Tuesday, 21 May 2013

US senators approve 5,000 visas for Tibet refugees


AFP: US lawmakers debating a landmark immigration bill on Monday approved the provision of 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees to enter the United States over the next three years.
Citing "terrible" and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans, Senator Dianne Feinstein offered the matter as an amendment to the vast legislation aimed at fixing the US immigration system.
Feinstein said the measure, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would ease conditions for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal, where she noted Tibetan resettlement facilities are more than 50 years old.
"In Nepal, the government has been essentially following Chinese mandates to make it very difficult for the Tibetan refugee community," the veteran Democrat told fellow senators.
The immigration bill would ultimately provide a 13-year path to citizenship, or longer, for most of the 11 million people living in the United States illegally.
However, its prospects of getting through both the Senate and the House of Representatives remain uncertain. The Tibetan visa provision would take effect if the wider bill becomes law.
Feinstein also cited the more than 110 Tibetans who have self immolated since 2009, with most dying of their injuries, in demonstrations against what they view as Chinese oppression.
Republican Chuck Grassley said he supported the visa measure knowing full well it would not sit well with authorities in Beijing.
"On this issue I don't mind irritating China," Grassley said.
Senators have already waded through nearly a third of the more than 300 amendments being considered for the bipartisan immigration bill. Several of the measures are aimed at making the sweeping legislation more palatable to conservatives.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

China wants Britain’s Cameron to apologise for Dalai Lama meeting


TibetanReview: As UK’s Prime Minister Mr David Cameron expressed an intend to visit China this year, the latter has on May 7 demanded that he make amends for having met with the Dalai Lama during the latter’s visit to London in May last year.  "China hopes the British side will earnestly respect its concern on the Tibet-related issues and take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for bilateral relations to grow," China’s official Xinhua news agency May 7 quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as telling a regular press conference in Beijing.

Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg together met in London on May 14, 2012 with the Dalai Lama, the report noted.

Hua has said the China-UK relations were damaged by British leaders' meeting with the Dalai Lama last May, noting China's clear and firm position on the Tibet issue, and its unswerving determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. She was reported to have “reiterated the Chinese government's stern opposition to the secessionist activities of the Dalai Lama, as well foreign leaders' acceptance of meetings with him in any form.”

Although Hua did not elaborate on what concrete actions she wanted the UK government to take, it is understood to mean that the latter should tender an apology and also pledge not to meet with the Dalai Lama again.

Meanwhile, online.wsj.com May 7 cited a British government statement as saying Mr Cameron had not canceled any official visits to China. "Of course we engage with China on a huge range of issues, on some we agree, on others we disagree, but we strongly believe it is in the interests of both countries to manage our differences with respect, and cooperate as much as possible," the statement was quoted as saying.
The statement has also reiterated that the British government’s position on Tibet was longstanding and clear: that it regarded the Himalayan region as part of the People's Republic of China.

However, despite the diplomatic rift, British exports to China grew almost 40% to 10.5 billion pounds ($16.4 billion) last year from 2010 when Mr Cameron became prime minister, the report noted.
 
Mr Cameron had also met the Dalai Lama before he became prime minister in 2008 to discuss the situation in Tibet and Tibetan autonomy. All previous British prime ministers since John Major have also met the Dalai Lama. 

Tibetan monk in precarious health after Chinese imprisonment


TibetanReview: Chinese authorities in Xining city of Qinghai Province have released in Apr 2013 a Tibetan monk after he became seriously ill and required secretive hospitalization as a result of severe ill-treatment in jail, said Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Right and Democracy May 8. The centre said the monk, Sonam Yig-nyen, 44, became seriously ill soon after he was sentenced to a two-year jail term in Oct 2012.

Sonam Yig-nyen was among five monks taken into custody in a surprise Chinese police raid on Nyatso Zilkar Monastery in Tridu (Chinese: Chenduo) County of Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province, on Sep 1, 2012. The other monks were Lobsang Jinpa (30), Tsultrim Kalsang (25), Ngawang Monlam (30), and Sonam Sherab (45).

Due to severe ill-treatment by the Chinese police, Sonam had to be hospitalized for more than a month soon after he was sentenced. His family and friends were not allowed to visit him either in prison or at Xining’s largest hospital, an army hospital, where he was kept for more than a month.

In Apr 2013, the authorities sent Sonam back to Yushu, possibly for treatment at another hospital.
 
The centre said the monk’s family and friends have still not been able to see him. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

“Tibet’s Next Incarnation?”


Constitutional Crisis, Confusion and Conspiracies at the Central Tibetan Administration
For some months now, large-scale protests and violent street battles have been raging throughout Cairo and other major cities of Egypt. Thousands of Egyptian liberals and secularists have come out on the streets to protest what they called President Mohamed Morsi’s “power-grab”, after he issued a declaration awarding himself new powers, which he claimed were “temporary” until a new constitution was put in place. Morsi’s opposition will have none of it and claim that he wants to make himself “the new Pharaoh”.
The exile Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has since last year been going through a major constitutional crisis of its own. The odd thing in Dharamshala’s case is that no one there appears to have realized that anything consequential had happened at all. It is perhaps likely that some of the more savvy residents of the exile Tibetan capital had their suspicions but were too intimidated or confused to say anything, much less stage a protest at the Gangchen Kyishong square.
I only got my first inkling of this “crisis” when I came across this reworking of the title of the Tibetan prime minister from that of “kalon tripa” to “sikyong” an older and somewhat obscure title used by the old regents of Tibet. But I assumed this name change was merely a cosmetic one. Samdong Rimpoche had some years back changed the title of the exile PM from the traditional si-lon to the more grandiose soundingKalon Tripa or the “Enthroned Kalon”*
So I assumed, as everyone else did, that the change from Kalon Tripa to Sikyong was also just a change in the Tibetan name and that the office of the prime minister remained the same. In an official reportissued on September 26, 2012, by CTA on its website it was also made clear that only the name or title of the office had been changed:
“Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay today ratified the recent amendments made to the Charter of Tibetans in Exile to change the official title of Kalon Tripa to Sikyong.”
But in the last paragraph of the report there was a hint that perhaps something more than a name change had actually taken place: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama said on 8 August 2011 that he was handing over the political leadership that he inherited from Regent Tagdra Rinpoche to Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the first democratically-elected Sikyong or Tibetan political leader.”
In effect the Dalai Lama was handing over his power as sovereign monarch, which he had received from the Tagdra

“Tibet’s Next Incarnation?”


Constitutional Crisis, Confusion and Conspiracies at the Central Tibetan Administration
For some months now, large-scale protests and violent street battles have been raging throughout Cairo and other major cities of Egypt. Thousands of Egyptian liberals and secularists have come out on the streets to protest what they called President Mohamed Morsi’s “power-grab”, after he issued a declaration awarding himself new powers, which he claimed were “temporary” until a new constitution was put in place. Morsi’s opposition will have none of it and claim that he wants to make himself “the new Pharaoh”.
The exile Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has since last year been going through a major constitutional crisis of its own. The odd thing in Dharamshala’s case is that no one there appears to have realized that anything consequential had happened at all. It is perhaps likely that some of the more savvy residents of the exile Tibetan capital had their suspicions but were too intimidated or confused to say anything, much less stage a protest at the Gangchen Kyishong square.
I only got my first inkling of this “crisis” when I came across this reworking of the title of the Tibetan prime minister from that of “kalon tripa” to “sikyong” an older and somewhat obscure title used by the old regents of Tibet. But I assumed this name change was merely a cosmetic one. Samdong Rimpoche had some years back changed the title of the exile PM from the traditional si-lon to the more grandiose soundingKalon Tripa or the “Enthroned Kalon”*
So I assumed, as everyone else did, that the change from Kalon Tripa to Sikyong was also just a change in the Tibetan name and that the office of the prime minister remained the same. In an official reportissued on September 26, 2012, by CTA on its website it was also made clear that only the name or title of the office had been changed:
“Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay today ratified the recent amendments made to the Charter of Tibetans in Exile to change the official title of Kalon Tripa to Sikyong.”
But in the last paragraph of the report there was a hint that perhaps something more than a name change had actually taken place: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama said on 8 August 2011 that he was handing over the political leadership that he inherited from Regent Tagdra Rinpoche to Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the first democratically-elected Sikyong or Tibetan political leader.”
In effect the Dalai Lama was handing over his power as sovereign monarch, which he had received from the Tagdra

“Tibet’s Next Incarnation?”


Constitutional Crisis, Confusion and Conspiracies at the Central Tibetan Administration
For some months now, large-scale protests and violent street battles have been raging throughout Cairo and other major cities of Egypt. Thousands of Egyptian liberals and secularists have come out on the streets to protest what they called President Mohamed Morsi’s “power-grab”, after he issued a declaration awarding himself new powers, which he claimed were “temporary” until a new constitution was put in place. Morsi’s opposition will have none of it and claim that he wants to make himself “the new Pharaoh”.
The exile Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has since last year been going through a major constitutional crisis of its own. The odd thing in Dharamshala’s case is that no one there appears to have realized that anything consequential had happened at all. It is perhaps likely that some of the more savvy residents of the exile Tibetan capital had their suspicions but were too intimidated or confused to say anything, much less stage a protest at the Gangchen Kyishong square.
I only got my first inkling of this “crisis” when I came across this reworking of the title of the Tibetan prime minister from that of “kalon tripa” to “sikyong” an older and somewhat obscure title used by the old regents of Tibet. But I assumed this name change was merely a cosmetic one. Samdong Rimpoche had some years back changed the title of the exile PM from the traditional si-lon to the more grandiose soundingKalon Tripa or the “Enthroned Kalon”*
So I assumed, as everyone else did, that the change from Kalon Tripa to Sikyong was also just a change in the Tibetan name and that the office of the prime minister remained the same. In an official reportissued on September 26, 2012, by CTA on its website it was also made clear that only the name or title of the office had been changed:
“Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay today ratified the recent amendments made to the Charter of Tibetans in Exile to change the official title of Kalon Tripa to Sikyong.”
But in the last paragraph of the report there was a hint that perhaps something more than a name change had actually taken place: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama said on 8 August 2011 that he was handing over the political leadership that he inherited from Regent Tagdra Rinpoche to Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the first democratically-elected Sikyong or Tibetan political leader.”
In effect the Dalai Lama was handing over his power as sovereign monarch, which he had received from the Tagdra

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Man who set up Tibet radio gets £65 in back-pay 63 years later


Peter Simpson in London: Former civil servant Robert Ford received back-pay of £65 on his 90th birthday.

Patience is a virtue that has finally paid off for Robert Ford.

The 90-year-old British national has finally received back-pay for his job setting up a radio network in Tibet - but only after waiting for more than half a century.

The former civil servant was the only Westerner working for the Tibetan government when China invaded the Himalayan nation in 1950.

An image of Robert Ford when he was arrested in 1950

But pay day was postponed because he was captured by advancing PLA troops as he attempted a daring escape on horseback across the frozen plateaus.

The Tibetan government in exile, which is based in India, handed Ford the last of his salary, a 100 Tam Srang note worth £65 (HK$764), at a ceremony in London on Wednesday, his 90th birthday.

"We heard Robert was about to turn 90, so we thought it best we pay him what we owe. We're sorry it has taken so long to give him his final wage, but there has been extenuating circumstances," Tibet British representative, Thubten Samdup, said.

Ford's last salary was due in October 1950. But, along with his Tibetan bosses, he was thrown into jail and solitary confinement by the Chinese. Threatened with execution for being a spy, he was subjected

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Tibetan Activists Hit by Second Android Spy Malware

If you are a Tibetan activist, it looks more and more like you probably shouldn't use Androidphones. Last week, Kaspersky Labs uncovered the first Trojan virus targeting Tibetan and Uyghur activists. On Monday, another report points to state-sponsored Chinese hackers spying on Tibetans using a compromised version of a mobile messaging app and probably some help from the Chinese government.

According to a report by cybersecurity researchers at Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Tibetan activists are the target of an attack that steals the victim's contacts and messages as well as tracks his or her location. The modus operandi of the attack is strikingly similar to the one uncovered last week, although at the technical level at least, the two attacks can't be linked, the researchers said.

The attackers sent a Tibetan activist a phishing email, that appeared to be coming from a trusted contact, containing an Android Appication Package to install Kakao Talk, an app that lets the user send free messages over the Internet. The file, however, is not the actual Kakao Talk installer, but a compromised version of it that includes additional permission requests that open up the door for the attackers.
An attack like this, note the researchers, wouldn't work by default on any Android device, since they are set up to only install trusted applications. But Tibetan activists as well as Chinese users have access to a restricted version of Google Play app store, so they often install apps from third parties. Moreover, they may not be tech savvy enough to recognize that the malware filled app requires additional