Categoria: Press release

Video shows demolition still continue at Larung Gar

DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 28: The largest Buddhist institution in the world, Larung Gar, is still witnessing demolition of its dwellings vacated by forcefully evicted monks and nuns over the past several months if a video circulating on the social media is anything to go by.

An unverified video shot reportedly by a monk shows Chinese workers demolishing empty houses, leaving behind wreckages on the road that once donned red-walled quarters on its either end.

An unnamed abbot at Larung Gar on March 23 said in an audio message to fellow monks and nuns that the demolition would begin on March 24 and that there were still ‘around 2000 homes remaining to be brought down’.

In some cases, eyewitnesses said, monks and nuns were seen helping each other to knock down the quarters ahead of scheduled demolition in order to save their belongings and store the timbers for future use.

According to the same abbot, a total of 4,828 monks and nuns had left Larung Gar since the forceful eviction began in 2016. While tension still lingering upon the remaining monks they have been asked to remain patient and not to protest.

Founded by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok in 1980, the Buddhist center once boasted around 10000 students including Han Chinese students studying at the institution. However, Beijing last year initiated a campaign to half the sprawling population in the name of development and renovation despite outcry from exile Tibetans and right groups.

Phayul,march 28, 2017

Detained Tibetan Monk Reported in Critical Condition After Torture, Beatings

A Tibetan monk detained last week after launching a solo protest in Sichuan’s Ngaba county is being held at an army camp in critical condition after suffering beatings and other abuse at the hands of police, Tibetan sources say.

Lobsang Dargye, a monk belonging to Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, was taken into custody on March 16 after calling out for Tibetan freedom while walking along a main road of the county seat, and his place of detention at first remained unknown, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“But through the efforts of many people, his location was finally traced to a newly built army camp in Ngaba county,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He has been severely tortured while in detention, and is now in critical condition,” the source said.

“[Dargye’s] family, relatives, and classmates at the monastery are concerned that he may die from the beatings he now endures each day, and they are also worried about what the Chinese authorities may be forcing him to confess to,” he said.

Dargye’s family members have been called in for questioning by police, and on March 18, Chinese police arrived at Kirti monastery to question his teacher, the source said, adding that a Tibetan laywoman named Dukpe later staged a protest of her own in Ngaba on that same day.

Dargye’s and Dukpe’s protests were quickly blocked owing to the presence in Ngaba of large numbers of security forces sent to clamp down on the town on the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising on March 10, 1959 that led to thousands of deaths and the flight into exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Kirti monastery and Ngaba’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, nuns, and other Tibetans opposed to Chinese rule.

Radio Free Asia,2017-03-21

Rights Lawyer Complains to Mayor Over ‘Cultural Revolution’ Treatment of Colleagues

A prominent Chinese lawyer has made a complaint to Beijing’s mayoral hotline about a nationwide police operation targeting the country’s human rights lawyers beginning on July 9, 2015, likening it to the political violence of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Liu Xiaoyuan in an undated photo (L) and a copy of his lawyer’s license (R), which he altered to read ‘Unemployment License’ in protest of a crackdown on rights attorneys. Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

Liu Xiaoyuan, a partner at the now-shuttered Fengrui law firm that was the first target of police raids and detentions, made the complaint on Wednesday, saying that he and other lawyers had lost their business licenses as a result.

Liu said the crackdown, which was to target more than 300 lawyers, law firm staff and associated rights activists in the months to come for detention, professional sanctions, house arrest and travel bans, including for family members, had had a devastating impact on China’s legal profession.

“These were tactics that were very similar to the campaigns of the Cultural Revolution,” Liu told RFA. “But we are not in the Cultural Revolution any more, so they shouldn’t be using such methods.”

“[It’s because] everyone just does what their bosses tell them, so we have the rule of personalities instead of the rule of law,” he said.

Liu warned that allowing a legal professional to do his job is a crucial part of the rule of law, and of human rights protection.

Meanwhile, there are no signs that government pressure on lawyers is easing.

Fellow rights lawyer Chen Jiangang said on Wednesday that the Beijing government judicial affairs bureau and its Chaoyang district sub-bureau would be running inspections of law firms in Beijing starting on Thursday.

Chen hit out at government judicial affairs officials at every level, for colluding in a continuing attack on lawyers.

“They have acted as accomplices in the July 2015 crackdown from the outset,” Chen told RFA. “All of the lawyers who had agreed to act as lawyers or defense attorneys for the detained lawyers have since been forced to withdraw [amid huge official pressure].”

“In China, there is a single, unified source of power. This is a highly politicized police state,” he said.

“That’s why we saw the state prosecution departments, the judiciary and even the state security police all colluding to target lawyers in the July 2015 crackdown,” Chen said.

Investigations by RFA revealed that while Beijing Fengrui is still listed as a law firm on the official website of the Beijing judicial affairs bureau, the firm’s former premises in the capital are now occupied by a commercial company.

And Fengrui cases continue to be cited in the education and information section of the bureau’s website.

However, an official who answered the phone at the bureau declined to comment when contacted by RFA on Wednesday.

Diplomats’ letter

The complaints come amid reports that eleven governments have jointly urged the ruling Chinese Communist Party to investigate reports of torture of detained rights lawyers, and to end a controversial system of secret detention for up to six months in cases allegedly involving “national security.”

The Feb. 27 letter, reported in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, was addressed to China’s police chief Guo Shengkun and signed by diplomats from Australia, Canada, Japan and Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The letter indicated “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders.”

It also called on Beijing to end the recently legalized practice of “resident surveillance in a designated location,” which it said amounts to “incommunicado detention in secret places, putting detainees at a high risk of torture or ill-treatment,” according to the Globe and Mail.

It calls on the government to end the practice and repeal the relevant legislation.

“Detaining people without any contact with the outside world for long periods of time is contrary to China’s international human rights obligations,” the paper quoted the letter as saying.

It also called for investigation of “credible” claims that lawyers Xie Yang, Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang and Li Chunfu and activist Wu Gan have been tortured in detention.

Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said he was very disappointed that the United States hadn’t signed the letter.

Speaking as China’s official media hailed the “cooperation” signaled by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a brief trip to Beijing last weekend, Poon said something has changed in the international community when it comes to standing up for human rights.

“The United States is one of those countries that would previously have taken part in such calls [for rights protections],” Poon said. “The fact that we didn’t see U.S. participation in this is a bit disappointing.”

“Amnesty International calls on all countries to bring up issues with human rights violations in other countries,” he said. “This is their responsibility and their duty, not from a diplomatic point of view, but from a human rights point of view.”

“It is best if such issues can be aired in public,” he added.

Jailing hailed

Earlier this month, the head of China’s Supreme People’s Court, Zhou Qiang, hailed the jailing of former Fengrui boss Zhou Shifeng and others as a notable success during his annual work report to the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.

Zhou Shifeng and others had “attacked the socialist system” and “incited confrontations,” the Global Times newspaper reported at the time.

Last week, fellow rights lawyer Xia Jun also made comparisons with the legal crackdown and the Cultural Revolution.

“It’s like back in the Cultural Revolution when the army was in charge of politics, and what they said, went,” Xia said. “Neither the courts, the prosecutors or the police upheld the law or due process, and they would just kill people at will.”

He said it took years to undo all of the miscarriages of justice committed by kangaroo courts during the years of political turmoil and violence.

“Zhou Qiang spoke against the rule of law because he wants a promotion,” Xia said.

Radio Free Asia,2017-03-22

MEDIA ADVISORY- WRWF to Host Panel at United Nations: Femicide, Trafficking and Reproductive Violence

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers will host a panel at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).  The event, entitled, “Femicide, Trafficking, & Reproductive Violence Against Women & Girls,” will take place Thursday, March 23, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the United Nations Church Center in New York (details below).  The event is open to the public and does not require pre-registration.

 Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women’s Rights without Frontiers, stated, “I have spoken at the UNCSW many times, but always at the invitation of another NGO.  This year, for the first time, the UNCSW approved WRWF to host an event ourselves.  I’m thrilled about this and delighted to host such a distinguished panel of experts.  It will be such an honor to speak to the attendees of the UNCSW – eminent women from all over the world.”

 Speakers and topics will include:

Reggie Littlejohn, Founder & President

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

“Forced Abortion and Gendercide in China — The Real ‘War Against Women’”

Sarah Torre, Visiting Fellow, DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society

The Heritage Foundation

“Sterilization Campaigns and Gendercide are Harming Women in India”

Arina Grossu, Director, Center for Human Dignity

Family Research Council

“Sex Trafficking and its Relation to Pornography, Violence, and Abortion”

Rebecca Oas, Associate Director of Research

Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam)

“Distortions in the Data: Ensuring Women’s Priorities Count in the SDG Indicators”

 The event will take place on the10th Floor of the United Nations Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-3521.   Once on the 10thFloor, participants will be directed to the room.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers,New York, March 23

 

Tibetan man detained for storing photos of Dalai Lama, Tibetan flag on Wechat

DHARAMSHALA, MAR. 8: A Tibetan man has reportedly been detained by Chinese authorities in Sershul County for storing photos of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag in his Wechat account.

Gendun from Sershul County in the Kardze Prefecture, Sichuan Province has been detained by Chinese authorities for storing the photos of the banned Tibetan national flag and the photo of the Tibetan leader reviled by China as a “separatist’.

Gendun was severely beaten and held in a Chinese prison in Sershul County, according to a source cited by Voice of Tibet. The same source also said that the area has since come under intensified surveillance and restriction and that local Tibetans are apprehensive of passing information through Wechat.

WeChat is a text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in 2011 and is widely used by Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. The Chinese authorities have used the micro-messaging app to make arrests in the past. It has become the most used mode of communication through its walkie-talkie style messaging facility. However, activists and experts fear that the app’s voice-messaging service enables security officials to monitor user’s movements in real time and access other information shared via the app.

The tension and level of restriction leading up to the ‘Tibetan Uprising Day’ which falls on March 10 is palpable with Chinese authorities bent on avoiding a repeat of the 2008 Tibet uprising that saw protests all over Tibet. The Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) is virtually blocked off from the outside world with Tibetans from other regions denied entry into the highly restricted area.

Phayul,March 08/ 2017

March 10 to be observed as ‘Tibet Day’ in three American cities

DHARAMSHALA, MAR.1: With the new United States government under Trump coming under severe criticism for its policies that are divisive and prone to creating wider disinterest of the commonality of humanity, some cities in the United States are setting different precedence, especially when it comes to showing solidarity to the Tibetan refugee community.

Three American cities; Richfield, Columbia Heights and Minneapolis proclaimed on the Tibetan new year beginning Monday (Feb.27) that coming March 10 which is the 58th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising day in Lhasa that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Tibetans following Chinese invasion, will be observed as “Tibet Day”.

The upcoming March 10th will see a resolution on Tibet being adopted at the Minneapolis city council by Council-member Alondra Cano on behalf of 13 council members who voted for the resolution. Similarly, yesterday Richfield’s Mayor Michael, Council-members Maria, Edwina & Pat also vowed to adopt resolutions to observe the March 10 as “Tibet Day”.

The Tibetan national flag will also be raised at the city council complex in solidarity with the Tibetan community in the city.

Proclamation by Mayor of Richfield

 Proclamation by Mayor of Richfield

A Tibetan living in Minnesota Jigme Ugen who spoke on behalf of the Tibetan community there to the city council wrote in his Facebook, “On the first day of Losar (Tibetan New Year), it was an ultimate honor to speak of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and, our sisters and brothers suffering in Tibet – to the Mayor, Council members and residents of Columbia Heights in Minnesota. They proclaimed March 10, 2017 – the 58th Tibetan Uprising Day- as “Tibet Day”.

Earlier this month on Feb. 14, the Berkeley city council adopted a resolution that denounced the repressive Chinese policies implemented in occupied Tibet and has resulted in self immolation of many Tibetans since 2009. It also mentioned the recent developments such as the destruction and demolition of the Buddhist monastic university of Larung Gar in eastern Tibet.

Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10 commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the occupation of Tibet by People’s Republic of China. The violent crackdown on Tibetans in Lhasa on that day resulted in deaths of thousands of Tibetans and triggered the flight of the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama into exile.

Phayul,Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Macau Gallery Cancels Tibetan Artist Event Amid Chinese Pressure

A gallery in Macau has cancelled a performance by a Tibetan painter after authorities in Beijing threatened to arrest and deport him if he tried to enter the Chinese-administered region, according to the artist.

Tashi Norbu(see photos), a Tibetan artist based in the Netherlands, was scheduled to hold a live-painting performance at Macau’s Lilau Square as part of the opening of the iAOHiN Amber Gallery on March 5, but was contacted in Hong Kong by a gallery official and told to leave the city for his own safety.

“A ranking Chinese military officer informed the gallery director that I was on a blacklist and my entry to Macau is forbidden,” Norbu told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday, a day after fleeing Hong Kong, where he had recently exhibited his work, for Dharamsala, India—the seat of the Tibetan government in exile.

“The Chinese official reasoned that whatever I display [at the gallery] will be against the Chinese government, so he warned that … if I go, then I would be [arrested and] deported.”

Norbu said the gallery director felt it was better to heed the warning because of his experience with “previous instances” in which artists had been targeted by Chinese authorities in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that was returned to China’s rule in 1999.

“The art gallery also advised me to leave [Hong Kong], because they could not bear responsibility if anything happened to me,” he said, adding that the conversation “really frightened me” and led him to purchase an airline ticket to India the same day.

Norbu describes his work as a modern take on traditional Tibetan themes and frequently includes images of the Buddha in the pieces.

He claims that his art is not political in nature, though he has painted scenes depicting exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama—who Beijing accuses of stoking tension in the Tibetan region—and yellow umbrellas—a symbol of Hong Kong’s 2014 democracy protests.

Norbu was briefly detained by authorities while entering and leaving Macau in April last year for a show of his work that received considerable media attention.

iAOHiN Amber Gallery asked him to perform at its March opening exhibition, which the artist said promised to be “significantly higher profile … as the organizers have invited dignitaries and ambassadors to the show.”

Under scrutiny

Officials at iAOHiN repeatedly cautioned Norbu that his work at the event would be scrutinized by Beijing and three months ago informed him that he would not be permitted to exhibit anything related to the Buddha.

“Additionally, I was told that I could not wear anything identifying me as a Tibetan [while performing],” he said.

“When I work I wear a white outfit to highlight the art, rather than to draw attention to my dress. But for the Chinese, this becomes something politically symbolic, as white represents peace and they see it as a statement [against Chinese rule in Tibet]. So I was not allowed to wear that.”

As the date for the exhibit drew closer, Norbu said iAOHiN greenlighted a theme of the fire rooster—a zodiac symbol for Losar, the Tibetan New Year, which is observed from Feb. 27 to March 1 this year.

“Two months ago, they informed me that [the fire rooster] is not related to politics and therefore should be ok,” he said.

“But [on Feb. 26] while I was in Hong Kong, they told me that the [shape of a] rooster resembles China’s map. So since I am a Tibetan, I couldn’t draw that.”

Hong Kong Free Press said in a report that iAOHiN received more than 1 million Macau Pataca (U.S. $125,000) last year in a subsidy from the government’s Cultural Industries Fund, which could be threatened if the gallery went ahead with Norbu’s event, citing a source in the Macau art industry.

In a press release, iAOHiN curator Simon Lam expressed disappointment that China’s authorities see the arts “as a threat … banning what is nothing else than pure art performance” and said he would do his best to ensure that the public was informed about Norbu’s ordeal.

Radio Free Asia,2017-03-01