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2009. June 08. Monday

World Tibet Network News Monday, June 8, 2009 Published by: The Canada Tibet Committee Editorial Board: Nima Dorjee, Norm Steinberg, Ryszard Ciemek, Tseten Samdup, Thubten (Sam) Samdup WTN Editors: wtn-editors@tibet.ca Issue ID: 2008/06/08 1. Dalai Lama hits out at China (AFP) 2. Dalai Lama meets with Chinese community in Paris (Phayul) 3. Speaker Pelosi vows to work until freedom prevails in China and Tibet (TibetNet) 4. China Creates Specter of Dueling Dalai Lamas (The New York Times) 5. Tibetan Broadcaster Wins David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award (RFA) 6. Monk in waiting (Indian Express) 7. Playing ball gives Tibetans a sense of nationhood (The Times of India) 8. A Tibetan’s View of June Fourth: Human Rights in China Interviews Rigzin (CRF) 9. When a 'Chosen' Tibetan Lama Says No Thanks (The Time) 10. Monk suicides on the rise in Buddhist Tibet (TCHRD) 1. Dalai Lama hits out at China PARIS: 07 June 2009 (AFP) The Dalai Lama accused China on Saturday of imposing a "death sentence" on Tibet, as he arrived in Paris for a visit that has once again chilled Franco-Chinese relations. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is to be named an honorary citizen of the French capital despite warnings from the Chinese government that his arrival will harm relations with France. The Dalai Lama criticised Beijing's actions in Tibet since apparent anti-Chinese protests erupted in the region last year. "Since March 2008 I have the feeling that a very old nation and its heritage and culture have received a death sentence," he told reporters at Paris airport on his arrival. "The Chinese government makes a hard line policy, but the Chinese people are ignorant of the situation. The international community must go there to investigate, without restrictions." The Dalai Lama, 73, is to be made an honorary citizen of Paris on Sunday. On Saturday he met pro-Tibetan French lawmakers and members of the Chinese and Tibetan community in France. "He seem to us very pessimistic," said Lionnel Luca, president of the French parliament's 170-strong Tibet studies group. "For the first time he told us that the March 2008 events were a provocation by the Chinese authorities." The lawmaker, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the Dalai Lama had accused the Chinese state of sending its agents to smash up shops in an effort to blacken the name of Tibetan protest movements. French officials said it was a coincidence the Dalai Lama would be in Paris at the same time as US President Barack Obama and there are no plans for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to meet top political representatives. "Once more I'm very happy to come to France. The main reason of my visit is to receive the honour, citizen of Paris," the Dalai Lama told reporters. "It's an opportunity to meet my old friends among politicians, business men, intellectuals and ordinary people." France is the fourth and final leg of his latest European tour, which he has insisted is not political, but China has given strong warnings to European governments. France and China have only just patched up relations following Beijing's anger over Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama in December. Last month China warned France not to make more "errors" on Tibet. "If the Paris city government does make this award, it will definitely meet once again with the Chinese people's firm opposition," a foreign ministry spokesman said, describing such moves as meddling in China's internal affairs. The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has said the award is an initiative of the city and not of the French state. But those assurances have done nothing to assuage the anger in Beijing, which accuses the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since 1959, of seeking independence for Tibet from Chinese rule. Delanoe said "there is no question of interfering" but that "there was also no question of renouncing my convictions, without seeking to be provocative." The Dalai Lama kicked off his latest European tour in Denmark last Friday and has also visited Iceland and the Netherlands. 2. Dalai Lama meets with Chinese community in Paris By Tenam Phayul Sunday, June 07, 2009 Paris, June 6 His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Chinese students, democracy activists and exiles at his hotel today after meeting with some French lawmakers. The Tibetan leader was welcomed earlier this morning on his arrival from Netherlands by a small group of Tibetans, French Buddhists and admirers. Stressing on people to people relationship, the Dalai Lama applauded the efforts by Tibetans and Chinese in Paris for starting a friendship association. "When we have interactions on a regular basis, then when a situation like the last year's protests in Tibet happens, we have a ground for working to solve any misunderstandings that arise. Otherwise we just end up shouting at each other," he said. Many Chinese participants shared their doubts about the sincerity of the Beijing authorities and the practicability of the 'Middle Way Approach'. The Dalai Lama responded that though he sometimes think many Tibetans support his stance due to their faith, nevertheless, the 'Special Meeting' in Dharamsala last year concluded in support of this path. A group of around 50 Chinese and the Dalai Lama discussed a wide variety of subjects - from His Holiness first visit to China, his exile and the relation between the Tibetans in exile and the Beijing authorities. He said that in 1956, on his first visit to India while situation in Tibet deteriorated, at Nehru's behest, he returned instead of seeking asylum. He said he also tried to negotiate a visit to Tibet in the early 80s and again in 1992. "In retrospect, I think I have been more useful being in exile. Otherwise I might have suffered the fate of the late Panchen Lama," the Dalai Lama pointed out. Referring to accusations against the Tibetan Youth Congress as being extremists, he said that they are firm in their commitment towards non-violence though their political goal differs from his. "Though I had some doubts about the timing of the protest, I was amazed by the courage of the Tiananmen protesters in 1989," he said. For the Chinese youths he reasoned that "it is important to look at all sides of an issue and come to their own conclusion rather than blindly following the official propaganda." "Be firm in your commitment to truth and then persevere," advised the Dalai Lama to the Chinese youth. The Dalai Lama will meet with Tibetans and people from the Himalayan region on Sunday morning and give a public conference titled 'Ethics and Society' at Bercy sports complex. Later in the afternoon he is scheduled to meet the Mayor of Paris and receive the 'citizen of honour’, which was passed by the city of Paris last year. The Green party members of the Paris council have hung portraits of the Dalai Lama and of the Chinese dissident Hu Jia from the windows of their offices near the city hall. 3. Speaker Pelosi vows to work until freedom prevails in China and Tibet TibetNet Saturday, 6 June 2009 Dharamshala Marking the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on Thursday (4 June), US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined fellow members of the US Congress and human rights activists to express their commitment to work until freedom and openness prevails in China and in Tibet. China's right activist Yang Jianli and the Initiatives for China organised the gathering at the US Capitol Hill. "Words fail me to adequately tell you what an honor it is to be on the same stage and in the presence of so many of the heroes of June 4 - to have a message at the same time from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in solidarity for more openness in China and Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama's statement in Chinese and English languages were read out on the occasion. Addressing the gathering, Speaker Pelosi said: "We stand here in front of the Capitol of the United States, a beacon of freedom to the world, with a great history of free speech and open discussion. "On this side of the Capitol, here on these grounds, we stand with people who took to heart and to mind, the words of our Founders. In our Declaration of Independence, in our Constitution, our words talked about every person being equal and 'endowed by their creator.'' 'Endowed by their creator,' not by the state, but 'endowed by their creator' of certain rights like liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And it was for life and liberty - and some people paid that price in Tiananmen Square. They paid with their lives and their liberty to speak out for freedom. "It's interesting to me that this week there are also observances in Eastern Europe about freedom emerging there at this time 20 years ago. And for those of you who are old enough to remember Tiananmen Square, you would have seen that the students gathered in the square in May in the days leading up to June 4th were an inspiration to the world, to the entire world. They inspired others to have the courage and they had a drumbeat of liberty and freedom that was felt around the world. "What they wanted was dialogue with their government on openness and freedom and freedom of speech and religion and ending the corruption in China. They wanted that dialogue, they wanted that conversation - what they got was crushed. Crushed. Some of those people crushed in the square and other streets of Beijing. But they could not crush the spirit of Tiananmen. "And that's why it's important these 20 years later - I remember meeting Chai Ling in Paris. She was newly escaped from China - we are so proud of her, she is so courageous, and so many others, so many other heroes of that movement. Many of them, when they got out of China, signed my man before the tank poster in my office, which is getting old now, but I'm very proud of the signatures that are on there. They are the signatures to a declaration of freedom in China and what this freedom means is openness, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, accountability, rule of law according to the Chinese Constitution. "So what is important for us to do now? Who would have ever thought all of you here who are gathered with great leaders for democracy? Who would have ever thought that 20 years later, we would still be in this situation? That the same cowardice that inspired - I don't know if inspired is the word - that insisted that the regime crush the people in the square - to clear that square at such and such a time. The same cowardice that did that - that same fear of the people exists in China today. "We were told 20 years ago that peaceful evolution and economic reform would lead to political reform. Indeed, the economic reform has occurred. And I was so pleased that Secretary Clinton said in a statement that China has made enormous progress economically. I saw that last week in China. But she also said that a China that had made all that progress should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed at Tiananmen Square - both to learn and to heal. We need to do that as we go forward. "I have said over and over again: if we do not support human rights in China and in Tibet, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights any place in the world. So here we are in front of the Capitol, a building symbolic of the core values of our American independence and our Constitution, in solidarity with those who, using our words, modeling the Goddess of Democracy after the Statue of Liberty, having those aspirations - people carrying those aspirations crushed in Tiananmen Square. "Twenty years later, the spirit is still alive. In Hong Kong in the observance of Tiananmen Square, over 150,000 people turned out last night. 150,000 people - the biggest crowd since the one-year anniversary of Tiananmen Square. So I know that the long arm of the Chinese government will be reaching out to the media all over the world to suppress reporting on what's happened in China, and also restricting communication from China through the Internet and the rest, but the fact is that here we are at the Capitol, there they were in Hong Kong, a drumbeat of activity across the world, an echo of the voices of the heroes of Tiananmen. We will never forget. We want a record of what happened, and we will continue to work for more openness and improvements in human rights in China and Tibet. "Thank you for your courage to turn out here today, to stand in front of the Capitol, to hold us accountable to our own values, and to continue to work together to remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre, to get a public accounting of it. "So our work is large. It's work that many of us have been involved in for 20 years. In 1991, I stood in the square and unfurled a banner remembering those who sacrificed so much in Tiananmen Square. I wear white today to signal to the families a sympathy for what they have lost. I did that in 1991 as a Member of Congress, an individual Member, to express my views and the views of my constituents. It was a bipartisan group of us on the square that day, Democrats and Republicans. "Eighteen years later as Speaker of the House, I had the opportunity to sit across from the President of China, the Premier of China, the Chairman of the People's Congress, and to express to them the bipartisan concern in the Congress of the United States about China's human rights record both in China and in Tibet. "Whatever our roles in whatever stage of our involvement, we have to use everything at our disposal so that they know that we have not forgotten, and that we will not rest until there is freedom of speech and expression and assembly and openness in China and in Tibet.” 4. China Creates Specter of Dueling Dalai Lamas By EDWARD WONG The New York Times June 7, 2009 DHARAMSALA, India For centuries, the selection of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been steeped in the mysticism of a bygone world. On the windswept Tibetan plateau, his closest aides look for divinations in a sacred lake. A mountain god transmits oracular messages by possessing a high lama. Monks scour villages for boys precocious in their spiritual attunement. All that is about to change, as the current Dalai Lama and his followers in exile here in India compete with the Chinese government for control of how the 15th Dalai Lama will be chosen. The issue is urgent for the Tibetans because the current Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of all Tibetans and the charismatic face of the exile movement, has had recent bouts of ill health. He turns 74 in July. Both the Chinese and the Tibetan exiles are bracing for an almost inevitable outcome: the emergence into the world of dueling Dalai Lamas — one chosen by the exiles, perhaps by the 14th Dalai Lama himself, and the other by Chinese officials. “It’s a huge but ultracritical issue, with no clear outcome or solution except one: trouble,” said Robert Barnett, a Tibet scholar at Columbia University. “It is going to end up with two Dalai Lamas and thus with long-running conflict, unless the Chinese agree to a diplomatic solution pretty soon.” The jockeying has put the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Communist Party in surprising positions. The Dalai Lama said late last month in an interview with The New York Times that all options for choosing his reincarnation were open, including ones that break from tradition. That could mean that the next Dalai Lama would be found outside Tibet, could be a woman or might even be named while the 14th Dalai Lama was still alive, before his soul properly transmigrated. Meanwhile, the party, officially atheist and accused of ravaging Tibetan culture, insists that religious customs must be followed. A traditional selection process would be easily controlled by the Chinese government, since the process is rooted in the landscape of Tibet, which the Chinese seized in 1951. China has already positioned itself in other ways, including enacting a law in 2007 that says all reincarnations of senior lamas must be approved by the government. Here in Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama lives, religious leaders have been debating whether to bypass the traditional process. Meanwhile, many Tibetans say they will honor whatever the Dalai Lama decides to do. “This is a religious matter,” the Dalai Lama said in the interview. “Of course there’s a political implication there, but it’s mainly a religious matter, spiritual matter, so therefore I have to discuss it with leaders, spiritual leaders.” The figure of the Dalai Lama, head of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is without rival in influence among Tibetans and many Buddhists worldwide. He is revered as the reincarnation of Chenrezig, a deity who has chosen to remain on earth to help people achieve enlightenment. Many of China’s six million Tibetans keep photos of him in their mud-walled homes, monasteries and nomadic tents, or hidden in the folds of their clothes, even though the government has outlawed all images of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959. The Chinese government accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist, though he demands only genuine autonomy for Tibet. The Communist Party, aware that Buddhism is central to Tibetans, has tried to select and prop up lamas who will support the government while still retaining legitimacy among the people. In 1995, when the Dalai Lama confirmed a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second-ranking leader of the Gelugpa sect, the Chinese government whisked away the boy and his parents and installed its own child lama. The Dalai Lama’s choice, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, now 20, is still hidden from public view, while the government’s selection shows up at official events to praise Communist policy — and is seen by many Tibetans as a fraud. Chinese leaders also tried to groom the Karmapa, the reincarnated head of the Kagyu sect, but he fled to India in 1999, at age 14. He now sits by the Dalai Lama at prayer ceremonies here. “This is one of the chief indicators that China has failed in Tibet,” said Mr. Barnett, the Columbia scholar. “It’s failed to find consistent leadership in Tibet by any Tibetan lama who is really respected by Tibetan people, and who at the same time endorses Communist Party rule.” Chinese officials are hoping that will change with their selection of the next Dalai Lama. Lian Xianming, a scholar at the China Tibetology Research Center, a government-supported institution in Beijing, said that since the Qing Dynasty, which began in the 17th century, all reincarnations of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama required approval by Beijing after going through the traditional method of selection. “The real Dalai Lama will be the one who has gone through the historical process,” he said. That was the process used to find the current one. After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933, senior lamas journeyed on horseback to the sacred lake of Lhamo Lhatso, not far from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. There, they said, they received a vision that pointed to eastern Tibet as the site where the reincarnation would be found. Earlier, a medium of the Nechung Oracle, the mountain god that serves as the state fortuneteller, was said to have turned eastward in a trance. Three search parties were dispatched; one identified a boy in a farming village as the reincarnation. The boy, Lhamo Dhondrub, had had to prove his worth by, among other things, picking out objects belonging to the 13th Dalai Lama, including spectacles, rosary beads and a walking stick. He was enthroned as the Dalai Lama in 1940. Although the Chinese insist the traditional process must be followed, Mr. Barnett said Tibetan Buddhism allows great flexibility in changing old systems. The Dalai Lama said one possibility was that his reincarnation would be chosen and trained even while he was alive, “so some of my sort of work is carried continuously.” That, however, is a controversial point among lamas, some of whom insist that a successor can be chosen only after the Dalai Lama’s death. Tibetans fear that a leadership vacuum after the Dalai Lama’s death could weaken the movement. In the past, the periods that followed the deaths of the Dalai Lama, when Tibet was governed by regents, were less stable, because the regents did not have the mandate of the Dalai Lama. Regents also often engaged in power struggles with rivals — stories of one lama poisoning or imprisoning another were not uncommon. Though the government-in-exile has an elected prime minister, many people here now point to the Karmapa, 23, as a possible interim communal leader following the Dalai Lama’s death. Often at the Dalai Lama’s side, he is seen as charismatic by many Tibetans. He was once endorsed by the Chinese government, speaks Mandarin Chinese and practices Chinese calligraphy, making him a possible bridge to Beijing. “Because a lot of people have faith and confidence in me, there’s kind of a momentum for me to do something,” he said on the rooftop of a monastery near Dharamsala. “Maybe it’s a challenging situation, but one can put oneself to a test.” Still, the case of the Karmapa illustrates how fraught selecting a reincarnation can be. Long ago, the Dalai Lama recognized the man who fled here in 1999 as the 17th Karmapa. But a senior lama in the Kagyu sect has been promoting another Tibetan living in India as the true successor — a conflict that presages the dilemma of a doppelgänger Dalai Lama. 5. Tibetan Broadcaster Wins David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award Radio Free Asia Saturday, 6 June 2009 Dharamshala Tseten Dolkar of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA) was honoured with the 2009 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for her outstanding reporting during 10 months of 2008 covering the peaceful Tibetan protests. Dolkar, a member of Radio Free Asia's Tibetan service, received the award at a ceremony held by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in the Cohen Building in Washington on Wednesday, 3 June. Named after former BBG Chairman David Burke, the award recognizes courage, integrity and originality in reporting by journalists within the BBG broadcast organizations. "She helped cover the earliest stories of Tibetan unrest due to the Tibetan peoples' trust in her objectivity, as she employed multiple sources, including the Chinese police, and triple-checked her stories before broadcasting," said BBG Governor Blanquita Cullum. "We are proud of Tseten Dolkar, who is deserving of this wonderful honor and high praise, as is the staff of Radio Free Asia's Tibetan service, for their tireless work in breaking this story," RFA's website quoted Libby Liu, President of Radio Free Asia as saying. "We thank the Broadcasting Board of Governors for recognizing the solid journalism that went into covering the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters in March last year and will continue to inform RFA's listeners of the news happening around them," Libby Liu added. Another winners of this year's award are: Luis Ramirez of Voice of America (VOA), the Afghanistan-based correspondents of RFE/RL's Afghan Service, the radio news department of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), and Serwa Abdel Wahed and Akram Alrubaiei of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks' Alhurra TV. The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA); Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa); Radio Free Asia (RFA); and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). Through its broadcast services, the BBG provides the United States and its leaders direct and immediate access to a worldwide audience of 155 million people. 6. Monk in waiting Devyani Onial Indian Express Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 In a spacious room on the fourth floor of the Gyuto monastery in Sidhbari, a farming village near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, stands with a grave expression. He is receiving a few people who have sought a private audience with him. Some have come merely to pay their respects and to receive his blessings, others in the hope that he can fix their problems. Two old gentlemen bend to touch his feet, three women have come all the way from Hong Kong—one of them with a “business problem”. There is a reverential hush in the room, broken suddenly by the cry of a little girl accompanying her mother. With an unfortunate sense of timing peculiar to children, she bawls incessantly and is taken out of the room by her crushed mother. The Karmapa finally allows himself a half-amused look before returning to his duties with practised ease. It’s an ease that has grown in the nine years that he has been living in India and will come in handy if he were to eventually become, as many say he will, the new face of the old Tibetan struggle. In the Tibetan hierarchy, the Karmapa, who is the head of the Kagyu sect and whose role is purely spiritual, is the third most important leader after the Dalai Lama (who heads the Gelugpa sect, the biggest sect), and the Panchen Lama, who went missing in China in 1995, a few days after he was chosen by the Dalai Lama. This year marks 50 years of the Tibetans living in exile in India. It was in March 1959 that the Dalai Lama escaped from China in the guise of a soldier, made home in Dharamsala and in the following years, kept the Tibetan cause alive internationally. But the Dalai Lama is 73 now and concerns of ‘what after him’ are growing. His successor will be accepted as a reincarnation, but the search for and the grooming of one can take years and time is a luxury the community can ill afford. The void, they fear, will play into the hands of the Chinese—whose policy appears to be to wait-out the Dalai Lama after whom they hope the Tibetan movement will peter out. That is where the Karmapa, who turns 24 this month, can play an important role, taking on the responsibilities of the leader of the Tibetans—over 1,00,000 of them live in India—till the next Dalai Lama is ready. “After the Dalai Lama, we need a leader who is acceptable to a majority of the community,” says Nyima Gyaltsen, a masters’ student of political science who has come to Gyuto for the Karmapa’s talk. “The Karmapa will be suitable. Of course, right now he’s young, but in another decade or two, he can be an important leader of the Tibetan struggle,” says Gyaltsen. But Tenpa Tsering, representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile, says such talk is just speculation. “All this talk of him being the next leader is mere presumption. There is no official decision on this yet. Every Tibetan has a role to play in the Tibetan struggle and of course the Karmapa has a greater one because he’s an important figure.” The Karmapa, too, concedes his responsibility is great, but then, as he says, it comes with the title. “The Dalai Lama wants every Tibetan, especially the young, to be responsible to the cause. But yes, as a Karmapa, my responsibilities are greater,” he says in halting English, turning to the interpreter whenever he can’t find the right words. In the meanwhile, he’s trying to learn as much as he can. Apart from traditional Buddhist education, he’s taking classes in English and Korean. “I am interested in languages. I can speak a bit of Vietnamese, a bit of Hindi and some Chinese too,” he says. Though he doesn’t get much of an opportunity to speak in Chinese here, he tries. “I speak broken Chinese with students who come to visit me,” says the Karmapa who, in December 1999, like thousands of Tibetans before and after him, took the treacherous route over frozen passes to escape out of China. “There were seven of us, including me. We travelled by car, on foot, on horseback, for eight days and eight nights before crossing the border,” he says. The Karmapa had been recognised both by the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government—which was shocked by his flight—and that places him in the position of a key negotiator in the future. “I was fortunate that I was recognised by both. But I had my reasons for escaping to India,” he says. He was a seven-year-old living in east Tibet in 1992 when he was recognised as a reincarnation and made the 17th Karmapa. But his selection was not free of controversy—a section of the Tibetans back another as the real reincarnation, but Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje has the Dalai Lama’s approval and the backing of the majority of the community. “I was seven when I was recognised as the reincarnation of the Karmapa. I was taken to our main monastery, 72 km away from Lhasa. It was a remote place. The road leading to it was quite bad so the Chinese officials hesitated to come there. We were left to ourselves. They only came sometimes to check on us. When I look back, I think those were simple days. I was in my homeland and I was happy.” But then he says he had reasons to believe that the Chinese government was planning to give him a political position and would want him to give statements denouncing the Dalai Lama. “There was this fear always that I would be asked to denounce His Holiness. That was one reason why I decided to escape.” There were other restrictions too. “We could not call teachers of our lineage from India, so we decided to go to them,” says the Karmapa. “We found out the paths we would have to take. They looked very difficult but we had to have courage. Winter months are the best to go across the border because there is so much snow on the mountains and there are not so many soldiers out at checkposts,” he says. But the restrictions did not end in India. The government in India initially suspected him of being a Chinese spy and did not let him travel much out of his Sidhbari monastery. The restrictions are easing now and last year, he went on his first international visit to the US. “It was always my dream to go abroad and so when I did, I was very happy. Being in a new country can give you many new experiences,” he says. So, did he expect his flight to freedom to end in this? “I think my expectations were met but yes, there were many things that could have been different but the circumstances were such. Things have changed now but some things still need to,” he says. In the afternoon, a group of visitors make their way to the monastery, register themselves and are frisked before being led in. Security for the Karmapa is strict—no one is allowed to photograph him, permission to journalists is rare and if granted, has to be cleared by the SP in Dharamsala. Three security men are always around, following him even when he takes his walk around the monastery. On Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, the Karmapa has a public audience, which is open to all. His tall frame fills the chair and in his rimless rectangular frames, he looks suitably serious but during his talk, thaws a bit, occasionally smiles and sometimes rolls his eyes for effect. The talk over, he retires to his library, and sits there for a while, leafing through a book. In the corner of a shelf in the book-lined room, a few DVDs of films lie stacked—Slumdog Millionaire, Courage Under Fire, Diehard with a Vengeance. When he’s not studying, the Karmapa likes to write stories, paint—“I like modern art”—and listen to music. He is said to like hip hop but he’s not too sure what that is. “Hip hop,” he asks. “I don’t know what the music I listen to is called. But I like modern music. I like this singer, I think it’s pronounced ‘Allan’. He’s a British singer. You heard of him,” he asks. He also plays some games on his playstation, though, he says, he is increasingly finding less and less time for it. “You know, Wii, it’s new,” he says and when he sees our blank expressions, does a fair imitation of someone holding a racquet and playing. He does a bit of calligraphy and is interested in science and computers, though he hastens to say, “I know computers but I am not a specialist”, and follows environmental issues closely. “I think the environment crisis is even bigger than the global economic crisis,” he says. In the evening, he drops in at a class being held at the monastery, before taking a walk. The sun is still out and his securitymen and a few monks try and keep in step with him. An elderly monk opens a big red umbrella and he takes it from him and continues his walk. It makes a pretty picture: a tall broad figure in maroon robes with a cloud of red above his head against an imposing yellow monastery. After two rounds of the monastery, he retires to his chamber, where, later in the evening, he will resume his classes. For lessons outside the class, he often turns to his mentor, the Dalai Lama. It was to him that he first went on arriving in Dharamsala. The relationship has grown stronger over the years. “I meet the Dalai Lama at least once in three months. We share a warm relationship. He’s not just my teacher, he’s my friend, he’s like a father. We don’t always talk about serious things. We sit together, share a joke,” says the Karmapa, whose family is still in Tibet but he has a sister who lives in his monastery. “I meet her sometimes,” he says. Though some sections of the youth may be getting impatient with the Dalai Lama’s advocacy of the middle path and demand of autonomy, and not complete freedom, the Karmapa sounds a word of caution. “The Tibet issue has become urgent now. One solution is autonomy. If the Chinese could trust His Holiness, certainly it’s the faster and sweeter way. The young people often see the immediate situation but they don’t have a sense of history, of past experiences.” As for China, he says, “Tibet is a big challenge for them too. But they want to decide themselves, they don’t want to consult the Tibetans. Or maybe they do but they have a political mind and they have their own doubts and suspicions.” “The Chinese people too have been brainwashed by their government but times are changing. This is the information age and more and more Chinese are getting information from other sources on the issue and are getting to see it for what it really is,” he says. In McLeodganj in Dharamsala, where the Tibetan community lives, a candlelight march was held on Wednesday night to observe the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests—June 4, 1989—in China. As monks, nuns, students and tourists sit in the Namgayal monastery premises, watching a documentary on Tiananmen, some discuss the future of the Tibetan struggle. “We have heard that the Dalai Lama has asked the Karmapa to take over after him,” says 19-year-old Dolkar Lhamo. Lhundup Gyatso, who studies in a school in Dharamsala, says it’s a question they often debate. “I lived in Tibet when the Karmapa lived there and when he escaped. Before he escaped, he had gone to Beijing where he met Central government officials, including Jiang Zemin, who was President then. The Tibetans were a bit suspicious of him but then just a few weeks after that, he escaped. Everybody—the Tibetans, the Chinese—was shocked,” says Gyatso, who, like the Karmapa, was just 14 when he took an 18-day trek to Nepal and then came to India. “Now 99.9 per cent of the Tibetans accept him but whether he can lead us in the future remains a question. In school, often our topic of discussion is the Karmapa. Some students are suspicious of him. They say he’s young, he’s smart, but how do we know what’s at the bottom of his heart? We’ll have to wait and watch, year by year.” Others, like 26-year-old Neema Tsering, an assistant in a shop in McLeodganj, have more confidence in his leadership but find it difficult to see beyond the Dalai Lama. “The Karmapa has grown up so quickly but he’s still very young. The Dalai Lama, well, what can one say? He’s King.” 7. Playing ball gives Tibetans a sense of nationhood The Times of India 7 Jun 2009 Siddharth Saxena DHARAMSALA Watching football in Dharamsala could give you vertigo. But for the Tibetans, it provides a high. It's the time of year when monks become converts to soccer, discarding pious solemnity, if not their robes, as they head in search of the global game. The arena at the Tibetan Children Village School could rival the Bombonera - Boca Juniors' famously steep 'Chocolate Box' stadium - but theirs is a terrace chant with a difference. Here, the clash of cymbals, not confetti, cascades from the rock-cut terraces of the school ground nestled in the Shivaliks. Chhang, the local brew, is passed freely from hand to hand. The air has the unmistakable smell of dope. Below, in the dusty gravelly pitch, the 15th edition of the Gyalyum Chemo Memorial Gold Cup is being played out - serious business for Tibetans from 1981. Instituted in the memory of the Dalai Lama's mother, the GCMGC (as it is called by Tibetans the world over) is the one unifying sporting meet for Tibetans in exile. "Tibetans wait all year for this tournament. Apart from providing an outlet for our love for football, it becomes a platform to present our identity. No other sport can match this," says Dorji Tsering, the serious-minded captain of the team from Chennai. A student of Literature at Chennai's MCC College, 22-year-old Tsering is leading a formidable Tibetan Students Association of Madras team and is expected to make the finals of this unique knock-out tournament. "Team-building is of great importance here, almost like a top-flight club," he says, adding that his team is made up of Tibetans from Hyderabad, Bangalore and even Gwalior. A breeding ground for Tibet's aspiring National football dream, the GCMGC draws teams from as far afield as Nepal, Trichy, Chennai, Varanasi and even, Goa. "We are trying to get a team of Tibetans based in Europe," says Kelsang Dhundup, secretary of the Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA), the NGO entrusted with the task of running this tournament. "But assembling them is a problem," he adds. After 12 years of travelling all over India and Nepal, the tournament has returned to the venue of its birth. This year, 18 teams - mainly comprising college students on their summer break - have assembled at Dharamsala. The 10-day-long knock-out tournament is spaced so that the final on Tuesday, doesn't clash with Sunday's Miss Tibet contest. An added draw is the local team. The crowd has swelled for the 4 pm kick-off. A group of local theatre artistes, who go by the name of Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), blend their operatic skills with slick football, drawing gasps of appreciation from the crowd perched precariously all along the hilly terraces. That TIPA is coached by the legendary Phuntsok Dorje, captain of Tibet's first National team-in-exile, only adds to their appeal. In a famous symbol of protest back in 2001, Dorje, who lost his left hand to frostbite while escaping from Tibet, led the Tibetans in an 'international' tie against Greenland. It kicked off a series of such visits to Europe and even participation in the displaced people's World Cup in 2006 in Hamburg. "Football is like opera," says TIPA director, Wangchuk Phasur, after his team enters the quarter-finals, "and like opera, it has a plot and a storyline". At the steep arena of the Tibetan Children Village School, opera and football mix effortlessly to the tune of politics and social identity. 8. A Tibetan’s View of June Fourth: Human Rights in China Interviews Rigzin Research and Publications / China Rights Forum / 2009: Rule of Law? / CRF 2009, no. 2 - Facing June Fourth / How are the “Lhasa Riots” and “June Fourth Incident” related? How did Tibetans view the 1989 Democracy Movement and the June Fourth crackdown, and how were they affected? How would a democratized China affect Han-Tibetan relations? Human Rights in China posed these questions in an interview with Rigzin, former editor of a Tibet studies journal, who was in Lhasa in the spring of 1989. Human Rights in China [HRIC]: Before the June Fourth incident in 1989, what was the situation in Tibet? Rigzin: Before June Fourth, some so-called “riots” occurred in Tibet. One was in ’87, one was in ’88, and one just happened to be in ’89. Because these three “riots” were on a fairly large scale, each larger than the last, the result was that in March 1989, the Chinese government declared all-out martial law in Lhasa. HRIC: So, in actuality, the Chinese government imposed martial law in Lhasa earlier than in Beijing. Then what was the relationship between the riot that occurred in Lhasa and Beijing’s democracy movement? Rigzin: Many people believe that the events in Beijing and Lhasa resembled one another. First, in Beijing it was students who first came out to protest with the slogan: “Oppose corruption, demand democracy.”Then, following the students’ lead, Beijing residents and students in other cities were mobilized. It was similar in Lhasa. In March 1989, also in 1987 and 1988, it was monks and nuns from several major monasteries near Lhasa who came out first to demonstrate against the government’s policy in Tibet. Spurred on by them, residents in the city also participated. HRIC: Can you talk about the ’89 protest activities? Rigzin: A considerable number of people participated then. At the time, several government agencies had already received notifications from higher levels saying that cadres were not permitted to participate or watch from the side. So all of us stayed in our homes. Even though my house was far away from central Lhasa, I could still clearly hear the sounds of the demonstrators shouting slogans from the center of town. Several people who participated said tens of thousands of people took part. Some scholars believe that protests in Lhasa preceded the democracy movement in Beijing. In some sense, they believe that Tibet’s movement gave impetus to Beijing’s patriotic democracy movement. HRIC: In your view, what was the link between the events in these two places? Rigzin: I think the nature of each of these two movements was different. The student movement in Beijing was directed at their own government’s corruption and systemic problems, which they hoped could be solved. However, what Tibet’s monks and people wanted was Tibetan independence and an end to the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) rule of Tibet. HRIC: What were the demands of the March 1989 protests? Rigzin: At the time, many monks said they wanted Tibetan independence. But the protest was not organized, it was a spontaneous movement of the masses and the monks. In actuality, Lhasa’s mass movement was even less orderly and even less organized than the Beijing student movement. This kind of spontaneous mass movement had its own slogans, and everyone had their own demands. HRIC: What kind of slogans did they have? Rigzin: The monks said that the government had jailed a monk leader. It was said that he published some articles that were perhaps quite sharply critical of the government. This monk’s attainments in Buddhism were very high, and he was very influential among the monks. That was why many monks demanded his release and demanded that the government stop interfering in Tibet’s religious affairs. Many people also demanded Tibetan independence. HRIC: In 1989 during the Tibet protests, did you pay any attention to the student movement in Beijing? Rigzin: I paid close attention. In 1989, from about March 9, Lhasa was put under martial law for one whole year.When the patriotic student movement happened in Beijing, the situation in Lhasa was also extremely tense.You could see troops stationed everywhere. Street corners and intersections were all guarded by soldiers. Our work units organized us to study material related to anti-separatist struggle. This made everyone very nervous. But everyone would gather in front of the television after work.At that time CCTV was more objective. Everyone hoped in their hearts that there would be democracy in China soon. In Lhasa, many people, including cadres and young people, liked to go to the teahouses. They did not go there for the tea. The main reason was to meet and talk. They talked about many topics, domestic ones and overseas ones. We spoke about China, about everything. HRIC:What topics concerned you most? Rigzin: At the time we wanted news from Beijing. Everyone discussed what in fact was happening in Beijing. You could see that everyone’s eyes were brimming with fervent hope. Everyone supported the Beijing student movement and hoped that there would be a change in China, and that democracy would be realized quickly. This mentality was very strong, including in me. HRIC: So what sort of change did you think the democracy movement could bring to the lives of Tibetans? Rigzin: Back then everyone believed that only when China became a democracy would we Tibetans have a place of our own. At the time everyone thought this way. But there was a contradiction here. From the point of view of righteousness and justice, Tibetans hoped that the Beijing student movement would succeed, and that China would quickly become democratic. This was a thought that came from the heart. But on the other hand, when many Han cadres from Lhasa’s major offices and bureaus came to the Tibetans for donations of money and materials, the vast majority of Tibetans in the Lhasa area did not donate anything. In other words, in their actions they did not support the Beijing student movement. Why was that? I believe there are two reasons.One is that in Tibetan history there have been many mass peaceful demonstrations. They were met with brutal government crackdown every time, and the vast majority of Han people, particularly Chinese intellectuals, stood on the side of the government. They have always held double standards toward mass peaceful demonstrations. When government crackdowns occur within China, they believe that the CCP is wrong, but when the same thing happens in Tibet they believe that Tibetans are wrong. Since this has happened so many times, the Tibetan people have completely lost trust in their hearts for the Han. Many Han intellectuals holding positions in Tibetan work units actually masterminded schemes on behalf of the CCP’s ruling cliques, and played an active role in suppressing Tibetans. Time and again, they have hurt the Tibetan people. Therefore, when a large-scale student movement occurred in Beijing, Tibetans on the one hand hoped that China would change and quickly become democratic, and on the other hand, were unwilling to give concrete support. Of course, there was a very small minority of Han scholars such as Liu Xiaobo and Wang Lixiong who stood up, but the vast majority of Hans completely endorsed the government’s way of handling the Tibetans. Another problem was Tibetans’ sense of national identity. Tibetans have always believed that China occupied Tibet, and not, as they say, “liberated” it. When Tibetans peacefully demonstrated, Han people did not give them moral support. Instead, they stood on the side of the government. This strengthened Tibetans’ sense of national identity. Therefore, when Han people mobilized Tibetans to donate money and materials in 1989, Tibetans said: We are not from the same country. This is China’s internal affair. Doesn’t the Chinese government like to say that internal affairs must not be interfered with? So we did not interfere. HRIC: Is this the thinking of the vast majority of Tibetans? Do you also believe this? Rigzin: Including myself, the vast majority of Tibetans all think this. HRIC: After the June Fourth crackdown, what was the situation like in Tibet? Rigzin: In Tibet people were also captured. Many Han cadres and students in Tibet were extremely passionate and had organized fundraising activities in Tibet. Afterwards, one by one these activists were jailed, put in isolation, and investigated. HRIC: When did investigations in Tibet begin? Rigzin: Probably not long after the June Fourth crackdown, probably within one week after it started. Many people around us were investigated, isolated, and arrested. I had a friend that was a reporter for the Tibet Daily agency. HRIC: Was he Han or Tibetan? Rigzin: He was Han. He graduated from the journalism department of one of Sichuan’s universities. He was eventually investigated at his work unit. He was fairly young at the time and had just been sent from Sichuan. He was extremely active. He frequently expressed himself in our midst, saying that we Tibetans should support the Beijing democracy movement, that it was tied to the fate of Tibetans. HRIC: Can you discuss how the June Fourth incident influenced you as an individual? What were your own impressions? Rigzin: I believe that, under a totalitarian system in which the government controls the military and the nation’s lifelines, when the masses peacefully and rationally hold demonstrations, the government will definitely suppress them. The government has the absolute advantage. So these demonstrations always fall far short of the effect anticipated at the start. And I believe that in China, these types of large-scale democracy movements will eventually fail. This is because the military is in the hands of the CCP. As soon as they send in the army, there is no way out. Therefore, if China’s system of government doesn’t change, protests that stem from the hopes people have placed in the government will always fail to achieve results. These are my thoughts. Tibetans have always believed that China occupied Tibet, and not, as they say, “liberated” it. When Tibetans peacefully demonstrated, Han people did not give them moral support. Instead, they stood on the side of the government. This strengthened Tibetans’ sense of national identity. Therefore, when Han people mobilized Tibetans to donate money and materials in 1989, Tibetans said: We are not from the same country. This is China’s internal affair. Doesn’t the Chinese government like to say that internal affairs must not be interfered with? HRIC: Are you still able to recall the influence that Party Secretary Hu Yaobang had on Tibet policy while he was in office? Rigzin: When Hu Yaobang was in office, he came once to Tibet. A conference for county level cadres and higher was held in Lhasa. At the time some cadres from our work unit attended. After the conference, they said that Hu Yaobang’s words astounded them. They said once Hu Yaobang said, “You Tibetans should fight for yourselves. If you don’t fight for yourselves, other people will shit on your heads, so you Tibetans should strengthen yourselves and develop your own ethnic culture.” Many cadres were moved because previous Han leading cadres had not said such things; they had not dared to say such things. When Hu Yaobang was in office, the situation in Tibet was relatively calm. Back then the Party Secretary for the Tibet Autonomous Region was Wu Jinghua.He was not a Han, he was an Yi. After he came to Tibet he implemented many central policies and put into effect many policies to rehabilitate cadres.1 He did united front work, religious work. He truly implemented many policies that were praised by the people. For example, on the religious front, some Tibetan government officials who had previously been criticized were released, given compensation, and returned to their positions. At that time in Tibet, great importance was placed on religion. There was a major conference on Buddhism for many Tibetan religious branches from January 1 to 15 of the Tibetan calendar. The Autonomous Region’s leaders made personal appearances to donate to the monks. This was unprecedented. HRIC: If new policies had been implemented until 1989, why did authorities then capture the monk leaders? Rigzin: The circumstances in Tibet had twists and turns. In the past, in Mao Zedong’s time during the Cultural Revolution, there had been ruthless struggles, but very few people protested. I think that demonstrations by the masses generally happen when the political atmosphere is slightly more relaxed.Only then do their accumulated grievances get let out. Before, they wanted to let it out but had no opportunity. During Hu Yaobang’s time, policy was more relaxed, the masses were given a certain amount of the right to speak, so these monks came out and started demonstrating. They used this opportunity to settle scores, so in this way many monks came out, and Lhasa’s masses also came out to support the monks’ actions, and eventually the large-scale protests of 1987, 1988, and 1989 occurred. HRIC: What effect do you think China’s democratization will have on relations between Hans and Tibetans? Rigzin: I believe it will have a very large effect. Let’s not talk now about Tibetan independence, because the problem of independence does not look very realistic. If China becomes democratic, the Tibetan people will have an opportunity to express their hopes and demands. After China becomes democratic, relations between Tibetans and Hans will not be like now, in which one is the ruler and one is the ruled. Now many Han scholars believe that they are advanced and Tibetans are backwards; they are the rulers, Tibetans are the ruled. If China becomes democratic, then there will be people who can fight for the rights and interests of Tibetans. Therefore, many Tibetans hope that China will quickly democratize. HRIC: Do you think that the demands raised by the Dalai Lama for high-level autonomy in Tibet can be realized? Rigzin: I believe that there isn’t much hope if we solely rely on Tibetans to strive on their own. Since 2002, the two sides have had contact eight times, but there hasn’t been any result. Moreover, the Dalai Lama said he has lost faith in the Chinese government, but he still has faith in the Chinese people. During these eight contacts over a total of six years, each time Tibetans were hurt. So, I believe that if it is the Tibetans participating in a one-sided talk with the Chinese government, then the prospect is very uncertain. I believe that only if China democratizes, and after the Tibetan people gain their rights under a democratic system, can there be room for negotiation. However, some people say that even if China eventually becomes democratic, if China’s nationalist sentiments aren’t reduced, the situation for Tibetans will perhaps become even more difficult.On this point I agree. HRIC: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. April 24, 2009 Translated by Human Rights in China Notes 1. During the Cultural Revolution, cadres, along with intellectuals, were sent to the “cadre schools” in the countryside to perform manual labor and undergo ideological reeducation. ^ 9. When a 'Chosen' Tibetan Lama Says No Thanks The Time By David Van Biema Sunday, Jun. 07, 2009 "For the last time, I'm not your messiah," groans the title character in the 1979 comedy The Life of Brian. (They crucify him, anyway.) There's an echo of Brian's panicked renunciation in a shakeup currently underway in Tibetan Buddhism — in this case, nobody's laughing, although the ending will, no doubt, be happier. Late last month, two Spanish media outlets confirmed that 24-year-old Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, one of the most renowned Buddhist "golden children" — toddlers determined through dreams, oracular riddles and their own "memories" to be tulkus, or reincarnations of high Tibetan Buddhist lamas — has abandoned his foretold identity. Instead of a Lama, he wants to be a filmmaker, and has reverted to his original Spanish name, Osel Hita Torres. (See pictures of the Dalai Lama at home) The abdication of the anointed tulku is a significant embarrassment to the group he was supposed to head, the powerhouse Foundation for the Preservation of the Monastic Tradition (FPMT), the foremost Tibetan teaching organization in the West. It also challenges Westerners who have adopted Buddhism to find more sophisticated ways of understanding its magical side. In 1989, with the approval of his Spanish convert parents, four-year-old Hita was tapped by FPMT monks as the reincarnation of the group's co-founder Thubten Yeshe. Their methods will be familiar to anyone who has seen Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha or the current documentary Unmistaken Child: The monks reportedly heeded some dreams; the Dalai Lama consulted an oracle; and the capper was that young Hita "recalled" the color of the dead lama's car. Last month, however, the magazine Babylon confirmed that the shaggy-haired Hita had long-ago dropped out of his Tibetan University, and that he no longer even considers himself a Buddhist. He was quoted more pointedly in the newspaper El Mundo as saying, "I was taken away from my family and put in a medieval situation in which I suffered a lot. It was like living a lie." Britain's Guardian then added the delicious factoid that at one point the only people Hita saw were Buddhist monks and Richard Gere. Last Monday, a statement attributed to Hita appeared on the FPMT website calling the press reports "sensationalized," and insisting "there is no separation between myself and FPMT." Still, his confirmation of his career change in the same posting in fact suggests a major rift. Josh Baran, a New York Buddhist who has facilitated the Western trips of several high lamas, suggests that Hita's defection shouldn't cause adherents to lower their prayer flags. The West, he says, "has a romantic ideal that these lamas have some kind of super-vision and can look at a child and say, he's the one." While signs and portents may play a role in monastic successions, he explains, so do more worldly considerations. Tulkus often inherit considerable wealth and influence, and powerful monks will jockey to place their own candidates. The political needs of their lineage also figure. And sometimes the consensus-based system doesn't yield a clear winner: Tibetan history crackles with bloody battles between rival claimants or their camps. None of this is unfamiliar to Western religious traditions. Roman Catholic Popes are supposedly chosen by the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit upon a conclave of cardinals — yet many have proven less than holy, and wars have been fought over successions. A bit like Catholics through the ages, says Baran, Tibetan Buddhists "assess a tulku's wisdom not by his title, but by his piety and learning." The monks try to pick the bright and promising children, he says; but Tibetans also assume the weeding-out function of the extensive tulku education: "no matter who they pick, the best and the brightest will surface in the course of the process." By that logic, Hita simply weeded himself out. Robert Thurman, a Buddhist scholar, former monk and friend of the Dalai Lama, recounts that when told years ago that Hita was to receive a traditional Buddhist education in India he expressed concern. Thurman's argument: "If he wanted Tibetan traditional [education] he could have reincarnated in a Tibetan family in exile." The result of the misplacement, he says, is that Hita "has broken away in a full-blown identity crisis." Thurman thinks that after some time in our "busy postmodern world," Hita may see the value of the Tibetan tradition, "which he will then be able to approach or not, of his own free choice." And, he adds, "More power to him!" 10. Monk suicides on the rise in Buddhist Tibet Emailed in by Tenzin Norgay [tenzinnorgay@TCHRD.ORG] A report submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief on the factors and circumstances leading to the occurrences and increase of suicides by Tibetan monks and nuns in Chinese occupied Tibet since 10 March 2008. The Tibetan Buddhist worldwide is currently observing this month as the holy Buddhist month of Saka Dawa. 7 June 2009 (a full moon day), Sunday, will be observed as the most important day of the holy month according to the Buddhist belief due to the significance of the day being Buddha Shakyamuni's birth, enlightenment and parinirvana falling on the same day. While the Tibetan Buddhist - both the civil and monastic community - worldwide spend the day with various religious activities and rituals according to the faith, however, Tibetans inside Chinese administered Tibet face severe religious repression enacted by the State and its agents. Restrictions and prohibitory orders to the government officials and students from visiting temples this month have already been issued. Reinforcement of security forces and intelligence officials have been deployed across Lhasa city to maintain "stability" during the holy month. Religious freedom has been a distant dream for the Tibetan people since the advancement of Communist China in 1949-50. The various restrictions and conditions put forward by the Chinese authority in pursuit of one’s religion were not only unacceptable but also contempt to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. The atrocities that the Chinese authority commit on Tibetan people, particularly monks and nuns while pursuing their beliefs and religious practices, are not only the victim of their power but it is also a failure of a sovereign state to protect its people’s basic human rights. Freedom of religion is severely curtailed in the Chinese occupied Tibet. The monastic community has been the prime target of the authority’s crackdown under a pretext to "reform" monks to achieve the so called "stability" in the region. The monastic community has come under repeated attacks through the government’s various nefarious campaigns to bring them under control and to forge "loyalty to the motherland". Hundreds and thousands of Tibetan people especially monks and nuns were tortured in prisons and detention centres for practicing their religion. They were required to denounce their own spiritual guru, to abuse their highly respected lamas and had to perform all those acts, which are not permitted under monastic vows and code of conduct, in name of "patriotic re-education" initiated by the Chinese authority as a requisite to continue as monk and nuns. Though suicide is a rare case among the Tibetan monks and nuns since they consider the human life as precious, to acquire merits for the next lives and eventually to attain enlightenment. However, under the ongoing persecution of monks and nuns in Tibet’s religious institutions, they were subjected to extreme psychological traumas and impositions of irreconcilable demands, which eventually force them to commit suicide. The suicide has been on the rise in Tibet’s monastic community since the Spring 2008 protests in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhist believe that suicide is one of the heinous forms of sins that violate the cardinal precepts of the doctrine. Buddhist monks and nuns are known for their patience and resilience in the face of adversity. The cases of suicides point to an indication of Tibetan monks being pushed to the extreme limits


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