Olympics campaign report - SF Team Tibet

The 2008 Beijing Olympics offered a rare opportunity for Tibetans and human rights activists to shine a spotlight on the Chinese government's illegal, unjust occupation of Tibet that has lasted over 50 years. San Francisco (SF) was the sole United States stop on the Beijing Olympic torch relay, with the flame set to pass through on April 9, 2008. This gave San Francisco Team Tibet (SF Team Tibet), a coalition of five California-based Tibetan organizations, an opportunity to galvanize local and international Tibetans, supporters, and San Franciscans and oppose it.

Leaders of SF Team Tibet include: Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC) President Ngodup Tsering and Secretary Tsering Gyurmey; San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (SFRTYC) President Tenzin Dasang and Vice President Youtso Tenzin; Students for Free Tibet (SFT) Board Member Yangchen Lhamo and Regional Coordinator Tenzin Seldon; Committee of 100 for Tibet (C100) President Giovanni Vassallo and Board Member Geoff Lewis; and the Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFoT) Secretary Barbara Green and others teamed up to lead the historic San Francisco campaign opposing the Beijing Olympic Torch.

On August 7, 2008, SF Team Tibet led a protest rally and march. It began at the SF Civic Center Plaza facing San Francisco City Hall. Tibetans called on the Chinese government to end its egregious human rights abuses in Tibet and to resolve the issue of Tibet through earnest negotiations with the Dalai Lama or his representatives. SF Team Tibet called on Mayor Gavin Newsom, to say “No” to Beijing’s torch, so long as the Chinese government continued its brutal reign in Tibet. Video of the demonstration is available at youtube1 .

SF Team Tibet organizers delivered a letter to Mayor Newsom’s office. It informed him that an Olympic torch under the auspices of the Chinese government “does not represent any values consistent with those of the city of San Francisco, “It went on to explain that:

“There is a brutal repression still going on to clamp down on freedom of opinion and expression in Tibet. Olympics are China's excuse to further harass, arrest, intimidate, coerce and beat Tibetans and human rights dissidents into silence…Your welcoming of the Olympic torch would suggest ... that you are ready to turn your back on a unique opportunity to promote legitimate international concerns and ... take a stand for justice in Tibet and China".

They marched about another mile to Chinese consulate and held a press conference. Deyden Tethong, of SFT, spoke at the event. Laurel Sutherlin, who had been arrested and released by the Chinese government for assisting SFT demonstrators on Mount Everest earlier that year, also spoke. SF Team Tibet was not going to allow the Chinese government to promote its propaganda.


Every year Tibetan and Tibet supporters gather to Tibetan National Uprising Day and the 1.2 million Tibetans killed due to the occupation of Tibet. This year, SF Team Tibet used the anniversary to protest the SF Olympic torch relay. 300 members of SF Team Tibet gathered and a large Tibetan flag unfurled over the flight of white stone steps leading into SF City Hall and they held a portrait of the Dalai Lama above the crowd next to banners saying "Olympics in China, Torture in Tibet," and "Truth is our only weapon." They pleaded for the Mayor’s help and urged city officials to pass a resolution calling on China to improve conditions for Tibetans in their homeland.

The public was informed of the plan to line the April 9 Olympic torch route to protest. News helicopters flew overhead as the community gathered that evening for a candle light vigil at Union Square, in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.


On March 12, the SF Chronicle reported that there was “tense times between Beijing and city officials over the possibility of protests along the torch route, especially after a "Free Tibet" rally outside City Hall...” It also reported that the city would restrict free speech during the Olympic torch rally that “despite grumblings from China, the city will provide "free speech" zones at both the opening and closing ceremonies.”

SF is often remembered as a great city for promoting human values such as human rights and civil rights. Unbelievably, city officials considered suppressing the voices of dissent or restricting free speech along the torch. News of this plan caused outrage throughout SF amongst those concerned. Was the long arm of China’s government attempting to influence local SF policy and silence Tibet’s legitimate expression of concern for justice? Tibet groups had long been denied permits to use Civic Center Plaza and had been told that all the large SF gathering squares were on hold for the Mayor’s office. A March 18th, a SF Chronicle editorial pointed out that the planned intrusion of free speech rights were “undeserved,” and that “Beijing may like these plans, but why should San Francisco?”


In March 2008, Tibetans in Tibet took part in the biggest protests in decades in all three Tibetan provinces of Amdo, Kham, and U-Tsang. SF Team Tibet organizers immediately supported the peaceful protestors, condemned the use of unwarranted force against them, and vowed daily protests and nightly vigils. Starting March 17, SFRTYC led daily protests outside SF City. The Olympic torch was now the symbol of real-time oppression. Chants of “Olympics in China: Torture in Tibet,” “Human Rights – In Tibet” “Reject China's bloody torch," and "We will never give up"— reverberated outside and around city hall every week day until the week the Olympic torch relay was held. Signatures and letters were mailed to Mayor Newsom to seek his support to cancel the torch relay. (See video youtube2 ). Organizers met almost daily and often nightly to draw up plans for and various levels of action for the torch passing.


There was an effort to pass a human rights resolution for Tibet at San Francisco City Hall in the lead up to the torch relay. SF Supervisor Chris Daly was approached to sponsor the resolution. He responded positively and he included support for other victims of China’s lack of human rights. He presented a resolution -- “commending the Tibetan Freedom Torch and the Global Human Rights Torch Relay and in their efforts to raise awareness regarding human rights violations in China and urging the San Francisco City Representatives accepting the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch to welcome the Torch in the explicit spirit of Olympism, consistent with the United Nations Charter established in this City, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” -- to the SF Board of Supervisors. SF Team Tibet lobbied all the SF supervisors to support it.

Supervisor Carmen Chu, did not support the resolution. She chaired the venue for the first vote on the resolution on March 20, 2008. Supervisor Daly presented the legislation. Around 200 people, mostly Tibetans had a chance to provide public testimony and only about four members of the public opposed Daly’s resolution. Nevertheless, Chu produced her own resolution, which gutted any critical references to the Chinese government and commended the Beijing Olympic Torch. It passed 2 to 1 in this subcommittee and Supervisor Daly removed his name as sponsor.

Undeterred, Supervisor Daly reintroduced the original resolution to the full board and both resolutions came up for a vote on April 1, 2008 after of a huge rally on the City Hall steps. Chu’s resolution failed and Daly’s passed 8-3 and called for an international investigation of China’s recent crackdown on dissenters in Tibet and encouraged the city’s official representative at the torch festivities to accept the flame with “alarm and protest.”

Representatives of the Chinese government tried to pressure supervisors and met with Mayor in regards to the votes. They had condemned both resolutions which they said would “harm San Francisco-China relations.”

Daly later acknowledged that he had been encouraged by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strong stand against the Chinese government’s oppression of Tibetans - calling on President George Bush to boycott the opening Olympic ceremonies in Beijing. Speaker Pelosi called for vigorous protest during the torch relay.

The Mayor’s office finally released the details of torch’s route. Around 80 torch bearers would be employed for it.

SFT, TANC, and TYC members made numerous banners, placards and shirts. Volunteers organized web sites for the public, and engaged in a huge public relations campaign. Tibetan bikers rode around Berkeley and SF leafleting about the upcoming events. TANC members hosted hundreds of Tibetans who came from around the United States to attend the April 8-9 events.


Mayor Newsom finally agreed to a meeting. Ngodup Tsering, Tenzin Dasang, Barbara Green, Yangchen Lhamo and Vassallo met with him on April 3rd. They expressed concerns about Tibetan safety during the torch relay, asked him to support the Tibetan human rights resolution recently passed. He was requested to outreach to the International Olympic Committee to seek their support in canceling the scheduled torch run through Tibet. The Mayor said he would raise concerns to IOC. Later, he called for the cancellation of the Olympic torch relay in Tibet.

SF Team Tibet and the Tibet movement’s efforts finally seemed be effective. Suddenly, there was no need for permits to demonstrate along the route. The city had backed off its plan to require protesters to be caged into the free speech zones.


On Monday April 7th three SFT demonstrators scaled cables near the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and unfurled two banners. One banner read, "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 08," a play on the official slogan of this year's Olympic Games, "One World, One Dream." The other read, "Free Tibet." It turned out that the protesters performed similar actions at Mt. Everest and later on the Great Wall of China. Laurel Sutherlin, Duane Martinez and Hannah Strange firmly established themselves as champions of Tibet.


Thousands of people gathered at United Nation Plaza on the morning of April 8 to witness the Tibetan Freedom Torch (TFT) ceremony and participate in a march to City Hall and to the Chinese consulate.

A press conference was held. Speakers included Vassallo, Tenzing Chonden, North American Representative of the Parliament-in-Exile, Charles Altekruse, a former Olympian, and representatives of SF Team Tibet.

The TFT ceremony began with Opening Blessings prayers and a Dedication and Moment of Silence, followed by a welcome speech by Ngodup Tsering. Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company then gave a vigorous performance. The TFT was introduced and it was placed in front of a picture of the Dalai Lama. Supervisor Daly and Tenzing Chonden presented Good-Luck scarves to the Dalai’s Lama’s portrait. Then Tenzin Dasang read a statement on the TFT and led the crowd in repeating an oath to continue the struggle for Tibetan freedom. This was followed by the Tibetan National Anthem. Next, a Tibetan monk released 50 white doves as a symbol of peace, one for each year Tibet has been under the Chinese occupation.

Supervisor Daly again spoke to the crowd and called on everyone to receive the torch with “alarm and protest.” Tenzing Chonden spoke again and was followed by Jamyang Norbu, a respected founder of TYC. The segment ended and thousands headed to SF City Hall.

At City Hall, Tenzin Seldon, addressed the crowd through a bull horn. She was followed by Vassallo and then the President of the SF Board of Supervisors, Aaron Peskin. Jigme Norbu, nephew of the Dalai Lama spoke more about freedom and justice for Tibet. People then moved on to march toward the Chinese Consulate.

At the Consulate, the Tibetan National Anthem was sung and people sat down on the street to listen to the speakers. Namgyal Kyulu, President of the Tibetan Association of Southern California was followed by Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of SFT and other speakers. SFT’s Tenzin Dorjee also spoke. The crowd rose to continue the march back to United Plaza and then there was another performance by Chaksampa and a tossing Tsampa (flour) in the air to propitiate the Buddhas, Gods and Goddesses, for “Peace on Earth and Victory to the Truth.”

The candlelight vigil began. Thousands braved the cold winds to stand and listen to Tibetan speakers, and later to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who called on President George Bush and other leaders to not go to the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, for the sake of human rights. Actor Richard Gere, eventually flanked by Tibetan Buddhist monks echoed Desmond Tutu’s call. Thousands joined in prayers for the victims of Chinese government abuse in Tibet.


SF Team Tibet had gathered at Ferry Park and protesters were sent off in groups of 50 to be stationed along the published route. Hundreds of pro-torch demonstrators carrying extra large red Chinese national flags and were said to have been bused in by the Chinese consulate and other pro-China groups, though some said they had come of their own accord. Many protesters carried Tibetan flags and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence and for human rights for the country.

The rerouting of the torch from its published course has been well-publicized since April 9. Thousands of people, both the Chinese government supporters and pro-justice Tibet campaigners, Darfur and Burma activists, and others were denied the right to protest along the torch route as the Mayor had promised. The closing ceremony at Justin Herman Plaza was cancelled as thousands waited for it. After a brief opening ceremony, the torch was hidden for over 45 minutes and reappeared on Van Ness Avenue, far away from those gathered along the published torch route. Buffered by dozens of security officials and police, the torch was carried north to Bay Street and later onto a street leading to the Golden Gate Bridge. But, it turned around and headed to San Francisco International Airport for a hasty closing ceremony, bypassing tens of thousands of people.

Around noon, about 300 Tibetan protesters and Supervisor Daly had pushed past a line of police in the middle of the Embarcadero near Folsom Street, part of the torch route. The group held a 40-foot sign that read, "San Francisco says: No Torch in Tibet." They stopped the 50 passenger bus carrying six Olympic torch bearers and Chinese officials near Embarcadero and Bryant Street. Topden Tsering, Barbara Green, Vassallo, and Tenzin Dasang were amongst the protesters in front of the bus. Video shows that after the bus stopped it continued approximately another 10 feet into the crowd. This disregard for the people led Tsering and Vassallo to keep some overly emotional folks from vandalizing the bus. Nine protesters lay down in front of the bus and blocked its passage. While supporters chanted slogans, the police later removed them. (See video at video1 and video2 .) The Mayor and the Chief of Police would state to the press that the reroute was an eleventh hour decision after the bus, carrying torch bearers and Chinese officials, was stopped.

The almost total reroute was denounced by President Aaron Peskin of the SF Board of Supervisors. "Gavin Newsom runs San Francisco the way the premier of China runs his country - secrecy, lies, misinformation, lack of transparency and manipulating the populace," Peskin said. "He misled supporters and opponents of the run. People brought their families and their children, and (mayoral officials) hatched a cynical plan to please the Bush State Department and the Chinese government because of the incredible influence of money.”

Some demonstrators caught up to rerouted torch. Television footage showed one Tibetan who was dragged back by police for trying to break through the police line around the torch. Many others still managed to show their banners and wear messages on their t-shirts in clear shot of the Olympic torch.

SF Team Tibet held a victory rally at Ferry Park, adjacent near the torch relay’s cancelled closing ceremony. The people cheered after a speech by Majora Carter. Carter was an official Olympic torch bearer who pulled a Tibetan flag from her sleeve and waved it not long after officially receiving the torch. Her commitment to human rights struggle of the Tibetans was inspiring. The crowd was also presented with the bikers for Tibet who would carry the TFT down the coast of California. SFT’s Golden Gate Bridge activists received the leader’s and the people’s thanks.

The thousands of people who demonstrated April 8 and 9 may have seen the giant billboard, displayed for weeks over one of the city’s busiest freeway that called to “Stand up for Tibet.” Tibetans and San Francisco will forever be remembered in Olympics’ history as having vigorously protested and displayed tremendous alarm toward Beijing’s fake symbol of peace.


This report also appeared in edited form in the Tibetan Association of Northern California's (TANC) annual report http://www.tccnc.net/programs/tanc_annual_report.pdf

Dalai Lama says he won't be used as excuse by China's Government

Some international media reports have suggested that the Dalai Lama has "given up" on finding a solution for Tibet and that he has lost hope for Tibet. Today the Dalai Lama's office issued a clarification, including a translated excerpt of his address, which makes it clear that the Dalai Lama believes that widespread discontentment of Chinese rule means this is a critical time for Tibet and that "it would not do for us living in the free world to remain silent or inactive – as though we are oblivious to what was happening."

The Office of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala issued a statement today (1) clarifying remarks made by the Dalai Lama on Saturday 25 October, which have been misrepresented.

The Dalai Lama's address emphasised that the "ultimate objective" and "fundamental duty" of the Tibetan people must be "to bring about a positive change inside Tibet" and to maintaining Tibet's unique national identity.

In his comments the Dalai Lama noted that in March this year the Tibetan people "courageously articulated their discontentment with – and long-simmering resentment against – the Chinese government". He continued that "there was no way for the Chinese government to altogether ignore this fact [protests in Tibet] and it should have come up with measures that were appropriate to what was happening on the ground. However it did not."

In addition to its refusal to address the political crisis in Tibet, the Dalai Lama notes that "the Chinese government has accused me of inciting the recent unrest in Tibet" and "continues to hurl abuse against me". Confronted by the Chinese government's present unbending policy of further repression in Tibet and continuing personal attacks upon himself, the Dalai Lama concludes: "I have faith and trust in the Chinese people; however, my faith and trust in the Chinese government is diminishing."

The Dalai Lama expands on his "diminishing" faith in the present stance of the Chinese government by stating that he is no longer prepared to be used as an excuse by the Chinese government for lack of progress in resolving the Tibetan issue.

Instead, the Dalai Lama indicates that it is time to review the strategy for engaging with the Chinese leadership. Referring to his "Middle-Way" approach – which accepts Chinese sovereignty over Tibet but which requires "genuine autonomy" for the Tibetan people in return – the Dalai Lama states that: "Taking these developments into account, it appears that my continuing to hold on to this position [the Middle Way] is creating obstacles to the Tibet problem, rather than helping resolve it." Stating his belief that the Tibetan issue is a matter for the entire Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama continues: "Therefore the issue of the common good of Tibet would be better decided by the Tibetan people."

The Dalai Lama has already called upon the elected Tibetan leadership to organise a special meeting where it, together with the Tibetan people, will review the strategy for engagement with the Chinese leadership over the future of Tibet. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan government in exile, between 17 and 22 November.

Reacting to the comments of the Dalai Lama, Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

"The Dalai Lama's loss of faith in the sincerity of the Chinese government to negotiate must prompt a change in policy of Western governments. Those governments have for too long praised China simply for staging the talks, regardless of whether progress was being made or not. If the international community continues to hide behind these talks instead of holding the Chinese Government accountable to a worsening human rights situation in Tibet we can only conclude that it is for reasons of political expedience. This, despite claims from Governments that human rights are fundamental 'to China's future stability and prosperity, which is in all our interest."

For further information: Matt Whitticase: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 / +44 (0)7515 788456

Notes to Editor:

(1) The clarification issued by the Dalai Lama's office today, together with the translated excerpt of his address on Sino-Tibetan relations, is available at: http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=474&articletype=flash&rmenuid=morenews

Both are reproduced in full below:

Clarifications on His Holiness' Tibet Remarks in Dharamsala on 25 October 2008

During celebrations of the 48th founding anniversary of the Tibetan Children's Village on 25 October here in Dharamsala, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made some remarks on the issue of Tibet that are now being quoted out of context in some media reports. Consequently, to clarify the situation we are issuing the gist of His Holiness' remarks below as well as a separate translation of a transcript of what he really said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that Tibetans have long been pursuing a path to find a solution to the issue of Tibet that would be mutually acceptable to Tibetans and Chinese. This has received widespread appreciation from the international community, several governments included. More importantly, it has gained the support of many Chinese intellectuals.

His Holiness went on to say that, unfortunately, the Chinese leadership has so far not responded positively to our overtures and does not seem interested in addressing the issue in a realistic way. Beginning in March this year, a series of protests and demonstrations erupted in Lhasa and in many other traditional Tibetan areas. These were clearly a spontaneous expression of the Tibetan people's deep-seated resentment and dissatisfaction over more than five decades of repressive Chinese communist rule.

Since the Chinese Government has accused His Holiness of orchestrating these protests in Tibet, he called for a thorough investigation to examine these allegations, even offering access to Central Tibetan Administration files and records here in India. So far, this offer has not been taken up, but the situation in Tibet becomes graver by the day. Therefore, His Holiness said that it is difficult for him to continue to shoulder such a heavy responsibility when the present Chinese leadership does not seem to appreciate simple truth, reason and common sense. In the absence of any positive reciprocal response from the Chinese leadership, His Holiness feels that if he cannot help find a solution, he would rather not hinder it in any way. His Holiness feels that he cannot afford to pretend that his persistent efforts to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the Tibetan problem are bearing fruit.

Therefore, on 11 September His Holiness called a special meeting of Tibetans from all parts of our community in exile to engage in wide-ranging discussions with the aim of identifying realistic and non-violent options for the future course of our struggle. His Holiness concluded that when all is said and done it is for the Tibetan people themselves to decide about their collective future.

Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
28 October 2008

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sino-Tibetan Relations and the Special Meeting in November

[An Excerpt from His Address During the 48th Founding Anniversary of the Tibetan Children's Village on 25 October 2008]

Recently Tibet has witnessed a crisis. Across the three traditional provinces of Tibet, the Tibetan people courageously articulated their discontentment with — and vented their long-simmering resentment against — the Chinese government. The outburst was not just restricted to the community of monks and nuns; it included believers as well as non-believers of all ages, including Party members, students, and even those Tibetan students who are studying in Mainland China. Realistically, at that time there was no way for the Chinese government to altogether ignore this fact and it should have come up with measures that were appropriate to what was happening on the ground. However it did not. Completely ignoring Tibetan aspirations, it went ahead and cracked down upon the Tibetan protestors, calling them various and sundry names such as "Splittists", "Political Rebels".

At this critical moment when the great mass of our brothers and sisters inside Tibet have made such great sacrifices, it would not do for us living in the free world to remain silent or inactive — as though we are oblivious to what was happening in our country.

Until now, we have adopted a position that is based on an endeavour to benefit both the parties concerned. As such, it has gained the appreciation of many countries across the world, including India. Among Chinese intellectuals, in particular, there is a growing support for this approach. These are indeed victories for us. To bring about a positive change inside Tibet is not just our fundamental duty; it is also our ultimate objective. The sad reality, however, is that we have not been able to fulfil this objective. Therefore when I made my first statement to the European parliament in Strasbourg way back in 1988, I categorically mentioned that the ultimate decision with regard to the issue of Tibet would be taken by the general Tibetan public.

In 1993, direct contact between the Chinese government and us came to an end. We once again held consultations with the general Tibetan populace on the best possible way forward. It was decided, however, to continue to follow the same position as before.

The common cause of Tibet concerns the welfare of the Tibetan people as a whole. It is not at all an issue about my person. As such the Tibetan people collectively should think over the issue of the common good of Tibet and decide accordingly. Seen from a different angle, we have from the very beginning committed ourselves to treading a genuine path of democracy. On our part, we do not preach democracy and practise autocracy. So, at this critical juncture whatever suggestions, views and opinions the general Tibetan public have should be thoroughly discussed. This should be done in a manner that takes into account the best possible course for the realisation of our fundamental cause, rather than for the glorification of ideologies and policies of respective political parties or the simple articulation of different political viewpoints.

All Tibetan people — whether they belong to the laity or the ecclesiastical community — must work towards the sustenance of our national identity. Generally speaking, the sustenance of the Tibetan national identity is quite different from that of any other nations or peoples on this planet. If the Tibetan national identity is sustained well, its value systems — based as they are on the Buddhist tenets of loving kindness and compassion — have an innate quality of being beneficial for the whole of the world. Therefore, our struggle for truth is not only related to the benefit of the six million Tibetans, it is also closely related to our ability to provide a certain amount of benefit to the entire world. Our struggle for truth, thus, has reason behind it. If in the future the Tibetan struggle for truth is amicably and properly resolved, it will certainly help millions of people, including those in China, to discover new prospects for leading a healthier, more meaningful life, securing both mental and physical happiness.

On the other hand, if Tibet were to become a society that pursues only material benefit — as a result of China's complete obliteration of Tibetan religion and culture, the very basis of which is compassion — this will, instead of benefiting the Chinese people, lead to their loss in the future. Therefore, this struggle of ours is, in reality, beneficial to everyone involved. Realising this, we should think over and discuss the ways and means available to us. I am asking all of you to do so, because this is an issue that concerns the common good of all of us Tibetans.

The Chinese government has accused me of inciting the recent unrest in Tibet. As well as making direct representations to the Chinese government, I have made public appeals that Beijing should provide a detailed explanation on this matter. In these representations and appeals, I have said that they can dispatch investigating teams to Dharamsala to check the files of our departments and offices. I have also said that they can go through the recorded tapes of my speeches or statements to the new arrivals from Tibet. No investigating teams have arrived thus far. But China continues to hurl criticism against me.

Taking these developments into account, it appears that my continuing to hold on to this position is creating obstacles to the Tibet problem, rather than helping resolve it. Therefore the issue of the common good of Tibet would be better decided by the Tibetan people. There is no need for me to interfere in this.

On 11 September I reached a decision that I can no longer bear this responsibility. I see no useful purpose being served by my continuing to take up this responsibility. However, if the Chinese leadership honestly engages in talks, then I may be in a position to take up this responsibility again. I will, then, sincerely engage with them. It is very difficult to deal with people, who are not sincere. So I say this very candidly to representatives of the media: I have faith and trust in the Chinese people; however, my faith and trust in the Chinese government is diminishing.

I have called upon the elected Tibetan leadership to discuss these points at a special meeting. I feel this matter cannot be decided all at once by the convening of such an extensive meeting. The principal point, however, is that all the people should take responsibility, should take a keen interest in the matter and should come up with the ways and means, as well as practicable actions, for the realisation of our cherished goal. In other words, all Tibetans should work together in a spirit of collective responsibility to discuss the matter before us, taking into full consideration the short- and long-term benefit of the Tibetan people. However, the final or the actual decision must be made by the Tibetan people.


English Translation of HHDL's statement at TCV, October 25 2008

I don’t have to reiterate, since many monks, nuns and lay people have gathered here today, and everywhere people have shown interest in the ongoing relations between China and Tibet and the ways to relate.

Earlier on September 11, 2008 (as it might be) I have mentioned both to the Kashag [Cabinet] and Tibetan Parliament that till date we have our own ways of relating with the Chinese Government. In the recent past, a crisis has occurred in Tibet. From all over the three regions, individual Tibetans have shown their deep resentment and despair with great courage—not only monks and nuns alone, but government workers, students and especially those from the Central Nationalities University in Beijing.

However, be it believer or non-believer, Tibetans, including monks and nuns, old and young, every Tibetan without differentiation has shown their resentment. During that time, I hoped that the Chinese government would investigate the reality and come up with a realistic solution, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Reality cannot be erased.

The Tibetan people have shown what they long for and they have been distortedly labeled as “splittists” and ”rebels” and were harshly repressed.

In this critical situation, Tibetans in Tibet have sacrificed so much and we cannot pretend not to know this. That’s why, till date we have maintained our political stance, and we have tried every means to benefit both sides.

Many countries, including India, have shown support to this, particularly support from Chinese intellectuals has grown over the years. That’s a victory. In reality, our responsibility and goal is to improve the situation in Tibet but this has not materialized.

Due to this, I mentioned in the European Parliament in the first Strasbourg proposal [1988] that the final decision regarding Tibet will be made by the Tibetan people. In 1993, direct relations with the Chinese Government broke down. Then we had discussions with the Tibetan people and we stood with this primary political stance.

In this critical situation, if we turn a blind eye it won’t achieve anything.

The Tibetan issue is an issue of the Tibetan people and not about me alone. That’s why the issue of Tibet should be considered and decided by the people. Secondly, ours is a true democratic system and not like the Communist government where they speak about democracy but practice autocracy. This is not the way we will ever do things.

When you enter a crucial period, you have to think, discuss and debate. It’s not about political groups defending their own positions. The point is that your actions should not be just based on your political stance. It is not a struggle between the ideologies of political groups. In turn, we have to discuss and debate on the strategies to resolve the Tibetan issue. This we have to do.

All the Tibetans have to work to keep Tibetan identity alive. This identity is different to the rest of the world because we have kindness and compassion as the basis of our nature. If we are able to keep our identity alive it will be helpful to the world and inspire admiration, which is good.

Therefore, our struggle for truth is not only for six million Tibetans. We have the capability to benefit the world. Our struggle for truth is based on reasoning, and if it is successfully resolved then it will surely help millions of Chinese to find a new way of life and one that is meaningful, with both healthy body and happy mind.

If Tibetan religion and culture based on compassion is eradicated and society becomes only concerned with money, in the future this will not help the Chinese and will be their loss.

That’s why our struggle for truth is to benefit both self and others. Now, how are we going to do it? This is why we are going to discuss on the Tibetan issue, so please discuss.

Due to the March unrest in Tibet [the Chinese government] accused me of instigating this unrest. During that period, I made a public announcement that they should come to Dharamsala and carefully investigate the files and the conversations I have had with Tibetans from Tibet that have been recorded on tape. But they did not investigate it. The only thing they do is to accuse me.

Taking this all into account, if I carry on in my position, instead of helping to resolve things, it creates an obstacle. The Tibetan issue is an issue of Tibetan people and it should be resolved by the people. I need not interfere in this. That’s why I made a decision on September 11th 2008 that I cannot hold this responsibility and don’t see a reason to carry this responsibility.

Speaking truly, I can take the responsibility because I have reasons to explain, as I have been sincere throughout. It’s difficult to talk to those who don’t belief in truth. I have clearly mentioned to the world press that I still have faith in the Chinese people, but my faith with the Chinese government is thinning. I have been saying that it’s getting difficult.

Therefore, I have requested the Kashag (office of Cabinet Ministers) and Parliament to organize this [November] Special meeting. I feel that this conference will not bring about an immediate solution. However, the Tibetan people should take collective initiative and take an interest based on the kind of long-term strategies that we should employ to resolve our struggle. The decisions will depend on the reality. That is the aim of the meeting.

[Translated by The Tibet Connection]


Dalai Lama says he is loosing faith on talks with China

Dharamsala, October 26: Tibetan Leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Saturday said in the absence of any positive response from Chinese government to his sincere approach on Tibet issue he would now ask the fellow Tibetan people to decide the future course of action. 

The 73-year old Tibetan leader said he is now loosing faith in dealing with the Chinese government, saying he had already made enough concession and sincere efforts on his part in seeking only greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule through his “middle way” policy.

The Tibetan leader, however, added that his “middle-way” approach has received support from increasing number of Chinese scholars and said he still holds faith in the Chinese people and has not given up on efforts to convince them.

The Tibetan leader made the statement during the 48th Founding anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) in Dharamsala, which serves as the base to Tibet's government-in-exile in northern India.

The Tibetan leader's comments come ahead of a new round of talks between his envoys and Chinese government officials at the end of October.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama denies the allegations, saying he is only seeking a solution to the Tibet issue within the constitutional framework of the People's Republic of China.

"So far I have been sincerely pursuing the mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy in dealing with China for a long time now but there hasn't been any positive response from the Chinese side," the Dalai Lama said. “I have now asked the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a true democracy in exile, to decide in consultation with the Tibetan people how to take the dialogue forward," the Dalai Lama said.

The Nobel peace prize winner sent an unusually strong message to his fellow countrymen. He called on them to take greater role in deciding the future course of action, saying China has failed to respond to his sincere approach.

“I have always maintained, even in the Strasbourg Proposal (1988), that the final decision regarding Tibet will be made by Tibetan people,” the Dalai Lama said in addressing a huge audience who have come to see the school’s annual celebration.

Reiterating his earlier statements that the “issue of Tibet is the issue of Tibetan people and not an issue of the Dalai Lama alone”, Dalai Lama yesterday said the Tibetan masses would now make efforts to decide how to take the dialogue forward. 

“The issue at hand is the welfare of the Tibetan people and is not about my personal status and affairs. It is about the problems that the Tibetan people were facing,” he said. 

The Dalai Lama last month called a ‘special meeting’ of ‘all Tibetan exile groups for next month to discuss the progress of the talks and the situation inside Tibet’.

The Tibetan leader said he did this in response to the lack of any sincere approach from the Chinese government in the dialogue process and the worsening state of affairs within Tibet following the widespread anti-China protests from all sections of Tibetan people across the region earlier this year.

The 73-year old Tibetan leader said the massive demonstrations were an outbreak of long pending deep resentment of Tibetan people against decades of Chinese rule and its wrong policies practiced in the region.

“Even under extreme fear of repression, Tibetan people showed great courage in expressing their aspiration and, deep resentment and discontentment against Chinese rule,” His Holiness said.

Following the massive unrest, the Dalai Lama said, he hoped Chinese government would make productive efforts in finding a constructive solution to the Tibet problem.

“Unfortunately, the demonstrations in Tibet have been violently suppressed by the Chinese police and military. Besides, Chinese Government went on to create a distorted image of the situation and described the unrest as work of separatist elements to split China,” he said.

“From my side I have made all efforts and kept all door open for China to clear their mistrust and show evidence to prove their accusations against us,” he said, adding “but [Chinese side] showed no response at all”.

“In the absence of any appropriate and timely response from Chinese leadership, my position as the Dalai Lama is only becoming an obstruction instead of helping find a solution to the Tibet issue,” he said.

"As far as I'm concerned I have given up," he added.

“So, in the coming meeting Tibetan people must take serious responsibility to discuss the future course of action on Tibet and find out where what has stalled our dialogue process,” The Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama Saturday made his first public appearance in Dharamsala since returning from Delhi on Monday after undergoing a surgery to remove gall stones. 

In his speech, the Dalai Lama thanked Tibetans and well-wishers around the world for their prayers for his continued well being during his medical treatment.

"I have already undergone a successful surgery and I am doing absolutely fine now,” the Dalai Lama said. 

“There is now no need to worry about my health,” the Dalai Lama told a huge public function attended by His Eminence the Gyalwa Karmapa Rinpoche and, senior leaders and officials of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

Phayul, Sunday, October 26, 2008. Phurbu Thinley


A Cry for Help from High in the Mountains

This is an unpublished article from my friend Lhamo Shouse, an American environmentalist who was in Tibet soon after the March riots. Few Westerners were allowed in Tibet after the riots, so this is a rare account of how the events affected ordinary Tibetans at the time. The names have been removed to protect those who might suffer recriminations as a result of this story's publication.

Conrad Richter


A Cry for Help from High in the Mountains

A colorless sky laid heavy over the magnificent landscape, the atmosphere threatened. Black uniformed police, soldiers in green military uniforms with guns, and plainclothes officers promised silence. Edicts had been issued, the monks had been warned that those who had taken part in the peaceful demonstrations were to turn themselves in or else. The else was creating a state of terror wherever we turned. Now everyone waited, in Tongren the police were expected by evening.

The terror of the young monk swallowed us. He told us that he was willing to die if only this oppression, this utter lack of freedom could be lifted. Standing beside the altar in the great hall we talked, behind us a large photo of the Dalai Lama. There is no one on the Tibetan Plateau who does not know the heavy cost of possessing such a photo, but there it stood, the monks silent protest. We were seeing an indication of the tremendous courage of the monks, of their utter desperation after forty-nine years of being told by the Chinese Government what they could study, when they could study, and if they could study at all, and whether or not their teachers were allowed to teach. Forty-nine years watching Han Chinese flood in, overrunning Tibetan villages, turning them into high-rise Chinese cities and their grasslands into Chinese tended fields. Now the monks here are refusing their own fear.

On the veranda outside the great hall a woman continued her prostrations without pause, young monks bounced a ball on the street, older monks wandered into one small shop after the next. Messages so thick in the air one gasped for breath. Young green uniformed soldiers stood guard, black guns with thick barrels at the ready, before a military transport parked in front of the Prosecutors Office. The repercussions were underway. Terror is not threatened, it is reality. Monastery after monastery, town after town we traveled, driving hundreds of miles down unpaved roads; The same story, the same choked silence.

Arriving in Labrang the golden roofs of the monastery were brilliant under even the dull sky, but so few monks and everyone uncharacteristically distant. Missing was the usual bright welcome, the cheering gait, the gentle reaching-out, the shared cups of tea. Out on the street we were met with downcast eyes and when met they were eyes filled with anguish. Once inside, away from the ever present police and plainclothes officers, the monks and shopkeepers could not repress their horror with their helplessness, their exasperation with the continued brutal repression. A young shopkeeper burst into silent pantomime of violent kicking, beating, shooting as a phalanx of young Chinese soldiers marched, two abreast, down the main street in stiff green uniforms. 'THAT is what they do!' She quietly shouted while her husband ceremoniously attended to tidying already tidy shelves, gently urging her to quiet. In the shadow of the shop I reached out to embrace her shaking, barely restrained valor, her horror with her inability to protect the monks and other peaceful protestors. 

After a guided tour of the monastery I returned to the temple where a friend of mine was once caretaker and asked after him. The young monk knew exactly who I meant and led us to his room. My friends were left in the outside room while I was directed through two more doors. Inside Ghen-lah sat at his desk concentrated on writing on a small piece of paper. I waited, my delight at seeing him alive and well escaping into a torrent of greetings, asking if he remembered me. The little monk sitting there wrapping strings around blessings explained that Ghen was in retreat, that he was mumbling because he could not speak until after his retreat. Writing completed, Ghen-lah turned to me handing me the carefully written note: Come this evening at eight or tomorrow at noon, then he could speak. I clasped his hands placing them on my head, took his note and reluctantly left. Eighteen years had passed since our last meeting, in answer to my question of whether he remembered me, he had written my name on another carefully torn piece of paper. Eighteen years vanished, but the doors closed again.

In the anteroom we talked with the young monk. He told of the police taking away his thirty-one year old brother, yet another to be added to the list of missing and anxiously awaited. He told of seven monks being taken from the monastery by police days ago, no news of their whereabouts. He told of four young men who had demonstrated in a neighboring village. When the police came after them they plunged their knives into their own hearts to avoid certain torture and death at the hands of the police. Shaken by the potential price of our visit and fearing for the monks I suggested we leave. First let the journalist ask his questions, the monk replied. I asked about coming tomorrow to visit with Ghen-lah as he had directed in the note. Is that not dangerous? I asked. 'Very seriously dangerous.' He replied, 'You decide. We are here.' There is nothing nonchalant in their courageous tossing off the heavy cloak of terror.

The next morning walking alone to the old residential part of town, I was confronted by two police cars. I turned to walk in the opposite direction but was followed and later stopped. They asked for my passport, which they scanned on the spot. Not speaking English, they then handed me their cell phone to speak with Nicholas, who said he would like to meet me later. He then inquired of my traveling companions, not wanting to implicate them I remained silent, then handed back the telephone.

Dazed by this encounter with the black uniformed PSB and plainclothes officers I sat down to ponder my own fate and watch as people walked the korwah saying prayers. Into my little nook hands reached out in greeting and urged me to join them in their walk. An elegant old man paused, looking me in the eyes. "Tugeechay," said he, THANK YOU.

Returning to our hotel we quickly packed and loaded baggage into our waiting car but an hour outside of town we were met with a police road block just outside of LuQu, our passports taken away. We waited along side the road for two hours under guard, when they finally returned they forced us into a police van along with five plainclothes officers from "the travel bureau," or least so we were told. I noticed that the officer who claimed to speak no English listened attentively to our conversation and later spoke to us in English.

Sitting in the van, fully expecting hours of interrogation and likely worse, I relaxed for only the second time on this trip, the first was on meeting my travel companion-the China Bureau Chief for one of the world's largest newspapers. The tension generated by the background of violence, by the overwhelming number of police and armed military and silently watching undercover officers evaporated. The only gap in that quiet was when my quietly courageous companion noted, "Ahh, they are taking us to a very secluded place." Then came the calming thought: we are truly with the people now, the government has kindly included us. Oh, if only our inclusion could help shift the balance that would finally move the military OFF the Plateau, if only the people's voices could be heard and the drowning immigration stopped before it is too late, if only this rich culture could be given a chance to breathe, not survive as a tourist attraction but to truly live. As our van drove off the highway down narrow dusty country lanes we saw ahead of us at the end of the road what appeared to be a gated government building but then the driver made a ninety degree turn and continued on. Only a shortcuts.

Three hours later the van drove into a big hotel in Linxia and stopped. They helped us out telling us we were to stay there for the night for tomorrow they would accompany us on down to Lanzhou. We firmly explained that we had no wish whatsoever to stay the night, that we would continue to Lanzhou; and we did so, at once. Half of our journey cancelled, we were once again blocked from seeing or hearing of the true cost of maintaining China's face and stability, after a perilous journey in the dark over boulder strewn washed out roads we arrived late at the point where we had begun.

Next morning after a full Chinese breakfast we were back on the road to PingAn County (birthplace of the present Dalai Lama), Tongren and Ledu. Tongren-in Huangnan, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture-was of particular concern for on the 21st of February, even before the protests began in Lhasa, monks had clashed with police. And when we arrived in April, it was clear that trouble was once again near, the atmosphere was thick with fear, soldiers and police were everywhere. The terrified monks were expecting the military to appear in the evening. That their deaths might lead toward freedom was the best hope they had.

Now, another horror behind us, our four-wheel drive vehicle was put to full use driving to the Dalai Lama's family home in Takster. There are no signs, so at every juncture we must stop and ask directions from Hui villagers. They offered directions without hesitation, assuring us that we would 'easily find it as everyone knows this place.' After driving what seemed hours, down narrow, unpaved and torn up roads we finally started climbing steeply, but slowly upwards. Finally, the road ended in a narrow walkway. A local standing nearby said it was a very short walk up the hill, we would see it. And sure enough, the first and only sign that we had entered a Tibetan village was the great red pair of doors with hundreds of khatas tied to the shiny brass handles; but the doors were firmly locked. On each side of the gates were nailed notices from the provincial judicial authorities dated the 2nd of April 2008, one in Tibetan one in Chinese, stating that the authorities prohibited all 'destructive anti-governmental behavior' and the reproduction or distribution of the Dalai Lama's image in any form. Further the notice said that anyone providing information about such activities would be rewarded.

We went around the house and knocked, a middle aged woman cracked the door saying she would ask her husband. When he appeared his weary frightened eyes told their story. Said he, 'We cannot help you at the moment, and we would like you to leave immediately.' According to neighbors, we had just missed the police. Apparently the road to the house has been blocked during the day since the protests began. That was The News from Takster.

After a good night's rest in Xining we drove on to Kumbum Monastery. We were surprised to find the road to the monastery completely open. On arriving, there were barricades, but a young Chinese woman introduced herself as we paused for directions saying, that as our guide she could get us inside, so guide she was. She jumped in and directed us to the parking lot. She showed us to the ticket counter, then walked us around talking loudly nonstop, telling us she was half Han half Tibetan but really Han. And truly there was nothing about her manner that would indicate otherwise. We saw many beautiful temples but few monks, and it was clear that we were not to speak to those we met. As we neared the last temple I asked if we could speak to a monk; this was a monastery after all. So she took us off to buy khatas and presented us to one who could only be called 'the Government's demonstration lama' telling us he would bless things if we wished. Despite being such a distinguished monastery, it all felt grossly set up, put down your money and get your whatknots blessed, offer a scarf and get a chanting lama, but do NOT ask any questions because the monk is under full surveillance. As the lama explained on my way out the door, he can say NOTHING. This entire well-repaired monastery had the feeling of a museum. Indeed, the reinstitution of political re-education had set the tone in line with the banners praising stability.

On the way out, a visiting monk who had walked along with us on our tour jumped into our car for a ride back to Xining. As we drove, he told us that though there were no troubles at his monastery a few hours distant-at Qinghai Lake-political re-education classes had begun and severe restrictions placed on the monks.

Traveling from Xining before ReKong we noticed on the side of the highway a check post set up with a table at Jianzhan to Lama Dechen Gonpa-people had not only to show identification, but sign that they have entered.

Clearly, the cost of maintaining stability in China is very high. Since mid-March the CCTV television screens have played and replayed the same few images. The country has been subjected to twenty-four hour propaganda disparaging Tibetans for their ungratefulness to the state, and characterized Tibetans' protest against the Government's unbearable repression as "ethnic conflict." On my return while sitting at the airport in Detroit, I heard highly educated visiting overseas Chinese repeat these charges. There is a possibility that the hatred constructed by such propaganda could get out of hand.

For Tibetans this use of brutal force to create "stability" or at least silence has created a life drenched in terror and loss; loss of family members, loss of land, loss of culture, loss of vital monastic establishments, loss of environmental integrity, indeed loss of freedom
in any sense. And, it is clear that Tibetans for the most part have already lost their larger towns and cities to the overwhelming influx of Han Chinese. Even small Tibetan towns one after another are now splattered with high-rise apartment buildings and important Tibetan institutions are inevitably surrounded by a thick belt of newly built Han housing-for stability since no one can enter or leave without passing through this Han belt.

We need to go to Tibet to witness, not in times of peace but in these times of courageous unrest, we must go where the trouble is, where restriction is heaviest. And importantly, we must leave indications that we have witnessed with the Chinese.

During this trip I was reminded again and again how we-with all of our freedoms--are nonchalantly allowing our own governments to resemble more and more this totalitarian regime. Perhaps it is time we seriously consider the direction in which we travel and join China's courageous dissidents in rejecting and exposing this in our own countries.


From a university student in Tibet

Letter written by a university student in the Amdo region of Tibet under the name Rolang or Zor that finishes with the hope that it can be translated into English and distributed to international organizations, the UN and friends of Tibet around the world.


Tibetans are a peace-loving people, and despite the terrible oppression we are currently undergoing at the hands of the Chinese government, that commitment will not diminish at all. As the whole world knows, it is a fact that the common people of Tibet staged a ‘peaceful uprising’ in Lhasa, centre of the land of snows on March 14th 2008, yet out of keeping with the actual reality, the Chinese government has presented this ‘peaceful uprising’ to the world as an outbreak of ‘beating, smashing, looting and burning’, trying to shift the blame from themselves as far as possible through various allegations such as that it was a ‘conspiracy’ mounted by the ‘Dalai clique organisation’ aimed at ‘splitting the unity of nationalities’. As a Tibetan student dedicated to the cherished goals of freedom, justice, equality and truth for our people, unable to bear seeing the Tibetan people being bullied to an extreme by the Chinese government, and wishing to expressly refute the Chinese government’s practice of turning truth into falsehood, I would like to put a short statement of the truth of our history before the world, through honestly relating my own perceptions and ideas.


Following the uprising in Lhasa on March 14th, events of a similar nature spread through all regions of Tibet like the unfurling of a wave or a forest fire. It was the heartfelt cry of a people enslaved and oppressed for over fifty years calling for freedom and democracy, and yet the Chinese government represented it as a vicious act of ‘separatism’ and ‘terrorism’, and used the occasion to visit fearsome reprisals and massacres on the Tibetan people. (The Chinese government’s CCTV news showed ‘separatists’ beating and looting innocent Chinese, and setting fire to shops, vehicles and public facilities, but did not show the Chinese army savagely beating Tibetans, opening fire on crowds of civilians, arresting them regardless of their involvement in protest and terrorising them with weapons and so forth). On the other hand, it is well known to many Tibetans who were in Lhasa at the time that the incidents of ‘Beating, smashing, looting and burning’ were orchestrated by members of the PLA, and there are many who even saw this happen. You may think that this is said out of blind loyalty to our own people, but in fact that is what actually happened. As soon as the trouble broke out in Lhasa on March 14th, the Lhasa government had 10 soldiers dressed in monks’ robes instigate the ‘Beating, smashing, looting and burning’ (Lhasa people claim that there were over 30 soldiers dressed as monks, and pictures of them can still be seen on the internet. They are said to have included mostly Chinese members of the armed forces, and some Hui Muslims. This claim may be considered false, but the instigators of these deeds were undeniably Chinese). For the government, this was an excellent diversion, and means of falsely representing events to the outside world. A fellow from my native region, a monk, who was in Lhasa at the time said “Before the troubles on March 14th, people were peacefully demonstrating and marching, not smashing or looting property, and the soldiers although armed were just watching from a distance, not attacking people. But around 9’o clock, a group of ten or more monks and some laypeople came from who knows where and started to destroy things in front of the Jokhang temple. Then people went to join them, and this incident came about. The extraordinary thing is that at that time there were no soldiers in sight, and the soldiers there were carried video cameras and trained them on us. From 9 until around 12, the government left us to do whatever we pleased. At 12 the Chinese soldiers surrounded us and two Lhasa youths around 20 years old were shot dead. I was outside Ramoche temple, where (I saw) an old woman beaten to death by soldiers, and they also shot dead a old couple, husband and wife, selling meat there. So it goes without saying that Tibetans were beaten and arrested (during the subsequent crackdown).”

The Tibetan public present there were unaware of the government’s secret strategy and were thus deceived. In response to the beating and murder of ordinary people, the monks of Drepung, Ganden and Sera rose up one after the other, and 500 or 600 monks were arrested and subjected to fierce beatings. (Drepung monks [from the writer’s native Amdo region] like Tsultrim Tendzin and Gepel, and 500 or 600 monks including those from Sera and Ganden were arrested, and we have heard that most are still in the custody of the Xining [Qinghai provincial] Peoples Court).


In Khams and in Tso-ngön (Qinghai), knowing the despicable deceit and cruel strategies of the Chinese government, they used ‘peace marches’ to express for once their deep longing for freedom and democracy, but even so, the government still branded them as ‘separatists’ and ‘terrorists’, and many Tibetan brothers and sisters were savagely beaten, and are in jail even now. (In the Kandze region of Kham, many nuns were severely beaten up and some lost their precious lives after being assaulted by Chinese soldiers). Many Tibetans, including children, the elderly, youth, women and so on, providing sport for the soldiers in prison, gave their lives for the freedom of their people, or for the sake of the future generation. According to one Tibetan who was released from prison “The means used by the Chinese government to implement this suppression are unspeakably cruel. Those used on Tibetans languishing in dark prison cells are even more terrible. When I was in prison, the soldiers beat and killed Tibetans indiscriminately, some were used for martial arts practice, some were stabbed, some were pissed on, kicked in the face, and then put to death, many shot.” And such impressive tales of cruel suppression and horrific maltreatment are what one consistently hears from those who have been released.

On March 16th, the Tibetan public, both monks and laypeople, in areas of Qinghai like Rebkong, Chentsa and so on, staged ‘peace marches’ and many other activities within the law, which the government put a stop to by various means. Does it not say in the state constitution that all power in the Peoples Republic of China rests with the people, and that the people are to exercise that power?

It is quite clear that the recent uprising was a peaceful protest, in which the Tibetan people expressed support for freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in both word and deed, and protested against the corruption of a government that tramples on these values and turns it’s back on justice. In revulsion against a government that turns white into black and truth into lies, the people of Ngaba rose up in protest on March 16th, and although the people of Ngaba shouted their protest ‘peacefully and in the name of His Holiness’, the government claimed that this was ‘Nothing other than beating, smashing, looting and burning’, ‘Opposing the Party’ and ‘Against the law of the PRC’, and pointed their guns at the people. More than 20 lost their lives. Thi includes the student Lhundrup Kyi who was shot by soldiers on her way to school, Tashi who took his own life, and so on, altogether 20 young people, men and women. Many Ngaba people were beaten savagely by the armed police, and many were wounded in the firing, and later lost their lives because the hospital would not treat their wounds. The Chinese government told the world that it was ‘resolving the situation sensitively, but their ‘sensitive resolution’ amounted to beating, murder and detention for us. They were ready to deceive those with the highest respect for the human values of freedom and democracy, peace and equality, to attack and reject the righteousness of adhering to the truth.

People being beaten to death is something that should not even be heard of in the 21st century, something reminiscent of the ‘Democratic Reform’ era [ie; the Communist terror of the late 1950s], but not only are Tibetans inside Tibetan still subject to exactly the same oppression, exploitation and abuse as during ‘Democratic Reform’, they are even subject to the kind of beatings and horrific torture associated with the ‘Cultural Revolution’. Such is the ‘highest concern’ and ‘ties of fraternal love with the Tibetan masses’ of which the Party speaks. According to the article “What rights do we really have?”, ‘A man in his 40s from the Shikalo household in Charo Xiang, Ngaba county, was beaten so badly, on false charges, that he died. Two Kirti monks, Tösam and Jinpa, resolved to kill themselves in prison rather than suffer the brutality of the security forces.’ We hear that they left last testaments, but far from being shown these documents, their family and friends were not even shown their corpses.


Likewise there were peaceful marches calling for Tibetan freedom on a large scale in Golok prefecture, in Taktsang Lhamo and Tangkor in Ngaba, in Achi, Jam-mé, Chungchu, Zungchu, Dzamtang, Kandze, Labrang, Amchok and Tsoe and so on, but the government responded by branding them as incidents of ‘Beating, smashing, looting and burning’, and responded by attacking the Tibetan people and falsely accusing them. 19 monks from Taktsang Lhamo, including 16 year old Söpa, were arrested in a single day, the monastery primary school was closed down and religious activities stopped. 3 mnks from Jam-mé monastery in Dzoegé, over 60 monks and laypeople from Tangkor and all the monks and villagers of Achi were arrested. In Chungchu county over 20 students and 30 monks and laypeople were detained, while in Ngaba 20 or so people were killed and most of the population was arrested. These are the figures recorded by witness accounts, not to mention incidents which have gone unrecorded. In places like Labrang, Amchok and Tsoe, the state responded by firing tear gas into the middle of crowds of peaceful demonstrators, and threatening them with armed troops.

As the oppression and abuse of the Tibetan people by the Chinese government worsened day by day, the students of the Northwest Nationalities Institute, unable to bear the government turning truth into falsity and arresting, beating and killing innocent Tibetans, staged a demonstration under the banner ‘Solidarity with the Tibetan people, for Democracy and respect for life’, mourning those massacred, beaten to death or shot for the sake of the cause, and carried out a hunger strike for a day and a half. At the same time, the students of the Central Nationalities University staged a four hour hunger strike and mourning for Tibetans killed for the casue of freedom and democracy. Similar hunger strikes were carried by the students of the Qinghai Nationalities Teacher Training college, the Southwest Nationalities University and the Barkham Teacher Training college. This protest by the students was both lawful and in protest against a government trampling on the rights and interests of national minorities, but the state labelled it as identical with the campaign of ‘Beating, smashing, looting and burning’, and arrested and assaulted the students. Soldiers beat and arrested students from the Qinghai Nationalities Teacher Training college, and 14 students from all levels of the Barkham TT college were detained. Including Konchok and Losang from Ngaba, Rinchen Dorje and Drolma Chap from Dzoege, Böchung from Chung etc. Some students like Sadruk from the senior intermediate level were crippled for life by the beatings, and the detained students are said to have been given life sentences.


People of the world, can you see that a people are giving their lives for the sake of freedom, democracy and equality, at the hands of an authoritarian régime which responds with the gun? People of the world, are you aware that ordinary members of this people are languishing in irons in dark prisons, suffereing oppression and abuse, for the sake of harmony, peace and truth? When the cold wind of the anguish of parents who have seen their own children taken from them starts to whistle, when the heartfelt tears of women widowed, torn from their life partners by a hail of bullets, start to roll down like falling rocks, when the gale of heartfelt hatred for the killers of the fathers of families starts to howl, may the weeping and keen sorrow of the high plateau dwellers in the midst of the swirling smoke fill their hearts with anticipation of the dawn that follows the darkness of night, and open their eyes to new hope. Groaning in grinding pain, may the high plateau dwellers in the midst of swirling smoke grit their teeth in confidence that the mask of this vicious régime will be torn off.


While claiming to be respecting and upholding our human rights and interests, freedom, democratic rights and lives, the state has on the contrary trampled on peoples’ lives, status and truthful aspirations. From the day the suppression of the uprising is over, the Tibetan people will have to go back to a life of servitude, utterly deprived of personal freedoms. The government has implemented the policy of intimidating individuals loyal to the Tibetan cause, and is promoting it’s ‘education for bondage’, based on the nonsense of ‘Sino-Tibetan unity’ and ‘Tibet is an inseparable fraternal nationality of China’. They hope to cultivate the Tibetan people as blindly obedient subjects under their control. They will forbid them from keeping pictures of the Dalai Lama or from using the words ‘Greater Tibet’. Any use of this term or expression of this view will be described as private rather than representing PRC ideology, and the view as a fallacy which has never existed in the history of China or Tibet. Thus the Chinese government hopes to weaken the sense of Tibetan identity and aspiration for independence among Tibetans, and follow the policy of Sinicisation. They will repeatedly force Tibetan officials to denounce the Dalai Lama as an ‘ethnic separatist’, verbally and in writing. They will do the same thing in Tibetan schools and colleges at all levels, and oblige students to endlessly copy out the statement that Tibet is an inseparable part of China. In particular, they will force the Tibetan people at alrge to do the same thing, although in their case, opposing the lord of peace, love and truth is insurmountably difficult. From another point of view, isn’t denunciation of the Dalai Lama, highest representative of peace and human rights, a rejection by the Chinese government of these cherished human values? Isn’t it trampling on the lives and rights of human beings?

However, in our country, people do not have the right to even say the Dalai Lama’s name, and anyone who does is not representing the real thoughts of the Tibetan people but seeking to enrich himself or prove his loyal subordination to the Chinese government.

From a young age, we have to study official Chinese history, and this history casts Japan as the enemy. This seems to be the ultimate objective of getting young Tibetans to study this version of history, to instill in the young generation of Han in particular, and 5 or 6 other nationalities, resentment against Japan for having committed oppression, exploitation and massacre in our land. But despite using all methods to encourage this idea in us since childhood, we have always had a very positive view of Japan and admired it’s courage and strong cultural identity. Despite the best efforts of the Chinese state, we young generations of the 5 or 6 non-Han nationalities in China have associated ‘imperialism’ not with Japan, but with the Han nationality.

In the histories of many of the world’s peoples, there have been great figures who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom, human rights and equality, and also many who have opposed the struggle for peace and truth. If we cannor forget these great figures who accomplished just deeds, how can we forget those who opposed and tried to confound them? Their great deeds are recorded in the pages of history as if engraved in stone. Also in Tibetan history there is a host of unforgettable greats, as well as many who eschewed the rights and interests of the Tibetan people (Many regional leaders and heads, religious figures and various state officials, such as the present Jamyang Zhepa incarnation, member of the NPC standing committee, vice chairman of the Chinese Buddhist Association, principal of the China Tibetan Buddhist Institute for Higher Studies, vice chair of the standing committee of the provincial Peoples’ Congress and chair of the provincial Buddhist Association; Ngapo Ngawang Jikme, vice chair of the national CPPCC; Drongbu Tsering Dorje, member of the TAR CPPCC, director of research at the TAR Academy of Social Science; Gotseko, chairman of the Sichuan provincial disciplinary committee and Tsepak Chap, vice-governor of Gansu province are responsible for perpretating the most heinous deceptions on the Tibetan people during the current suppression and for subjecting them to fearsome beatings and detention). Such people are exactly those who might defend the interests of the Tibetan people, so why are they not among those Tibetan representatives speaking frankly on their peoples’ behalf? It is at such crucial moments that we can clearly see how much they care for the unique Tibetan culture and the welfare of it’s people. We realise the actual depth of their usual lip service about ‘Tibet’. While men of strong constitution have given themselves to the cause of their people with sincerity and dignity, we can also not forget those who slandered and undermined them, the supposed representatives of the Tibetan people who only rub salt on their wounds. How can we, the new generation, forget how you, while serving as the Tibetan peoples’ representatives, unjustly vilify your own people at the beck and call of the government, when they make their true feelings known? History will not forget how you brought intolerable aggression and false accusations against your own people.


Today is International Childrens’ Day. In all areas of the city there are programmes to mark the occasion, as well as mourning for those affected by the recent earthuake. The city’s children are showing off their brightness on a stage dedicated to the whole world’s children. I wonder whether the children from my native place are celebrating the occasion. For me, if all the children of our region could celebrate equally a day dedicated to all the children of the world, that would be just fine. Tibetan people have a high respect for life, and this extends to any people or nation in the world without distinction. Thus Tibetans genuinely sympathise with the relatives of the Chinese people killed in the Sichuan earthquake. Despite the inerasable history of antagonism and aggression between China and Tibet, we cannot blame ordinary people or lose respect for their human lives. Our children will participate in the mourning on International Childrens’ Day. But the government has deprived us of any freedom of movement, even mere children. Can there really be any connection between the incident of so-called ‘Beating, smashing, looting and burning’ and International Childrens’ Day? Why should the city children be allowed to celebrate but the children of my native place not? Tibetan children will observe the mourning for earthquake victims, but they will not be allowed to mark International Childrens’ Day. Children all over the world could well mark this as a day of mourning too – for the Chinese government’s exploitation, oppression and destruction of International Childrens’ Day, whether open or concealed.


In these days before the start of the Olympic games, participants and ordinary people in countries around the world are looking forward to a great spectacle. They are all praying for success. Isn’t the Olympics supposed to be a ‘common platform’ open to all for the pursuit of the innermost human values of freedom, democracy, peace and harmony? But for the oppressed Tibetan subjects under Chinese rule, the name ‘Olympics’ is a dead one. For the dwellers of our high plateau land, it is a distant promise. In these days we will continue to be downtrodden, abused and in pain, and will not see your wonderful spectacle. We are sorry. We will not see the glorious results of your sweat and toil. What we will see is cruel mistreatment and terrible punishment. Our country is surrounded by Chinese soldiers, and their guns and cannons are trained on us. Our only Olympic games will be arrests and killings. (Since the end of the March uprising, the PLA has been moved into Tibetan areas in order to ‘punish criminals and protect the people’ as they put it, but this actually means nothing other than beating and arresting ordinary innocent people. Golok, Rebkong and Chentsa in Qinghai, Labrang, Tsoe, Amchok and Luchu in Gansu, Ngaba, Chungchu, Dzoege and Taktsang Lhamo in Sichuan are full of soldiers, the movements of ordinary people are stringently checked, and monks in particular cannot move around except with permission from the local authorities. Due to this and the increased prices of everday goods, ordinary life is very hard. It is the Tibetan custom to offer prayers on the mountaintop on the full moon of summer, and at the same time celebrate with horse races and other contests for 5 or 6 days, but this year these festivities have been cancelled in most parts of Qinghai. Instead, new official quarters have been established in many localities and the number of soldiers increased. Surveillance equipment has been installed to keep s closer watch on the movements of Tibetans. Perhaps the world is unaware that the Tibetan plateau is seeing the greatest concentration of military since the end of the second world war. This is because of Mao’s dictum that ‘Power comes from the barrel of the gun’ which is the real Chinese system, and shows the true face of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’. It is the realisation of the Chinese state’s ultimate objective of imposing feudal control on the six ‘autonomous regions’.

The Chinese government is already imposing an oppression higher than the sky on Tibetan culture. It is squeezing the freedom to use the written language from all sides, most of those in leading positions inside Tibet do not have to learn it, and those who do learn have no occasion to use it these days. At least, the majority of Tibetans could be forgiven for thinking so, since although the government talks about minorities having the right to use their own languages, in fact those rights have been taken away. But no matter what, the Tibetan peoples’ indomitable courage cannot be shaken. If they plunge us into darkness, that will be a way for us to find a gap through which the light shines in.

Forward, people of the world. We can be the masters of freedom, democracy and equality. In this darkness of oppression and exploitation, who else but us can light the torch of hope? We shall be the ones who welcome the dawn that follows the long night!

July 26 2008

CTA's Response to Chinese Gov't Allegations

Ever since peaceful protests erupted in Tibet, starting from 10 March, the Chinese government used the full force of its state media to fling a series of allegations against the "Dalai Clique". These allegations range from His Holiness the Dalai Lama masterminding the recent Tibet protest to His Holiness the Dalai Lama making attempts to restore feudalism in Tibet.

This is the fifth and last in a series of response by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to these accusations.

The Chinese translation of this response will be available later at www.xizang-zhiye.org The Tibetan translation is available on the Tibetan edition of this website www.tibet.net/tb/

Part Five: Monasteries, Weapons and Terrorism

As the Tibetan protests — popularly known as the March incident — unfolded on the Roof of the World, the Chinese government relied on brute force to silence the Tibetan voices, leading to a large number of peaceful Tibetan demonstrators being arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, killed and disappeared. In order to justify their heinous actions, various functionaries of the Chinese establishment have been spewing various and sundry lies to pass the buck of the unrest in Tibet to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his exile Administration. China has, employing the full force of its state media and the Public Security Department, ratcheted up its external propaganda efforts to sell its lies to — or rather misinform — the international community that "large quantities of weapons (guns, knives, spears, etc.) have been hidden in the monasteries of Tibet, and these bear evidence of the violent nature of the Tibetan people."

In a press meeting held on 1 April, the spokesperson of China's Public Security Department, Wu Heping, said: "We have found a considerable number of weapons, including guns, in some of the monasteries in Lhasa."

Again, the 10 April issue of Sichuan Daily carried a long story — which appears to be nothing more than a trumped-up one — about the authorities having conducted a raid on the Kirti monastery [located in Ngaba (Ch. Aba) Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province] and, as a result of it, their having confiscated 30 guns and 33 swords from that monastery. The piece also alleges that these weapons testify to the Tibetan people's indulgence in violence.

In reality, all these constitute nothing but a mad behaviour on the part of the Chinese military to blame the Tibetan people for something they are not responsible at all. In a frenzy of madness, they have committed what can be described as an aggravated burglary by making their intrusive entry into the Tibetan monasteries and taking away swords, spears, or other symbolic implements closely associated with the pantheon of wrathful deities — tutelary or protective — belonging to the Tibetan spiritual world. In order to link the Tibetans to violence, they have also forcibly taken away explosives bought by Tibetan labourers with due permission from the relevant authorities for construction purposes.

Monastic institutions — as everybody knows — are not just the centres of learning for the ecclesiastical community; these are also the main repositories of the ancient artefacts and cultural relics of Tibet. Moreover these monasteries are, for the Tibetan people, the ultimate places for seeking spiritual refuge. A monastery has assembly halls, temples, libraries, printing houses, chapels housing protective deities and fierce spirits, etc., all of which have their own unique identities and functions. For example, Protector Shrine is the place where a devotee makes his or her offerings to the protective deities. Here, one will come across numerous wrathful images of Dharma-protecting and guardian deities. Each of these deities carries symbolic implements such as swords and spears, which is unique to — and identifiable with — that particular deity. These implements are attributed to the concerned deities by historical tradition; it is not something that came into being after the communist Chinese set foot in Tibet.

If the Chinese government is audacious enough to claim — based on these symbolic implements of the protective deities they have confiscated from the monasteries — that the Tibetan clergy is violence-oriented, then what do they have to say about the Buddhist temples or monasteries in China, where the sculpted images of the Four Worldly Kings, or the Jikas Gods, holding symbolic implements like swords, bow and arrow, long spears, etc., are hung on the doors?

Similarly, in most of the Chinese monasteries, images of Guangong (a historical warrior figure) are erected as local deities or guardians. These images also carry symbolic implements such as long swords and spears. Do these, then, not indicate that Hashangs — or the Chinese priests — are making preparations for violence?

Looking back into Tibetan history, there were numerous incidents where Tibetan hunters and butchers had pledged to give up their profession of killing, or slaughtering, animals by wilfully offering their weapons such as guns and knives to the monasteries. Likewise, there were many cases where the two feuding communities, families, or even individuals, had decided to end their animosity by offering their weapons to the mediating monasteries. The monasteries, in turn, accept these weapons gladly so that these do not fall in the hands of wrong persons and store — or sometimes display — them in the chapels housing protective deities and fierce spirits as a way of encouraging other people to tread the same path of non-violence. This tradition among the Tibetan people is indeed laudable. However, the Beijing government presents these very weapons looted from the monastic stores as evidence before the international community to prove that the Tibetan monks are harbouring an evil desire to revolt against China. This behaviour of the Chinese government is — far from being a civilised one — akin to the behaviour of a brigand.

In sum, the Chinese government — while looking down upon, or showing scant respect to, Tibet's unique culture, customs and traditions, etc. — goes about doing anything that it feels like doing by conducting raids on the Tibetan monasteries and taking away the treasured possessions, including the statues of deities adorned with expensive jewelry, of these monasteries. Still, Beijing blames the Tibetan clergy for violence, which, in fact, was a peaceful expression of their discontentment. Devoid of truth and reason, this whole drama of having found large quantities of weapons in Tibetan monasteries — as if these monasteries are preparing for a war against the Chinese regime — is nothing but an exaggerated account of the current unrest in Tibet.

TYC and Al Qaida

The state media launched a barrage of propaganda that tried to link some parts of the "Dalai clique" with Al-Qaida and the East Turkestan Independence Movement. For example, in the first week of May, a Tibetologist who goes by the name of Liu Hongji wrote a piece in Xinhua, the official news agency, in which he stated, "The TYC has become a terrorist organization as concepts of violence have taken root within it...The group's shadow was evident when the police confiscated a large number of guns and ammunition in some monasteries in China's Tibetan-inhabited regions after the March 14 riot," the scholar said.

We cannot speak on behalf of the Tibetan Youth Congress. The TYC is more than capable of speaking for itself. We are making these comments in so far as China includes the TYC in its broad and all-encompassing term, "the Dalai clique." To call a democratically-elected organisation a "terrorist" with links with Al-Qaida is based on the assumption that those who hear this claim are total fools or is an attempt to harden the Chinese leadership's attitude to the Tibetans. Whatever the real reason for making such absurd claims, the truth is that the TYC is based in India, an open and plural society where free flow of information is cherished. This allows the concerned authorities of India to make an informed judgment of organizations that flout, or does not flout, the laws of the host country. Till now, the Government of India in its considered judgment has not declared the TYC as a terrorist outfit and within the exile Tibetan community the youth body is recognised as a respected organization.

Begging More Questions than Answers

A section of the Chinese leadership's shrill denunciation of the TYC as a terrorist organization stands in sharp contrast to the leadership's dismissive attitude to the same organization in the early 1980's. In those days, the TYC was dismissed as a "fly flapping its wings against the king of the mountains."

Why has a humble fly metamorphized into a "terrorists" organization in the eyes of the Chinese leaders?

The answer lies with the hardliners in the leadership. They want China, the whole leadership and the Chinese people, to recognize the "Dalai clique" as a "terrorist" organization so that they could deal with it accordingly.

But before the wiser section of the leadership and the Chinese people as a whole are convinced by both the arguments and the evidence produced by the hardliners, they need answers to some questions.

The first question is, if the arms found in the monasteries are truly smuggled by TYC into Tibet under the very noses of the Public Security Ministry, the PLA, the PAP and China's well-placed informers, why weren't transaction prevented in the first place? China has put in place the tightest restrictions on the movement of people, ideas and goods anywhere else in the world. Why did the shipment of such large catchement happen in the first place? Isn't this a major dereliction of duty on the part of China's security forces?

Let us for the sake of argument assume that the TYC was smart enough to ship these arms under the noses of the ever vigilant Chinese security forces into Tibet, why were these let to be allowed into the monasteries without the security forces noticing? The monasteries in Tibet are placed under intrusive survelliance and why were the presence of these weapons in the monasteries not known to the authorities? And why bring out these weapons only when protests took place in Tibet. Isn't it the duty of the security forces to catch "criminals" and expose their "crime" as and when they happen? Why wait this long?

Where were these weapons made? Usually, the brand of the weapons would give clear indication of the source of the weapons. Why has not the spokesperson for the Public Security Ministry informed the international media where the weapons came from?

PLA Soldiers in Monks' Robes

The Chinese government accuses His Holiness the Dalai Lama of being "a wolf in monk's robes." Ever since the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, the PLA soldiers have been in the habit of doing exactly this: posing as Tibetan monks in order to sow dissension, create distractions and to serve as agents provocateur to incite un-suspecting Tibetan masses into actions that justify quick, military response.

For example, in a book (published in 1992 by the DIIR) about the suffering of the Tibetans in Chinese prisons, a former treasurer of Namgyal Monastery, Venerable Gyaltsen writes that during the 1959 Uprising in Lhasa, Chinese soldiers dressed as Tibetans climbed the Chokpori, next to the Potala Palace and burned incense and strung prayer flags so as to give the impression to the Tibetan public that the Tibetan side had won in the fighting in Lhasa. This was also done to draw out the Tibetan fighters from their hideouts to make it easier for the PLA soldiers to shoot at them.

On 5 March 1988, Tibetans staged a massive protest demonstration on the streets of Lhasa. At the time, the Chinese government ordered a large number of Chinese officials and soldiers to disguise as Tibetan monks and lay Tibetans and deployed them throughout the city. This is based on an account given by Venerable Bhagdro, a former political prisoner.

During the 1989 demonstrations in Lhasa, the Chinese government camp up with the strategy of waging a four-pronged war on Tibetan protestors. As part of this strategy, about 300 Chinese agents and spies were planted within the Tibetan clergy and general public. On the morning of 5 March, they were made to go to the Barkhor and other troubled areas of Lhasa to help the regional and city public security bureaus in deliberately creating disturbances. Their plans included the following: 1) to set aflame the great prayer flag –Gaden Darnyon and Shar Kyareng Darchen – erected at the north-east of the Jokhang Temple, 2) to encourage the local Tibetan residents to destroy and loot the Lhasa Municipality's Grain Store and the Tibet-Gansu Joint Emporia. This information comes from a book written by Tang Daxian. The book is called The Bayonet Pointed Directly at Lhasa and has been translated into Tibetan and published by the DIIR in 1992.

13 October 2008


A Tibetan AIDS activist disappears in Tibet

A Tibetan AIDS activist disappears in Tibet

The whereabouts of Tibetan HIV/AIDS activist, Wangdue (one name only), remains unknown to his family members since he was arbitrarily detained by the Lhasa City Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials from his home on 14 March 2008 in Lhasa, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Wangdue, now in his early 40s was born in Taktse County (Ch: Daxi/Dagze Xian), Lhasa Municipality, "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR"). He is a former political prisoner initially arrested for his involvement in the March 1989 protest in Lhasa and was later sentenced to three years to "Re-education through Labour" in Sangyip Prison, otherwise known as "TAR" PSB Detention Centre. His prison sentence was further increased by four years by the Lhasa City Intermediate People's Court for his involvement in a protest in Sangyip, and he was later transferred to the notorious Drapchi Prison in Lhasa where he completed his remaining prison term. Following his release in 1995, Wangdue studied English language besides working in Lhasa.

Wangdue later came in contact with a foreign NGO working on an HIV/AIDS awareness program in Lhasa City and worked to create HIV/AIDS awareness in various brothels around Lhasa city, in schools in neighboring counties and towns, and organized talk series in various nightclubs mushrooming in the holy city. The NGO also published and printed numerous education booklets, posters and pamphlets on HIV/AIDS awareness in Tibetan and Chinese language for free distribution to educate the general public on the deadly disease which is gradually gaining ground in Tibet. Due to their success, numerous schools, government offices including the "TAR" Police Academy invited the NGO to give lecture on the HIV/AIDS awareness to their students, staffs and recruits.

Like the Chinese democracy, environmental and AIDS activist, Hu Jia, who has been nominated by the Nobel Committee for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Wangdue has been spearheading a noble community service project in educating the masses about the HIV/AIDS in Tibet. Wangdue who has disappeared since his arbitrary detention on 14 March, deserves a similar respect and adulation from the international community for his selfless community service and the international community, should therefore, urgently press for his early release so that he can continue with his noble mission of creating awareness on HIV/AIDS, an epidemic which is gradually spreading at an alarming rate in the Tibetan holy city of Lhasa and other neighboring towns and cities.

TCHRD expresses its deepest concern over the safety of Wangdue and urgently calls upon the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to ascertain his whereabouts and physical conditions. The Centre appeals to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID) to urgently issue intervention to locate him and his current status.

NB: For photos of Wangdue, please click http://www.tchrd.org/press/2008/pr20081009.html