Tibet News Digest
31. Dec 2011 - 13. Jan 2012

ISSN: 1864-1393

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31. Dec 2011
China says immolations will not change Tibet policy
(Reuters) The self-immolations by Tibetans in Tibetan areas of the People's Republic of China (PRC) during 2011 in protest at government controls will never succeed in forcing any policy changes, a senior Chinese official has been quoted as saying. Zhu Weiqun, a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department, and who bears responsibilities for Tibet, said: "I can honestly say to our friends that even if such a thing happens again, the direction of the Chinese government's policies in Tibet and our attitude toward the Dalai clique's struggle will not change in any way". The comments were carried on the government website tibet.cn. Zhu's remarks were included in a transcript of a meeting between him and European officials and academics in Brussels in December 2011.

03. Jan 2012
Tibet railway carries 6.5m travellers in 2011
(Xinhua) More than 6.5 million people travelled on the Lhasa-Golmud railway in 2011, up 9 per cent from 2010, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company has reported. The railway also transported 40 million tonnes of cargo in 2011, up 8 per cent year-on-year, said an official with the railway company. The official said the number of passengers is likely to reach 6.9 million in 2012. The TAR has seen 8.43 million tourists in the first 11 months of 2011, a 27.7-percent increase from the same period the previous year, according to Tibet's tourism bureau.

05. Jan 2012
3.2 billion yuan for "ecological security barrier"
(Xinhua) Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) spent 3.2 billion yuan (UK£331.5m; US$507m; EUR€401m) in 2011 as part of strategy that describes the area as an "ecological security barrier". The spending financed 10 projects including programmes that involve conservation of pastureland and wetland, forest fire and pest prevention and wildlife protection and environmental monitoring, according to Zhang Yongze, the regional environment protection chief. Beijing approved plans for the strategy in 2009. The plan will involve 27 eco-conservation projects to be launched from 2011 to 2015.

06. Jan 2012 (1 comments)
Two Tibetans set themselves alight
(RFA) Two Tibetans, former monks of Kirti monastery, set themselves on fire in Ngaba (Chin: Aba) prefecture, Sichuan province. They have been named as Tsultrim and Tenyi, A monk and a layman, both aged around 20 years of age. A few minutes after they set themselves alight, the People's Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrived at the scene. The PAP and PSB policemen extinguished the fire and took the two away to an unknown place. An RFA source described the men's actions immediately before they set themselves on fire: "With folded hands they faced towards Kirti Monastery and raised a number of slogans amongst which the audible ones were 'Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama' and 'We want the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet'".

06. Jan 2012
Former CTA Secretary passes away
(Tibet.net) Former Secretary Lobsang Tsultrim of the Department of Security, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) passed away on 12 December 2011 in Nepal. Lobsang Tsultrim was born in the year 1939 in Kham Chatreng. After going into exile in 1959, he worked as a translator for some time after getting trained in intelligence services in the United States. He joined the CTA in 1983 as the administrator in charge of Tibetan schools in Nepal. In 1985, he was promoted to the post of Under-Secretary in the Department of Security. He was appointed as the Secretary of Department of Security in 1987 and continued in that position before retiring in 1989. After retirement, he served in the Tibetan Election Commission at the request of the Kashag.

06. Jan 2012
Takmig Sentenced to Four Years
(TCHRD) The Kanlho (Chin: Gannan) People's Intermediate Court has sentenced writer Kalsang Tsultrim, whose pen name is Gyitsang Takmig, to four years imprisonment. He was arrested on 16 December 2010, in Sangchu county, (Chin: Xiahe) Kanlho TAP, Gansu province. According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Kalsang Tsultrim was first arrested on 27 July 2010 in Sichuan province, accused of "committing political errors". He composed and distributed 2,500 VCDs discussing Tibetan history and recording Tibetan concerns. He also wrote a book (Sharing the Inner Thoughts in My Heart) on the same subject. On 15 October 2010, Kalsang Tsultrim was released on the condition that he would not participate in any politics related work.

06. Jan 2012
China denies visa to Arunachal officer
(PTI) China has denied a visa to a senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officer from Arunachal Pradesh, who was to travel as part of a military delegation. Group Captain M Panging was refused the visa by the Chinese embassy without being given any reasons, PTI reported. Reacting strongly, India suspended the visit that was to start from 10 January. The officer was to be part of the Integrated Defence Staff team travelling to China on a four-day visit under a bilateral defence exchange programme. China, which lays claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has often denied visas to those hailing from the state despite protests by India.

08. Jan 2012
Angry Tibetans Parade Corpse
(RFA) Hundreds of angry Tibetans forced Chinese authorities to return the body of a monk who self-immolated, parading the corpse in the streets in Qinghai province, witnesses told RFA. Sopa, a 42-year-old monk, set himself on fire and died in front of the police station of Darlag (Chin: Dari) county in Golog (Chin: Golok) TAP after reportedly shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom and the long life of the Dalai Lama. Sopa is believed to be the most senior monk to have self himself ablaze so far.

08. Jan 2012
China calls self-immolaters "thieves"
(Xinhua) Xinhua, while reporting the two instances of self-immolation on 06 January in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet has accused the two Tibetans of being "thieves". Identifying the two as former monks from Kirti monastery, Xinhua reported that one "died in a hotel room after setting himself on fire while another man aged 22 was being treated in hospital after setting himself ablaze". The report claimed that an "investigation" found that the "men had been involved in a number of thefts, including the 'case of the Kirti monastery Buddha statue burglary'".

08. Jan 2012
600kg of China-bound orchids seized
(MyRepublica) Nepalese police have seized around 200 kilos of orchids being smuggled from Nepal into Dram (Chin: Zhangmu, Nep: Khasa), in Tibet, hidden in a truck. Local police found nine sacks of orchids hidden under 650kg of human hair while checking a truck at the border check-post. Police also found 29 cartons of toffees in the truck that had reached Barhabise from Kathmandu passing a dozen security check-posts along the Arniko Highway. The driver has admitted to having carried the orchids for money but did not reveal the identity of the owners. Orchids and various herbs are in high demand in China for use in traditional medicines.

09. Jan 2012
Thousands Attend Funeral
(RFA) Defying a security clampdown, thousands of Tibetans gathered in Qinghai province to honour Sopa, a senior lama who died in a self-immolation protest. The Chinese authorities at first refused to hand over Sopa's body to his relatives but relented after hundreds of angry Tibetans smashed windows and doors of the local police station. "[...] A few thousand Tibetans from Darlag (Chin: Dari) and Gade (Chin: Gande) counties gathered in Darlag town and prayed for the late Sopa Tulku", a Tibetan from the area, told RFA. Following Sopa's death, Chinese authorities tightened security in Darlag, deploying additional security forces from the main town of Golog, as posters praising Sopa's act and calling for a boycott of Chinese goods appeared in the county, RFA sources said.

10. Jan 2012
Kalachakra ends in Bodhgaya
(TibetInfoNet) The Kalachakra religious ceremony conducted by the Dalai Lama ended after ten days. While the exact number of participants this year is not yet known, sources speak about up to 200,000 participants from around the world. Out of these, about 8,500 were Tibetans travelling from Tibet and 4,600 Chinese, including 1,600 from Hong Kong.

10. Jan 2012
US concerns over Tibetan self-immolations
(VOA) The US says it is "seriously concerned" that more Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the PRC, and says the actions represent deep frustration with Chinese government restrictions, according to Voice of America (VOA). US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the self-immolations show there is enormous anger over severe Chinese restrictions on human rights and religious freedoms. She added that Washington has consistently raised the issue with China.

10. Jan 2012
Tsultrim, Tenyi, and Norbu Damdul all succumb to injuries
(Phayul) The death toll from the series of self-burning in Tibet since March 2011 has risen to ten with the deaths of Tsultrim, Tenyi, and Norbu Damdul. Tsultrim and Tenyi, both around 20 years of age, had set themselves on fire on 06 January 2012. According to information from the exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala, Tenyi succumbed to his injuries shortly after Chinese security personnel arrested him on the same day as the incident, and Tslutrim passed away a day later. Norbu Damdul, a former monk from Kirti Monastery, who set himself on fire on 15 October 2011, passed away in a Chinese military hospital in Barkham (Chin: Ma'erkang) county, eastern Tibet on 05 January 2012.

10. Jan 2012
Tibetan Villagers Clash With Police
(RFA) Chinese police have shot and killed a Tibetan man accused of stealing tents from a controversial construction site, triggering clashes between villagers and security forces in Labrang/Sangchu (Chin: Xiahe) county in Gansu province, local sources told RFA. The dead man was identified by local sources as Gurgo Tseten, 35. He was shot allegedly while visiting another man, Gonpo Kyab, who was detained and taken away by police. Chinese police suspected the men of taking tents pitched at a site where Chinese authorities are planning to build an airstrip despite protests by local Tibetans who claim the area, Amnye Gong Ngo, is sacred, the RFA source said. Though villagers presented evidence to show that the two men were not involved in the loss of the tents, "the Chinese police did not listen, and came to detain them" he said. Following the shooting, Tibetans ransacked the police station in nearby Achog Ngago township, damaging windows and doors, the source said. Local police fled to be replaced by paramilitary reinforcements. After an initial clash in which police fired tear gas, "many Tibetans were taken into custody, and many were injured", the source said, adding that some police were also injured and that two or three vehicles were burned.

13. Jan 2012
207 Tibetans arrested at the Thankot check-post
(HURON; TibetInfoNet) A total of 207 Tibetans have been arrested at the Thankot check-post at the entrance of the Kathmandu Valley on the evening of 12 January. They were arrested from their buses for not holding travel documents while travelling back from India where they had attended the Kalachakra ceremony conducted by the Dalai Lama. They were then handed over to Kathmandu's Immigration Department. After getting hold of their respective passports, some were formally released at noon on 13 January while 114 of the detained, who had not been able to produce passports until then, were handed over to the responsibility of HURON's Tibetan Refugee Desk chief, Mr. Sambhu Lama. All were asked to leave Nepal within three days for transgressing Nepali laws. Tibetans who leave the PRC legally routinely deposit their passports with friends or relatives in Nepal, before proceeding to India, the actual goal of their travel, where they meet the Dalai Lama. They do so in order to avoid having their passports stamped by the Indian authorities, which would bring them trouble when returning to Chinese territory.

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