there.” Following the success of this film in 1922, Noel funded a subsequent 1924 Everest expedition from which he captured even more extensive footage. This would become the acclaimed documentary The Epic of Everest, which was restored and re-released by the BFI in 2013.

Please click the link to watch BFI film online: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-climbing-mt-everest-1922-online

Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief welcomed Tibet Watch’s Report on China’s Destruction of Tibetan Religious Heritage, Arbitrary Detentions and Torture

London-based Tibet Watch and Free Tibet launched their latest report titled ‘Desecration in Drago County: Destruction of Tibetan Religious Heritage, Arbitrary Detentions and Torture’ at the UK Parliament on Monday, 23rd January.

John Jones (Free Tibet); Navendra Mishra MP; Fiona Bruce MP; Kate Saunders (Tibet Watch)
Photo: Free Tibet

This Report Launch was attended by Fiona Bruce MP, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief and Navendra Mishra MP, Vice Chair of The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, who hosted the special event. Welcoming the guests, Navendra Mishra MP said: “It makes for a difficult reading but is important. The real victims are the people who live in Tibet.”

Whilst acknowledging the authoritative talk by Tibet specialist Kate Saunders, who is also a Trustee of Tibet Watch, Fiona Bruce MP stated that she was very much impressed by this latest report. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy promised to take a copy of the Report to the Foreign Office and raise the matter with her colleagues. Fiona Bruce, who is an MP from the ruling Conservative Party, is currently the Chair of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA). She promised to share the latest findings and concerns with her counterparts of the 42 member-countries IRFBA.

A senior staff from Free Tibet and a native Tibetan from Drago County also spoke and answered questions from the audience. The session was moderated by Navendra Mishra MP, who belongs to the Labour Party.

In its Executive Summary, Tibet Watch and Free Tibet highlighted new evidence of the scale of destruction, the consequences for local Tibetans, and an intensified level of securitisation that local Tibetans have described as a second ‘Cultural Revolution’ in China’s illegally occupied Tibet.

The report also mentions sites and objects of deep religious and historical significance to the local Tibetan community which were targets of a series of demolitions.

Local Tibetans in Drago County have been detained, tortured and subjected to ‘re-education’ for reasons as minor as showing distress at the demolitions.

According to Free Tibet’s social media post, the report is the culmination of “18 months of research, from sourcing rare images and conducting interviews to commissioning satellite imagery and drone footage”. The full report is available on Free Tibet and Tibet Watch websites.

Tsering Passang, Founder and Chair of Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, who attended the Launch event said: “I was very pleased to take part in the Report Launch by Tibet Watch and Free Tibet. Whilst the event facilitated the meeting with like-minded peoples, including from various human rights groups, think tanks, students and parliamentarians, I learned some new information about China’s recent destruction of Tibet’s historical religious sites as well as ill-treatment of Tibetans for their fundamental beliefs. The hard work of the Tibet Watch researchers has come across very clearly through this report. At a time when securing information from Tibet is not only very challenging, but risky too, this latest Tibet Watch report does give much needed impetus and authenticity to the desperate situation that was not fully reported earlier mainly due to total State control and restrictions. I thank all those who have contributed for this amazing report.”

Ever since the illegal occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China over 70 years ago, the brutal communist regime continues its colonial and cultural genocide policies in Tibet. This must be stopped.

Useful links:

Free Tibet

Tibet Watch

Fiona Bruce MP

Navendra Mishra MP

Terminate Twinning Towns and Cities Schemes between the UK and PRC – A Statement by GATPM

23rd January 2023

Terminate Twinning Towns and Cities Schemes between the UK and PRC – A Statement by GATPM

The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) supports the timely calls to terminate the twinning towns and cities schemes between the United Kingdom (UK) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 

Whilst we recognise the significance of these twinning schemes between countries globally which also enhances the promotion of cultural understanding, cooperation, people to people exchanges and share each other’s values amongst many other benefits, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its brutal regime utilise such scheme to legitimise their brutal rule built on violence, intimidation and crackdowns against its own people as well as those in occupied neighbouring countries.

In Tibet and East Turkestan (Ch: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), the CCP and its brutal regime are still implementing hardline policies against the Tibetans and the Uyghur Muslims. In China proper, the persecution of Falun Gong and Christian faith groups are living examples of the deliberate crushing of what should be private beliefs by the Chinese regime. And the organ harvesting of innocent Falun Gong practitioners and other persecuted minorities represents a serious crime being committed by the Communist Chinese State. The curtailment of fundamental rights and freedoms, including free speech, enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong for centuries, is the latest example of the CCP regime’s direct interference and gross violations of human rights in Asia.

Mao Tsetung, regarded as the most prominent figure of the Chinese Communist Party in modern history, enjoyed absolute power. Mao’s catastrophic actions against his own people were ruthless and inhumane. He did not hesitate to deploy any means within his power to defeat his opponents. His fatal policies incurred immeasurable losses – of people, traditions and artefacts – not only in mainland China but across China’s occupied territories, which include Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia. The Great Famine alone, from 1959 to 1962, cost 20 million lives or more.

In the memoirs of Mao Tsetung’s personal physician, Dr Zhisui Li’s The Private Life of Chairman Mao, he records that Mao “did not care” when millions of people were dying during the Great Famine. Recalling Mao’s ruthlessness, Dr Li wrote: “In 1957, in a speech in Moscow, Mao said he was willing to lose 300 million people – half of China’s population. Even if China lost half its population, Mao said, the country would suffer no great loss. We could produce more people.”

President Xi Jinping, who has recently anointed himself on a par with Mao Tsetung, is another crazed Chinese dictator in the 21st century. Contrary to his talk of “win-win” schemes, through his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in countries around the world Xi Jinping is plainly pursuing his expansionist global ambition. Xi’s political and military intentions behind the BRI projects are poised to cause severe threats to global peace and security. Awareness of the reprehensible and ongoing actions carried out by the CCP under Xi Jinping is crucial at a time when the regime is exporting its malign activities outside mainland China, including here in the UK.

The Spanish-based human rights organisation, Safeguard Defenders, recently reported: 

“In addition to the previously revealed 54 stations, Safeguard Defenders documented the declared establishment by local Chinese public security authorities of at least 48 additional Chinese Overseas Police Service Stations, bringing the total to 102 with an overall claimed in-country presence in 53 countries.” 

At least three such Chinese Overseas Police Service Stations are deployed in the UK, according to Safeguard Defenders, which constantly engage in the surveillance of Chinese nationals as well as all those who are human rights activists, including British citizens.

The free world must do all it can to stop the CCP from using its economic muscle to hoodwink gullible leaders into supporting its self-interested aims, which run counter to freedom and democracy. The CCP and its rogue leaders must be held accountable for their crimes against humanity over the past 100 years.

We therefore urge the Sheffield City Council and all other stakeholders, including the UK government, to defer and terminate twinning towns and cities schemes with the People’s Republic of China until Beijing respects the fundamental values such as human rights, religious freedom, democracy, equality, justice and free speech.

The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) is a UK-based NGO which seeks to highlight gross violations of human rights and curtailment of political and religious freedoms, including in China. 

ISSUED BY:

Tsering Passang, Founder and Chairman

Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM)

Twitter: @AllianceTibet

Email: info@gatpm.com

Mob: +44 7927 376 532

Web: http://www.Tsamtruk.com

FB: http://www.facebook.com/GATPM2020

USEFUL LINK:

Safeguard Defenders: https://safeguarddefenders.com/en

Opinion: Genuine autonomy or Independence?

By John Billington, Former Chairman of Tibet Society UK and Former Goodwill Ambassador of Tibet Foundation UK | Published by Phayul

His Holiness the Dalai Lama grants a private audience to John Billington at the former’s residence in Dharamshala on December 3, 2022. (Photo/John Billington)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama grants a private audience to John Billington at the former’s residence in Dharamshala on December 3, 2022. (Photo/John Billington)

The Tibet Museum is an impressive addition to the CTA’s headquarters at Gangchen Kyishong. Nga popa yin ང་བོད་པ་ཡིན། (I am a Tibetan) or  Ngan-tso popa yin ང་ཚོ་བོད་པ་ཡིན། (we are Tibetan) greets the visitor, with the addition: Di ngan-tso-i lo-gyu re འདི་ང་ཚོ་ཡི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་རེད། (this is our story). Although familiar with the unjust sufferings inflicted on Tibet for more than sixty years I am still moved to tears by the story.

In His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s  first formal “10th March Statement” in 1961 he makes a clear message: “I appeal to our sponsors and to the [UN] Assembly to get the Chinese to vacate their aggression and to help restore the independence of Tibet…”  And he appeals to the Tibetan people inside Tibet “to keep up their spirit and resolve to regain their independence”.  As we all know, since 1987 the message has been modified to an acceptance of “genuine autonomy” within China’s defensive protection – something vaguely akin to the Patron-Priest (Cho-Yon) relationship of Tibet with the Mongol and Manchu dynasties in the distant past.  This change in Tibet’s aimed-for status is hugely important and is now generally known as “MWA” (Middle Way Approach). In my recent visit to Dharamsala I struggled to understand exactly what this MWA means since I would very much like to support His Holiness whom I love and revere just as if I were Tibetan myself.   Sadly, I remain unconvinced. 

I was honoured on 3rd December 2022 to have a private audience with His Holiness.  We are men of almost identical age and have seen some improvements, but also much suffering and many wars in our long life-times.  It grieves me not to be able to agree with His Holiness’s changed policy and I hope someone will come forward and explain to me why “genuine autonomy” is to be preferred to independence, since I have not been able to understand the logic or reasoning behind the change.  But meanwhile I must accept the Buddha’s advice: “Test every proposition for yourself and do not agree with it just because the Buddha spoke it.”

The school which I attended in England 70 years ago had the motto: “Mediocria firma” (Latin for The middle way is best) so I am very familiar with the concept of the middle way.  It was the family motto of Lord Francis Bacon, a scientist and philosopher, contemporary with William Shakespeare, who promoted the method of scientific induction – that is the respect for any questioning of a held thesis. The held thesis in this case is the MWA.   I question it.

The Middle Way approach works if the opposing parties are decent and reasonable people who are willing to compromise.  His Holiness, in my view, is a Mahatma – a Great Soul – whose mind is elevated and who thinks on a timeless plane.  His role-model to some extent has been Mahatma Gandhi.  Gandhi’s struggle was with the British – an essentially decent and kind people with a strong sense of fair play.   When British rule was no longer valued, Britain and India parted company but remained friends.   But China is not Britain.   China’s rule in Tibet has been oppressively cruel, destructive and exploitatory.  Over seventy years they have shown no hint of mercy or compromise.   It is written into the Chinese DNA that they, as a people, are superior to all other nations.  Their Emperors were the Sons of Heaven, their lands knew no boundaries.  Their immediate neighbours (including Tibet) were the Inner Barbarians and the far-flung world outside were the Outer Barbarians.  The leaders of the CCP inherit these characteristics of supposed superiority.  The Chinese people are our brothers and sisters and like His Holiness I wish them well, but they have never throughout history treated Tibetans as equals.

During my recent visit I strove to understand how Tibetans can believe that all this will suddenly change if the CCP falls.  I spoke with senior members of the CTA but emerged none the wiser.  There was vague talk that if genuine autonomy does not work ” we can change our policy” but that is wishful thinking. The younger people I spoke with parotted the words of His Holiness, that “human beings are essentially gentle” creatures, because we have neither the talons of eagles nor the teeth and claws of tigers.   This, in my view, is flawed logic and does not stand up to questioning.  Tibetan myth has it that we are descended from a monkey ancestor and the myth is astute in that it anticipates Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection in the 19th century.  So, are monkeys gentle creatures?   Well, like all species, they can be, but they can also (and do) fight wars.  They can hurl coconuts at one another.  Mankind has evolved from monkeys and has the capacity for both gentleness and ferocity.   Man – more than any other creature – has developed weapons of terrifying violence.   Stones became bows and arrows, then swords and guns, and then tanks and aeroplanes to drop bombs.  And then we invented nuclear weapons and un-manned drones to fight for us.  Can the human species be described as “essentially gentle”?  Does such a definition tally with Chinese behaviour in Tibet?  If not, how can Tibetans ever trust  China to honour any agreement?  I put this to my young friends and they were silent.  I reminded them of our proverb: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance  and of Edmund Burke’s famous dictum: For evil to prosper it is only necessary that good men do nothing.   In other words, if we are passive we invite attack since evil always takes the initiative and preys upon weakness.  No-one could answer me on this.  This worries me.

The best account I know of the religious promptings in human beings is The Varieties of Religious Experience  by William James.   William James was an American Psychologist and well versed in Buddhism, and his series of lectures was published in Edinburgh in 1902.  Five of James’s lectures deal with Saintliness and The Value of Saintliness. I will quote briefly:

     “Aggressive members of society are always tending to become bullies, robbers and swindlers…

    Appeals to magnanimity, sympathy or justice are folly when we are dealing with human crocodiles and boa-constrictors.

We must not  give up hope of a change of heart in the bullies (he argues):

    “We have no right to speak of human crocodiles and boa-constrictors as incurable beings…” 

But we need to be wary of them:

    “Momentarily considered the saint may waste his tenderness and be the dupe and victim of his charitable fever, but the general function of his charity in social evolution is vital and essential.  If things are ever to move upward, some one must be ready to take the first step and assume the risk of it.”

James’s words exactly describe His Holiness’s position.    In any Utopian vision of the world, the saint must accept that he will be taken advantage of.   But most of us do not live in Utopia, and the boa-constrictors and crocodiles lie in wait for the unsuspecting innocent.  They cannot be trusted.

At some point the communist regime in China will fall.  But we do not know what will succeed it. In the seventy years during which the Chinese have occupied Tibet there is no sign that Tibetan suffering has melted hearts of stone.

Throughout history Tibet has served as a buffer state between Asia’s two greatest powers – India and China.  His Holiness’s vision of Tibet as a Zone of Peace would continue to keep space between these two super-powers, while serving also as a bridge to bring them together.  Such a role is wholly in keeping with Tibet’s essentially peaceful Buddhist culture.   As a country of huge area but small population Tibet could not defend its borders alone.  Treaties and alliances with neighbouring countries will be essential.   A Central Asian Treaty Organization (CATO) consisting of Tibet, India, China, Russia, Nepal, Bhutan. East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and Myanmar, supplemented perhaps with support from Japan, U.S.A. and Australia who have valid interest in the peace of this area, would be necessary to guarantee the integrity of Tibet’s borders.  My main point is that the defence of Tibet’s integrity cannot be left to China alone.

I spoke three phrases in Tibetan in my audience with His Holiness. “Nga yeh nang-pa yin” ང་ཡང་ནང་པ་ཡིན་ (I too am a Buddhist) and “Nga popa nang-shin yin” ང་བོད་པ་ནང་བཞིན་ཡིན་ (I am just like a Tibetan). My last words were spoken more in sorrow than in hope: “Lha  gya-lo…lha gya-lo” ལྷ་རྒྱལ་ལོ། ལྷ་རྒྱལ་ལོ།

Note: The author is the former Chairman of the Tibet Society UK and Former Goodwill  Ambassador of the Tibet Foundation.

This Op-Ed was first published in Phayul.

An Interview with Mr John Billington | GATPM

A British Viewpoint on China’s occupation of Tibet and East Turkistan An interview with Mr. John Billington, the Goodwill Ambassador for Tibet Foundation and Former Chairman of the Tibet Society

Tibet TV Interview: (Ep. 141) “The world has gone backwards in terms of awareness on Tibet”- Billington & Pavlou

The former chairman of The Tibet Society, UK, John Billington and Australian political activist Drew Pavlou talks to Tibet TV on the need to an increased awareness on the situation in Tibet to the global audience.

Former CCP Leader Jiang Zemin’s Campaign of Repression Laid Groundwork for China’s Digital Dictatorship: Experts

By Venus Upadhayaya | The Epoch Times | December 3, 2022 

Former Chinese communist leader Jiang Zemin presided over an extraordinary clampdown on faith groups, particularly the spiritual group Falun Gong, during which the regime deployed tools and tactics that laid the groundwork for the development of China’s modern digital authoritarianism, according to experts and advocates.

Former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Nov. 8, 2012. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Jiang died on Nov. 30 at the age of 96 years in Shanghai, due to leukemia and multiple organ failure, according to Chinese state media.

While his death has prompted some analysts to positively recount his alleged contributions to China’s economic development, others point to Jiang’s role in boosting the communist country to the detriment of the United States and the West.

Meanwhile, advocates and experts have drawn attention to Jiang’s mass human rights violations—atrocities that persist in China today.

Falun Gong practitioners at a rally in front of the Chinese embassy in New York City on July 3, 2015, to support the global effort to sue Jiang Zemin. (Larry Dye/Epoch Times)

Violations

“His biggest demerits: of course the Falun Gong persecution starting 1999 with pogroms, [and] ruling China through corruption and messing around with ethics,” Frank Lehberger, a Europe-based sinologist and analyst of Chinese Communist Party policies, told The Epoch Times in an email.

The spiritual practice Falun Gong, which includes meditative exercises and moral teachings focused on the principles, truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, surged in popularity in the 1990s. Perceiving this to be a threat to his grip on power, Jiang launched an expansive campaign of suppression that resulted in millions of adherents detained for their beliefs.

Jiang also ordered the forced organ harvesting from persecuted groups, particularly Falun Gong practitioners, Lehberger noted. Detained Falun Gong practitioners were found to be the main source of organs for this horrific practice used to supply China’s large transplant market.

The former leader’s sweeping oppressive policies thus laid the foundation for other CCP campaigns of repression towards Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, and those in Hong Kong, noted Lehberger.

Jiang is the first CCP leader to face lawsuits in national as well as international courts.

In 2009, Jiang and four high-ranking CCP officials were indicted at the national Spanish court for committing crimes of genocide and torture against Falun Gong practitioners.

In 2003, three Tibet support groups jointly filed a criminal lawsuit in Spain’s High Court, accusing Jiang and Li Peng, both of whom had retired as China’s president and parliament chief, respectively, of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Tibet.

Tsering Passang, the founder and chairman of the advocacy group Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities, noted Jiang’s role in crushing the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

The Panchen Lama, the second most significant religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama disappeared at the age of 6 in May 1995 during Jiang’s rule in China, reportedly abducted by the regime. Since then, there has been no news about him or his family. In 2018, the U.S. State Department in an official statement called for his immediate release.

“In Tibetan tradition, the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama have a vital role of recognizing each other’s reincarnation. Beijing appointed its own Panchen Lama six months later in November 1995. This all happened during the reign of … Jiang Zemin who had absolute authority,” Passang told The Epoch Times over text message.

He added that even the 17th Karmapa, the spiritual head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism, had to dramatically escape from Tibet in 2000 during Jiang’s regime as the spiritual leader was restricted from pursuing his Buddhist education in Tibet.

Lehberger also noted that Jiang ordered the establishment of China’s Great Firewall, the regime’s vast internet censorship and surveillance apparatus. This laid the foundation for the regime’s digital dictatorship, later perfected under the rule of current CCP leader Xi Jinping. It also paved the way for today’s “bio-medical COVID dictatorship,” he said.

On the economic front, Jiang’s policies kickstarted the regime’s rampant intellectual property theft, spawning cheap Chinese counterfeits that have since flooded the global market, according to Lehberger. The expert also blamed Jiang for China’s widespread environmental destruction and predatory capitalism.

Problem with Democracy

French historian and author Claude Arpi relayed accounts of Jiang’s poor comprehension of democracy during his state visits abroad. Hosts had faced problems when rights protestors shouted slogans at the then-leader.

“On March 25, 1999, Jiang Zemin was on an official visit to Switzerland. On that day, as he arrived at the parliament in Bern, the Chinese [leader] saw some pro-Tibetan protestors in front of the building with ‘Free Tibet” banners. He got very angry,” said Arpi, now based in India.

“Inside the parliament, he addressed the Swiss lawmakers and said: ‘Today, Switzerland has lost a friend’.”

Arpi mentioned that a few years after this incident, a Swiss diplomat told him that Jiang’s anger continued even during the state banquet with the Swiss president later that evening.

“Jiang Zemin was still so angry that he refused to eat to the great embarrassment of his hosts, who tried to explain what ‘democracy’ was about. In vain!” said Arpi.

Passang participated in protests during Jiang’s state visit to London in 1999, and was detained by the city’s police for over six hours.

“In Cambridge (I did not attend the protest there) the Chinese security/secret service were literally seen directing the British police to contain Tibet protesters,” he said.

“There was no doubt that the policing was beyond reasonable—it was heavy-handed,” he said, adding that the local police later issued apologies for its policing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) talks to China’s former president Jiang Zemin (R) during the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2017. Xi Jinping’s name was added to the Communist Party’s constitution at a defining congress, elevating him alongside Chairman Mao to the pantheon of the country’s founding giants. / AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)

Factional Politics

Observers note that Jiang was the leader of a faction within the CCP known as the “Shanghai gang,” in reference to eastern coastal city on which Jiang has a political stranglehold.

Factional politics had a key role in the political and economic policies of the Chinese regime. As long as Jiang was in power, his Shanghai gang not only dominated national politics but his city also received preferential economic treatment from the central leadership, said analyst Srijan Shukla of Observer’s Research Foundation in a 2021 paper titled “Rise of Xi Gang.”

“A study conducted in 2002 showed how over …12 years (1990-2002), Shanghai received 19.8 billion yuan more in state grants and loans than its chief domestic competitor, the city of Tianjin. This preferential treatment also resulted in more flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Shanghai than any other Chinese city,” wrote Shukla, adding that between 1978 and 2002, 86 percent of FDI inflows into China went to the east coast.

Even after stepping down as leader, Jiang was able to control politics from behind the scenes as a factional head, analysts say.

Lehberger said that Jiang manipulated and hobbled his successor Hu Jintao until 2012, although Jiang had officially retired from all his posts in 2004.

When Xi came to power in 2012, Jiang hoped that his faction could do the same and “manipulate him as some sort of ‘puppet,’” said Lehberger.

Passang noted that Jiang’s death may be good news for Xi.

“His death may be detrimental to his supporter base in the party which means a full opportunity for Xi Jinping,” he said

Lehberger noted that there were rumors in mid-November that Jiang had died, and suggested that Xi had decided to divulge it at a time when historic mass COVID protests were rocking China. But he conceded that there was no way to prove the rumors.

The analyst believes that Xi will now start purging the most influential players left in the Shanghai fraction. “Because it seems Jiang had some sort of tacit agreement on Xi holding still, postponing major persecutions, until Jiang’s death,” said Lehberger.

*Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.

Twitter: @venusupadhayaya

This article was first published in The Epoch Times. Link to the original article

10th December 2022: China’s gross violations of human rights to be highlighted on the 74th anniversary of the Human Rights Day – The London Protest

Join the London protest to show your support and solidarity with the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Hongkongers who are still being persecuted in their homelands by the brutal Chinese Communist regime.

Every year on 10th of December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the very day when, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Supported by various human rights organisations, London-based Tibetan, Uyghur and Hong Kong communities are staging a public protest to highlight the continued gross violations of human rights committed by the Chinese State in their home countries. Speakers from these communities will share their own stories and call upon the UK government and others to take strong action against the brutal CCP regime.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is one of the world’s greatest human rights abusers. From violently crushing calls for democracy in Hong Kong, to erasing Tibetan identity, to committing genocide against the Uyghurs – they represent a global threat to international standards of human rights. Xi Jinping has recently secured his third term in office and it is certain that his regime will engage in further crackdowns on all persecuted communities in China and its occupied territories over the next five years. So, it is vital that we speak up.

The protest will start in Whitehall, opposite 10 Downing Street, the heart of the UK Government and it ends at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 49 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL.

Programme:

1.00 pm: Gather opposite 10 Downing Street, Whitehall

1.15 pm: Speeches

1.45 pm: March starts. Route: Trafalgar Square – Piccadilly Circus – Regents Street – Oxford Circus – Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)

2.30 pm: Rally starts

3.00 pm: Protest ends.

This London protest is organised by:

World Uyghur Congress

Tibetan Community UK

Stop Uyghur Genocide

Free Tibet

Hong Kong Aid

Uyghur Community UK

Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

Protest 2: Meet outside London Apple Store, Oxford Circus by Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong (UK)

Organised by the Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong (UK) this first lobby will be at London’s Regent Street Apple store on December 10 at 1pm. The protesters will then join others at the Chinese Embassy.

Publicity shared by the Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong states: “, “Since the #Foxconn revolt and following the #Urumqi tragedy hundreds of thousands of workers and students have taken to the streets across #China.

“We need to mobilise in solidarity – not only to demand that the Apple Corporation ends their complicity with the anti-worker policies of the Chinese regime but also to support all Chinese workers and students currently fighting against the dictatorial and authoritarian regime.”

The publicity further added, “This Saturday we will be going ahead with a protest outside Apple Store at 1pm and afterwards joining the Chinese dissident student group China_Deviants at their picket at the Embassy.”

Follow on Twitter LabSolidarityHK

Protest 3: London Human Rights Day – They Shouldn’t Be Forgotten by China Deviants

China Deviants join in forces with likeminded causes to mark the International Human Rights Day on 10th December this year in London. China Deviants stand with all the voiceless peoples in China, who cannot speak for themselves. China Deviants also stand with the Hongkongers, Tibetans, Uighurs, feminist activists and workers’ rights. Please join us from 2pm to 5pm outside the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 49 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL.

China Deviants is a decentralised non-profit organisation. We are committed to awakening the Chinese people against the dictator, letting the Chinese people and the international community realise that: a non-elected government cannot represent the voice of the Chinese people. We need democracy and freedom, and we reject dictatorship. We hope to unite more siblings and work together for the realisation of democratic China.

For more information, please visit https://chinadeviants.org/

Rights groups condemn China and CCP agents’ violent assaults on human rights activists on British soil – Join the Protests in London and Manchester on 23rd October

Rights groups have condemned China and its official agents in the UK for committing savage acts against peaceful protesters on 16th October in Manchester, north-west of England.

A group of human rights protesters, who belong to China’s persecuted communities from Hong Kong, Tibet and East Turkestan, staged a peaceful protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester. Their aim is to draw the world’s attention to Xi Jinping’s brutal oppressions in China’s occupied territories.

The protest coincided with the ongoing National Congress of the People’s Republic of China, which began on 16th October in Beijing. Delegates at the National Congress are expected to extend dictator Xi Jinping’s term in Office for at least another five-year as China’s president. Xi was anointed as the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. A few months later in March 2013, he became the President of the People’s Republic of China.

Outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, bandits wearing facemasks approached the peaceful protesters, who then dismantled the protest banners and removed them. CCP agents then used force and dragged some of the protesters inside the Chinese Consulate’s compounds, where they started beating them mercilessly. Footages of the brutal acts were all shared on news and social media channels.

Picture source: Matthew Leung / Chase News / Reuters

China’s persecuted communities are convinced that the Chinese regime resorting to such illegal acts on foreign soil is simply to silence its critics overseas. They also believe that CCP agents were attempting to kidnap dissidents overseas and bring them back to China and its occupied territories to face the consequences for their opposition against the Chinese Communist Party.

So, it is pertinent that rights groups join in forces and stage protests in London and Manchester to showcase their solidarity with the China’s persecuted communities whilst highlighting the brutal Chinese regime’s violent acts.

Through these forthcoming protests in London and Manchester, rights groups will also urge the UK government once again to take appropriate action against the Chinese Embassy and its agents for their illegal acts on British soil.

Nobody in the UK should feel threatened or threatened by any forces, including China, for simply exercising their basic democratic rights such as free speech through peaceful protests.

Rights groups – Hong Kong Aid, Free Tibet, Britons in Hongkong, Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, Good Neighbour Church England and Hong Kong Liberty are all involved in the London protest. There will be rallies in Whitehall and outside the Chinese Embassy. The protesters will march to the Chinese Embassy after their rally in Whitehall.

London Protest – 23rd October 2022

Date: Sunday, 23rd October 2022Time: 4pm
Meeting point: Montgomery Statue SW1A 2AT (Opposite 10 Downing Street, Whitehall)
Destination: Chinese Embassy, 49 Portland Place,  London W1B 1JL

Manchester Protest – 23rd October 2022

Sunday, 23rd October 2022 at 4pm
St. Peter’s Square
Manchester (for details please click the link)

Joint Statement of Manchester Hongkongers and Organisations on Violent Attack on Peaceful Protestors at Chinese Consulate in Manchester: 16 October 2022

Joint Statement of Manchester Hongkongers and Organisations on Violent Attack on Peaceful Protestors at Chinese Consulate in Manchester: 16 October 2022

We express our deepest concern about the violence inflicted by the Chinese Consulate upon peaceful Hong Kong protesters in Manchester today. Such violence is in clear violation of UK citizens’ freedom of expression and right to security. It should by no means be tolerated.

As shown by several online footage, a peaceful protest was held outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester by a group of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters on a public pavement in front of the Consulate. Video evidence showed several men walking out from the Consulate and brutally destroying personal properties of the protesters. The protester was subsequently dragged behind the gates of the Consulate and beaten aggressively by a gang of at least five to six men.  

This appalling incident evidenced that the Chinese Government’s oppressive arms are not confined only within its claimed territories, but reaching far beyond to the British streets.

We strongly urge the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and our Foreign Secretary James Cleverly MP to investigate the violation of international law in this violent incident.

Any brute force and violence to peaceful protesters should not be tolerated. We strongly condemn the savage acts committed by members of staff of the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, of illegal detention of British Nationals, and exploitation of individual’s right to liberty and security, along with their freedom of assembly and demonstration.

Our thoughts are with those peaceful protesters in Manchester. 

16th October 2022

Useful Links:

The Telegraph

Manchester Evening News

Britons in Hong Kong

UK committed “to urge China to change course” on human rights abuses in Xinjiang

British Ambassador Simon Manley delivered a general remark after a vote on the situation of human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (aka East Turkistan), on 7th October 2022 at the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council. The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities welcomed the continued support from United Kingdom and likeminded countries.

“Thank you, Mr President

Ambassador Simon Manley delivered a general remark after a vote on the situation of human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China | Photo: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Permit me to make a few remarks after the vote in relation to the Draft Decision to hold a debate on the Human Rights Situation in Xinjiang.

Members of the core group that proposed the Decision align themselves with this statement.

Let me begin by thanking every member of this Council who voted in favour of the Draft Decision, as well as every nation which co-sponsored the draft. We welcome the support of each and every one of you.

Our aim in proposing this Draft Decision was to bring before the Council an issue, which clearly warrants this Council’s attention. No state should be free to avoid scrutiny over allegations of possible crimes against humanity, whatever their region, whatever their size, or whatever their influence. And to be clear, that includes the UK.

It has been clear from talking to colleagues over recent weeks, that almost everybody in this room acknowledges that there are serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. The recent OHCHR assessment confirms these concerns with meticulous rigour, drawing extensively on first-hand testimonies and information published by Chinese authorities.

While the Decision was not adopted, the many discussions around the draft decision in Geneva and in Human Rights Council member capitals, have served to highlight the scale, and the nature, of the terrible violations being faced by Uyghur and other Muslims in Xinjiang.

It was therefore correct for the Core Group to seek a debate at the Council. To have done otherwise would have been to ignore the plight of those subjected to arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment, forced labour, sexual and gender-based violence, forced sterilisations and enforced disappearance. It would have been to disregard the testimony of those who have experienced these violations first hand and helped to bring them to light, despite huge personal risk. It would have been to look the other way, when faced with allegations of possible crimes against humanity, committed against huge numbers of people from minority groups based on their ethnicity and religion.

Mr President, dear colleagues,

Problems don’t go away by ignoring them. So, we will continue to raise our concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, in international fora. We will continue to urge China to change course, and to cease the practices which the OHCHR assessment has described to us, in such clear and disturbing detail.  And we will not forget the plight of the Uyghurs in China.

Thank you”

Source: UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

A Tibetan vBlog: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teaching in Lingshed Village, Ladakh

More and more Tibetans are now exploiting modern technology for good. They record events happening in their localities and share with people around the world through YouTube and other social media channels.

Today, we are pleased to share a video blog by Dolma Lhamo from India – His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teaching in Lingshed Village, Ladakh!

After a gap of several years due to COVID-19 lockdowns, His Holiness the Dalai Lama travelled to Ladakh in August 2022 where the Tibetan spiritual leader gave Buddhist teachings to his followers.

Ladakh, often referred to as a “Little Tibet”, is a favourite place of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibetans and the Ladakhi people share the same Tibetan Buddhist cultural and religious traditions. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is highly revered in this northern region of India too.

This year the Tibetan spiritual leader gave Buddhist teachings at the Lingshed Gonpa, a Gelugpa Buddhist monastery which is located in the south west of Shaam region of Leh district. Ladakh is a Union Territory of India. Lingshed Gonpa is one of the most prominent and oldest monasteries of Ladakh.

It was founded in the 1440s by Changsem Sherab Zangpo on a holy site. Changsem Sherab Zangpo was a disciple of noted Tibetan perceptor Je Tongkhapa, It is said that Shesrab Zangpo, having founded karsha and Phugtal monasteries to the south of Lingshed travelled across Hanuma-la (a pass), where he had to spend a night, from where he saw an “auspicious shining light” shining on a rock on hillside at Lingshed. He built a stupa over that rock and this became the sanctum sanctorum of the monastery.

In 1779, the Ladakh king Tsewang Namgyal bestowed upon the lands of Lingshed and its surrounding villages to Lobsang Gelek Yeshi Dragpa, the 3rd incarnate of the Ngari Rinpoche lineage. Ever since then, the monastery belonged to the religious estate of Ngari Rinpoche and hence the present head of the monastery is Tenzin Chogyal, the 16th Ngari Rinpoche and the youngest brother of the XIV/ Dalai Lama.

Lingshed Monastery is popularly known as” Skubum TashiOdbar”. Skubum meaning: “A Hundred Thousand Images/Statues” and Tashi Odbar: “An Auspicious Shining Light”.

How to reach: It takes around 8 hours to reach Lingshed from Leh. You have to cross Wanla and then, Shirshir la. You will reach at Photoksar. From there, you have to cross Singye la and it takes half an hour to one hour to reach Lingshed.

For further details, please visit: Dolma Lhamo’s YouTube Channel