China: Quashing free expression at home and abroad

Lhadon Tethong

Politics & Prose co-owner Bradley Graham pushing Lhadon Tethong, the director of the Tibet Action Institute, out of the store.

Every time I watch the video of Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak going off-script while giving a speech at a major festival in Eastern Tibet, I’m struck by the disconnect between the simple action he took and the enormous consequences that followed. Adak, in full view of thousands of people, said what so many Tibetans think: “If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet.” He went on to call for the 11th Panchen Lama and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche to be freed.
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Obama Xi

Why Tibet Could Be the Best Opportunity for Xi Jinping

On September 24 later this month, China's President Xi Jinping will arrive in Washington to meet President Obama for an important state visit. The context is a growing alarm about China's less than peaceful rise, and provides a rare opportunity for the president to give an important message on Tibet. It has been noted in Washington that President Xi's self-proclaimed "China Dream" -- a vision of a peaceful and rising China on the world stage -- has become a Kafka-esque nightmare for many.


Xi Jinping as a Living Buddha

Communist Party officials visiting Beijing for annual meetings shook up the internet and saddled themselves with reams of bad press last week when they harshly attacked the Dalai Lama. That in itself isn’t anything new; even headline-grabbing accusations like claims that the Dalai Lama ‘betrays his country and his religion’ are just new iterations of Beijing’s old themes. What really got people’s attention is the way Party officials claimed ownership and mastery over the Tibetan Buddhist concept of reincarnate lamas: “Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama...

Pu Zhiqiang

How does one incite ethnic hatred in China?

Imagine a country which is openly denying ethnic minorities the right to check into hotels, and to receive passports. Imagine a country where a rights lawyer from the majority ethnicity calls these kinds of policies 'ridiculous.' And finally, imagine a country where the criminal charge of 'inciting ethnic hatred' that soon follows is brought against the lawyer for opposing these policies, and not against the government agencies responsible for instituting them.

ICT Blog

China’s version of religious freedom: Tibetan monasteries should become propaganda centers

Last week, we heard once again Chinese Communist Party’s officials reiterating their concept of religious freedom in Tibet. Chen Quanguo, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Party chief, wrote in the People’s Daily newspaper that monks and nuns should be evaluated for their "patriotism," a word they use to describe their allegiance to the Communist Party. In China's one-party system the Party is institutionally more important than the State. Also, he wrote: "Let the monks and nuns in the temples and monasteries have a personal feeling of the party and government's care and warmth; let...

ICT Blog

Losar in the State Department Heralds the New Year for Tibetan Americans, in more sense than one

On July 21, 2014, history of sort was created when around 100 Tibetan Americans from Amherst, Boston and nearby areas joined US Congressman James McGovern at the City Hall of Northampton, MA, as he held a press conference on his introduction of HR 4851: The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, in the House of Representatives. This was a public acknowledgement of the existence of the Tibetan American community and their being a stakeholder on issues relating to Tibet in the United States Congress. Seven months later, another history was created when on February 24, 2015, Under Secretary Sarah...

ICT Blog

Make the US Congress hear the voice of Tibet – Join Tibet Lobby Day in Washington, DC

This year’s Tibet Lobby Day in Washington DC will take place on Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3. All supporters and friends of Tibet are invited to join the event - the sign up deadline is February 25, 2015. This annual event, which began 7 years ago, brings together over a hundred Tibetan-Americans and friends of Tibet to Washington DC. ICT will host a lobby training session on March 1, and with information and folders in hand, participants will be able to visit offices of their Representatives and Senators in the US Capital. ICT makes the appointments for the meetings, equips you...

Tibetan sheep

Sheep, the White Haired Treasure

Today is the first day of the Tibetan New Year, Losar. This new year, 2142, is the Wood Sheep Year in the Tibetan lunar calendar. The photo below caused me to reflect on sheep and their significance to Tibetan nomadic people. Because Tibetans think of sheep as “the white haired treasure” the year of the Wood Sheep is considered especially auspicious. Tibetan sheep prefer to live at high altitudes of 3,000 – 5,000 meters (9,800-16,000 feet). The Tibetan word for sheep is luk, however, sheep are often called yangkar, which means “the white haired treasure” because of how...

ICT Audience

Our Inspirational meeting with the Dalai Lama in Washington

Last week, I had the privilege to have an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington DC with my colleagues Bhuchung and Tencho from the International Campaign for Tibet.Meeting His Holiness on behalf of the 100,000 worldwide members of ICT was a special honor. In advance of our meeting, it was with a great sense of responsibility, that we discussed in detail the issues we should bring to his attention. As some of you know, ICT was established in 1988 as a result of discussions between His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan leadership in exile and supporters in the United States...

ICT Blog

Facebook responded to our petition, but this is not enough…yet

"Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events. Where such expression involves graphic videos, it needs to be shared responsibly, so that younger people on Facebook do not see it, and it doesn't appear without warning in peoples' News Feeds. While we continue to work on ways of giving people ways to share graphic expression responsibly, we will remove video content of this nature from our service. 

We took the action in question because of violations of our Community Standards. These standards...

ICT Blog

Facebook, don’t cover up the suffering of Tibetans

Over the last weeks and months, news from Tibet has reminded us of how an unrelenting lack of freedom can combine with oppressive policies to tragically become unbearable for Tibetan men and women. From December 16 to December 23, three self-immolations took place in Tibet. Sangye Khar, a man in his mid-thirties; Tseypey, a nineteen years old woman; and Kalsang Yeshe, a man believed to be in his mid-thirties. Overall, in 2014, there were 11 self-immolations in Tibet. These self-immolations, like the other 125 to have taken place since 2009, did not injure anyone else. No Chinese...