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Dharamsala (India) - 10. Dezember 2012

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay Appeal to Tibetans Not to Celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year),Self-immolation Reaching 100

 

For Immediate Press Release

24 January 2013

With profound grief, I report that the number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest against repression in Tibet is now reaching 100. In 2012 alone, 83 Tibetans self-immolated, and twenty-eight of these occurred within the single month of November. (Watch Sikyong’s Video Message)

Now in the new year of 2013, I am saddened to inform you that three Tibetans have set themselves on fire. The most recent self-immolation by Kunchok Kyab, 26 years old, occurred just a few days ago. Given this continuing tragic situation, I request my fellow Tibetans to not celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year) with our usual festivities. Instead, when this year’s holiday falls on February 11, I ask you to perform only the customary religious rituals like visiting temples and making offerings. Do wear our traditional robe (Chuba) to display our identity and tradition. Kindly pray for all who have sacrificed their lives and for all who continue to suffer in occupied Tibet.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) continues to appeal to Tibetans to not undertake drastic actions, and still, self-immolations persist in Tibet. The universal demands of the Tibetans have been the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans. This is the aspiration of Tibetans and our sacred duty to support.

In our 10 March 2012 statement, we called on all Tibetans and friends to make 2012 a Tibet Lobby Year. Due to their dedication, this call has been successful: we have seen resolutions passed in the European Union (EU), France, Italy and the United States, and statements issued by parliamentarians in Brazil, Japan and other nations.

The CTA expresses deep appreciation to these parliamentarians, and to global citizens, for their support. We also remain grateful to the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House for their attentiveness to and reports on the deteriorating situation in Tibet.

Let us build on the successful lobbying efforts of 2012 by fully engaging throughout 2013 in the *Solidarity With Tibet Campaign*. This campaign’s first major event took place in New York on 10 December 2012 and the release of the video on self-immolation, “What’s China doing in Tibet?”.

Within India, Tibetan parliamentarians are visiting state capitals to appraise and seek support from many prominent leaders.

From Wednesday, 30th January to 2nd February 2013, thousands of Tibetans will converge in Delhi, India’s capital city, for a series of campaign activities. On 10 March 2013, Tibetans from various corners of Europe will gather in Brussels, the capital city of the EU, to observe the 54th Tibetan national uprising day.

I urge all Tibetan Associations, Tibet Support Groups, international NGOs, people of all faiths, and friends of justice throughout the world to intensify efforts to lobby parliaments and governments. Call on the Chinese government to allow international delegation and media access into Tibet. Reach out to your local and national media and encourage them to write and broadcast about what is happening in Tibet. In all endeavors, please continue to conduct our campaign in a peaceful, legal and dignified manner.

I appeal to our Chinese brothers and sisters to join us in supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people. The CTA remains committed to the Middle-Way Approach and to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully through dialogue. The responsibility as well as the solution for the current crisis in Tibet lies with the Chinese government.

To our brothers and sisters in Tibet, we are with you every step of the way. The three principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance will guide us towards our goal of seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama return to Tibet and restoring freedom for Tibetans.

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 10. Dezember 2012

Erklärung von Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay zum 23. Jahrestag der Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises an Seine Heiligkeit den Dalai Lama

  Erklärung in pdf-Format

Wir sind heute hier versammelt, um des 23. Jahrestages der Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises an den Dalai Lama und des 64. Jahrestages des Internationalen Tages der Menschenrechte zu gedenken. Anlässlich dieser bemerkenswerten Ereignisse entrichtet der Kashag Seiner Heiligkeit dem Dalai Lama seine Ehrerbietung und sendet seine herzlichsten Grüße an alle Tibeter, Freunde und Sympathisanten in der ganzen Welt.

Das norwegische Nobelpreiskomitee begründete die Vergabe des Friedensnobelpreises 1989 an Seine Heiligkeit den Dalai Lama mit dessen Ablehnung des Einsatzes von Gewalt und seinem Eintreten für eine friedliche Lösung, die auf Toleranz und gegenseitigem Respekt beruht. In den 23 Jahren, die seit der Verleihung des Nobelpreises vergangen sind, hat die Person des Dalai Lama eine solche Aufwertung erfahren, dass allein sein Name zu einem Synonym für Mitgefühl und Gewaltlosigkeit geworden ist. Wir Tibeter sind unschätzbar glücklich, jemanden wie Seine Heiligkeit den 14. Dalai Lama als unser hoch verehrtes Oberhaupt zu haben.

Zu diesem Anlass müssen wir unsere ganze Aufmerksamkeit und unsere Anteilnahme auf Tibet richten, das in einer neuen Krise zu versinken droht. Tief bewegt muss ich berichten, dass sich in Tibet seit 2009 insgesamt 95 Tibeter selbst verbrannt haben. 2011 gab es 12 Selbstverbrennungen in Tibet, 2012 sind es bisher schon 82, davon 28 allein im Monat November. Leider starben 80 an den Folgen der Verbrennungen. Was in den schwer bewachten Klöstern begann, hat sich auf Nomaden, Studenten und gewöhnliche Tibeter in allen drei Regionen Tibets (Amdo, Kham und U-Tsang) einschließlich Lhasa, der Hauptstadt Tibets, ausgebreitet. Immer mehr Menschen sind bereit, sich selbst in Brand zu setzen, um gegen die Situation in Tibet zu protestieren.

Diese tragischen Ereignisse in Tibet stellen in einer neuen Art und Weise eine zentrale Behauptung der chinesischen Regierung in Frage, nämlich die, dass die Tibeter in Tibet glücklich und zufrieden sind. Allen Widrigkeiten zum Trotz, haben sich die Tibeter in Tibet seit Jahrzenten dieser Behauptung entgegen gestellt und ihre Unzufriedenheit in friedvolle Bahnen gelenkt.

Nach einer stürmischen Periode in den 1960er Jahren schaffte es Tibet wieder auf die Titelseiten, als von September 1987 bis März 1989 eine Reihe von großen und gewaltfreien Protesten in Lhasa und den angrenzenden tibetischen Gebieten entbrannte. Damals reagierten die chinesischen Sicherheitsbehörden mit der Verhängung des Kriegsrechts und Ausweisung aller ausländischen Journalisten und Touristen. Später, im Jahr 2006, stellten die Tibeter die Verwendung von Pelzen gefährdeter Tierarten ein. Die Welt wurde Zeuge außergewöhnlicher Demonstrationen bei denen Tibeter Felle öffentlich verbrannten. Solche Zeugnisse tibetischer Solidarität wurden von den chinesischen Behörden missbilligt und es wurde erneut hart gegen sie durchgegriffen.

Selbst Feiern in mehreren tibetischen Regionen anlässlich der Verleihung der Goldenen Ehrenmedaille des US-Kongresses an Seine Heiligkeit den Dalai Lama wurden von den chinesischen Sicherheitsbehörden nicht toleriert. Im selben Jahr wurde Rungye Adak, ein tibetischer Nomade, zu einer achtjährigen Haftstrafe wegen seiner öffentlichen Forderung nach der Rückkehr Seiner Heiligkeit des Dalai Lama nach Tibet verurteilt. Auch andere Tibeter wurden zu langen Haftstrafen verurteilt. Das Jahr 2008 war gekennzeichnet von den größten und schwersten Unruhen, als Tausende von Tibetern aus allen Gesellschaftsschichten gegen die chinesische Hardliner-Politik protestierten. Hunderte wurden verhaftet, geschlagen, gefoltert und getötet. Diese Ereignisse warfen einen Schatten auf die Olympischen Spiele, die 2008 in Peking stattfanden.

Seit kurzem treten, zusätzlich zu den Selbstverbrennungen, auch andere Formen des Protestes und Solidaritätsbekundungen in ganz Tibet auf. Tibetische Studenten in Rebkong und Chabcha, im Nordosten Tibets, gingen zu Tausenden auf die Straße und forderten den Schutz der tibetischen Sprache und mehr Gleichberechtigung und Freiheit. In verschiedenen Teilen Tibets brachen wegen geplanter Änderungen von Flussläufen und Bergbauvorhaben, durch die viele Tibeter vertrieben wurden, Konflikte aus. Als mutiges Zeichen der Solidarität mit den Opfern der Selbstverbrennungen traten tibetische Lehrer, Regierungsbeamte, Schriftsteller, Mönche und Geschäftsleute in Lhasa, Drakgo, Jomda, Dzachukha, Tridu, Serthar, Siling, Karze und Chengdu in der chinesischen Provinz Sichuan am 26. November in einen dreitägigen Hungerstreik. Eine andere bedeutsame Entwicklung ist die Lhakar-Bewegung, bei der jeden Mittwoch Tausende von Tibetern auf verschiedenste Weise zusammenkommen um sich zu ihrer tibetischen Identität bekennen und ganz bewusst Tibetisch sprechen, sich traditionell kleiden, tibetisch essen und alles Tibetische zu betonen.

Die Selbstverbrennungen sind eine Fortführung des andauernden gewaltfreien tibetischen Widerstands gegen die Besatzung Tibets und Unterdrückung der Tibeter. Sie stellen jedoch auch einen neuen Ausdruck der tibetischen Verzweiflung und Wut dar und führen damit nur zu einer Verschlimmerung des Teufelskreises aus Unruhen, Repression und erneuten Unruhen. Der Kashag sieht als Ursache der Selbstverbrennungen und der aktuellen Situation der politischen und religiösen Unterdrückung, die wirtschaftliche Marginalisierung, soziale Diskriminierung, kulturelle Assimilation und Umweltzerstörung in Tibet.

Trotz wiederholter Appelle der Tibetischen Zentralverwaltung (CTA ), solch drastische Handlungen zu unterlassen, gehen die Selbstverbrennungen in Tibet weiter. Die Tibeter fordern vor allem die Rückkehr Seiner Heiligkeit des Dalai Lama nach Tibet und Freiheit für die Tibeter. Dies ist die kostbarste Hoffnung der Menschen in Tibet. Es liegt in der Verantwortung derjenigen von uns, die das Glück haben, in Freiheit zu leben, alles in unserer Macht stehende zu tun, um diese Forderungen der Tibeter zu verwirklichen. Wir verstehen es deshalb als unsere heilige Pflicht dafür zu sorgen, dass die Welt die Rufe der Opfer der Selbstverbrennungen und anderer Protestierender zu hören bekommt.

Zwangsläufig hat die Kommunistische Partei Chinas die exiltibetische Führung für die Selbstverbrennungen verantwortlich gemacht. Aber Seiner Heiligkeit dem Dalai Lama und der Tibetischen Exilregierung die Schuld zu geben, ist ein offenes Eingeständnis ihres vollkommenen Versagens, trotz mehr als 50 Jahren Besatzung, die Loyalität der Tibeter für sich gewinnen zu können. Darin spiegelt sich auch das Unvermögen Pekings wider, zulässige politische Optionen anzuwenden und weiterhin auf Schuldzuweisungen zurückzugreifen.

In meiner Stellungnahme zum 10. März 2012, rief ich alle Tibeter und Freunde auf, 2012 zum Tibet Lobby Jahr zu machen. Dieser Aufruf, in Verbindung mit der aufopferungsvollen Arbeit der Tibeter und Tibet-Unterstützungsgruppen, war ein voller Erfolg, da wir seitdem bedeutsame offizielle Unterstützungsbekundungen von vielen Ländern; Beschlüsse der Parlamente und Kongresse der Europäischen Union (EU), Frankreichs, Italiens und der Vereinigten Staaten und Erklärungen von Parlamentariern in Australien, Brasilien, Kanada, EU, Frankreich, Deutschland, Italien, Indien, Japan, Südafrika und den Vereinigten Staaten erhalten haben.

Die CTA drückt den Vereinten Nationen, den verschiedenen Regierungen und Parlamenten für ihre Anteilnahme an der verschlechterten Situation in Tibet ihre Dankbarkeit aus.

Die Hochkommissarin der Vereinten Nationen für Menschenrechte, Navi Pillay, hat kürzlich einen noch nie dagewesenen Aufruf an die chinesische Führung, die Ursachen für die Unzufriedenheit der tibetischen Bevölkerung anzugehen. "Soziale Stabilität in Tibet wird nie durch strengere Sicherheitsmaßnahmen und Unterdrückung der Menschenrechte erreicht werden", sagte sie am 2. November. Frau Pillay appellierte an die chinesische Regierung "ernsthaft die Empfehlungen verschiedener internationaler Menschenrechtsorganisationen zu beachten sowie die Beratung durch unabhängige Menschenrechtsexperten der Vereinten Nationen in Anspruch zu nehmen."

Wir begrüßen auch die jüngsten Äußerungen von Gary Locke, dem US-Botschafter in China, der Ende September tibetische Gebiete besuchte und die Chinesen drängte "sich unbedingt mit den Vertretern des tibetischen Volkes zu treffen, um die Politik, die zu Einschränkungen, Gewalt und Selbstverbrennungen geführt hat, zu besprechen und erneut zu prüfen."

Am 21. November hat der Menschenrechtsbeauftragte der deutschen Bundesregierung, Markus Löning, die chinesische Regierung dringend gebeten, ihre Tibet-Politik zu reformieren und internationale Beobachter in die tibetischen Gebiete reisen zu lassen, um die Ursachen der zunehmenden Selbstverbrennungen zu untersuchen. Am 27. November verabschiedete der Französische Senat eine Resolution, mit der er die Europäische Union (EU) dazu auffordert, Tibet zu einem vorrangigen Thema ihres kürzlich ernannten Sonderrepräsentanten für Menschenrechte zu machen. Die oben genannten Maßnahmen verschiedener Regierungen und Institutionen stellen eine willkommene positive Entwicklung dar. Wir fordern alle ausländischen Regierungen, die einen Menschenrechtsdialog mit China führen, dazu auf sich bewusst zu machen, dass sich die Situation in Tibet verschlechtert hat. Wir fordern sie und die internationale Gemeinschaft dazu auf einzugreifen und diese Krise zu beenden. Wenn Peking die Unterdrückung der Tibeter beendet, dann werden auch die Selbstverbrennungen enden. Die CTA hält weiterhin an dem Mittleren Weg zur Lösung der Tibet-Frage fest und damit der Wiederaufnahme des Dialogs zwischen Peking und Dharamsala. Die Verantwortung ebenso wie die Lösung für die gegenwärtige Krise liegt bei der chinesischen Führung. Wir wissen die Unterstützung einiger unserer chinesischen Freunde und zahlreicher chinesischer NGOs außerhalb Chinas zu schätzen, sind aber weiterhin zutiefst beunruhigt und traurig über das Schweigen und die scheinbare Gleichgültigkeit der meisten Chinesen, insbesondere der chinesischen Intellektuellen und Meinungsführer, gegenüber dem Leid des tibetischen Volkes. Der tibetische Kampf richtet sich weder gegen China noch gegen das chinesische Volk. Was die Tibeter wollen, ist Freiheit und echte Autonomie, wie sie auch in der chinesischen Verfassung verankert sind. Ich appelliere an unsere chinesischen Brüder und Schwestern, sich mit uns in unsere Unterstützung der Bestrebungen des tibetischen Volkes zu vereinen.

Lassen Sie uns an die erfolgreiche Lobbyarbeit des Jahres 2012 anknüpfen, indem wir 2013 eine „Solidarität mit Tibet“-Kampagne starten. Ich fordere alle tibetischen Organisationen, Tibet-Unterstützungsgruppen, internationale NGOs, Menschen aller Glaubensrichtungen und Freunde der Gerechtigkeit dazu auf, sich bei ihren Regierungen und Parlamenten für Tibet und das tibetische Volk einzusetzen. Organisieren Sie Kundgebungen und Mahnwachen vor allem in den Hauptstädten und Metropolen der Welt! Bitte fordern Sie von der chinesischen Regierung, internationalen Medien Zugang zu Tibet zu gewähren! Das Time Magazine nennt die tibetischen Selbstverbrennungen eine der in den Medien am wenigsten beachteten Ereignisse 2011. Lassen Sie uns das ändern, indem wir uns an die Medien wenden damit darüber berichtet wird, was in Tibet vor sich geht. Lassen Sie uns jeden 17. Mai zum Tag der Solidarität mit Tibet erklären. An diesem Tag im Jahr 1995 wurde ein sechsjähriger Junge, Gendhun Choeky Nyima, der von Seiner Heiligkeit dem Dalai Lama als 11. Panchen Lama anerkannt wurde, von den chinesischen Behörden in Gewahrsam genommen und seitdem nicht mehr in der Öffentlichkeit gesehen.

Schließlich entbietet die CTA den Menschen und der Regierung Indiens ihren unendlichen Dank für ihre Großzügigkeit, Gastfreundschaft und die Unterstützung der tibetischen Flüchtlinge seit so vielen Jahren. Im Namen aller Tibeter weiten wir unsere tiefe Wertschätzung auch auf all unsere alten und neuen Freunde auf der ganzen Welt aus. Ihre offene und überwältigende Unterstützung wird heute mehr denn je benötigt.

Unseren Brüdern und Schwestern in Tibet rufen wir zu: Wir sind bei euch, auf jedem Schritt des Weges! Die Leitprinzipien der Einheit, Innovation und Selbständigkeit werden uns zu unseren Zielen, nämlich der Rückkehr Seiner Heiligkeit des Dalai Lama nach Tibet und der Wiederherstellung der Freiheit für die Tibeter, führen.

Zu guter Letzt schließen der Kashag und ich uns dem tibetischen Volk an und wünschen Seiner Heiligkeit dem Dalai Lama weiterhin gute Gesundheit. Mögen alle seine Wünsche erfüllt werden.

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 17 November 2012

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay Launches Solidarity with Tibet Campaign

In his March 10, 2012 statement, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay called on all Tibetans and friends to make 2012 a Tibet Lobby Year. This call has been a success as we have seen Tibet resolutions in parliaments and congress in EU, France, Italy and the United States; and supportive statements by parliamentarians in Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, South Africa, the United States and others.

We express deep appreciation to the United Nations and various governments and parliaments for their attention to the deteriorating situation in Tibet, and welcome the recent statements of Ms. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, and Mr. Gary Locke, the U.S. Ambassador to China. We also thank organizations like Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, U.S. Congressional Executive Commission on China, etc. for their reporting on Tibet.

Let us build on the successful lobbying efforts of 2012 by launching a Solidarity with Tibet Campaign in 2013.

Despite our repeated appeals to refrain from drastic actions, the wave of self-immolations continues in Tibet with over 92 Tibetans having set themselves on fire to date – 79 in 2012 including 28 in November alone. The Chinese government has responded with more repressive measures. The Central Tibetan Administration maintains its steadfast efforts to make the current situation in Tibet known to the global community including community/political leaders, opinion makers, friends in the media, and people who believe in justice.

In keeping with this effort, a new video on self-immolation, a microsite, and Facebook page are being launched today to mobilize the international community which must not remain an idle bystander. Governments, international bodies, human rights organizations and individuals can make a difference by intensifying their efforts to raise public awareness about the dire situation in Tibet and urge the Chinese government to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue. The self-immolators have been calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and restoration of freedom for Tibetans.

We appeal to friends and members of the international community to consider taking following actions:

 

Media contacts:

Mr Tashi Phuntsok, Spokesman, DIIR, +91 98165 39103

Mr Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer, +91 98822 32476

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 17 November 2012

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's address to the Special International Tibet Support Group Meeting in Dharamsala

 

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 4 November 2012

European Flame of Truth relay concluded successfully in Geneva

The European leg of the flame of truth torch relay arrived in Geneva on Sunday, 4th November 2012. About 400 Tibetans and Tibet supporters welcomed the torch relay in front of United Nation Office amidst drizzle. The European relay began on 2 September from Barcelona and has travelled 23 countries. Geneva city of Switzerland is the last stop of the Flame of Truth’s Europe relay.

Ven Thubten Wangchen, a Tibetan Parliamentarian from Europe carrying the torch was warmly welcomed by Tibetans and western supporters on his arrival in Place de Nations, Geneva with traditional white scarves.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Lobsang Gangshontsang, the president of the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein while welcoming Venerable Thubten Wangchen and Mr. Javier, assistant from Barcelona, explained the purpose of the flame of truth relay. He said the torch relay aims to urge the United Nations to discuss the issue of Tibet based on the resolutions it has passed in 1959, 1961 and 1965, send an independent international fact-finding delegations to investigate the ongoing crisis in Tibet and to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.

In his address, Ven Thubten Wangchen appealed the United Nation Human Right Council and Human Right Commissioner to take concrete action while welcoming the latter’s recent strong statement on the ongoing human rights violations in Tibet. He added that over 63 Tibetans have burned themselves calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland and freedom in Tibet.

He further said that he received tremendous support for Tibet from members of parliaments, mayors, Tibetans, Tibet supporters and general public during the torch’s journey across 43 major cities in 23 European countries.

Guest speaker Mr. René LONGET, former Onex Mayor and former President of Socialist Party Geneva and representatives of the Tibetan Women’s Association, Tibetan Youth Association in Europe and the Tibetan Swiss Friendship Association, also addressed the rally.

Mr Tenzin Samphel KAYTA, Human Rights and UN staff at Tibet Office, spoke about the recent High Commissioner Ms. Pillay’s press statement.

Earlier on Saturday, 3 November 2012 stopping at Bern City, the capital of Switzerland, Flame of Truth relay was welcomed by Mrs. Franziska Teuscher, Swiss National Councillor of Green Party, Canton Bern, and Wyss Ursula, National Councillor of Socialist People’s Party of Canton Bern. Both addressed the rally.

Tibetan community of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association and Tibet Swiss Friendship Association has jointly organised the reception events of torch relay in Switzerland.

One minute silence was observed to pay respect to the Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the Tibet cause. The European torch relay closed with the prayers of words of truth.

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 2 November 2012

Pillay: China must urgently address deep-rooted frustrations with human rights in Tibetan areas

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday urged Chinese authorities to promptly address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas.

The UN human rights chief said she was disturbed by "continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion," and pointed to "reports of detentions and disappearances, of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and curbs on the cultural rights of Tibetans."

Cases have included a 17-year-old girl who was reportedly severely beaten and sentenced to three years in prison for distributing flyers calling for Tibet’s freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. Others have been sentenced to between four and seven years in prison for writing essays, making films or distributing photos of events in Tibet outside China. Serious concerns have been raised about fair trial standards, and the torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

“I have had several exchanges with the Chinese Government on these issues. But more needs to be done to protect human rights and prevent violations,” Pillay said. “I call on the Government to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression, and to release all individuals detained for merely exercising these universal rights.”

The High Commissioner also appealed to Tibetans to refrain from resorting to extreme forms of protest, such as self-immolation, and urged community and religious leaders to use their influence to help stop this tragic loss of life

“I recognise Tibetans’ intense sense of frustration and despair which has led them to resort to such extreme means,” she said, “but there are other ways to make those feelings clear. The Government also needs to recognise this, and permit Tibetans to express their feelings without fear of retribution.”

The High Commissioner urged the Government, as a confidence-building measure, to allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess the actual conditions on the ground, and to lift restrictions on media access to the region. She noted that there are 12 outstanding requests for official visits to China by UN Special Rapporteurs on various human rights issues, including one by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief. During the Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record before the UN Human Rights Council, the State pledged to step up cooperation with Special Procedures. Pillay called on the Government to facilitate their access.

“Social stability in Tibet will never be achieved through heavy security measures and suppression of human rights,” she said. “Deep underlying issues need to be addressed, and I call on the Government to seriously consider the recommendations made to it by various international human rights bodies, as well as to avail itself of the expert advice being offered by the UN’s independent experts on human rights.”

Among the recommendations made by international human rights bodies to the Government of China on Tibet are the following:

- UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, recommended a suspension of non-voluntary resettlement of nomadic herders, who make up the majority of the Tibetan population, and called for a meaningful consultation. - The UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CERD) recommended to China that any policies or incentives offered that may result in a substantial alteration of the demographic composition of autonomous minority areas be reviewed. CERD also recommended that the State party carefully consider the root causes of the unrest in March 2008, including inter-ethnic violence, and the reasons why the situation escalated. - The UN Committee Against Torture in November 2008 recommended that China conduct a thorough and independent inquiry into events surrounding the protests in March 2008, including the reported excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, notably monks, in Kardze county, Ngaba county, and Lhasa; and into allegations of torture and ill-treatment against those arrested and detained.

“My office also stands ready to assist constructively on these issues in the region and promoting best practices from around the world with regard to protection of minorities,” Pillay added.

ENDS

UN Human Rights, country page – China: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/CNIndex.aspx

For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org).

 


 

Torino (Italy) - 27 October 2012

Stop repression and self-immolation will stop: Sikyong

Today two Tibetans self-immolated in Tibet. It is the 5th incident in less than 7 days. The total number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since February 2009 is now 60.

“Stop the repression and self-immolation would stop,” said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay during his address to the Regional Council of Piemonte, Torino, Italy.

There is no space for protest in Tibet, thus the Tibetans are resorting to self-immolation. In late June, a 17-year-old girl named Jigme Dolma protested in Kardze region of eastern Tibet. The Chinese security forces beat her and two months later, she was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

[ read more ]

 


 

Rome (Italy) - 25 October 2012

Support for Tibet is support for democracy and non-violence

Press Conference at the Italian Parliament- Mattoe Mecacci, MP, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay (C) and Gianni Vernetti MP

On the second day of Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s visit to the Italian capital Rome, he had a breakfast meeting with 11 Italian Parliamentarians from different political parties.

The Tibetan Political leader thanked the Italian Parliamentarians for their continued support for Tibet. He said the 8 February 2012 resolution for Tibet by the Italian Parliament was a testimony of their support for Tibet during the very tragic and difficult period in the Tibetan history.

[ read more ]

 


 

Rome (Italy) - 24 October 2012

Tibetan Political Leader thanks Rome for support for education

“Your support for education of Tibetans will help the future of Tibet and in fulfilling the aspirations of Tibetans in Tibet”, said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at a public talk at the Rome Provincial Government.

The Tibetan Community in Italy, AREF International Onlus and other Tibet related organisations hosted the public talk. The Rome Provincial Government provided financial support for students at the Centre for Teacher Education at Bhuntar, India.

In his address, Dr Sangay said he appreciates the support by the Tibet related organisations in Italy. This support is vital in keeping the issue of Tibet alive. “Your support is deeply appreciated,” he said.

Speaking about the present situation in Tibet, the Tibetan Political leader said that during the last seven days, four Tibetans in Tibet have self-immolated. He reiterated that he urged Tibetans not to take such drastic actions.

The reasons the Tibetans have self-immolated are due to the Chinese government’s systematic repression of Tibetan religion, language and culture, and forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads in Tibet.

On his arrival at the Rome Provincial Government, Mr Nicola Zingaretti (Photo), President of Rome Provincial Government received Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay. During their meeting Mr. Zingaretti, who had met His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also visited Dharamsala, enquired about the present situation in Tibet.

 


 

Prague (Czech Republic) - 20 October 2012

Political leaders must not compromise moral values for business interest

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay (2nd right) with Czech Senator Petr Bratský, the Chairman of Tibet group in the Czech Senate, Senator Jaromír Štětina and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Tseten S Chhoekyapa at the Senate in Prague

Political leaders must not compromise moral values for business reasons, said Mr Martin Bursik, former Czech deputy prime minister. He said that the Czech government must act now and ask China to talk to the Tibetan people based on the Velvet Revolution’s principles.

The former Czech deputy prime minister made the above remarks at Forum2000’s Media and Democracy conference’s Tibet: A Way Forward panel discussion this afternoon in Prague. In March 1988, during his visit to Tibet he witnessed Tibetan demonstration against Chinese rule in Tibet.

[ read more ]

 


 

Prague (Czech Republic) - 20 October 2012

"We take inspiration from Prague Spring and Velvet Revolution" Sikyong Lobsang Sangay

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay speaking at a Public Talk in Prague

“We take inspiration from Prague Spring, Charter 77, Civic Forum and Velvet Revolution,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay at a public talk in Prague yesterday evening.

He said Czech Republic is known as the country that fought against totalitarian and authoritarian regime for moral authority and human rights. The struggle prevailed.

The past 50 years under Communist China’s rule in Tibet has been repressive. However, like the Czech people who remained hopeful and optimistic of their freedom under the Communist rule, we Tibetans are also hopeful and optimistic of our future said the Tibetan political leader.

“In Tibet today, there are more Chinese than Tibetans, more troops than Tibetan monks and more security cameras than Tibetan butter lamps,” he said.

56 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet. We don’t want anyone to die like that he said. We have urged Tibetans not to take such drastic actions. The return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom in Tibet has been their main demands, he said.

The reasons the Tibetans have self-immolated are due to the Chinese government’s systematic repression of Tibetan religion, language and culture, and forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads in Tibet.

“We urge foreign delegations to visit Tibet to see the situation on the ground,” he said. Recently the US Ambassador in Beijing visited Ngaba area in Easter Tibet.

President Vaclve Havel was a great friend of Tibet Dr. Sangay said. And spoke about his gratitude to the Czech Foreign Minister Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg who expessed his concern about the situation in Tibet and the self-immolating taking place in Tibet at the UN Human Rights Council session last March in Geneva.

The Tibetan political leader said that the Middle Way approach policy is seeking genuine autonomy for Tibetans and not seeing separation from China. “We are ready for dialogue with China to resolve the Tibetan issue,” he said.

In his conclusion address, he said the spirit of Tibetans in Tibet is very strong. The exiled Community is in complete solidarity with their fellow Tibetans in Tibet.

In the afternoon, Ven. Thubten Wangchen, the European Tibetan Parliamentarian called on Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay. He briefed the Tibetan political leader the Flame of Truth rallies held in over 25 European cities in 19 countries since 2 September. Ven. Wanghen la is travelling with the Flame of Truth across Europe.

Sikyong Sangay, Chitue Wangchen and Representative Chhoekyapa with the Flame of Truth in Prague

The Flame of Truth arrived in Prague on 19 October and tomorrow travels to Budapest, Hungary. On 4 November, the Flame of Truth Europe rally will conclude in Geneva, Switzerland covering over 23 countries.

The Tibetan political leader arrived in Prague yesterday to take part at the 16th Forum2000 conference – Media and Democracy. He will speak at two panel discussions tomorrow and then leave for London. The former secretary of President Havel Mr. Sasha Neuman and representatives of the small Tibetan community received the Tibetan political leader at the Vaclav Havel International Airport in Prague on 19 October afternoon.

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay addresses members of the Tibetan community, related organisations and public in Prague

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 21 October 2012

CTA appeals for global intervention to end crisis in Tibet as one more Tibetan self-immolates

The Central Tibetan Administration reiterates its deep sadness and serious concern over the grim situation in Tibet with the death of one another Tibetan due to self-immolation yesterday.

Reports coming out of Tibet say Lhamo Kyab, 27, set himself on fire in Bora village in Sangchu County, Kanlho, in north-eastern Tibet, around 2pm (local time) Saturday (20 October). Eyewitnesses said while engulfed in flames, he ran towards Bora monastery, shouting slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Security forces tried to douse the flames, but Kyab succumbed to his burn injuries on the spot.

[ read more ]

 


 

Berlin (Germany) - 29 September 2012

German MPs to raise imprisoned Tibetan girl’s case

from left: Mr Tsewang Norbu, Mr Tseten S. Chhoekyapa, Mrs Sabine Bätzing-Lichtenthäler (MP), Ms Birgitt Bender (MP) and Mr Manuel Sarrazin (MP)

German Parliamentarians pledged to highlight the issue of 17-year-old Jigme Dolma who was sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Chinese authorities for staging a peaceful demonstration in eastern Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Mr Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa this evening briefed the Tibet Discussion Group in the German Parliament about the present situation in Tibet.

[ read more ]

 


 

Zurich (Switzerland) - 24 September 2012

Richard Gere meets local Tibetan leaders in Zurich

Richard Gere met with local Tibetan leaders this morning to discuss the current situation in Tibet during a short visit to Zurich. The Zurich Film Festival honoured Richard Gere yesterday with this year’s Lifetime Achievement honour at a gala screening of “Arbitrage” – his latest film.

He said he was always happy to meet Tibetan friends.

Rikon Monastery’s Abbot Geshe Thupten Legmen, Ms Tenzin Keldan (President of the Tibetan Youth Association), Mrs Pema Lamdark (President of the Tibetan Women’s Association), Ms Kunsang Gangshontsang (Tibetan Community) and Mrs Monlam Maurer-Adotsang (Swiss Tibetan Friendship Assocation) met Richard Gere at his hotel in Zurich this morning. Tibet Bureau, Geneva organized the meeting.

The representatives of the Tibetan community and associations expressed their gratitude to Richard Gere for his long time support for Tibet and informed him of their activities.

Richard Gere said that he was happy to know that the Tibetan community in Switzerland was politically very active. He expressed his deep concern about the present situation in Tibet, especially the self-immolations by 51 Tibetans.

The Swiss media reports highlighted the deep connection between Richard Gere and the Tibetans.

(Report filed by Office of Tibet, Geneva)

 


 

Berne (Switzerland) - 21 September 2012

Swiss Government Expresses Concern Over Situation in Tibet

The Swiss government expressed its concern over the situation in Tibet when members of the Parliamentary Group on Tibet raised during the question hour in the Parliament on 12 September, the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association said.

The members of the Swiss Parliamentary Group on Tibet brought during the question hour the alarming situation in Tibet to the Federal Government’s notice.

MP Martin Naef from the Social-Democratic Party asked if the Swiss Federal Council shares the point of view that the human rights situation in Tibet has deteriorated once again and whether the Federal Council is willing to express its concern over the current human rights situation in Tibet at the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council taking place from September 10 – 28 in Geneva.

[ read more ]

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 18 September 2012

EU tells UN Human Rights Council its concern about the situation in Tibet

Tenzin Samphel Kayta, Human Rights Officer at The Tibet Bureau, Geneva speaking at the UN Human Rights Session, September 2012

The European Union expressed its concern about the situation in Tibet at the UN Human Rights Council 21st session in Geneva. Under General debate, the governments and NGOs discussed human rights situations that requires the Council’s attention.

Cyprus speaking on behalf the EU said “EU remains seriously concerned about ongoing reports of human rights violations in China, particularly with regard to freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief, and the situation of minorities, including in Tibet and Xinjiang. The EU continues to discuss these concerns with the Chinese leadership at multiple levels and through various channels.”

Czech Republic expressed its “deep concern about the deteriorating of situation in Tibetan-inhabited areas where increasing restrictions on religious freedom have led to a series of self-immolation cases. A number of Tibetan intellectuals & cultural figures have been recently imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression, such as Mr. Yonten Gyatso reportedly sentenced over sending information to the Human Rights Council.”

Swedish diplomat “called on China to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to minorities including in Tibet and Xinjiang are fully respected.”

USA ambassador said that “China silences dissent through arrests, convictions, forced disappearances, and extralegal detentions; has tightened controls on the Internet; persecutes human rights lawyers; intimidates activists’ families; impedes civil society; harasses journalists; and limits religious freedom. Government policies undermine the linguistic, religious, cultural, and livelihood traditions of its minorities.”

Switzerland expressed regret over continual tensions in areas of national minorities. The Swiss called upon China to ensure that fundamental rights are respected in implementation of this new law on criminal procedure.

German delegate supported the EU statement and expressed its concerns on ongoing reports of human rights violations in China.”

Speaking on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples during the debate, Mr. Tenzin Samphel KAYTA expressed grave concerned at the deplorable human rights situation in China particularly in Tibetan populated regions and Xinjiang.

He said that it is heartbreaking and alarming to witness increasing number of Tibetan self-immolations in China. So far 51 Tibetans had self-immolated since February 2009 protesting against injustices and to draw international attention to their tragic plight. They have called for “freedom in Tibet” and “return of their spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.

41 self-immolators have died from their injuries and 5 of them were either shot at or beaten by the Chinese security forces. 38 self-immolations happened in the last eight months alone. The Chinese officials’ response toward Tibetan protestors has been repressive and brutal.

He said “the Chinese officials have been targeting Tibetan monasteries. In August five young monks were detained during night raids at Gyalrong Tsodun Monastery in Barkham (Chinese: Ma’erkang) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province and whereabouts remain unknown.

He further said nearly 64 known cases of Tibetan intellectuals - writers, artists, bloggers, human rights defenders, environmentalist who were arrested; detained; sentenced; released for feared of custodial death due to torture; teachers fired from job and demoted for expressing their views through songs and write up relating to the China’s policies on education, protests, promotion and protection of Tibetan culture, language and religion.

He drew the Council’s attention on the recent 3 years court sentence handed down to a teenage Tibetan girl Jigme Dolma by the Kardze Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province for her protest.

He said China must uphold its international obligation by protecting human rights of all citizens including Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongolians of their religious freedom or belief, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, right to enjoy their own culture and use of their own language.

Mr. Kayta urged China to fully cooperate with UN mechanisms and schedule an early date of visit by the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom or Belief as invited by China in 2004.

Two written statements on Tibetan children's right to education and denial of freedom of opinion, expression and information were submitted by two NGOs to this Council.

The current HRC session ends on 28 September. The next session will be convened in between February & March 2013.

 

  Written statement* submitted by the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (MRAP), a non-governmental organization on the roster

  Written statement* submitted by the Society for Threatened Peoples, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

 

Click below to watch governments’ statement:

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 2 September 2012

Statement of the Kashag on the Fifty-Second Anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day

On the 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day, I would like to pay the Kashag’s and my personal obeisance to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and extend heartfelt greetings to fellow Tibetans in Tibet and in exile.

Today is a proud day for all Tibetans. It is the day when Tibetan exiles have fully realized His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s cherished wish to transform the Tibetan polity into a vibrant democracy. Since the age of 16, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has taken steps to introduce and consolidate Tibetan democracy. This precious gift of democracy will be treasured by all Tibetans in the same way we have treasured and embraced Buddhism for over 1300 years. As Buddhism offers liberation from suffering, democracy will provide the Tibetan people the means to attain freedom from injustice.

[ read more ]

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 30 August 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Tragic Self-Immolations in Tibet

The Central Tibetan Administration is gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in Tibet. Despite repeated appeals by the Central Tibetan Administration to refrain from drastic actions, over 51 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire in protest against the Chinese government’s repressive policies.

Since March 2009, over 51 Tibetans between age of 16 – 64, comprising of monks, nuns, student, nomads, farmers, have now set themselves on fire asking for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.

The whole of Tibet is effectively under undeclared martial law, and remains closed to foreign tourists and journalists. Such brutal response from the Chinese government has pushed an increasing number of Tibetans to continue taking drastic steps. The responsibility for the tragic self-immolations in Tibet lies entirely with the Chinese government, so does the solution.

The international community, including governments and parliaments of countries such as Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Africa, and the US, have expressed serious concern over the critical situation in Tibet. Resolutions have been passed and statements issued urging the Chinese authorities to take proactive steps to ease security clampdown in Tibet, address the underlying grievances of Tibetans through dialogue, and cease promoting policies that threaten the Tibetan language, culture, religion, heritage and environment. The Central Tibetan Administration urges the Chinese government to heed the urgent appeal of the international community.

The Chinese people, who have the right to know the real situation in Tibet, include individuals who have expressed their concern over the grim situation in Tibet. This included renowned Beijing-based artist, Ai Weiwei, who recently expressed his personal embarrassment at how the Chinese government is dealing the tragic self-immolations of Tibetans in Tibet.

We appeal to individual governments to use their good offices to engage the Chinese government to end the crisis in Tibet at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting in September, to allow fact-finding delegation and international media to visit Tibet, and to pursue substantive dialogue with the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the issue of Tibet.

Media contacts:

Mr Tashi, Secretary for Information +91 9816843798

Mr Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer +91 98822 32476

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 14 August 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Chinese police beat 1 Tibetan to death after 2 burn themselves in Ngaba

Fresh reports coming out of Tibet say a Tibetan man was beaten to death by the police after two more Tibetans self-immolated in Ngaba in north-eastern Tibet yesterday. A large number of Tibetans were also severely injured in the police beating.

The Central Tibetan Administration has strongly condemned the use of force by the Chinese authorities in dealing with the peaceful Tibetan protestors and urge them to exercise utmost restraint.

Lungtok, 20, a monk of Kirti monastery, and Tashi, 21, a former monk of Kirti monastery, shouted slogans while walking on the main street in Ngaba with their bodies engulfed in flame. They were forcibly taken away by the police, but local people fear they might not survive due to severe burning.

Immediately after the incident, a large number of police were deployed at the site after local Tibetans raised slogans in protest. The police beat the Tibetans with spiked batons, leaving one Tibetan dead with his entire head covered with blood, and many severely injured.

Additional contingent of armed police have been deployed throughout the Ngaba region.

A latest report says one the self-immolators, Lungtok, has died in Barkham.

With the latest two self-immolations, 49 Tibetans have so far set themselves on fire demanding His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and crying for freedom for Tibetans.

Media contacts:

Mr Tashi, Secretary for Information +91 9816843798

Mr Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer +91 98822 32476

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 3 August 2012

 

༄༅། ཕྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༡༢ ཟླ་ ༨ ཚེས་ ༣ ཉིན་སྤེལ་བའི་སུད་སི་དོན་ཁང་གི་གསར་འགོད་གསལ་བསྒྲགས།

རྒྱ་གཞུང་ནས་བོད་རིགས་ཤེས་ལྡན་རྣམས་ལ་དམིགས་བསལ་དམ་དྲག།

[ དེ་ལས་མང་བ། ]

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 3 August 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Tibetan intellectuals especially targeted by Chinese authorities

At least 24 Tibetans intellectuals - monks, men and women have been given sentences ranging from few months to life imprisonment for excising their freedom of expression. The Chinese authorities especially targeted Tibetan writers, bloggers, singers, teachers, documentary makers and environmentalist under a crackdown policy since 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

64 Tibetan intellectuals’ details were today submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to Freedom of opinion and Expression for their urgent intervention.

These new generation of young Tibetans born and educated under Chinese Communist rule have edited banned magazines and are tech-savvy bloggers imprisoned for gathering, expressing and sharing information about conditions in Tibet especially after the March 2008 demonstrations across Tibet.

Their writing challenged the official account of the events of 2008 and situation in Tibet in general. The crackdown on Tibetan artists and intellectuals are the harshest since the Cultural Revolution. Strict restrictions have been placed on photocopying and printing documents. A public health worker, 41-year-old Wangdu was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2008 for sending e-mail to the outside world. He worked on an HIV/AIDS prevention project for the Australian Burnet medical research institute in Lhasa.

81-years-old Paljor Norbu, a Tibetan traditional printer master was arrested on 31 October 2008 and sentenced in a secret trial to seven years in prison. His family ran printing business for generations publishing Buddhist texts for monasteries in the Barkhor area in Lhasa. 12 intellectuals were released on fear of custodial death after excessive torture during detention by the Chinese authorities. Due to the severity of the torture some have become physically and mentally dependent on their family members.

The whereabouts of about 37 intellectuals are unknown. There are great concerns for their health. Family members have been intimidated and denied visits to prisons. Four school teachers were expelled and one demoted. A writer and comedian were escaped into exile. On 12 June, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, in her address to the European Parliament on the situation in Tibet said, “Over the last three years, an increasing number of Tibetan intellectuals and cultural figures have faced criminal charges or been imprisoned. The EU is worried by restrictions on expressions of Tibetan identity and freedom of expression in Tibet.”

She said that EU was concerned by the deterioration of the situation in Tibet, as illustrated by the wave of self-immolations and by clashes between the police and the local population since the beginning of the year.

Date: Geneva, 3 August 2012

  Cases of Tibetan Intellectuals since March 2008 (2 August 2012)

 


 

Hamburg (Germany) - 11 July 2012

Kalon Pema Chhinjor calls on the youth to be responsible Tibetan ambassadors

Kalon Pema Chhinjor called on the youth to be responsible Tibetan ambassadors in his addresses to the Tibetans in Austria and Germany. He urged all Tibetans to join local Tibetan communities and be active responsible members of their communities.

He said though we are homeless and scattered, but our strength is that we are united. “Don’t forget your roots,” he said. “You cannot forget that you are a Tibetan.”

He visited Vienna, the capital of Austria on 10 July and addressed the Tibetan community members in Hamburg, Germany today.

[ read more ]

 


 

Zurich (Switzerland) - 7 July 2012

Over 2,500 Tibetans took part in the 2nd day His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday celebration in Switzerland

Over 2,500 Tibetans in Switzerland and Liechtenstein took part in the 2nd day celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 77th Birthday in Bülach, Switzerland.

Kalon Pema Chhinjor of Department of Religion and Culture of Central Tibetan Administration who had especially come to Switzerland to take part in the celebration was the chief guest.

The 2nd day’s birthday celebration started at 10am with the Trunkar Football tournament in Bülach. The Tibetan Youth Association in Europe organised the tournament. 32 teams from six European countries took part. The cup was won by PC Potala.

Kalon Pema Chhinjor addressed the 32 teams. He thanked the organisers of the football tournament and expressed his happiness to see such a large participation of young Tibetans from 6 countries. He called on the youth to be good and responsible Tibetans, and enjoy the tournament in the spirit of sportsmanship.

The afternoon birthday celebration organised by the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein started with the welcoming of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s portrait into the celebration hall. Followed by prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long life and singing of the Tibetan national. Auspicious traditional ceremonial dance Tashi Schölpa and Gyashey were performed. The hall was completely filled. Hundreds of people who were outside the hall improvised picnic for themselves in the lawn of the celebration hall.

Kalon Pema Chhinjor in his address said that the main aim of his visit was to take part in the celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday. Similarly, other Kalons were travelling to other others of the world where large numbers of Tibetans live.

He said during the first 10 months of the present Kashag, it had achieved various supports for Tibet. Three resolutions in support of Tibet from US Congress, Japanese and European Parliaments were passed. The finalisation of 1,000 Tibetans immigration to Canada from India, World Parliamentary Convention for Tibet in Ottawa and support shown during Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s various foreign tours.

Kalon Pema Chhinjor emphasised three points in his address

1) To being a responsible Tibetan

2) Gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to fulfil his wishes and advice

3) The Central Tibetan Administration is for the Tibetan people and elected by the Tibetan people. It is not for one individual but for the benefit of the six million Tibetans

He said that the election of a young Kalon Tripa by the Tibetan people showed the Chinese government that the Tibetan struggle will continue with each new generation.

Kalon spoke about the present situation in Tibet. He said we must take pride and encouragement that the spirit of Tibet especially amongst younger generation in Tibet was very strong.

President of the Tibetan Community Mr. Lobsang Gangshontsang, Rikon Tibetan Monastery Abbot Geshe Thupten Legmen, Chithu Thupten Wangchen, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Mr. Tseten S Chhoekyapa, Swiss Parliamentarian Mr. Balthasar Glattli and Mr. Mario Fehr, member of the Swiss Regional Government also addressed the celebration.

Various sections of the Tibetan community and associations, especially the younger generation performed traditional Tibetan dances. The children from the Tibetan language school sang a group song on Unity. The celebration ended with Gorsche dance.

 


 

Zurich (Switzerland) - 6 July 2012

Kalon Pema Chhinjor joins His Holiness’ birthday celebration in Switzerland

Kalon Pema Chhinjor of the Department of Religion and Culture yesterday extended Kashag’s greetings to the Tibetan community members gathered at Rikon Tibetan Monastery in Switzerland to pray and celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday.

He expressed his happiness and pride to see the active preservation of the Tibetan culture in Switzerland. The Swiss Government gave refuge to 1,000 Tibetans in the early 1960s. He said at the early state of the re-settlement, there was great concern that the Tibetans in Switzerland would lose their culture.

[ read more ]

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 6 July 2012

The Statement of the Kashag on the 77th Birthday Celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On this special and joyous occasion of the seventy-seventh birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet and the Central Tibetan Administration, I offer His Holiness our deepest reverence, prayers, and warmest wishes.

Today is the most auspicious day not only for the people of the Land of Snow but also for the entire world. Though Tibetans are confronted with an unparalleled tragedy in our history, we have still been able to establish and sustain a successful and an exemplary refugee community under the visionary leadership of His Holiness. Tibetans should cherish the principles of non-violence and democracy and many other vast contributions that His Holiness has made including bringing about a more peaceful world.

His Holiness was recognized at a most difficult period of Tibetan history. He was compelled to take over the spiritual and temporal powers at the tender age of sixteen. Similarly, at the age of twenty-four he had to leave his country and go into exile. In exile he was able to implement many of his long-held visions for democratization of Tibet. Major reforms included: the establishment of the Commission of the Tibetan People's Deputies in 1960; the promulgation of the Draft Constitution for a Future Tibet in 1963; adoption of the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile in 1991; the holding of the first direct election for Kalon Tripa in 2001; and finally in 2011 handing over of all political authority to the directly elected leadership. At that time His Holiness felt that it was an opportune moment for transferring political authority as Tibetans had reached greater maturity in democratic ideals and commitment to their practice. Undaunted by numerous challenges, sixty years of His Holiness’ leadership has made the people of Tibet capable of standing on our own feet.

While deciding to hand over political authority to the directly-elected Tibetan leadership His Holiness stated: “although you have not welcomed my decision, let me reassure you that as long as Tibetan people retain their faith in me, I will continue to uphold my responsibilities. I believe that eventually Tibetan people will come to appreciate my decision.” It should be noted that His Holiness took this decision at a time when so many authoritarian rulers around the world still brutally clung to power. The world hails this wise and far-sighted action towards a secular democracy.

Despite the anxieties of Tibetans in and outside Tibet over the last year, the devolution of political authority has ensured a smooth transition without major mishap due to the support and unity of Tibetans. The Kashag would like to appeal to all Tibetans to continue to remain united and extend their support to make this transition a success.

Today there is worldwide acknowledgement of the untiring contributions made by His Holiness as an advocate of non-violence, compassion, secular ethics, religious harmony and Tibetan freedom. His contributions have been marked by the highest honors including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Most recently, His Holiness was awarded the prestigious 2012 Templeton Prize which recognized his "engagement with science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions” and for focusing “on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism." Moreover, it is well known that despite the obstacles and pressures from the People’s Republic of China the number of world leaders meeting with His Holiness is growing. It is also well known that his teachings are attracting an ever-growing global audience. Perhaps less known is that this audience includes thousands of Chinese from the Mainland including many members of China’s more than 200 million Buddhists. Consequently, through their spiritual practice more Chinese are now learning about Tibet and its culture.

His Holiness has always stated that the final word on Tibet would be that of the Tibetans in Tibet. Despite forcible occupation by China for over fifty years, the Tibetan spirit and desire for freedom remains indomitable. Even the darkest period of the Cultural Revolution failed to crush the identity of the Tibetans. In the 1980’s numerous protests took place against China's oppressive rule in Tibet. The landmark peaceful protests in 2008 were even larger in number and extended across the entire Tibetan plateau. The spate of self-immolations in Tibet since 2009 has clearly shown Tibetan aspirations for freedom and dignity remains strong.

Furthermore, the unshakeable Tibetan spirit and solidarity that now prevail across the three provinces are unprecedented in Tibet's history. The increasing number of people worldwide sympathetic to and interested in the Tibetan cause, culture and religion is a matter of pride. This has been possible solely because of His Holiness's leadership. For these vast contributions and achievement, and much more, we remain eternally grateful to His Holiness. The Great Fifth Dalai Lama helped strengthen Tibet by unifying the nation and creating greater consciousness of the Tibetan spirit and identity.

The Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama put Tibet on the world map by establishing relations with other countries and increasing its global status. Like his two great predecessors, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has contributed to strengthening internal unity of the Tibetans and the external profile of the Tibetan cause, and therefore will be recognized as amongst the great Dalai Lamas of Tibet.

At this delicate time external forces are trying to make every effort to undermine the legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by creating disunity amongst Tibetans and disrupting the path towards secular democracy. For instance, the Chinese government is manipulating and financing different groups including the Shugden followers, and their actions have harmed the Tibetan cause. Tibetans should not fall prey to their manipulations and harmful intents. They should remain vigilant.

On August 8 this year, which coincides with Lhakar (Wednesday), Kalon Tripa will complete a year in office. To mark the day and more importantly to show our support, the Kashag calls on all Tibetans and friends to observe the day by organizing a global solidarity vigil. This international vigil will remember those Tibetans who have given up their lives for Tibet and show solidarity with every Tibetan in Tibet who continues to suffer oppression under Chinese rule.

This vigil will be followed by another key event, which is a four-day Special General Meeting to be held from September 25 to 28 in Dharamsala. The meeting will discuss and deliberate the ongoing crisis in Tibet and formulate appropriate action plans. A long-life offering will be also presented to His Holiness on behalf of the Tibetan people and administration during the meeting.

The Tibetan leadership remains firmly committed to non-violence and the Middle-Way Approach. We believe that the only way to resolve the issue of Tibet is through dialogue, and we remain prepared to engage in meaningful dialogue anywhere and at anytime. We strongly urge Beijing to accept the Middle-Way Approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China and within the framework of the Chinese constitution. The Tibetan leadership considers substance to be primary and process as secondary, and is ready to announce the special envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to continue the dialogue process.

On this occasion, we would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the government of India and her people, and, in particular the state of Himachal Pradesh, for their generous hospitality and support for more than fifty years. We also thank all those who support the Tibetan people.

Finally, like the Great Fifth who reunified Tibet and the Great 13th who was able to return to Tibet from India, we pledge to strive to facilitate the return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to the Potala Palace, which is the wish of all Tibetans and the universal cry of all those who have self-immolated. With fervent prayers for His Holiness’ long life and may all his wishes be fulfilled. May the truth prevail in Tibet.

N.B. This is a rough translation of the original in Tibetan

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 3 July 2012

Intervention on Tibet at the UNHRC

Today the UN Human Rights Council discussed racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, the concerned Special Rapporteur presented his annual report.

Mr. Tenzin Kayta briefed Mr. Mutuma Ruteere separately on the current human rights situation in Tibet with particular reference to discriminations faced by Tibetans under Chinese in Tibet in respect to culture, social, religion and language.

During the interactive dialogue and general debate on the above issues, Mr. Kayta speaking on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples and Mouvement contre le racism et pour l¹amitié entre les peoples made a joint statement.

[ read more ]

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 29 June 2012

EU and seven Governments expressed concern about Human Rights in Tibet at UN Meeting

Tenzin Samphel KAYTA, Human Rights Officer of the Tibet Bureau, Geneva speaking at the UN Human Rights Council 2012

EU and seven countries – United States of America, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Belgium spoke about China’s abuses of human rights in particular Tibet at UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva yesterday.

Danish delegate on behalf of the European Union said, “Regarding the rights of persons belonging to minorities, the EU is alarmed by the deterioration of the situation in Tibet and Tibetan-populated areas, especially in the Sichuan Province. The EU is gravely concerned by the news of mass arrests and detentions, following more self-immolations in Lhasa and elsewhere, as well as reports that Tibetan Autonomous Region has been closed to foreigners. The EU calls upon the Chinese authorities to ensure that the human rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, notably Tibet and Xinjiang are fully respected, including their right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief, as well as their right to enjoy their own culture and use of their own language.”

[ read more ]

 


 

Milan (Italy) - 28 June 2012

Avalokiteshvara Empowerment & Ethics for a Whole World

More photos of Milan - Day 3

His Holiness left his hotel early to have time to undertake the preparatory rituals for the Avalokiteshvara empowerment he was giving this morning. By the time he was ready most people had taken their seats in the stadium that was filled to its 10,000 capacity.

His Holiness began by explaining that there are four classes of Buddhist tantra and that this empowerment of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, belongs to the class of Action Tantra. All four classes of tantra involve visualising yourself as a deity and the recitation of mantra and so forth. This is a specific method that combines the practices of calm abiding and special insight. Tantrayana is sometimes referred to as Secret Mantra. It is secret because it is fit for those who have developed the awakening mind of bodhichitta, while mantra literally means mind protector. We all have the potential to attain Buddhahood and visualising ourselves as deities, our speech as mantra and our minds as Dharmakaya is a way of fulfilling it. In this practice we are trying to transform our ordinary experience into a transcendental experience.

His Holiness remarked that he received this empowerment from Tadrag Rinpoche and his Senior Tutor Ling Rinpoche and that last night he dreamt of Ling Rinpoche.

During the course of the empowerment he gave the lay persons upasaka vows, as well the ceremonies for generating the aspiring and engaging awakening minds of bodhichitta. In addition, he took care to explain how values and practices found in Buddhism are also to be found in other religious traditions. An Italian Imam, and several Catholic monks and nuns had come to attend the empowerment and he suggested ways in which what he was teaching could be relevant within the context of a different faith. At the end he advised,

The empowerment is complete, now, if possible serve others and if you find you cant do that, at least refrain from harming them. Follow your teacher, whoever you consider him to be; the teaching is concerned with being of benefit to others.

Following lunch, His Holiness gave another television interview. Asked to comment about the series of self-immolations that have lately taken place in Tibet, he said that due to the politically sensitive nature of the issue he prefers to keep silent.

However, these sad events are evidently not taking place because the concerned individuals have family problems. The Chinese authorities must investigate what the cause is, whats wrong to provoke such desperate acts. After former premier Hu Yaobang, who was a good Communist, visited Lhasa in 1980 he publicly apologised for what had happened in Tibet and promised to reduce the Han population. As Deng Xiaoping recommended, the Chinese authorities should seek truth from facts.

When Hu Jintao became President and made known his aim to ensure harmony in society, I supported it. But the right method for achieving that is to create trust, whereas they think they can achieve it through force, which is illogical. The use of force contradicts any efforts to create trust. The Tibetan spirit will never be cowed down by the use of force. It is rooted in Buddhism, a tradition that is more than 2500 years old, whose image in the world is on the rise. Communism, on the other hand is barely 200 years old and its image is on the wane, while totalitarianism is completely out of date.

Regarding the crisis in Europe, His Holiness said that he has always admired the idea of the EU and the Euro and that he suspects the present problems are a temporary setback, not the end of either of them, although the lifestyles to which people have become accustomed may have to change.

Meeting a gathering of Mongolians and Tibetans resident in Europe he extolled the value of the Tibetan Buddhist culture both peoples share and encouraged them to continue their efforts to preserve it. Addressing the Tibetans in particular he explained how recent changes in his own political status and that of the institution of Dalai Lamas are not because he is downhearted, but for the good of the Tibetan people among whom he has wished to see democracy flourish since he was young.

At the beginning of the afternoons public talk speeches were made in His Holinesss honour by the Mayor of Assago, the Municipality in which the teachings were taking place, and the President of the Province of Milan, at the conclusion of which he was presented with the key of Assago. He responded,

Dear brothers and sisters, I am extremely happy to meet you and to have this opportunity to share some of my experiences and thoughts - and through your questions I hope to learn some of your concerns. Of course, to begin with Id like to express my thanks to the organizers here for making such good arrangements. Id also like to thank the Mayor of Assago for the certificate and key presented to me, which I appreciate as being in recognition of what I am trying to do.

If we remember that at a fundamental level we are the same, that we all have a right to a happy life, we can understand that there is no difference between us. In this twenty-first century, when we live in such a globalized and interdependent world, our old notions of them and us are no longer relevant. We need instead to think of a great us. The Hawaiians have a marvellous saying Your blood is my blood, your bone is my bone meaning that your pain in my pain and your joy is my joy. What this means is that if we must be selfish, its much better to be wisely selfish rather than foolishly selfish. In order to derive the maximum benefit the wise thing is take care of others.

His Holiness repeatedly speaks of his vision for this twenty-first century to be a century of dialogue and today he looked forward to a time when children are so imbued with the idea that problems should be solved that way that they will gently chide their quarrelling parents to sit down and talk it through. Making dialogue the solution depends on having genuine respect for others rights, their happiness and their prosperity, after all, he says, we have to live side by side on this planet with our fellow human beings. His conclusion was,

Whatever you do, take a realistic view and think of the long term interests of humanity. Thank you.

Before His Holiness left, the organizers of events in Milan made a financial report in the interests of transparency. They announced that of the 10,000 seats available, 1000 had been made available free of charge to monks and nuns and to the needy. Income from ticket sales and donations amounted to 628,000 while expenses for the rental of the venue and facilities cost 465,000, leaving a balance of 163,000. This will be divided as follows, 40% to be given to the Dalai Lama Trust, 30% to be given to Ghe Phel Ling to support future teaching programmes, and 30% to be given to two other Ghe Phel Ling charitable projects: one supporting young Tibetans studies in India and another dedicated to rehabilitation of prisoners in Milan.

Tonight, His Holiness will board a flight back to India

More photos of Milan - Day 3

 


 

Milan (Italy) - 27 June 2012

Teachings in Milan

More photos of Milan - Day 2

Here in Milan, the commercial and fashion capital of Italy, His Holiness today gave an explanation of Je Tsongkhapas small text, Three Principal Aspects of the Path with its succinct summation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment.

Before leaving for the teaching venue he gave a brief interview to Italian broadcaster TG1. Asked how the international community can help Tibet in the current circumstances, His Holiness drew attention to the number of Chinese intellectuals and retired officials who have expressed concern and are critical of Chinese policy in Tibet. Internationally there is interest in Tibets ecology and the damage that is being done, concern about the survival of Tibets culture of peace and compassion and growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism as one of the most complete presentations of the Buddhas teachings. At a government level there is a need to consider economic relations with China, but just as Chinese people are showing concern about Tibet, international support is very helpful.

To a question about what the world needs, His Holiness responded,

We need to pay greater attention to inner values. Of course we need material development, but we need to understand that by itself it doesnt bring peace of mind. This can only be developed within the mind.

In keeping with his efforts to promote inter-religious harmony, on his way to the Mediolanum Forum, His Holiness made a short pilgrimage to the Milan Cathedral where he was welcomed by Monsignor Luigi Manganini and Monsignor Giordano Ronchi. He paid his respects and spent a moment in silent prayer.

As His Holiness appeared on the stage at the Mediolanum Forum a cheer went up from the 8000 people waiting to hear him. He responded,

I am very happy to be here with you. As I always say, as human beings we are all the same. We have this marvellous intelligence, which sometimes creates problems for us, but when influenced by warm-heartedness can be very constructive. In this context we need to appreciate the value of having moral principles. We all have the potential for good and bad, but from birth are equipped to develop a warm heart by the affection we receive from our mothers.

After inviting monks belonging to the Pali tradition to recite the Mangala Sutra His Holiness said he was going to talk about Buddhism and that what differentiates Buddhism from other spiritual traditions is its unique view of selflessness; the notion that a self exists but only as a designation. Our misconception of self is a significant part of our ignorance and we cant overcome it immediately. We need to apply a gradual process of cultivating wisdom. Even then a mere intellectual understanding of emptiness is insufficient, we need to apply our minds single-pointedly in combination with special insight meditation. After lunch His Holiness attended a meeting with the Press at which he said how happy he is to interact with them. Recognising the important role of the media, he told them he wanted to inform them about his two prime commitments: to spread awareness of the sources of genuine human happiness and the promotion of inter-religious harmony and understanding. He said that regardless of whether we are religious believers or non-believers we all have the same potential for good or bad which a greater awareness of inner values and secular ethics can temper. Wherever he goes he tries to generate awareness of this and he feels the media have a responsibility in this regard too. He also reiterated his sense that the media should have a long nose to sniff out whats going on and to report what they discover to the public.

Back in the teaching hall, he turned to the short text by Je Tsongkhapa a great scholar and adept who wrote it as a letter in response to a request for spiritual guidance from one of his close disciples Ngawang Drakpa from Gyalrong. The text belongs to the Stages of the Path tradition that lays out the stages of Buddhist path to enlightenment. The three principal aspects that it deals with are the determination to be free, the altruistic awakening mind and the wisdom that realizes emptiness of intrinsic existence. This last point has to do with the Buddhist contention that things do not exist independently and of their own accord, but due to other factors. Combining a sense of altruism with this understanding can have the effect of loosening the hold of our apparently natural tendency towards self-centredness.

The text ends with the exhortation, depending on solitude, generate the power of joyous effort and quickly accomplish the final goal, my son. His Holiness explained,

When you have the opportunity, for example, early in the morning when the mind is clear, think about what you have heard and read here. Think about the difference between appearance and reality. My own experience is that when I wake at about 3.30 in the morning, I remember the Buddha and think about his teachings on altruism and emptiness. Then I dedicate the actions of my body, speech and mind to accomplishing the welfare of others - Christians and Muslims can apply the same procedure to their own faith. This contributes to my sense of inner peace.

Tomorrow, early in the morning His Holiness will bestow an Avalokiteshvara empowerment; in the afternoon he will give a public talk on Ethics for a Whole World. In the evening he will embark on his journey back to India.

More photos of Milan - Day 2

 


 

Milan (Italy) - 26 June 2012

From Matera to Milan

More photos of Milan - Day 1

Betty Williams, with her sister, daughter and grand-daughter, were ready to bid His Holiness farewell as he made an early departure from Matera this morning. Leaving behind the hot, dry land of the south, with its acres of olive and citrus trees, and heading for the greener, but also more industrialized north of Italy he flew to Milan. On arrival he drove directly to City Hall for a meeting with the Mayor of Milan Giuliani Pisapia, followed by an opportunity to address members of the City Council in the Council Chamber. He acknowledged those who spoke before him and greeted the Council:

Respected Mayor and President of the Council, brothers and sisters - I prefer brothers and sisters because while official ranks and titles only last a few years we remain brothers and sisters from birth until death. Thank you for the kind words with which youve welcomed me here.

Ive heard that people who are experiencing problems, particularly economic problems, are very gloomy about the future. I think thats a wrong approach. I believe that many of the changes that took place in the twentieth century give us grounds for hope.

He clarified that we are all fundamentally the same. Mentally, emotionally and physically we are the same. He went on to say,

I am nothing special, just a human being like you, with the same potential to be good or bad. However, when anger develops I use my intelligence to disarm it. If I let it grow, it solves nothing, but spoils my physical and mental well-being. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of particular emotions and applying our intelligence, we can transform our minds. Spreading awareness that the source of real happiness lies within ourselves is my lifes first commitment. My second commitment is to foster understanding and respect among our various religious traditions.

From the City Council His Holiness went to visit Ghe Pel Ling, the Tibetan Buddhist Centre led by Thamthog Rinpoche, who also serves as Abbot of Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala. Informed that members of the Centre have been studying philosophical tenets, His Holiness voiced his approval and commended the Indian tradition of studying not only the system of tenets to which you belong, but also those of other traditions. He said that whether you are studying tenets or the instructions of mind training, they both deal with the mind. Indeed the point is to transform the mind and it is helpful to remember that what is transformed is the mind, what executes the transformation is the mind and where the transformation takes place is the mind. He concluded,

While thats true, now its time for lunch!

In the afternoon, His Holiness drove to the Dal Verme Theatre, a facility made available by the municipality, to address about 1500 university students. After making the point that as human beings we are all mentally, emotionally and physically the same, and that we all want to live a happy life free from problems, His Holiness said,

However, in my own experience the happiest period of my own life was when I was a teenager primarily concerned with playing. Then at 16 I lost my freedom and at 24 I lost my country. When I was born in 1935, the Sino-Japanese war had begun, followed by the Second World War, the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and so on. For most of my life, Ive witnessed war and violence taking place somewhere on this planet. However, looked at as a whole, I believe a positive change took place in the twentieth century. At the time of the First World War, people thought the only way to solve problems was through the use of force and men had no hesitation in joining up to fight for their country. By the end of the century though, people had become thoroughly fed up with violence and there were strong movements for peace. Throughout Europe, people who had previously considered each other as historical enemies, now view each other simply as neighbours.

Likewise, towards the end of the twentieth century, many scientists began to appreciate the importance of the mind. They began to recognise the role the mind has in our physical and mental well-being. Although our modern world has tended to look to materialist goals for satisfaction, there is a growing appreciation of the need to pay greater attention to our inner values, within the context of secular ethics. His Holiness appealed to those who are young today, those who genuinely belong to the twenty-first century, and who will shape its development, to engage in making it a century of peace. He said this will require cultivating a much greater concern for others welfare, while acknowledging the oneness of humanity, cultivating respect for others rights, while approaching problems and conflicts of interest in the spirit of dialogue.

It will be you, members of our present younger generation who will see this new world, those of us who are older now will not live to see it, but as I jokingly say, wherever we are then, whether in heaven or hell, well be keeping an eye on how you get on!

While answering questions from the students in the audience His Holiness warned that young people often have a well-developed sense of good human qualities, but as they grow up these qualities become dulled and diminished as they develop greed, suspicion and distrust of others in the rough and tumble of adult life. We have to change this by nurturing and strengthening our natural good qualities from an early age. He also warned against thinking that individuals cannot make a difference, citing the example of Gandhis launching his non-violent struggle for freedom in India. He began by himself and gradually attracted followers, who grew into a mass movement that changed the character of the twentieth century.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will remain in Milan where he will be giving an explanation of Je Tsongkhapas Three Principal Aspects of the Path.

More photos of Milan - Day 1

 


 

Matera (Italy) - 25 June 2012

Compassion in Action in Southern Italy

More photos of Matera

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in Matera at the invitation of his friend and fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Betty Williams, to support her work here to create a City of Peace, a place where refugees from war, hunger or social, economic, or political upheaval can be rehabilitated. Today, she escorted His Holiness to two of the sites where the work is going on. At the first, new buildings are under way and His Holiness said prayers for the success of the project. From there they drove to the Baronale Palace, Scanzano Jonico where they were welcomed by the Mayor and the President of the Region and took their seats on a stage overlooking the town square under the burning sun.

In her speech, Betty Williams looked forward to the day when people understand that non-violence is a weapon of the strong. She expressed her appreciation of Aung San Suu Kyis saying that war can be unlearned. She said it is time to listen to what children tell us and learn from them.

They were joined on the platform by an old friend of His Holinesss, Marco Pannella the historic leader of the Italian Radical Party.

His Holiness began his address with his customary greeting,

Brothers and sisters, we are all the same, none of us wants problems, we all want to live a peaceful life. And although that is what we want, we human beings tend to create a lot of problems for ourselves. Then, when we encounter those problems, anger develops and overwhelms our mind, which leads to violence. A good way to counter this and to work for a more peaceful world is to develop concern for others. If we do that, our anger, jealousy and other destructive emotions will naturally weaken and diminish.

Like anyone else, I too have the potential for violence; I too have anger in me. However, I try to recall that anger is a destructive emotion. I remind myself that scientists now say that anger is bad for our health; it eats into our immune system. So, anger destroys our peace of mind and our physical health. We shouldnt welcome it or think of it as natural or as a friend

He explained that we need to understand how destructive emotions affect us and constructive emotions can help us, so that we can maintain our peace of mind.

People in every part of the world are fed up with violence; increasingly people are looking for ways to create peace. Start a project like this and people support it spontaneously.

He said what we need is vision. Since the twentieth century was a period of great bloodshed we need to find ways of ensuring that the twenty-first century is an era of peace. Even if we are successful, that doesnt mean there will be no problems, but that well find new ways to deal with them, for this should be a century of dialogue.

Instead of this land being used as a dump for nuclear waste, it is being transformed into a city of peace. What a wonderful idea? In this part of Italy and in this part of the world, this project will be like a seed of peace. We need to plant such seeds elsewhere. This is the beginning of a way to create a happier world, something that cannot be done by passing a UN resolution, but by ordinary people becoming involved, by bringing up children to be peaceful, and equipped for peace. Our need is to eliminate anger, not in some future life, but here and now in this very life. Let us try to build a more peaceful world.

Betty Williams, who was accompanied by her daughter and granddaughter, as well as her sister, invited His Holiness to lunch. Afterwards, the whole party drove up to SantArcangelo, location of an old monastery that had fallen into disuse and disrepair, which Betty and her companions have restored. They were received by the Bishop of Lageonegro and the Mayor, Domenico Esposito. They visited the monasterys delightful church together and then stepped out into the courtyard where the public were waiting to hear them speak.

How good it is to see so many people from different backgrounds here together, smiling! A smile is a mode of expression unique to human beings, a sign of trust and affection that is the basis of friendship. I really enjoy this sign of warmth and hope - wonderful! were His Holinesss opening words.

Here in the courtyard of this old monastery, he continued, I remain a Buddhist monk. Since the 70s I have made it my practice to promote inter-religious harmony through pilgrimage to different places of worship. And today Ive had the opportunity to stop and pray before the images of Jesus and Mary that remind us of Gods love. Ive been very moved.

In conclusion, peace and religious harmony come about through taking action, not necessarily through making prayers and good wishes. In order to carry action out, enthusiasm is very important, and enthusiasm comes from being clear about our goal and the possibility of our fulfilling it. Here, we will educate young people about our ultimate goal, peace in the world, and how to fulfil it by cultivating inner peace within themselves. Thank you, thats all.

A local priest offered spontaneous words of thanks and appreciation for what is being achieved and the benefits it is bringing to the community. The local authority provided a forestry department helicopter to take His Holiness back to Matera quickly in the summer heat.

Early tomorrow morning he will leave for Milan where he is due to visit Ghe Pel Ling and give a talk to university students.

More photos of Matera

 


 

Mirandola & Matera (Italy) - 24 June 2012

Consoling in Mirandola and Encouraging in Matera

More photos of Mirandola and Matera

Under a damp, grey sky His Holiness was given a warm send off from Inverness early this morning, and then flew across the Channel, across Northern Europe, over the Alps to Bologna, Italy. From there he drove to Mirandola, the city in the Province of Modena that was struck by a powerful earthquake when he was last in Italy just over a month ago. Churches and factories collapsed, 17 people were killed, 200 were injured and 14,000 were made homeless. His Holiness wished to come and console the people who were affected and express his solidarity with them.

I have visited people in Christchurch, New Zealand, who were struck by an earthquake and people in Japan, where they experienced an earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear accident. What Ive said to all of them, Ill say to you. Please dont feel downcast, dont be sad, but look to the future. Youll rebuild your homes and factories. Sometimes I think of Italian people as very relaxed, but this isnt a time to relax, but to work hard. Many other people have come to help you, so look forward and dont give up. What I wanted to do was to come and share your worries and anxieties.

Local leaders showed him some of the damaged areas, including a collapsed church and the City Hall that is currently supported by scaffolding. Local people reached out to shake His Holinesss hand and clamoured for his attention. Their repeated expressions of thanks showed how pleased they were that he had come to see them.

In another part of town a more organized meeting took place, addressing which, His Holiness said,

As soon as I heard about the earthquake and the destruction it caused I wanted to come. Dont dwell on what youve lost, focus instead on being determined to rebuild. Naturally, its sad to have lost your friends and relatives, who will not return. But, death is a part of life, even though these were untimely deaths. Imagine how sad your friends and relatives would be if they could see you downcast rather than determined to renew your lives. In my own case, when my Senior Tutor passed away, the man who gave me monks ordination, I felt like the solid rock that I could lean on for support had been taken away, but I decided, instead of being sorrowful, to work hard to fulfil his wishes. You too can do something like that.

I would like to sit with you in silent meditation for a few minutes.

Finally, His Holiness remarked that it is not proper to come to visit like this empty-handed, and announced that he would like to donate another $50,000 to the relief fund. And with that he drove back to Bologna, from where he flew on to Bari in Southern Italy and drove to the town of Matera to meet fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Betty Williams, to support her project to build a City of Peace.

Brothers and sisters, once I heard about my dear friend, Betty Williams plans to build a City of Peace, I was determined to come and see for myself if there was any gap between her vision and reality. It is really encouraging to see what local support she has evidently inspired.

We are all the same, born from a mother and receiving her affection and care when we were young. I believe this is how a seed of affection and compassion is planted in every one of us. My mother too was immensely kind, and if I have some affection and compassion in me today, I received the seeds from her. The trouble is as we grow up the strength of that seed often diminishes, which is why its important that we find ways to nurture it and encourage it to grow. I have made a commitment to work until I die to raise awareness that the source of happiness lies within us, that warm-heartedness is that source of happiness. I appreciate the commitment you too have made, Betty.

In the course of answering questions that followed, His Holiness made clear that the main purpose of his visiting different countries is to meet ordinary people and share experiences with them. He said these days, in our materialistic culture, many people are led to believe that money is the ultimate source of happiness. Consequently, when they dont have enough of it they feel let down. Therefore, it is important to let people know that they have the source of contentment and happiness within themselves, and that it is related to nurturing our natural inner values.

He said, many people think moral principles are related to religion. But we live at a time when there are many people not really interested in religion any more, and many others who go through the motions of religious observance, but who dont apply what their faith teaches in their day to day life. Thats why His Holiness is placing such stress on the cultivation of secular ethics; moral principles not dependent on religious faith. He clarifies that he views secularism in an ancient Indian context as being not dismissive of religion, but as respectful towards all who observe a spiritual faith as well as those who have none.

Asked about the meeting he attended some years ago in Assisi, he described it as a wonderful opportunity, in a sacred place, for religious leaders to gather and get to know each other. He remarked that the idea of one religion and one truth seems to contradict the idea of several religions and several truths, but that the first applies to the individual, while the second applies to the community at large. He cited the example of the late Italian Communist leader, Enrico Berlinguer, who, although an atheist himself, had no problem driving his devoutly Catholic wife to church every Sunday. His Holiness suggested it is possible for us all to be as respectful of each others beliefs without compromising our own.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will visit the site of the City of Peace with Betty Williams. Together they will travel to the Baronale Palace, Scanzano Jonico and to Sant Arcangelo Domenico Esposito to speak about the project.

More photos of Mirandola and Matera

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 21 June 2012

UN Human Rights Council Takes Up Discussion on Tibet Issue

Tenzin Samphel KAYTA, Human Rights Officer of the Tibet Bureau, Geneva speaking at the UN Human Rights Council 2012

The UN Human Rights council is holding 20th session in Geneva from 18 June till 6 July. This council will discuss on number of reports submitted by UN Special Procedure mandate holders on thematic and country visits.

In preparation for the above HRC session, Tibet Bureau had met senior diplomats from 14 different countries. They were thoroughly briefed on the present grim human rights situation and presented recommendations for consideration. They all expressed concern over what’s happening inside Tibet with no international monitoring observer on the ground. And also assured their continued support in protecting fundamental rights of Tibetan people.

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Dharamsala (India) - 21 June 2012

Press Release: Tragic Self-immolations Continue, CTA reiterates appeal to China to address grievances

As the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was holding a prayer service to mourn the tragic self-immolations in Tibet yesterday, reports came out from Tibet that two more Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Kyegudo (Yushul) region in eastern Tibet.

Ngawang Norpel, 22 and Tenzin Khedup, 24, set themselves on fire yesterday afternoon in Tridu in Kyegudo (Yushul).

[ read more ]

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 3 June 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Kalon Tripa Accepts Resignations of Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen

The Tibetan Leadership Reiterates its Commitment to the Middle-Way Policy

Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Head of the Central Tibetan Administration, regretfully accepted the resignations of Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen. The resignations became effective June 1, 2012.

Special Envoy Lodi Gyari, assisted by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, led the Tibetan team in nine rounds of talks with representatives of the Chinese government starting in 2002. The last meeting with the Chinese side took place more than two years ago in January 2010. Despite Mr. Gyari’s desire to step down in April 2011, the two envoys were asked to continue their efforts to reach out to their Chinese counterparts by Kalon Tripa-elect Dr. Lobsang Sangay. The envoys met and briefed the Kalon Tripa on twelve separate occasions since May 2011.

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Dharamsala (India) - 3 June 2012

Comunicato stampa da Dharamsala- Dimissioni di Lodi Gyari e Kelsang Gyaltsen

Il Kalon Tripa Accetta le Dimissioni degli inviati speciali Lodi G. Gyari e Kelsang Gyaltsen. Il leader tibetano ribadisce il suo impegno per la politica della Via di Mezzo

Il Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay, capo della Central Tibetan Administration, ha accettato, a malincuore, le dimissioni dell’inviato speciale di Sua Santità il Dalai Lama Lodi G. Gyari e dell’inviato Kelsang Gyaltsen.

Le dimissioni sono effettive dal 1 ° giugno 2012.

L'inviato speciale Lodi Gyari, assistito da Kelsang Gyaltsen, ha guidato il team tibetano in nove tornate di colloqui con i rappresentanti del governo cinese a partire dal 2002. L'ultimo incontro con la parte cinese ha avuto luogo più di due anni fa, nel gennaio 2010. Nonostante il desiderio di Mr. Gyari di dimettersi nel mese di aprile 2011, i due inviati sono stati invitati dal Kalon Tripa eletto, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a proseguire gli sforzi per raggiungere i loro omologhi cinesi

Gli inviati hanno incontrato il Kalon Tripa e lo hanno tenuto informato in ben dodici diverse occasioni dal maggio 2011.

Nel corso della riunione della Task Force il 30-31 Maggio 2012 a Dharamsala, gli inviati hanno espresso la loro frustrazione per la mancanza assoluta di risposta positiva da parte cinese e hanno presentato le loro dimissioni al Kalon Tripa.

"Dato che il deterioramento della situazione in Tibet dal 2008 conduce ai casi crescenti di auto-immolazioni di tibetani, siamo costretti a presentare le nostre dimissioni. Inoltre, il Fronte Unito non ha risposto positivamente al Memorandum sulla effettiva autonomia del popolo tibetano presentato nel 2008 e alla sua Nota nel 2010. Uno dei principali interlocutori cinesi nel processo di dialogo ha addirittura sostenuto abrogazione per i tibetani dello status di minoranza, come previsto dalla costituzione cinese, altro elemento che sembra togliere base per l’autonomia.

In questo particolare momento, è difficile avere un dialogo sostanziale " hanno dichiarato i due inviati nella loro lettera di dimissioni.

"Ho conosciuto sia l'inviato speciale Lodi G. Gyari e sia Kelsang Gyaltsen per molti anni. Hanno lavorato molto duramente in circostanze difficili e fatto seri sforzi per portare avanti il processo del dialogo e risolvere la questione del Tibet in pace. I loro contributi nel corso della loro decennale dirigenza della squadra tibetana negoziale sono stati inestimabili. Il Kashag continuerà a fare affidamento su di loro per i loro saggi consigli. Rimarranno come membri anziani del team Task Force ", ha detto Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

Il Kashag invita Pechino ad accettare il Middle Way Approach, che cerca una reale autonomia per i tibetani in seno alla Repubblica Popolare Cinese (RPC) e nel quadro della Costituzione cinese. Questa, secondo il Kashag, è una proposta dove tutti sono vincitori, che contribuisce all'unità del PRC, alla stabilità all’armonia e alla sua ascesa pacifica nel mondo.

La Task Force tibetana sui negoziati sarà ampliata e si riunirà nuovamente nel mese di dicembre 2012, per discutere della transizione della leadership cinese con la speranza di continuare a dialogare con i nuovi dirigenti cinesi per risolvere la questione del Tibet in pace. La leadership tibetana rimane fermamente impegnata nella non-violenza e nel Middle-Way Approach, e crede fermamente che l'unico modo per risolvere la questione del Tibet sia attraverso il dialogo.

La leadership tibetana considera la sostanza della questione come elemento primario e il processo come elemento secondario, ed è pronta a impegnarsi in un dialogo significativo, ovunque e in qualsiasi momento.

Il Kashag 3 giugno 2012

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 28 May 2012

Press Release: CTA Seriously Concerned by the Cycle of Self-Immolations Reaching Other Tibetan Regions

The Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamsala, India, expressed its concern over the latest development in Tibet involving the self-immolation of two Tibetans in Lhasa, on Sunday, 27 May. These are the first such incidents taking place in the capital of Tibet. The two self-immolators have been identified as Dhargye and Dorjee Tseten from the northeastern Tibet’s Ngaba and Labrang area respectively. It is reported that Dorjee Tseten died and Dhargye survived with injuries.

[ read more ]

 


 

Vienna (Austria) - 27 May 2012

His Holiness Meets Cardinal Schönborn and Makes a Pilgrimage to St Stephen's Cathedral

On the concluding day of His Holiness's visit to Austria, he met Mr Sebastian Kurz, Secretary of State (Deputy Minister) for the Interior and had a cordial conversation with him. Shortly afterwards, Cardinal Schönborn came to meet him again and His Holiness immediately expressed a wish to visit St Stephen's Cathedral. He explained that since 1975, as part of his commitment to work to promote religious harmony, he has adopted a practice of making a pilgrimage to the places of worship of other faiths whenever he can. He told the Cardinal how on several occasions in the course of silent prayer in Lourdes and Fatima, for example, and when visiting Christian monasteries, he has been very moved by the thought of the thousands of millions of individuals who have found immense benefit in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The two spiritual leaders discussed various aspects of monastic life, such as the great silence according to which Christian monks either keep total silence or speak only for a brief stipulated period once a day. They then went together to meet the press.

His Holiness explained again to the press that one of his lifelong commitments is the promotion of inter-religious harmony. He spoke of how, soon after coming to India he had been impressed by the religious tolerance and harmony he found there, how many of the world's major religions, as well as many that originated in India, live together side by side. He expressed his bewilderment that Catholics and Protestants in places like Northern Ireland, and Shia and Sunni Muslims elsewhere, people who follow the same God and the same teacher, could quarrel so bitterly with one another. Since all religions, despite their philosophical differences, convey similar messages of love and compassion it is contradictory for there to be conflict between them.

The venerable Cardinal publicly addressed His Holiness, “It is a great joy for us in Austria to receive your visit. You have shown great love for our country and I hope we have also shown our great love for you. You have spoken of your conviction that we must work to foster inter-religious harmony. I am a Dominican monk, just as you are a monk, and I believe we both find common human ground in religious life. The conflict you speak of relates to our need for a change of heart. I believe the religious call is to everyone's need to change their heart of stone to a heart of flesh and love.”

His Holiness and the Cardinal answered several questions from the press relating to the current lost generation in Europe and the indications and meanings of faith before leaving for the short drive to the Cathedral. They arrived to find pews filled with people awaiting the start of the Mass on this Sunday of Pentecost. The Cardinal briskly escorted His Holiness around the Cathedral, explaining the history and significance of various chapels and images on the way. He invited His Holiness to attend the Mass, which he readily accepted and was escorted to a seat in the choir.

In his opening words to the congregation, the Cardinal explained that he was pleased to announce the presence among them of a special guest, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a man he described as having deep respect for people of every faith. The Cathedral was then filled with the sublime music of Schubert's Missa Solemnis sung and played by choir and orchestra. As he left the Cathedral, beaming with joy, His Holiness's words were, “Wonderful, wonderful.”

During a brief audience for the Mongolian Ambassador to Austria, his staff and friends, His Holiness told them he regarded Tibetans and Mongolians as twin brothers and sisters. “Our relationship is a thousand years old,” he said, “we share the same Buddhist traditions, and we have both suffered severely under totalitarian oppression. You have got your freedom; we haven't yet.” He referred to the Nalanda tradition that is the source of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism, stressing that one of its prime qualities was the need to study, to apply logic and investigation. He said that Mongolian Buddhists need to study, learn and practice, that will be the real measure of the vigour of their religious tradition.

Finally, His Holiness met a large group of Save Tibet sponsors, greeting them as friends, brothers and sisters of the Tibetan people, he said, “You are really committed to sharing the Tibetan problem with your help to our community. We in exile are the few who are able to inform the world about what is happening in Tibet. In our country there is no freedom.”

He gave a short survey of the history and development of the Tibetan community in exile, the importance given to education right from the start, with the generous support of the Government of India. As a result Tibetan children have received a sound education and substantial efforts have been made to restore the curriculum of the monastic universities and preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture. He acknowledged a special warmth he has felt towards Tibetans in Austria since his first visit in 1973. He attributes this particularly to his friendship with Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter and Harrer's subsequent efforts to inform people about Tibet. He said that in the past few days that he had been in Austria, people had once again only shown him friendship.

In conclusion, he observed, “I often say that the trouble in Tibet is not because some natural disaster has taken place there, or civil war has broken out among Tibetans, but because an uninvited guest has arrived with a gun to interfere with how we eat and even how we walk. They treat Tibetans as a backward, undeveloped people. However, China has already undergone huge change and while the world trend is inexorably towards democracy and freedom, China will have to follow this trend, it's only a matter of time.

“Meanwhile in Tibet, there is a fierce sense of unity and tremendous spirit to fulfil the Tibetan cause – we have the Chinese communists to thank for this.

“As far as working towards democracy is concerned, we are far ahead of China. I have retired from my political responsibilities and ended the Dalai Lamas' nearly 400 year old role in temporal affairs. We have a young elected leader who was born in India, went to school in India and completed his education at Harvard University, and a similarly capable speaker of our Assembly of Deputies too. Whether I am there or not, our struggle will carry on. Your contribution has been extremely important. Our boss is the people of Tibet and on behalf of them I say, 'Thank you, thank you.'”

Later today, His Holiness flies from Vienna back to India and will return to his residence in Dharamsala in the morning.

 


 

Vienna (Austria) - 26 May 2012

His Holiness Meets the Austrian Chancellor, attends a Science Symposium and the European Rally for Tibet

The sun shone and a small crowd of well-wishers smiled warmly as His Holiness arrived opposite St Stephen's Cathedral to be met by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna. Joined by the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann, the three went into a meeting together. Standing at a balcony window nearby, Cardinal Schönborn took the opportunity to explain some of the restoration work that has been taking place at St Stephen's, the most important religious building in Vienna, before the bells rang out calling him back to the cathedral. His Holiness and the Chancellor continued to discuss matters of mutual concern.

Next, His Holiness drove to the University of Vienna to attend a symposium on Buddhism and Science: Mind & Matter – New Models of Reality, where he was welcomed by the Rector of the University, Heinz Engl. Describing it as a great honour to participate in the discussions, His Holiness noted that towards the end of the last century, scientists had begun to take a serious interest in the workings of our minds and emotions. He said he had been fascinated by how things work since he was a child and learned a great deal about how electricity functions from investigating the movie projector and generator that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. About 40 years ago he began to learn about cosmology, neuropsychology and quantum physics and for nearly 30 years has been conducting regular dialogues with scientists. The purpose of these dialogues has been, firstly, to extend human knowledge, not only in the material field, but also the inner space of our minds, and, secondly, through exploring such phenomena as a calm mind, to promote human happiness.

With Mr Gert Scobel moderating, Prof Dr Anton Zeilinger, Prof Dr Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Dr Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch made their presentations, which explored aspects of quantum physics, Madhyamaka philosophy and psychoanalysis. When the morning session adjourned, His Holiness hosted a lunch at his hotel for all the speakers that was also attended by the Kalon Tripa, Dr Lobsang Sangay, social and human rights activist Bianca Jagger, former French Foreign Minister and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, Bernard Kouchner and other friends, who were in Vienna to attend the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet. In the afternoon session of the symposium, Prof Dr Michael von Brück and Prof Dr Wolf Singer gave informative presentations on how the mind understands the structure of reality and the search for neuronal correlates of consciousness.

As the symposium came to an end, His Holiness voiced his appreciation, “Over the 30 or 40 years that I have been acquainted with scientists, I have noticed how many of them are aware of the limits of their knowledge. Recognising that our scope for learning is vast is an excellent quality. They display an open-mindedness that is really admirable.”

A memorandum of co-operation was signed between Prof Geshe Ngawang Samten, Director and Vice Chancellor of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, Varanasi, India, and the Rector of Vienna University, Heinz Engl, providing for an exchange of students and scholars of the two institutions. Geshe Tenzin Dhargye, Director of the Tibet Center that has organized the various functions His Holiness has attended in Austria on this visit, offered his thanks to His Holiness and everyone who has participated.

In the warm, late afternoon, His Holiness drove to Vienna's Heldenplatz where 10,000 people had assembled for the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet. Addressing his dear brothers and sisters in the crowd, he told them how happy he was to be there and that he would like to first say a few words in Tibetan to the Tibetans present.

“Our culture is under threat of destruction, therefore I want to take this opportunity to speak my own language. Archaeological findings indicate that Tibetan history dates back 3-4000 years. We Tibetans must not forget our identity, for our blood, flesh and bones come from Tibet. Since the 7th century we have employed the Tibetan written language in which the most complete and thorough translations of Buddhist knowledge have been made from the original Sanskrit. This is a treasure for the world, not only for Tibetans. And when we talk about preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture, I don't mean just paying respects before a Buddhist image, but putting the teachings into practice and trying to live as good human beings.”

He talked about the urgent need to protect the Tibetan environment, which, because it is the source of many of the rivers that run through Asia, is of value not only to Tibetans but millions of others too. He expressed the fear that once environmental damage has taken place it will take a great deal of time to recover. He distinguished Buddhist religion, which is the business of Buddhist practitioners, from Buddhist culture, which, as a culture of peace, honesty and compassion, is worth preserving for the good of the world. Indeed, millions of Chinese are already showing interest in it. His Holiness stressed that the damage and destruction of Tibetan Buddhist culture that has taken place in the past was not because Tibetans were not interested, but because of the difficult political circumstances in which they find themselves.

“Because of our Buddhist culture we are committed to the principle of non-violence. We are an example of a small community who have remained dedicated to pursuing our struggle through non-violent means, which is why your support is so extremely valuable and I want to tell you how much I appreciate it.

“Finally, I see how many of you are waving the Tibetan flag. Chinese hard-liners often refer to our flag as a symbol of splittist tendencies, but I want to tell you that when I was in China 1954-55, I met Chairman Mao Zedong and other leaders on several occasions. Once, Chairman Mao asked me, 'Do you have a flag?' I hesitantly answered, 'Yes,' and his reply was to say, 'Good, it is important that you keep this flag and fly it next to the red flag of China. So I feel I received permission then to fly this flag from Chairman Mao himself.”

Tomorrow afternoon, following a meeting with the press to highlight inter-religious harmony and several private meetings during the morning, His Holiness will board a flight from Vienna to return to India.

 


 

Vienna (Austria) - 25 May 2012

His Holiness Finds a Warm Welcome in Vienna

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Public Talk in the Vienna Stadthalle

Before leaving Yeunten Ling, on another bright morning, His Holiness expressed a wish to visit the new statue of the Buddha in the garden below the temple. After he had paid his respects, the institute staff saw him off and he drove to Liège airport for the flight to Vienna. On arrival he drove to his hotel where Prof. Heinz Nussbaumer met him and immediately escorted him to a meeting with the press. They were joined by the Kalon Tripa, Dr Lobsang Sangay, who has been invited to Vienna to address the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet tomorrow and His Holiness introduced him to the assembled journalists.

“This young man was born in India, but completed his education at Harvard University. Since the Tibetan leader was first elected in 2001, I have been semi-retired, but after Lobsang Sangay was elected last year, I thought the time was right, so I retired completely and handed my political responsibilities to him, so now he's my boss – although when it comes to spiritual affairs, I'm still his boss!”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kalon Tripa, Dr. Lobsang Sangay

His Holiness began by outlining his two major commitments: that as a human being like the other seven billion on the planet, who want to be happy and have a right to be happy, he is committed to helping others find lasting happiness. Secondly, as a simple Buddhist monk he tries to promote harmony and understanding among different religious traditions. He said that it is very sad when religion becomes a ground for conflict, considering that all the major religions have the potential to help humanity.

“I believe the media also have a special responsibility to report these things. And in a democratic society, they also have a responsibility to sniff out what's going on. When hypocrisy becomes almost fashionable, the media should investigate impartially and objectively and report what they find in order to help build a clean society.”

In response to a question about his hopes for Tibet, His Holiness said that observing the power of truth compared to the power of the gun for over fifty years, it seems that in the short term the gun may prevail, but in the long run the power of truth is much stronger. This is why Tibetans have adhered to their policy of non-violence. In contrast to which the Chinese authorities appear to think they can solve Tibet's problems by increasing suppression, that is, through the power of the gun. What support like the planned rally tomorrow will show, is that the Tibetan problem will not go away. Another questioner wanted to know about links between Tibetan resistance forces and the CIA. His Holiness admitted the connection, but clarified that Tibetan resistance had already begun before the CIA became involved. What's more, His Holiness's escape from Norbulingka was planned and executed by Tibetans and the CIA made contact only after he was well on his way.

In the afternoon, His Holiness began his talk at the Vienna Stadthalle by introducing his German translator, Christoph Spitz and his English speaking assistant, Geshe Tashi Tsering, to the audience. He pointed out that the seven billion human beings alive today are physically and emotionally the same and that he counted himself among them. If we seek to find differences, there will be no limit, for even we change from who we were in the morning, at noon and in the evening. He said we pay too much attention to secondary differences, while fundamentally we are all the same. We all belong to one humanity, which we tend to forget.

Considering that about 200 million died in war and violence during the twentieth century, His Holiness recommended that we take steps to ensure that the twenty-first century is instead the beginning of an era of peace and non-violence. But, he said, this will not be achieved by mere prayer or meditation, peace will have to be brought about through action. He also made clear that even if there is peace, that is no guarantee that we will not face problems or conflicts. The difference will be that we need to address and solve them through dialogue.

His Holiness again stressed that we need moral principles, but as many people think that ethical principles are the preserve of religion and many of them have little regard for religion, we need to employ secular ethics. He clarified that he uses the word secular not to dismiss religion, but as it is used in India, to include and indicate respect for all religious traditions. Secular ethics are what we are going to need to solve the gap between rich and poor and the threats climate change presents to our environment.

“I feel we can change, we can create a happier century by building awareness. Whatever goal we are seeking to achieve must be approached realistically. As most of our problems arise because of the destructive factors in our minds. If we can overcome these and apply a sense of secular ethics,we can build a happier, more peaceful world for everyone.”

His Holiness then invited the audience to submit questions to him. To a question about the most important value to apply in daily life, he said,

“Lead an honest life, help people, and animals if you can, and at least refrain from harming them. Keep a calm mind, then you'll stay relaxed whatever happens. Practise with determination, but don't inflate your expectations. People sometimes ask me for the quickest way to change their minds, but in our day and age I expect they also want to know the cheapest way and the way that requires the least effort.”

About the future of humanity, His Holiness again raised changing attitudes to war, pointing out that in the early twentieth century young men joined up without hesitation, whereas now the public has by and large turned against war, as shown by the demonstrations against the Vietnam and Iraq wars. He also cited changing attitudes to relations between science and spirituality, both of which now seem much better able to learn from each other. Although he hopes and expects the twenty-first century to be a better more peaceful century than the last, he reiterated that it will not be achieved just by wishing for it. Everyone will have to make an effort and contribute to a people's movement for change.

As His Holiness was ending his talk, telling his listeners in Austria, “I consider you my friends and I am your friend,” Dr Michael Spindelegger, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Austria arrived to greet him, followed by a brief private meeting (see photo below).

Tomorrow, His Holiness will attend two sessions of a Symposium on Buddhism and Science, as well as the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving a Public Talk in the Vienna Stadthalle

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered a Khatak to Dr. Michael Spindelegger, Austrian Foreign Minister

 


 

Udine (Italy) - 22 May 2012

His Holiness speaks about peace and non-violence in Udine

His Holiness the Dalai Lama blesses Geshe Lobsang Phende, the main organizer of the visit to Udine, Italy

After a flight that took His Holiness from Salzburg, over the Alps, to Trieste, it was a short drive to his next meeting at the Palasport Primo Carnera, Udine, where 3000 people were waiting to hear him contribute to a discussion about the Role of Religions in Promoting Justice, Peace and the Protection of the Environment. His fellow speakers were Bassima Awad, President of the Italian-Palestinese Cultural Institute Al Quds, Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom, a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, and Izzedin Elzin, an Imam in Florence, chair of the Italian Union of Islamic Communities.

His Holiness greeted the audience as brothers and sisters and reminded them that the ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves. Compared to animals, we human beings have a tremendous intelligence that enables us to fulfil our hopes and aspirations. However, since there are many people in America, Europe and parts of Asia who are very well off, but also feel lonely and unhappy, it is clear that sensory pleasure on its own does not yield mental satisfaction. The key, on the one hand, is warm-heartedness and on the other, a calm mind. If in addition to a calm mind we adopt a holistic view of our circumstances we can develop self-confidence.

The affection we receive from our mother when we are born is the seed of compassion and concern for others, in other words warm-heartedness. Evidence for this is that those of us who received warmth and affection from our mothers tend to be happier and more concerned about others later in life. And it is obvious that an affectionate family tends to be a happy family.

“Our Palestinian friend has recounted her experiences and the difficulties of her people. I have visited Israel several times and have met with other Palestinians, so it is as if I have listened to the Palestinians with this ear and to the Israelis with the other. This is a complicated issue, but the reality is that out brothers and sister must find a way to live together. What can make a difference is the development of human values, for which we are equipped from birth. But we have to make the effort,” His Holiness said. He added that his second commitment is to foster inter-religious harmony, and that India, where almost all the world's major religions flourish, provides a remarkable model of pluralism and mutual regard.

“It's by getting to know each other that we develop respect. And this is why I am happy and honoured that we have been able to sit together and share our common concerns.”

Following lunch, the Mayor of Udine, Furio Honsell thanked His Holiness for returning less than 5 years since his last visit and offered him the key to the city. Meeting Regional President, Renzo Tondo and Provincial President, Pietro Fontanini, they told him of the difficulties they face in preserving their own local culture and dialects, what an example His Holiness is to them and how helpful Geshe Lobsang Phende's presence has been. His Holiness said that when he appointed Geshe-la Abbot of Gyume Lower Tantric College, he advised him not to sacrifice one responsibility for the other. The Presidents each offered him the Province's and Region's flags and medals. The press then joined the meeting and His Holiness mentioned that 10 years ago classic Buddhist texts were studied at Lhasa University, but a hard-line party secretary banned them, substituting shallow modern works translated from Chinese in their stead. The party's excuse was that the old texts had no contemporary educational potential. This was one of the real causes of the 2008 unrest in Tibet.

The afternoon event focussing on Promoting Non-Violence and Compassion Against Aggressiveness and Violence, was moderated by Dr. Giovanni Marzini, and addressed by Vito Mancuso, whose field is theology and philosophy and Franco Fabbro, whose field is neuropsychology. His Holiness made clear that as far as he is concerned the demarcation between violence and non-violence is less to do with the physical appearance and much more to do with motivation. Whatever steps you take to harm or cheat others, even if you smile and use mollifying words, is violent, whereas, for example, a surgeon who cuts into your flesh during an operation is non-violent because he wishes you well.

As far as a scientific appraisal of violence, non-violence, compassion and aggression is concerned, His Holiness has taken an interest in the workings of the brain for nearly 40 years. He has regularly collaborated with scientists over the last almost 30 years. Recently he has proposed investigations of the difference between sensory and mental experience. He suggested for example that it would be interesting to examine why we shed tears of joy and of distress. The emotional circumstances are completely opposite and yet the physical expression is the same. Another topic he touched on was the phenomenon of meditative absorption revealed in the case of some spiritual practitioners after death. Although there is no sign of clinical life, the body remains fresh until the subtle consciousness departs. Work has begun to assess and document such cases.

Asked about adopting a non-violent approach to the environment, His Holiness said that we cannot afford to wait for others to act first.

“For my own part,” he said, “I turn off the lights when I leave the room and I use a shower instead of a bath, which uses less water.”

Tomorrow, His Holiness will speak to university students from Udine and Trieste about Holistic Training of the Mind: Spiritual, Humanistic, Scientific and Technological, before leaving for Institute Yeunten Ling, in Huy, Belgium.

Audience at the Interfaith meeting in Udine, Italy

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting a young Italian well-wisher

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks to an Italian in a wheel-chair

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives at Udine airport

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Mr. Renzo Tondo, Regional President

 


 

Salzburg (Austria) - 21 May 2012

His Holiness talks about Peace and Religious Harmony in Salzburg

As the sun caught the peaks of the mountains around the city, His Holiness drove to the Salzburg Arena, where he was received by the Governor Ms. Gabi Burgstaller. They exchanged views privately for several minutes before she escorted him into the hall where he was to address an audience convened by Alpine Peace Crossing, an NGO that holds a major event annually to mark the plight of refugees.

His Holiness began by saying, “When I meet people, I feel that as human beings we are just the same. We may have bigger or smaller noses or different coloured hair, but we 7 billion human beings are essentially the same. And now that we are so interdependent it seems to be out of date to think of this or that community as separate from the rest.” He expressed his admiration for the EU as an organization in which members keep their own identity, while taking account of their common interests. He said that we now face several challenges that cannot be solved unless we solve them together and cited the failure of the Copenhagen summit on climate change as an example of countries continuing to focus on their own narrow interests rather than the good of the world.

Nevertheless, we should not feel demoralized, because there is much to be optimistic about. His Holiness recalled meeting the British Queen Mother when she was 96 years old and had witnessed almost the entire twentieth century in her lifetime. In reply to his question about whether the world had become better or worse in that time, she replied without hesitation that it had improved, because, for example, when she was young there was no concept of human rights or self-determination.

Before opening the discussion of World Peace and Universal Responsibility Dr Michael Kerbler of ORF Radio called on those present to observe a minute's silence in memory of Tibetans who have recently committed self-immolation in Tibet. Pressed to respond to these tragic incidents, His Holiness said that it is a very sensitive political issue and that he has devolved his political responsibilities to others. However, he said, we must look into the real cause of this tragedy. The stated aim of hard-liners in the Chinese communist leadership is to secure harmony in society, but the way they are going about it is both wrong and contradictory. Harmony cannot be achieved by force, it must be based on trust. The use of force arouses fear, which undermines trust. His Holiness suggested the Chinese authorities could adopt a more realistic approach, following Deng Xiao ping's advice to seek truth from facts. But they would have to be real and objective facts, rather than official propagandist reports.

He recommended his listeners to go to Tibet to see for themselves what has happened there over the last fifty years or so, and to investigate why Tibetans harbour such resentment. While not wishing to politicize the meeting, he quoted a young Chinese who came to see him, who pointed out that when he went to Lhasa he saw Chinese soldiers doing military exercises right next to Tibetan pilgrims performing prostrations outside the Jokhang Temple. Similarly, where pilgrims circumambulate in a clockwise direction, the Chinese military march round the other way. In His Holiness's informant's view it is the Chinese authorities and their military forces who are the real “splittists” in Tibet. On the other hand, many impartial Chinese once properly informed are very sympathetic to Tibetans.

In a world where the trend is towards democracy, freedom, and freedom of speech, His Holiness said, countries like North Korea and China can drag their feet, but they cannot resist the trend forever. In China itself, 1.3 billion Chinese people have the right to know what is going on and the right to make decisions on that basis. Consequently, censorship is morally wrong. Censorship and distorted information must stop. Likewise, the Chinese judicial system must be raised to international standards. The rule of law must be established, because China belongs to the Chinese people, not to the communist party, just as the world belongs to humanity.

While his translator was translating his words into German, His Holiness signed many books proffered by people in the audience. Outside his hotel a small group of young school-children broke into song as he approached them to say hello. As children of the twenty-first century he advised them to study well.

His Holiness invited Ms Irmtraut Wager and Alfred Stingl, former Mayor of Graz and his wife, to lunch. Ms Wager has worked long and hard to support the education of Tibetan children in exile. Afterwards he met Members of the Tibet Centre Advisory Board and commended their work. He advised that just as Christian brothers and sisters have done remarkable work for education around the world, what Buddhists may contribute is their understanding of how to develop peace of mind.

In the afternoon, His Holiness attended an inter-faith dialogue on Harmony in Diversity, moderated by Mrs. Doris Appel, with Archbishop Dr. Alois Kothgasser (Catholic), Mag. Luise Mueller (Protestant), Rabbi Mag. Schlomo Hofmeister (Judaist) and Dr. Fuat Sanac (Muslim). In his address, His Holiness drew attention to the example of India, where the world's major religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism – and indigenous traditions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism - live alongside each other in peace. The Zoroastrian or Parsee community are tiny in number and yet they have thrived in India.

He explained that although there are philosophical differences among our religious traditions, they all have the potential to help their followers to become more compassionate, better human beings. This is the ground for mutual respect that inspired His Holiness since 1975 to adopt three steps in his own quest to improve inter-religious harmony: meeting with religious leaders and holding discussions with them; meeting with spiritual practitioners to exchange experiences and visiting other traditions' sacred places and joining them in prayer.

He advised, “It's all right for an individual to think in terms of one truth and one religion, but when we think of the world at large, we must allow for several truths and several religions, mindful of the fact that the Buddha didn't attempt to convert everyone when he was alive, any more than did Jesus or the Prophet Muhammad.” In conclusion, His Holiness noted that basic human affection precedes our adoption of religion, and that human affection is the ground for developing concern for others, which in turn is the key to leading a meaningful life.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will fly to Trieste, Italy, to attend an inter-faith programme and a meeting with scientists in Udine.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Mrs Irmtraut (Ama) Wäger

 


 

Klagenfurt & Salzburg (Austria) - 20 May 2012

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's final day in Klagenfurt - arrives in Salzburg

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting the audience of his Public Talk in Klagenfurt

Arriving early at the Klagenfurt Hall this morning, His Holiness first addressed the community of about 350 Tibetans, mostly resident in Austria and Switzerland, who had gathered to meet him. He began by telling them, “We Tibetans, wherever we are, maintain our mental strength and keep a strong hold on our Tibetan identity as we need to do. In addition, we should always remember the Tibetans in Tibet and their strong determination too. They have no fear for themselves, but are devoted to the cause of Tibet.”

He remarked that prior to 1959, although there were spiritual links right across Tibet, political unity was much weaker. However, due to the Chinese occupation, Tibetans now have a strong solidarity with each other. The robust sense of Tibetan identity that now prevails in Tibet and its bordering areas owes a great deal to the distinct spoken and written Tibetan language. This is something of which Tibetans can be proud. Tibetan literature contains, for example, profound explanations of the mind and its functions, because of which Tibetans can think of Tibetan Buddhism and its culture having a valued role in the world. Tibetan culture is also distinguished by its use of logic and epistemology to sharpen the mind. Although Buddhism came to China earlier than to Tibet, the Chinese do not have the range of books on philosophy and so forth that are found in Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with members of the Tibetan Community

His Holiness spoke of how Tibetan Buddhist culture is characterized by kindness and compassion for others. He recounted the story of a Tibetan he met in the USA, who worked in a factory processing vegetables. He told His Holiness that whenever he could, he would rescue insects he found in the vegetables, set them aside and later take them outside. His co-workers asked what he was doing and after he had explained Tibetan culture's reverence for all living beings, they gradually began to do the same.

“We say the Chinese are destroying our culture, but it'd be contradictory if we who live in free countries did nothing to preserve it,” His Holiness said, and explained that an important way to do this is to make sure young Tibetans can speak, read and write in their own language. One of the reasons the Chinese authorities deliberately try to suppress the Tibetan language is that they understand the important role it has in preserving the Tibetan identity. And this is also the reason why schools were urgently established soon after Tibetans first arrived in India.

Regarding his devolution of political authority to the elected leadership last year, His Holiness made clear that it was not a new idea. As early as 1951 and 1952 he had attempted to introduce such reforms in Tibet, but he was obstructed by the Chinese who wanted to change things in their own way. Since the election of Tibetan leaders in 2001, His Holiness has been semi-retired, so he was proud last year, with Samdhong Rinpoche beside him, to hand the Seal of the Tibetan Government that he had received at the age of 16 from Tagtrag Rinpoche to Kalon Tripa, Lobsang Sangay. He said, “Our democatic system has two purposes: to ensure the future of the Tibetan cause, but also to show the Chinese what we can do.” He pointed out that the Ganden Phodrang had existed as the Office of the Dalai Lamas before becoming the government of Tibet and that he had now restored it to its former status.

His final advice to the assembled Tibetans was, “Have a happy mind.”

Opening his talk about the Art of Happiness, he said he would talk about how to lead a happy life in a secular context. He clarified that he uses secular according to the Indian tradition, not disdaining religion, but viewing all religious traditions with respect in a more pluralistic way. As human beings we all want to live our lives free from disturbances, indeed we all have a right to a happy life. But we need to have a realistic method to achieve our goal. We need to take a long-term view and pay attention to our inner values. Warm-heartedness is essential and is something we are equipped with from infancy. It yields a calm mind and self-confidence, which means we can act openly, honestly and transparently, free from anxiety, fear and suspicion. His Holiness concluded, “I find this useful, try it yourselves and if it makes sense, put it to use. If it makes no sense to you, then just forget it!”

More than 5'000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's public talk

His Holiness thanked the organizers of the events in Klagenfurt and the Governor, Gerhard Doerfler, who he acknowledged had come to see him every day he had been there. He praised the Governor's smile and the sincere warmth in his eyes. In his turn, the Governor thanked His Holiness for coming to his state and offered him the Carinthian Gold Medal.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Mayor of Klagenfurt

From the Klagenfurt Hall His Holiness and his party accompanied the Governor to the Klagenfurt Boatyard where they boarded a motor yacht to ride the length of the Wörthersee to Portschach am Wörthersee for lunch. Afterwards, Mrs. Doris Appel interviewed His Holiness, asking him several questions of religious interest, for ORF TV. At the end, she asked who or what he prayed to and he replied that he prays to the Buddha, of course, but mostly in meditation he reflects on the Buddha's teaching, especially about the nature of reality, applying analysis to it and considering it from various angles. That is what he finds really useful.

At Klagenfurt Airport, His Holiness boarded an aircraft for a short flight over forested mountains to Salzburg, where he was warmly received by the Governor Ms. Gabi Burgstaller. He gave two further television interviews at the airport, the second of which focussed on his recollections of Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter, the two Austrians who had first sparked his interest in Europe and technology. He said Harrer had told him that his seven years in Tibet were the best years of his life, that he proved to be a true friend to Tibet until his death and that his spirit survives in the warm friendship His Holiness continues to have with the people of Austria.

Met by faithful Tibetans and other well-wishers at the door of his hotel, His Holiness retired for the night.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama accompanied by the Governor of Salzburg

 


 

Klagenfurt (Austria) - 19 May 2012

Second Day of Teachings in Klagenfurt

Photos of the second day of teachings in Klagenfurt

Under bright blue skies, His Holiness left early for the teaching hall, where he first undertook the preparatory rituals for the Medicine Buddha empowerment he was going to give. Those done, he said he would first complete his explanation of the Heart Sutra. The session opened with a recitation of that text in German by members of the Tibet Center, Hüttenberg, who were the organizers of the present series of teachings.

Quoting Nagarjuna, His Holiness explained that the reason we seek to understand emptiness is to understand reality and to eliminate wrong views and distorted ways of thinking. Wrong view here relates to the second of the Four Noble Truths, the origin of suffering. Once we begin to understand wisdom and eliminate wrong view we may glimpse that achieving liberation is actually possible. It is often said that those with especially sharp faculties realise emptiness first and then generate the awakening mind of Bodhichitta, whereas those who are less sharp first generate the awakening mind and then work to understand emptiness. His Holiness reminded his listeners that understanding of emptiness comes about by listening to or reading explanations of it, thinking about what you have heard or read and then meditating on what you have understood.

Before granting the Medicine Buddha empowerment, His Holiness teased the audience saying that some people think that once they have received it they will no longer fall ill. It is not like that, he said, citing the fact that he has been reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra daily since he first received it at the age of 13 and has eaten a great deal of Tibetan medicine and yet, three years ago, he had to have his gall bladder removed. On the other hand, he said that he has found the practice has some special features, so there is benefit in receiving the empowerment.

After lunch, His Holiness, accompanied by Gerhard Doerfler, the Governor of Carinthia, attended a ceremony to award diplomas to 73 graduates of the Tibet Center study programmes in Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan Medicine. In his speech congratulating the graduates His Holiness recalled the international medical conference convened by the Tibetan emperor in the eighth century CE attended by delegates from Tibet, China, India, Persia and Arabia. Nowadays too research in collaboration with modern scientists is going on, paying particular attention to one of Tibetan Medicine's special features: pulse diagnosis. His Holiness would like to encourage further collaboration and to that end has suggested that the 300 or so volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur, the scriptures originally translated into Tibetan, mostly from Sanskrit, should be categorized under three headings: Buddhist science, Buddhist view and Buddhist religion. The first two categories would be of interest to scientists and other researchers, whereas the third is only the concern of Buddhists.

Back in the teaching hall for the afternoon session several questions were put to His Holiness. Among them was one asking how Buddhist teachings help him deal with feelings of helplessness or anger when confronted by what Chinese authorities are doing in Tibet. His answer was, “When things occur that have the potential to disturb your mind, that's the time to apply the teachings.” He recounted the story of a senior monk of Namgyal Monastery who spent 20 years in a Chinese prison. After his arrival in India His Holiness was chatting to him one day when he remarked that during his imprisonment he had faced danger several times. His Holiness asked what kind of danger, and he replied, “The danger of losing my compassion for the Chinese.” His Holiness declared this to be the conduct of a real practitioner, someone who kept up his practice even under duress.

Turning to Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment His Holiness explained how the Ngari King invited him to Tibet and asked him to compose a text for Tibetans to follow. The great Indian master complied by writing this concise Lamp for the Path intended to capture the essence of the Buddha's teachings. This seminal work, encompassing the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment, subsequently inspired commentaries in all four Tibetan Buddhist traditions, including Je Tsongkhapa's three volumes of the Stages of the Path. Finally, His Holiness gave an incisive exposition of the Seventh Dalai Lama's Song of the Four Mindfulnesses. Derived from a lineage passed from Je Tsongkhapa to Je Sherab Sengge and on to Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama, it reminds the practitioner to remember his or her teacher, the awakening mind, his or her body as a divine body and the view of emptiness.

In his words of thanks at the end, His Holiness expressed his gratitude to Carinthia Governor, Gerhard Doerfler, for his steadfast interest and support, and to Geshe Tenzin Dhargye for overseeing the entire event. He also thanked the Tibet Centre organizers, the translators and all the students who had come to listen. The organizers announced that, of the approximately €97,000 remaining from contributions and ticket sales for the five teaching events they have arranged during His Holiness's current tour, 30% will go to the organizers, 30% for charitable purposes in the locality and 40% to the Dalai Lama Trust.

His Holiness folded his hands and smiled as he left the crowd with his final remark: “The source of happiness is the mind itself. Good night.”

 


 

Klagenfurt (Austria) - 18 May 2012

First day of Teachings in Klagenfurt

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving Buddhist teachings in Klagenfurt Messehalle

From his hotel overlooking the beautiful Wörthersee Lake His Holiness was driven this morning into the city of Klagenfurt, where many people were waiting to welcome him in front of the City Hall. The Klagenfurt City Band was playing as children proffered him gifts. The Governor of Carinthia and Mayor Christian Scheider made welcoming speeches before presenting him with the Gold Medal of Klagenfurt. His Holiness then inscribed the city's guest book.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama signing the Golden Book of City of Klagenfurt

His Holiness said, “You have given me a very warm welcome, which I appreciate. Many members of the public have come here with warm hearts out of a sense of affection. Although there are many beautiful cities and pleasing environments in the world, the same kind of human beings live in them; on an emotional level there are no differences among them. On the other hand, the moment I start to think of myself as an Asian, a Tibetan, a Buddhist, it creates a kind of barrier between us.”

City of Klagenfurt offering the City's Golden Medal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

He went on to say that as he nears 77 years of age, what he has learned in his life is that a calm mind is the source of stable, lasting happiness. He explained that today and tomorrow he would be giving lectures on Buddhism, but that he always stresses to people who belong to different religious traditions that it is important, and often safer, to stick to the religion they were born to. At the same time it can also be useful to learn from other traditions, for example methods for developing tolerance and compassion, and to apply them within your own.

Before he left for the venue of his lecture, the Klagenfurt Hall, a group of children danced and sang, while His Holiness beamed with pleasure. At the hall he remarked that although some teachers like to sit on thrones like holy men, he prefers to sit on a chair. Before beginning his teaching, he invited a couple of Theravadin monks to recite the Mangalam Sutra in Pali.

Children dancing for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in front of the City Hall

His Holiness remarked that, whether they do so explicitly or not, all our major religious traditions deal with the mind, with the cultivation of tolerance, forgiveness and compassion. Theistic traditions tend to focus on God the creator, and submission to God has the effect of reducing self-centredness. Buddhism and other non-theistic traditions tend to rely on the law of causality as grounds for taking responsibility for your actions. Buddhism in particular addresses self-centredness and arrogance but questioning the nature of the self.

A Sufi master His Holiness once met at a conference posed three questions to him. What is the self? Does the self have a beginning? And does the self have an end? His Holiness suggested that Buddhism offers answers different from those provided by other traditions, for example, only the Buddha's teaching says there is no separate, intrinsic self. He told his listeners that the text he would begin with, the Heart Sutra, or the Essence of Wisdom, belongs to the Perfection of Wisdom teachings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Meet the Press

After a lunch break, the Carinthian Governor accompanied His Holiness to a meeting with the press. Invited to make a statement, he said he had three things to say. “I am a human being, so are you. We are all part of the 7 billion human beings on this planet. All of us want to live a happy life, which I believe depends on cultivating our natural inner values, rather than money and power. The true source of happiness is within ourselves and I call on the media to inform people about this.” His second point was that because all religious traditions carry essentially the same message about cultivating love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance, we need to live together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. He cited India as a living example of a pluralistic society in which all the world's major religious traditions live peaceably side by side. Again, he urged the media to bring this to public attention. His third point referred to the importance of the media in a democratic society. Media need to investigate what is really going on and to be honest, truthful and impartial.

Back in the teaching hall, His Holiness began to explain the Hear Sutra line by line, his words being translated into German, Italian and English. He said that the Perfection of Wisdom teachings to which the Heart Sutra belongs were given near the Indian town of Rajgir as part of what is known as the second turning of the wheel of Dharma. He pointed out that the third of the Four Noble Truths, the truth of the cessation of suffering can only be achieved by realizing wisdom, which in this case is the wisdom understanding emptiness of inherent existence and dependent arising.

Back at his hotel, before retiring for the day, His Holiness held a meeting with several local Christian leaders and the President of the Austrian Buddhist Society. He repeated his conviction that inter-religious harmony is essential, because each of our religious traditions gives its followers a sense of how to lead a meaningful life. However, he also made it clear that we can make a distinction between developing respect for other traditions and faith in them. Considering the crisis of values in the world, we need to take action rather than sitting quietly by. The important thing is to make religion relevant to our daily life rather than simply maintaining old traditions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting local Christian leaders

Tomorrow, His Holiness will begin the second day of teaching in Klagenfurt by offering a Medicine Buddha empowerment before continuing his explanation of the The Heart Sutra, Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and 7th Dalai Lama's Song of Four Mindfulnesses.

 


 

Maribor (Slovenia) & Klagenfurt (Austria) - 17 May 2012

The Art of Reconciliation Day in Maribor

Today was Art of Reconciliation Day, part of Maribor's European Capital of Culture Programme and a bright, sunny day. His Holiness the Dalai Lama began by greeting his fellow Nobel Peace Laureates Muhammed Junus and Rigoberta Menchu Tum and drove to the Slovene National Theatre, where they were welcomed by young children on either side of the stairs singing “Morning has come”.

During a meeting with the press, His Holiness spoke of the need to reform our education systems to incorporate secular ethics. He suggested that if young people were happy and self-confident, as a result of such education, they would less susceptible to becoming involved with drugs and violence. “An important thing to remember is that no one can impose certain ways of thinking on others, transforming our minds must come about voluntarily. “

The three Nobel Peace Laureates, accompanied by local Slovenian scholar Dr Lucka Kajfez Bogataj and moderator Dr Rudi Rizman, took their seats on the stage for a panel discussion on the theme, “Dialogue, Solidarity and Reconciliation”. Prof Muhammed Junus opened with the suggestion that the very system of capitalism, of which European countries are prime exponents, is fundamentally flawed and profoundly needs changing. Rigoberta Menchu Tum echoed his remarks by recalling the Mayans' view that crises such as we are seeing now are a sign of decay. Not a decay that can be repaired, but one which prompts us to start again. She said we need the greater equality that will ensue once the present selfish system comes to an end.

His Holiness responded that dialogue and solidarity are extremely relevant to our world. We are faced with a rapidly increasing population and diminishing natural resources. At the same time the severe gap between rich and poor is wrong from both a moral and practical standpoint. Damage to our environment and climate change are problems not just for one or two nations, but the whole of humanity. We therefore need to think of humanity as one. Because we all have a right to a happy life our old sense of “them” and “us” is out of date, what we need now is a sense of solidarity that thinks instead of a greater WE. Because we cannot fix the problems we face by force, we must enter into dialogue with each other, an approach that means both sides win instead of leaving a winner and a loser. His Holiness declared, “Dialogue is not a luxury we may choose to enjoy, but a simple necessity”. In this context the Buddhist concept of interdependence is very useful, the concept is Buddhist in origin, but is applicable in every field.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama welcomed by the Governor of Carinthia, Mr. Gerhard Doerfler

His Holiness the Dalai Lama welcomed by a traditional music band of Carinthia

Following lunch at the invitation of Mayor Franc Kangler, His Holiness and his party left for the airport and a short flight to Klagenfurt in Austria, which took them over snow-capped peaks and forested mountains. The sun shone brightly as a red carpet was rolled out to welcome His Holiness. Governor Gerhard Doerfler of Carinthia and Mayor Josef Ofner of Knappenberg were there to greet him, while a traditional Carinthian brass band played in the background. From the airport they drove through green countryside up to the town of Knappenberg, where His Holiness had a short conversation with Governor Gerhard Doerfler before walking to say a blessing at the site of a proposed Tibet Centre. He advised that in addition to its Tibet related activities the Centre could be a place where people of different cultures and scholars of different religions would be able to gather and exchange ideas and experiences, examining ways in which people can become more compassionate. He also recommended that the Centre take part in a dialogue in which he has been involved for nearly 30 years, between science and Buddhist science or ancient Indian thought, focussing on cosmology, neurobiology, quantum physics and psychology.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting Mrs. Carina Harrer

In nearby Hüttenberg, birthplace of Heinrich Harrer, a large crowd was waiting on the Rieftanzplatz Ground. Harrer's widow, Carina, the Carinthian Governor and Knappenberg Mayor welcomed His Holiness, while members of the uniformed band and dance troop of the local mining association looked on.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the residents of Hüttenberg, the birthplace of Heinrich Harrer

“Under this beautiful, bright sky, against this rich green forest, your smiling faces with your different coloured clothes and hair make you look like human flowers. Very beautiful”, His Holiness began to warm applause. “When Heinrich Harrer escaped from prison in India and reached Tibet, and eventually Lhasa, he made friends with my mother and elder brother, which is how I came to meet him. After that he used to come to the Norbulingka to see me. He was the first European who introduced Europe and technology to me”, he recalled. Since then till his dying breath, Harrer remained a friend of Tibet, “But”, His Holiness added, “his spirit remains here and you are continuing his deep friendship for Tibet. Now, when Tibet, an old land with a rich and ancient culture, is passing through a very difficult time, I value your friendship. However, I am optimistic and I believe in the power of truth and justice, and as I tell other people, no matter what happens we must never give up our determination. Meanwhile, positive change is taking place in China, sufficient to remain optimistic.”

Repeating his hopes for the Tibet Centre, His Holiness announced that he would make a donation of $150,000 to its construction. Finally, noticing several Tibetan flags waving in the crowd, he noted that these days the Chinese communist authorities say it is a sign of splittists. However, he recalled that in 1954 at one of their several meetings Mao Zedong asked him if Tibet had a flag and when His Holiness answered “Yes”, Mao said, “You should keep it”.

 


 

Klagenfurt (Austria) - 16 May 2012

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Austria today

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Klagenfurt airport earlier this afternoon from Maribor, Slovenian. Mr. Gerhard Dörfler, the Governor of Carinthia region welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the airport. The was a traditional Austrian welcome ceremony and a very large media was waiting for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the airport.

Governor Mr. Gerhard Dörfler is the host of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Klagenfurt.

Tibet Centre - International Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies based in Hüttenberg is the main organizer of the Austrian visit. The centre is a non-profit registered association. It was established in 2006 under the Patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and continued support from the Regional Government of Carinthia.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a short visit to Hüttenberg, the birthplace of Mr. Heinrich Harrer, the author of Seven Years in Tibet. Hüttenberg this year celebrates the centenary birthday of their famous son. He also consecrated the construction of Tibet Centre.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give four public talks, two days Tibetan Buddhism teaching and take part in one day symposium on Buddhism and Science during his visit to Austria. He will visit Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna, capital city of Austria from 17 to 27 May. From 22 to 24 May His Holiness will travel to Udine, Italy and Huy, Belgium.

Starting tomorrow in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give two days Tibetan Buddhism teaching and a pubic talk on The Art of Happiness. In Salzburg His Holiness will give the keynote address on World Peace and Universal Responsibility jointly organized by the Alpine Peace Crossing and the Tibet Centre on 20 May morning. In the afternoon, His Holiness will take part in an interfaith dialogue - Harmony in Diversity organized by the University of Salzburg and the Tibet Centre.

The renowned Austrian quantum physicist Prof. Dr. Anton Zeilinger, German neurophysiologist Dr. Wolf Singer and Protestant theologian, Buddhism Prof. Dr. Michael von Brück and other speakers will join His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the one day Buddhism and Science symposium on Mind and Matter - New Models of Reality in Vienna. The symposium is jointly organised by the University of Vienna and the Tibet centre.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the European Tibet Solidarity Rally in Vienna, the final stop of his Europe visit on 26 May 2012. The main message of the solidarity rally is Tibet needs you. Now. It calls on Europe and the world to act on the present situation in Tibet. For more information see www.europefortibet.com

This is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 12th visit to Austria. The first was in 1973 and second in 2007.

For Austrian visit details, see www.dalailama.at

Media contact:

Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa +43 688 960 2341

17 May 2012: 19:00 to 20:00 hrs – Central European Time

18, 19, 20 and 21 May 2012

06:00 to 08:00 hrs – Central European Time

18:00 to 20:00 hrs – Central European Time

 


 

Maribor (Slovenia) - 16 May 2012

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's second day in Maribor, Slovenia

Meeting his host, the Mayor of Maribor, Franc Kangler, and his staff this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recalled how much he had enjoyed his first visit to Maribor in 2010 and how impressed he had been with what he saw of Slovenia. When Mr Kangler proudly told him that, although Slovenia is a comparatively small country, Maribor's football team had beaten both Russia and Serbia here in Maribor, His Holiness remarked that in the field of truth and justice too, size is not always the deciding factor. He recalled that in 1959, the Tibet issue was raised at the UN by Malaysia and Ireland, neither of them large countries. Indeed, he said, it is sometimes smaller countries who are less swayed by economic considerations and more able to stand by their principles.

Mayor Kangler agreed, telling His Holiness that Maribor had had to struggle to become the Cultural Capital of Europe. He added that you have to fight for your rights, but having done so you have to be prepared to shoulder the consequent responsibilities. Next year, when Maribor is the European City of Youth the Mayor said that as a gift to Tibetans the city would like to invite Tibetan students to come to Maribor to join in the events.

Before leaving for the University of Maribor, His Holiness and the Mayor talked enthusiastically about the Slovene language, its dialects and the varieties of language in the region. Arriving at the University, the Rector Prof. Dr Danijel Rebolj was waiting in the light rain to greet His Holiness and had a short meeting with him before escorting him to the auditorium where the Out of the Box Conference – Innovative Ways to Improve the Culture of Living was taking place. His Holiness joined the Rector, Prof. Denis Noble of the University of Oxford, who he has met before, Prof. Dirk Helbing from Zurich and Prof. Siegfried Grossman of Marburg University, Germany before an audience of about 800.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offering a Buddha statue and Butter lamp to the Mayor of Maribor

After observing that on a fundamental level we human beings are the same emotionally and physically, His Holiness declared how pleased he was to join the other scholars to talk and learn from each other. He said that despite his age, he still thinks of himself as a student. He quoted an ancient scholar as saying that even if you are going to die tomorrow it's still worth learning something today. He said that thinking out of the box and finding innovative ways to improve the way we live is not only important, but it is something human beings are peculiarly equipped to do. Education therefore is the key to improvement, we have to think more holistically, not narrowly pursuing our own interests, but understanding that if we neglect the interests of others, ultimately we will be the losers. Therefore, warm-heartedness is the guarantee of our own future.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama signing the guest book of Maribor

Alluding to the importance of looking at challenges from a different angle, His Holiness noted that when a tragedy occurs it may provoke frustration and anger in you, but it may also provide you new experience and insight that strengthens your determination. He cited events from his own life, that he lost his freedom at the age of 16 and lost his country at 24. On the one hand it was sad, but on the other it liberated him from what he considers useless formality and enabled him to meet many different kinds of people from whom he has learnt a great deal about the oneness of humanity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to participants of the luncheon, organized by the Mayor of Maribor

After he had attended an invited lunch with Mayor Franc Kangler, about 2400 gathered to hear His Holiness deliver a public talk on Cultivating Peace of Mind. Commenting on the greater maturity of people in the latter part of a twentieth century, a period during which many people regarded war as unavoidable, His Holiness remarked that great changes had taken place since the fall of the Berlin wall. The ideological conflict of the Cold War came to an end. People began to take much greater interest in preserving the natural environment and acting to stop climate change. Meanwhile, among religious communities there is a much greater acceptance of other spiritual traditions. Therefore, he feels quite optimistic.

Once again His Holiness praised our marvellous human intelligence, the sharpness of mind that enables us to think things through and analyse them. Analysis allows us to judge which of our emotions favour a calm mind and which disrupt it. Through analysis we can come to understand that fear, anger and jealousy undermine our peace of mind, while cultivating a more compassionate attitude to others boosts our self-confidence, which in turn supports a calm mind. Scientists have found that peace of mind is good for our physical well-being, while afflictive emotions like anxiety and suspicion eat into our immune system.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Public Talk in Maribor

When it comes to discussing the moral principles that reinforce our ability to develop a calm mind His Holiness says he likes to take a secular approach. This is because a large proportion of the world's 7 billion people have little interest in religion and even those who profess to be religious are little affected by it in their day to day lives. At the same time humanity is facing many problems that are a direct result of our lack of moral principles, which is why presenting ethics in a secular context is so important.

His Holiness urged those who will come of age in the twenty-first century to create a better world by cultivating vision, determination and enthusiasm. While he admitted that the UN, political leaders and the clergy may not be able to do much to change the world for the better, His Holiness stressed the need for individuals and smaller nations to seize the opportunity to create a more peaceful, more equitable world. “Don't give in to helplessness or hopelessness” he said, adding, “Every one of you can make a contribution. I may not live to see the results of your efforts, but you surely will. “

Many individuals came forward to ask His Holiness questions, one young woman beginning by thanking him for showing the goodness of smiling and laughter.

Tomorrow His Holiness is to join several other Nobel Peace Laureates to discuss Why we need dialogue and solidarity in the global crisis? at the National Theatre, Maribor, before travelling to Klagenfurt, Austria in the afternoon.

 


 

Maribor (Slovenia) - 15 May 2012

HH the Dalai Lama arrives in Maribor, Slovenia, the Cultural Capital of Europe

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives in Maribor airport from Vienna

It was raining in London this morning as His Holiness left for Vienna, Austria on his way to Maribor, Slovenia, at the invitation of the Mayor, Franc Kangler. His Holiness was accompanied to the door of his plane by David Cassidy of the Templeton Foundation, his host during his brief visit to London.

During his transit stop at Vienna airport, His Holiness met Kurt Seinitz, Foreign News Editor of Kronenzeitung, Austria's largest newspaper with an average daily readership of nearly 3 million. Kurt Seinitz began by asking if His Holiness had a message for the people of Austria, and he replied, “Nothing special”. He went on to elaborate that Austrians like him are just human beings, some among the 7 billion who want a happy life and who have a right to achieve happiness. He pointed out that happiness derived from mere physical comfort tends to be shallow and fleeting, failing to pacify anxiety and fear, whereas if we have a calm mind it is effective in overcoming even physical pain, therefore we should not neglect the inner values that are a source of a calm mind. His Holiness said that he was most concerned to advise people to cultivate secular ethics, those inner values beyond religion that help us lead a peaceful and happy life.

His Holiness noted that he has a strong link with the Austrian people because of his friendship with Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschneiter. He recalled that he has been aware of this special link since his first trip to Europe in 1973 and offered his special greetings to all Austrians today.

A short flight took His Holiness and his party from Vienna to Maribor, Slovenia's second city and currently the Cultural Capital of Europe. He was met on the tarmac by his host Mayor Franc Kangler with members of his staff and family. His Holiness spoke briefly, recalling his first visit here 2 years ago. He told assembled journalists that he wanted to share his experience that since most of the problems we face are of our own creation it is logical to think that a solution to them is also in our own hands. We need to approach them with self-confidence and whether we face problems on local or global levels we must not lose our sense of optimism.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mayor Mr. Franc Kangler address the media at Maribor airport

Arriving at his hotel within sight of the Drava River, His Holiness met the Mayor again and asked what changes had taken place since he was last here. The Mayor told him that this year Maribor is, jointly with Guimaraes, Portugal, the European Capital of Culture. He added that next year Maribor will be the European Youth Capital and asked His Holiness if he had time to talk to the leaders of the European Youth Forum. They told him that they are in touch with youth groups across Europe and in Russian and Azerbaijan. They are also in touch with various faith groups and advocate the kind of inter-faith dialogue dear to His Holiness's heart. Asked what advice he would offer European Youth today, His Holiness suggested that they should not become demoralised because we need courage, determination and self-confidence to solve our problems. He recalled his own experience of losing his freedom at the age of 16, losing his country at the age of 24, and yet he has not given up. He noted that although there is great suffering in Tibet under Chinese communist oppression, Tibetans steel themselves against it by hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mayor Mr. Franc Kangler at Hotel City in Maribor

His Holiness continued that young people in their teens and early twenties belong to the 21st century, whereas he considers himself to belong to the 20th century that is already over. The 20th century was, despite many momentous developments, characterized by violence, bloodshed and oppression. If that had resulted in a better, more stable world it might have been justified, but that was not so, he said. Recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are symptoms of mistakes originating in the 20th century. He urged young people today to ask themselves how to solve problems they might face. What you need, he said, is a vision that this 21st century will be an era of dialogue and peace and he commended the steps already being taken in this European Youth Forum.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mayor Kangler and youth leaders at Hotel City in Maribor

Tomorrow morning His Holiness has been invited to participate in the University of Maribor’s Out of the Box Conference – focusing on the theme: Innovative Ways to Improve the Culture of Living – Special Session with World Thinkers. In the afternoon he is to give a public talk on Cultivating Peace of Mind.

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 15 May 2012

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Maribor European Capital of Culture 2012

This afternoon His Holiness the Dalai Lama will arrive in Maribor, Slovenia - the European Capital of Culture 2012 at the invitation of Mayor Mr. Franc Kangler and Rector Prof. Dr. Danijel Rebolj, University of Maribor.

On 16 May morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be the key speaker at the University of Maribor’s Out of the Box conference: Innovative Ways to Improve the Culture of Living. His Holiness and three prominent European scholars will address the Special Session with World Thinkers. University’s Rector Prof. Dr. Danijel Rebolj will moderate the session.

In the afternoon, His Holiness will speak on Cultivating Peace of Mind. The public talk is part of the Maribor for Peace - Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Maribor initiative to raise awareness of human values amongst its citizens and to inspire them.

On the third and last day of the visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Nobel Laureates Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, and Prof. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj (member of 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will address a peace conference called Why do we need Dialogue and Solidarity in the global Crisis? After the conference, His Holiness will unveil the Peace and Reconciliation Mural in front of the National Theater in Maribor.

From 10 to 18 May Maribor will host a number of Tibetan cultural events - creating sand mandala, numerous lectures and concerts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public talk and the peace conference with Nobel Laureates in Maribor will be live webcast via http://www.mariborforpeace.si and http://tvslo.si/#tv.slo2

16 May 2012 - Wednesday 13:30 - 1530 hrs (European Time) Public talk: Cultivating Peace of Mind

17 May 2012 - Thursday 10:00 - 11:30 hrs (European Time) Maribor Peace Conference: Why do we need Dialogue and Solidarity in the global crisis?

This is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s second visit by to Maribor. On 17 May afternoon His Holiness will leave for Klagenfurt, Austria.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the European Tibet Solidarity Rally in Vienna on 26 May 2012. The main message of the solidarity rally is Tibet needs you. Now. It calls on Europe and the world to act on the present situation in Tibet. For more information see: http://www.europefortibet.com

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 15 March 2012

International NGOs tell UN the current situation in Tibet is serious

Four international NGOs in their oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 13 and 14 March expressed concern about the current situation in Tibet.

Speaking at the 19th session of UN Human Rights Council under agenda Item 4’s general debate on “Human Rights Situation that requires council’s attention, Mr. Tenzin Samphel KAYTA (Photo) on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples drew the Council’s attention on series of self-immolations taking place in Tibet.

He said the self-immolators have called for “religious freedom in Tibet” and “return of their beloved spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Tibet”. 27 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009. 19 were confirmed dead and fate of others remain unknown. Last week alone, a student of 20-year-old woman, a 32-year-old mother-of-four and another two 18-year-old man and monk burned themselves alive. Sadly, all three died on the scene of their protest.

In 2008 there was widespread protests across Tibet. The Chinese authorities forcibly cracked down on the peaceful protestors. According to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in Dharamsala, there are over 830 known political prisoners in Tibet. In 2011 alone, (as of 15 December) 230 known Tibetans have been arrested and detained.

Tibet today is virtually locked down and undeclared martial law is in place. Mr. Jonathan Watts, Guardian newspaper’s reporter based in Beijing described the situation in Ngaba area as “conflict zone”.

The Chinese security forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protestors on three occasions in three different counties in late January this year. Five Tibetans were killed and over 30 were severely injured. Those injured from gunshots have been in hiding without medical treatment for fear of being arrested by the Chinese authorities.

Mr. Kayta further said instead of Tibetan monks studying Buddhism, the Chinese communist official work teams have been rigorously conducting communist ideology and making the monks denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan monasteries. Monks have been arrested, expelled or force to leave their monasteries for refusing to denounce the Dalai Lama and displaying allegiance to the Communist Party.

He reiterated Special Rapporteur on Food Mr. Olivier de SCHUTTER statement at the Human Rights Council session that Tibet is virtually closed to outsiders and all communication channels were blocked making it hard to verify information. Tibet is under undeclared martial law said Mr. Kayta.

He called upon the Council to urge China to respect basic rights of the Tibetan people and allow unfettered access to independent observers including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in all restive Tibetan areas.

Ms. Kalden Tsomo, spoke on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. She raised issues concerning Tibetan people’s cultural rights and right to development.

She made reference to a Radio Free Asia report where Chinese miners had told locals Tibetans in Driru County in Nagchu Prefecture that “their permit had been approved by the Communist Party secretary of the TAR, and that those Tibetans protesting the mining site would be treated as separatists.”

She further said that in 2010, at least four Tibetans were killed when police officers fired upon a crowd of Tibetans protesting mining in Palyul County, Kardze Autonomous Prefecture.

Just days ago, exile sources reported that 6 monks, including the Abbot of Lingka Monastery were given prison sentence ranging from 4 - 5 years for participating in a month-long anti-mining protest in Tamo, Shigatse in October - November 2011.

She called on the relevant Special Procedures of the Council to investigate how the Tibetan Peoples’ right to development is carried out.

Mr. Ngawang C. Drakmargyapon on behalf of Asian Indigenous and Tribal People's Network drew the Council’s attention to unresolved longstanding disappearance case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima since May 1995. He said Chinese government has so far not implemented the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s recommendation on 30 September 2005 asking China to “[a]llow an independent expert to visit and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while respecting his right to privacy, and that of his parents.”

He said that on 3 August 2007, China's State Administration for Religious Affairs issued a decree that all the reincarnations of tulkus of Tibetan Buddhism must get government approval; otherwise they are "illegal or invalid".

However, he said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a public statement on 24 September 2011 made it absolutely clear about his reincarnation.

“When I am about ninety I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism,… I (H.H. the Dalai Lama) shall leave clear written instructions about this. Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognized through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) expressed deep concern over Chinese officials’ announcement to close the “Tibet Autonomous Region” from February 20 to March 31, 2012 for foreigners as well as the close off of Tibetan areas in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces where protests, crackdown and self-immolations occurred.

Mr. Gianfranco Fattorini, a representative of PEC quoted the Chief of the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet who affirmed that "Mobile phones, Internet and other measures for the management of new media need to be fully implemented to maintain the public's interests and national security."

One journalist team reported that their car was suspiciously rammed by another vehicle. Reporters have been followed, questioned for hours, asked to write confessions and had their material confiscated.

He said that this is a clear violation of China’s regulations governing foreign reporters, which allow them to travel freely and interview anyone prepared to be interviewed. He urged the Chinese authorities to provide free access to foreign journalists to Tibetan areas as such a guarantee will allow the international community to judge the situation with reports from as many as possible different observers.

On 13th March afternoon, a side event was held by three NGOs inside the UN building to discuss on human rights situation in Tibet. In this event, 6 minutes video footage of the Central Tibetan Administration showing Chinese security forces brutal treatment of Tibetans during 2008 protests and self-immolations was screened. Read here for full report on this side event.

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 13 March 2012

A Tibetan human rights defender calls for multilateral intervention in Tibet

A young Tibetan human rights defender called for multilateral intervention to alleviate the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet.

"Tibetans have suffered and continues to suffer repression in Tibet. Tibetans are undergoing untold suffering. The situation in Tibet has become so repressive and unacceptable that Tibetans are setting themselves on fire,” said Ms. Kalden Tsomo, a human rights researcher.

“27 Tibetans have immolated. 14 cases of self-immolation happened in this year including a mother of four children," she said.

She addressed the Geneva Summit on Human Rights’ session on "Defying Totalitarian Regimes" at yesterday with speakers from Cuba, North Korea and China. She said the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala had always discouraged any form of protest in Tibet because of the consequences they would face. Even peaceful protests are met with harsh repression from the Chinese authorities.

Ms. Kalden Tsomo is a human rights researcher at the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala. She attended the Geneva Summit on Human Rights as a delegate of Swiss Tibetan Women’s Association. She is currently on a three weeks human rights advocacy training at Geneva for Human Rights.

In the afternoon, she made an oral statement at UN Human Rights Council session drawing the Council’s attention to an unsettling trend taking place in Tibet in relation to Tibetan cultural right and the right to development.

She said that China has denied Tibetans their voice in determining how their land is used. Instead of encouraging Tibetans involvement, the Chinese authorities have arrested Tibetans who have petitioned the Chinese government. They have been beaten and fired upon.

She called on the relevant Special Procedures of the Council to investigate how the Tibetan Peoples’ right to development is carried out.

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 13 March 2012

Three generations suffered under Chinese rule in Tibet

Rinchen Sangpo (Photo), a former Buddhist monk from Golok, Tibet said three generations of his family suffered under the Chinese rule. He was speaking at a Side Event on Human Rights of Tibetans at the UN Human Rights Council 19 session in Geneva this afternoon.

His grandfather was killed by the Chinese in 1958 and father disabled by the Chinese. He escaped from Tibet in 2009 because his life was in danger for conducting interview of Tibetans about their aspiration and spoken to Tibetan radio advocating freedom for Tibet.

“26 Tibetan have self-immolated in the last 12 months but 27 since February 2009,” said. Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative in Geneva. “19 of them have died from their injuries. 20 of them have been from Ngaba county. The youngest was a 17-years old monk.”

As they burned, they called for “Religious Freedom in Tibet” and “return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet”

“These self-immolations are taking place because of China’s repressive policies in Tibet. Tibet is undergoing the second cultural genocide. Tibetans are facing a desperate situation under Chinese rule,” he said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA have always discouraged such drastic actions said Mr. Chhoekyapa. Fault lies with the hardline Chinese leaders in Beijing. The self-immolations are a rejection of the empty promises of the so-called ‘socialist paradise.’

Self-immolations have been non-violent and others have not been involved said Kate Saunders of International Campaign for Tibet.

She spoke about the systematic assault on Tibetan monasteries by the Chinese authorities. Tibetans hope that their protest will outlive the communist Chinese rule. However, the present situation in Tibet today is very grim, she said.

The Chinese officials have been rigorously conducting communist ideology classes and forcing monks to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama instead of allowing the monks to study Buddhism. Those who refuse are arrested, expelled or force to leave their monasteries.

from left: Tseten S. Chhoekyapa, Representative of H. H. the Dalai Lama in Geneva, Mr. Rinchen Sangpo, Mr. Ngawang Choephel, Moderator, Mrs. Kate Saunders, International Campaign for Tibet

A diplomat from the US Mission said, “US is very concerned about the self-immolations” taking place in Tibet.

The Western world woke up to self-immolation protest in the 1960s by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. Since then there have been over 90 known self-immolation cases in 35 countries including in Europe, USA, South America and Asia. Of these 27 are from Tibet.

Reports from Tibet indicates, unless the situation in Tibet improves more Tibetans are willing to self-immolate to protest against the situation in Tibet in coming weeks and months.

The Chinese authorities instead of calming the situation, have stepped up massive military presence in the Tibetan areas. The military forces are more evident especially near the large Tibetan monasteries and towns.

Video footages secretly recorded by Sky TV shows Ngaba under a virtual lock down and swamped by large Chinese paramilitary police. Huge number of Chinese military and riot gear personnel manning the area speaks the ground reality.

“The Tibetan struggle is not against the Chinese people or China as a nation,” said Mr Chhoekyapa. “It is against the PRC government’s policies. China must acknowledge the depth of the problems in Tibet. They cannot solve the Tibetan issue through violence.”

Tibetans are not seeking independence or separation from China he said. But seeking a genuine autonomy within China to safe guard Tibetan religion and Culture.

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 10 March 2012

53rd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising

 

  Tibetan: ཕྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༡༢ གསུམ་བཅུའི་དུས་དྲན་ཐེངས་ ༥༣ པའི་ཐོག་སྤེལ་པའི་བཀའ་བློན་ཁྲི་པའི་ཡོངས་ཁྱབ་གཏམ་བཤད།

  English: Statement of Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay on the 53rd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

  Deutsch: Erklärung von Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay zum 53. Jahrestag des Tibetischen Nationalaufstands

  Français: Déclaration du Kalon Tripa, Dr Lobsang Sangay, à l'occasion du 53ème anniversaire de la journée nationale du soulèvement tibétain

  Italiano: Discorso del Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay nel 53° Anniversario dell'Insurrezione Nazionale Tibetana

  Magyar: A Kalon Tripa, Dr. Lobsang Sangay nyilatkozata a tibeti nemzeti forradalom 53. évfordulóján.

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 8 March 2012

People's Republic of China:
Human Rights of Tibetans?

organized by Society for Threatened Peoples, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights & mrap

Tuesday, 13 March 2012 - Palais des Nations, Geneva - 12.00 - 14.00 hrs (Room XXIV)

Speakers:

  • Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, Representative of H. H. the Dalai Lama for Central and Eastern Europe

  • Ms. Kate Saunders, Communications Director, International Campaign for Tibet, UK

  • Mr. Rinchen Sangpo, Witness from Tibet

Moderation:

  • Mr. Ngawang Choephel, President Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), Netherlands

  Flyer (pdf)

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 6 March 2012

UN Special Rapporteur challenges China’s forced resettlement policy in Tibet

The UN Special Rapporteur right to food Mr. Olivier De Schutter (Photo) this afternoon challenged China’s forced resettlement policy in Tibet during the interactive debate at the UN Human Rights Council 19th Session in Geneva.

“I believe there are many serious problems in China and not least the situation of herders in Tibet,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur’s China report was released on 20 January 2012. It called for the suspension of the non-voluntary resettlement of Tibetan nomadic herders from their traditional lands. And said China must improve employment opportunities, education and health services in “new socialist” villages, in order to enable the realization of the right to adequate food of all resettled rural habitants. He visited China in December 2010 (Report)

The report urged China to “allow for meaningful consultations to take place with the affected communities, permitting parties to examine all available options, including recent strategies of sustainable management of marginal pastures.”

During the interactive debate the European Union said, “We are concerned about the impact of these resettlements on Tibetan nomads, herders and other rural residents, and would like to hear more about whether the SR has been able to engage the Chinese authorities with the view to the implementation of these recommendations.”

The Chinese delegation expressed concerns about the content of the report. China rejected the allegations made by the Human Rights Watch and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in their oral statements.

The delegation said that the nomadic herders were resettled to improve the sustainable economic and social developments in the region and has been widely supported by farmers and herders. The resettlement of nomads and herders in China’s Western provinces including Tibet were “very popular polices”.

In response, the Special Rapporteur made references to a September 2011 Xinhua news report which said, “Most of the new migrants still miss their nomadic lives, yearning to listen to the yaks and tread the grasslands of their ancestral home.”

He said the Xinhua news report quoted a Tibetan saying that his family now lives on an annual governmental subsidies that is "less than the price of two yaks. Everything is so expensive here in town.”

The Special Rapporteur said the figures he had given - 200,000 nomads in Qinghai resettlement program alone, 64,000 families since 2009. And the plan is to move 50,000 Tibetan nomads to be resettlement by end of 2012 were data from China’s official News Agency Xinhua.

“This policy of forcible resettlement demonstrating that this is very large-scale development,” he said.

Mr. Schutter said that the resettlement policies were failing because since March 2011, 25 Tibetans self-immolated in protest against the policies that are implemented in this region. He said 18 of the 25 who burned themselves were actually herders forcibility resettled in the new socialist villages. “This I have to say is not compatible with the idea that these would be I quote “very popular polices”, he said.

Responding to Chinese delegation statement that the Special Rapporteur hadn’t been to Tibet, he said, “I am told that I can’t comment on this because I cannot travel to Tibet.”

In his final remark he said “regularly the communication system, internet, phones, sms are blocked and that Tibet is currently completely closed to independent observes including the media, in fact BBC journalist was threatened with expulsion if he reported on Tibet.”

 


 

Geneva (Switzerland) - 2 March 2012

UN Human Rights Chief asked when she will visit Tibet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented her annual report of 2011 at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this morning.

Ms Pillay said that the government of Nepal’s decided not to extend the mandate of her office. In this connection, Tenzin Samphel Kayta (Photo below) speaking on behalf of Society for Threatened Peoples and International Fellowship of Reconciliation expressed concern at Nepal government’s decision. He said that OHCHR presence in Nepal monitored vulnerable groups like the Tibetan Refugee community whose basic human rights have come under repeated attacks in recent years. He urged the High Commissioner to remind the Nepalese government that it has obligation under international laws to ensure equal rights and justice for all ethnic group including Tibetans.

With regard to China, Mr. Kayta said “this Council was informed by the Chinese delegation that China will receive the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at an agreeable time. The UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay even confirmed to Norwegian NGO last May that China had issued an invitation… Following the brutal repression of Tibetan protestors on the Tibetan plateau in 2008, former UN Human rights chief Ms. Arbour requested a visit to Tibet. However, Chinese authorities have responded by saying “the timing was not convenient now”.

Mr. Kayta asked the UN Human rights chief if there is any progress of her visit to China.

Two international NGOs [ECOSOC status] report on right to education in Tibet and Severe restrictions on religious freedom and freedom of expression were submitted for the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Click below two links to read full text of the reports:

  Written statement submitted by the Society for Threatened Peoples, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

  Written statement submitted by the Fondation Danielle Mitterrand - France Libertés, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

On 5 March, the Council will discuss Special Rapporteur on Torture, Special Rapporteur on human rights defender, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances among others reports submitted to the Council.

 


 

Dharamsala (Indien) - 20 January 2012

Statement of Kalon Tripa, Dr. Lobsang Sangay on the occasion of Tibetan New Year Losar

 


 

Dharamsala (Indien) - 26. Januar 2012

Stellungnahme von Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay zu den jüngsten Tötungen von Tibetern durch die VR China

Während die Chinesen am 23. und 24. Januar 2012 überall die ersten Tage des Jahres des Drachens feierlich begingen, schoss die chinesische Polizei wahllos auf Hunderte von Tibetern, die sich in Drango, Serthar, Ngaba, Gyarong und anderen benachbarten Gegenden friedlich versammelt hatten, um ihre Grundrechte geltend zu machen. Wie verlautet, wurden dabei sechs Tibeter getötet und um die 60 verletzt, manche von ihnen so schwer, dass man um ihr Überleben fürchten muss.

Wegen solch grauenhafter Gewaltakte wie diesen letzteren und der systematischen Unterdrückung des tibetischen Volkes, haben dessen Groll und Verbitterung über die chinesische Regierung seit der massiven Erhebung von 2008 nur noch zugenommen.

Seit der Invasion Tibets beansprucht die chinesische Regierung, ein sozialistisches Paradies in Tibet schaffen zu wollen. Den Tibetern werden jedoch ihre grundlegenden Menschenrechte verweigert, die empfindliche Umwelt wird zerstört, die tibetische Sprache und Kultur werden assimiliert, Bilder Seiner Heiligkeit des Dalai Lama sind verboten, und das tibetische Volk wird wirtschaftlich marginalisiert. Tibet ist nun völlig von der Außenwelt abgeriegelt. Ausländer dürfen nicht mehr nach Tibet einreisen, die gesamte Region steht de facto unter Kriegsrecht.

Deshalb rufe ich die chinesische Führung auf, den Klagen der demonstrierenden Tibeter und derjenigen, die sich selbst verbrannten, Beachtung zu schenken. Mit Gewalt und dem Töten von Demonstranten werden Sie die berechtigten Klagen der Tibeter nicht abstellen und die Stabilität in Tibet nicht wieder herstellen können. Der einzige Weg, um die Tibetfrage zu lösen und einen dauerhaften Frieden zu schaffen, besteht darin die Rechte des tibetischen Volkes zu achten, sowie den Dialog aufzunehmen. Für jemanden, der sich dem Prinzip des ausgleichenden Dialogs tief verpflichtet fühlt, ist dieser Einsatz von Gewalt gegen die Tibeter sowieso unerträglich. Er sollte von allen Menschen in China und in der ganzen Welt auf das Schärfste verurteilt werden.

Ich rufe die internationale Gemeinschaft auf, sich mit dem tibetischen Volk solidarisch zu erklären und in diesen kritischen Zeiten ihre Stimme zum Schutz seiner Grundrechte zu erheben. Ich ersuche darum, dass die internationale Gemeinschaft und die Vereinten Nationen eine Untersuchungsdelegation nach Tibet entsenden, und dass den internationalen Medien Zugang zu der Region gewährt wird. Die Führung in Peking sollte sich darüber im Klaren sein, dass sie in einem ungeheuerlichen Verstoß gegen das Völkerrecht und in Missachtung ihrer eigenen Gesetze ihre eigenen „Familienmitglieder“ tötet, und dass eine solche Handlungsweise Chinas moralische Legitimität und sein Ansehen auf der Weltbühne nur noch mehr in Frage stellen wird.

Ich möchte hiermit auch meinen geliebten Brüdern und Schwestern in Tibet beteuern, dass wir ihren Hilfeschrei laut und deutlich vernehmen. Wir bitten Euch, verzweifelt nicht und nehmt Abstand von allen extremen Schritten. Wir fühlen Euren Schmerz mit Euch und wir werden nicht gestatten, dass die Opfer, die Ihr gebracht habt, umsonst waren. Ihr seid alle in unseren Herzen und Gebeten – einen jeden Tag und ohne Unterlass.

Ich ersuche ferner meine tibetischen Landsleute, das Losar (Tibetisches Neujahr), das dieses Jahr auf den 22. Februar fällt, nicht zu feiern. Führt jedoch die gewohnheitsmäßigen religiösen Rituale aus wie zum Tempel zu gehen, Räucherwerk zu verbrennen und die traditionellen Gaben darzubringen.

Um unsere Solidarität mit den Tibetern in Tibet zu bezeigen, bitte ich die Tibeter und unsere Freunde in der ganzen Welt, am Mittwoch, den 8. Februar, weltweite Mahnwachen abzuhalten. Lasst uns eine laute und vernehmbare Botschaft an die chinesische Regierung richten, die Botschaft, dass Gewalt und das Töten unschuldiger Tibeter nicht akzeptabel sind. Ich bitte alle darum, diese Mahnwachen in Frieden und Würde und im Einklang mit den Gesetzen des jeweiligen Landes durchzuführen.

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 26 January 2012

Statement by Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay on the recent killings of Tibetans by the P. R. China’s government

As Chinese everywhere were celebrating the first couple of days of the Year of Dragon on January 23rd and 24th, 2012. Chinese police fired indiscriminately on hundreds of Tibetans who had gathered peacefully to claim their basic rights in Drakgo, Serthar, Ngaba, Gyarong, and other neighboring Tibetan areas. Six Tibetans were reportedly killed and around sixty injured, some critically.

Because of gruesome acts such as these and the systematic repression of Tibetans, the resentment and anger amongst Tibetans against Chinese government has only grown since the massive uprising of 2008.

Ever since the invasion of Tibet, the Chinese government has claimed that it seeks to create a socialist paradise. However, basic human rights are being denied to Tibetans, the fragile environment is being destroyed, Tibetan language and culture is being assimilated, portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are banned, and Tibetans are being economically marginalized. Tibet is in virtual lockdown. Foreigners have been barred from travelling to Tibet now and the entire region is essentially under undeclared martial law.

I urge the Chinese leadership to heed the cries of the Tibetan protestors and those who have committed self-immolation. You will never address the genuine grievances of Tibetans and restore stability in Tibet through violence and killing. The only way to resolve the Tibet issue and bring about lasting peace is by respecting the rights of the Tibetan people and through dialogue. As someone deeply committed to peaceful dialogue, the use of violence against Tibetans is unacceptable and must be strongly condemned by all people in China and around the world.

I call on the international community to show solidarity and to raise your voices in support of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people at this critical time. I request that the international community and the United Nations send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet and that the world media be given access to the region as well. The leaders in Beijing must know that killing its own “family members” is in clear violation of international and Chinese laws, and such actions will cast further doubts on China’s moral legitimacy and their standing in world affairs.

I want to tell my dear brothers and sisters inside Tibet that we hear your cries loud and clear. We urge you not to despair and refrain from extreme measures. We feel your pain and will not allow the sacrifices you have made go in vain. You all are in our heart and prayers each and every day.

To my fellow Tibetans, I request you not to celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year), which falls on February 22 this year. However, please observe the basic customary religious rituals such as burning incense, going to temple and making traditional offerings.

To demonstrate our solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, I urge Tibetans and our friends around the world, to participate in a worldwide vigil on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Let’s send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that violence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable! I request everyone to conduct these vigils peacefully, in accordance with the laws of your country, and with dignity.

A video message of this statement is available with the following link: www.tibetonline.tv.

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 14 January 2012

Tibetans protest Chinese Police’s refusal to release body of Self-Immolator - One Civilian shot dead

According to latest reports from Tibet, another Tibetan self-immolated on January 14, 2012 in Ngaba county (Sichuan). The body of the self-immolator was taken away by the local police. Approximately 700 individuals from the local community surrounded the police station demanding that the body be released. Following the refusal of the police to do so, a confrontation ensued and an elderly Tibetan woman was reportedly shot dead by the police.

The Central Tibetan Administration condemns the use of violence against civilians and appeals the international community to intervene so as to restrain the Chinese government from further use of violence. Furthermore, it requests the international community, the United Nations, and liberal Chinese intellectuals to send observers to assess the current ground reality.

The People’s Republic of China’s government must take full responsibility for these cases of self-immolation. It is within its power to end these unfortunate incidents by adopting liberal policies for Tibet and Tibetan people.

Press contact:
Thubten Samphel, Spokesman for CTA, +91 98050 24662
Lobsang Choedak, Press Officer, +91 72779 3866

 


 

Dharamsala (India) - 9 January 2012

Press Release

Self-immolator Prompts Candle Light Vigil by 2000 Nomads in Tibet

According yesterday's reports from Tibet, on 8 January around 5 AM, Sonam Wangyal, a venerated spiritual figure, in Darlag county of Golok in Qinghai set himself on fire and succumbed to his injuries. Sonam Wangyal, a man in his forties, is said to have self immolated to protest the lack of religious freedom in his homeland. Due to his position as a local spiritual leader approximately 2,000 local Tibetans are said to have held a candlelight vigil urging the local police authorities to release his body. The local police averted further tension by agreeing to do so.

The Central Tibetan Administration will provide updates on the situation as more details become available. Meanwhile, the Chinese state news organ, Xinhua, confirmed the self-immolation by two Tibetans, of which one died, on 6 January in the vicinity of Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, Sichuan.

In the last twelve months there have now been 15 cases of self- immolation in Tibet. All those who set themselves in fire have demanded the restoration of freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland.

 
 

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