Press Release from the Brussels Rally Organizing Committee

European Solidarity Rally for Tibet – 10 March 2013

Tibetans and Supporters Commemorate 1959 Uprising and call for concrete EU-Action

11 am – Start at Gare Nord; 1.30 pm Gathering at Le Mont des Arts

More than 27 Tibetan Community Associations, representing European citizens of Tibetan origin from across Europe, are organizing a mass solidarity rally in Brussels on 10 March 2013 to commemorate the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day of 1959.

Nearly 5,000 Tibetans from several European countries and friends of Tibet from different parts of Europe are expected to converge in Brussels on 10 March to express their solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet, highlight the tragic situation and the self-immolation crisis in Tibet and seek support of the European Union and its Member States for the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people.

On that day, a grand peace march will start from Gare du Nord at 11.30 a.m and will culminate at Le Mont des Arts in Brussels city centre where a mass rally will be held throughout the afternoon (1.30/2 pm). A wide range of guest speakers from the Central Tibetan Administration, the European Parliament and prominent personalities from Europe will address the rally. On 7 and 8 March, young Tibetan activists and friends of Tibet will engage in lobbying at the European Parliament to apprise them of the current situation inside Tibet and to call upon them to engage in practical steps to support the issue of Tibet.

Since 2009, 107 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet. The most recent were two young Tibetans Tsesung Kyab and Phagmo Dhondup who self-immolated on 24 and 25 February 2013. The messages these protesters have left behind are testaments to their motivations and aspirations of freedom for the Tibetan people and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Restive areas of Tibet are being kept under strict military control and journalists, tourists and other visitors are not allowed to visit Tibet. Criminal prosecutions are being carried out to target the families and friends of those self-immolating. It is evident that Beijing is attempting to contain this new force of resistance through ever more draconian measures.

The spate of self-immolations in Tibet is one of the most drastic forms of political protests the world has witnessed in the past 60 years. We still continue to see no end to it. In response, Chinese government continues to blame His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the outside forces for these acts of self immolations, and continues to impose hard line policies of repressions on the Tibetan people which further fuel dissent and cause such drastic acts of protests by the Tibetans. The self-immolations expose a crisis in the Beijing leadership’s Tibet policy and there is an urgent need for a fundamental change in its approach vis-a vis Tibet.

The European Parliament has adopted an impressive number of resolutions on Tibet and the EU’s High Representative, Lady Ashton, has also issued statements expressing deep concern about the violations of human rights in Tibet and displaying support and solidarity with the people of Tibet. We greatly value the support and are deeply grateful for the expression of concern, support and solidarity by the European Union. However, what has been lacking so far are sustained and coordinated efforts with a clear political strategy and agenda. The EU-China Human Rights dialogue has failed to produce any tangible results in the past 17 years since the start of this dialogue in 1995. During this period the human rights situation in China in general and particularly in Tibet has worsened significantly.

We, therefore, appeal to the European Union and its Member States to:

  • Urge China to review its failed hardline policies in Tibet and address the genuine grievances of the Tibetan people by resolving the issue of Tibet through dialogue.

  • Urge China to allow unfettered access to Tibet for the media, the United Nations and International fact-finding delegations to investigate and report on the real causes behind the self-immolations;

  • To instruct EU Special Representative for Human Rights to seek access to Tibet and to undertake a fact-finding mission to Tibetan areas on a priority basis;

  • To appoint an EU Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs with the primary task of encouraging and facilitating a dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet;

The organizing Committee for the 10th March European Solidarity Rally

Points of Contact:
– Vincent Metten, International Campaign for Tibet, EU Policy Director (media coordinator), Contact Cell Phone +32 (0) 473990440, Office +32 26094412
– Mr. Tashi , Media contact ( Tibetan), Contact No. +31 684 933832
– Mr. Lobsang Gangshontsang, Media contact ( English), Contact No. +41794423405
– Mr. Thupten Gyatso, Media Contact (French), Contact No. + 33680729054

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Tibet at “Human Rights Human Wrongs” Film Festival in Oslo on February 7

Human Right and Human Wrongs Film Festival, Oslo, 5-10 February 2013

OSLO DOCUMENTARY CINEMA AND HUMAN RIGHTS HOUSE OSLO

The Human Rights Human Wrongs Film Festival (HRHW) is organised by The Human Rights House Oslo and Oslo Dokumentarkino (the Oslo Documentary Cinema). The first version of the festival was organized in December 2008 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration.

The Tibet film evening is on 7th February with three Tibetan films. HRHW 2013, Norwegian Tibet Committee and Voice of Tibet welcomes you to a whole evening packed with interesting films and discussions. The evening will entail several movies and a debate about the situation in Tibet and Tibetans in exile. Every film will be followed by discussion with panel and audience. Members on panel are Ngawang Choephel (Director for Songs in Tibet), Chungdak Koren and Øystein Alme. We look forward to seeing you at Cinemateket on February 7.

Program:
Tibet Night part 1: Two films and debate at 5pm.
Tibet Night part 2: Film “Tibet in Song” at 9pm.

All the events will take place at Cinemateket/ Filmens Hus, screening room “Lillebil”. Cinemateket is located at Dronningens gate 16.

Tibet Night Part 1: Film no. 1: LEAVING FEAR BEHIND (Dhondup Wangchen, Tibet 2008, 23 min)

The filmmakers travelled thousands of miles in Tibet, asking and filming what ordinary Tibetans really feel about their situation, about China and about the Dalai Lama. The answers are frank and powerful. The filmmakers were arrested after finishing the film.

Sign the petition for Dhondup Wangchen’s release!

Tibet Night Part 1: Debate: TIBETANS: ENJOYING HUMAN RIGHTS – OR VICTIMS OF CULTURAL GENOCIDE?

Chinese authorities say that the Tibetans are living happy and prosperous live fully enjoying religious, cultural and social rights and freedom of expression. On the contrary the Tibetans claim that “Everything Tibetan” is under attack and call China’s repressive policies “cultural genocide”. Whom are we to believe – and what is the real situation in Tibet right now?”

Tibet Night Part 1: Film no. 2: THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS (80 min)

(Ritu Sarin and Tenzin Sonam, Tibet 2009, 80 min)

This film is a potent update on 50 years of Tibetan struggle. The Sun Behind the Clouds looks at China’s occupation of Tibet from the perspective of the vocally secessionist Tibetan youth, and from that of their spiritual leader H.H. The Dalai Lama.

Tibet Night part 2: TIBET IN SONG (Ngawang Choephel, Tibet 2009, 86 min) Cinemateket/ Filmens Hus kl 21.00

In cooperation with the Norwegian Tibet Committee and Voice of Tibet.

Tibet – a cultural genocide? Tibet in Song is a heartbreaking tale of cultural imperialism, exploitation and resistance. The film provides a raw and uncensored look at how China aims to transform Tibetan culture. The film is giving voice to Tibetans engaged in the fight for their cultural heritage and speaking out against Chinese policies. Ngawang Choepel was sentenced to 18 years in prison for making this film. He was released after six years of relentless protests from, among others, Amnesty International and his own family. Tibet in Song is a heartening tale of cultural exploitation and resistance, including Ngawang’ own imprisonment for filming folk songs in Tibet, and ends with a look at Tibet today, a country still plagued by Chinese brutality, yet still willing to fight for the existence of its own cultural heritage. The film celebrates the traditional Tibetan folk music and encompasses a harrowing journey into the past fifty years of cultural repression inside Chinese controlled Tibet.

Introduction and Q&A with film director Ngawang Choephel.

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Discussing Tibet and Europe on VOA’s Kunleng TV Show

I have recently returned to Norway from visiting Washington DC for International Campaign for Tibet Europe and USA’s board meeting. Whilst in DC I was invited to Voice of America’s Kunleng talk show to discuss the Tibet movement in Europe. Below is the recording of Kunleng.

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Our Responses to the Chinese Ambassador to Norway’s Article on Tibet

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.17.48 PMThe Chinese Ambassador to Norway, Zhao Jun, had an article published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on 17 December on Tibet and His Holiness. This is a link to the English translation of his article from Google Translate. Many people have reacted to this article. I have written a reply to his article which was published in the same newspaper on 20 December.

Below are two replies to Zhao Jun’s article. The first is my reply and the second is from the Norwegian Tibet Committee’s Acting Chair Grzegorz Odor.

Chungdak Koren, European representative of the Tibetan parliament in exile 

18 December 2012

If the Chinese Ambassador to Norway Zhao Jun’s reports on Tibet in his article on 17 December are true, then why is Tibet closed to foreign journalists? Journalists are not allowed to go to Tibet. There are even strong restrictions on foreign tourists. It’s quite strange if the Ambassador believes that Tibetan people are satisfied and happy in Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama handed over political power to a democratically elected political leader in 2011 and is now only a religious leader of the Tibetan people. The Ambassador’s one sided focus on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an unsuccessful attack in terms of the political situation in Tibet. In our eyes, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not done any of  the things the Chinese authorities believe he has done, such as a desire for war and the division of China. The exile government wants greater autonomy within China’s territorial boundaries and the Dalai Lama has said he would like to visit China on pilgrimage if the Chinese authorities will accept this. The answer, however, has been negative to his request. What His Holiness the Dalai Lama wishes is peace between the Tibetan and Chinese people and basic human rights. This is what he believes is the basis for stability in the future.

Over 90 Tibetans since 2009 have self-immolated to death as a protest against Beijing, the biggest wave of political self-immolations in modern history. The demand of the self-immolators is more freedom for Tibetans, for the Chinese authorities to respect Tibetan religion, culture and language and His Holiness the Dalai Lama must return to Tibet.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a religious leader and has a moderate and pragmatic attitude toward China. He is a key person for a peaceful solution for Tibet. Given the situation, it is a pity that the Ambassador continues to accuse the Dalai Lama for China’s own failed policies in Tibet since the occupation in 1950. It is both unproductive and extremely regrettable.

Seeing is Better than Hearing
Grzegorz Odor 
Board Chairman, Norwegian Tibet Committee

The Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun (article of 17 December) must be familiar with the Chinese proverb “Seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times.” It would have had a greater positive effect on China’s reputation if China allowed foreign and Norwegian journalists to travel to Tibet under the Ambassador’s own initiative and recommend the same to the “Norwegian friends.”

Since we are on the reading material we would recommend to the Ambassador the “Tibet report” by Gongmeng Institute from 2009, a progressive think tank founded by Chinese lawyers from Beijing University. They concluded that the cause of the protests in Tibet is China’s failed policies, and that it is inappropriate to continue to blame “foreign powers”.

Unfortunately, Tibet has been totally closed to foreign journalists. Tibetans who have sent pictures of protests abroad have been punished with long prison sentences.

Posted in European Chitue, Norwegian Tibet Committee, Tibet Activity | 2 Comments

SAVE THE DATE – 10 March, 2013!

Flag-Pins-Tibet-European-UnionOn behalf of the Working Committee I have the pleasure of informing you that at the initiative of the Tibetan Communities in Europe, the 10 March 2013 rally will be held in Brussels. The European Solidarity Rally is jointly organized by Tibetan Communities in Europe, Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association, International Campaign for Tibet Europe, Les Amis du Tibet, Vrienden van Tibet and two Europe Chithues.

Given the critical human rights situation inside Tibet, it is our goal to see a huge pan-European Rally where our supporters from across the continent join us to urge the European Union to make Tibet the top priority in their bilateral relations with China and help to resolve the Tibetan issue peacefully.

We are also pleased to announce that prior to the Solidarity Rally, Tibet Lobby Days will be organized from 6-8 March, 2013. The details of the participation and the program will be available soon.

Please save the date and we look forward to seeing you all at the heart of the European Union to show our solidarity with our Tibetan people.

Chungdak Koren
Europe Chithue

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Updates on the “Flame of Truth” European Tour

Many many greetings and Tashi Delek from the two European Chithue!

The Flame of Truth and the signature campaign for Tibet was started on September 2, Democracy Day of Tibet in Africa, Australia, Canada, North America and Europe.

Route Map for Flame of Truth in Europe

The opening ceremony of the European Tour in Barcelona was fantastic, full of aspirations and collaborations. The European Tour of Flame of Truth will go to 22 countries and 28 cities. Chithue Thupten Wangchen la is travelling with the Flame. Today they are in Andorra, the second country on our tour.

You can visit our Flame of Truth European Tour on Facebook www.facebook.com/FlameOfTruthEurope  We will update our achievements every day.

Our email contacts are info2@casadeltibetbcn.org, Chungdakkoren500@gmail.com com and javinogue@gmail.com

Our telephone number during the whole tour will be +34 654 86 56 55

Please click on the links below to read information about the Flame of Truth in German and Italian:

Flame of Truth – GERMAN

Flame of Truth – Italian

REQUEST: All our forthcoming tour organizers, please do let us know when we should arrive, what time and where? We need full address with zipcode (for our GPS) Please, try your best to organize as many activities and maximum signatures campaign in your local area till 4th November.

That would be great if you could arrange your City Mayors, Parliamentarians and VIPs  to receive the Flame of Truth with an official car.

We really appreciate the sincere involvement and support of our Europe Representatives of Tibet Offices.

With our prayers and wishes to achieve our aims and objectives………

Thanks for your effort and collaboration,

Thupten Wangchen and Chungdak Koren

European Chithue

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Tibet and Tibetan Writers Highlighted at the Bjørnson International Festival of Literature, Norway

(L-R) Chungdak Koren, Synnøve Haga of the Bjornson Festival, Dechen Pemba

Tibet and Tibetan writers were highlighted on Saturday, September 1, 2012, at the Bjørnson International Festival of Literature at a successful event co-hosted with Amnesty International and Norwegian Tibet Committee.

Øystein Alme of Voice of Tibet radio station introduced the two speakers, Chungdak Koren and Dechen Pemba, to a packed and attentive audience. Following Dechen Pemba’s reading of the poem “A Sheet of Paper Can Become a Knife” by Tibetan poet Woeser, member of the Exile Parliament, Chungdak Koren, gave an overview of the background to the current political situation and talked about the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet. Koren also explained the position of the Central Tibetan Administration with regard to the Tibet issue.

(L-R) Dechen Pemba, Oystein Alme and Chungdak Koren

Dechen Pemba, editor of the translations website High Peaks Pure Earth, went on to give a presentation about the crackdown on intellectuals in Tibet, especially since 2008 and highlighted cases of writers and poets such as Tashi Rabten and Pema Rinchen who have been imprisoned by China for peaceful literary expressions of their views.

Speaking about Pemba, Koren said, “It heartens me to see a young and dedicated exiled Tibetan, taking responsibility in constructive ways for Tibet. The work that High Peaks Pure Earth is doing, serving as a platform for Tibetan voices from Tibet, is extremely important. It is my hope that the voices of Tibetan cultural figures have further been amplified at the Bjørnson International Festival of Literature today.”

Philo Ikonya of Kenya gives an emotional reading of “My Tibetanness” by fellow exile poet Tenzin Tsundue

The work of Tibetan exile writers was also featured in Pemba’s presentation. Pemba read an extract from exile writer Bhuchung D. Sonam’s most recent publication “Yak Horns” and invited Kenyan writer and poet in exile Philo Ikonya to read a poem by exile Tibetan poet Tenzin Tsundue titled “My Tibetanness” to close the event.

The Bjørnson Festival of International Literature in Molde, Norway, is a prestigious annual event and is named after Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson is considered, alongside Henrik Ibsen, to be one of the four great Norwegian writers. Bjørnson penned the Norwegian national anthem, advocated for minority rights and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1903.

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