Viet Nam: Falun Gong practitioners detained over meditation protest

November 15, 2011

Mariah Jen: The beating and arrest of at least 30 peaceful Falun Gong demonstrators outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi yesterday is an unacceptable violation of freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

The demonstrators were protesting the trial and mistreatment of two local Falun Gong broadcasters, Vu Duc Trung (right, wearing white shirt)) and Le Van Thanh (behind, center), who had worked for the movement’s radio station The Sound of Hope. The trial of Vu and Le is due to take place on Thursday.

“The repression of these Falun Gong practitioners by the Vietnamese authorities is a violation of their rights to freedom …

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Another Tibetan nun dies by self-immolation in China

November 5, 2011

Andrew Jacobs: A Buddhist nun in southwest Sichuan Province died Thursday after setting herself on fire, becoming the 11th Tibetan to embrace a grisly protest against Chinese rule and at least the sixth to die doing so.

The death of the nun, Qiu Xiang, 35, was reported by Xinhua, the official news agency, and confirmed by exile groups, who gave her Tibetan name as Palden Choetso. She was the second nun in the predominantly Tibetan region to take her own life by self-immolation.

Like two previous cases, the most recent suicide took place in Ganzi Prefecture, known as Kardze in Tibetan, which is the site …

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Tenth Tibetan reported to self-immolate in anti-China protest

October 27, 2011

A Tibetan monk in western China’s Sichuan province set himself on fire on Tuesday to express opposition to China’s Tibet policies, becoming the 10th Tibetan this year to self-immolate as a form of political protest, an outside advocacy group reported.

The group, Free Tibet, based in London, said the self-immolation occurred outside a monastery in Garze, which is known as Kandze in Tibetan, and that the monk’s identity, condition and whereabouts were not known. The group did not explain how it had obtained the information.

Garze is about 100 miles south of Aba, or Ngaba, where eight of the other nine self-immolations have taken …

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Study Points to heavy-handed repression of Tibetan area in China

October 13, 2011

Edward Wong: The rise in anti-Chinese tensions and protests in a restive Tibetan region of Sichuan Province, including a startling wave of monk self-immolations, has taken place in the aftermath of sharp increases in the security budget for the area, which indicates the conflict is partly a result of heavy-handed tactics by the local security forces, according to an assessment by Human Rights Watch.

The Tibetan region, Aba prefecture, has been in the spotlight recently because six of seven self-immolations by monks in Sichuan this year have taken place there, in or around the Kirti Monastery. The monks all set themselves on fire to…

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South Africa denies visa to Dalai Lama

October 4, 2011

The government of South Africa has refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, who has been forced to cancel a trip there to celebrate the 80th birthday of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Tibetan leader was supposed to be visiting South Africa this Thursday.

According to the Dalai Lama’s office, visa applications were submitted to the South African High Commission in New Delhi at the end of August and original passports were submitted on 20th September, but nothing was subsequently heard.

According to the New York Times, Cosatu, a powerful coalition of trade unions, criticized the South African government for allowing China to influence South Africa’s foreign … Read more »

Two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire in protest

September 28, 2011

Edward Wong: Two young Tibetan monks set themselves on fire on Monday at an embattled monastery in western China to protest Chinese policies in the area, according to a Tibet advocacy group. The monks were apparently taken to a hospital, and it was unclear what condition they were in on Monday night.

The monastery, Kirti, in a remote area of Sichuan Province, has been the site of at least four recent self-immolations, including the two on Monday.

The latest monks to set themselves on fire were Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, both estimated to be 18 or 19, according to Free Tibet, the advocacy group, which…

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Tibet’s quiet revolution

March 20, 2011

It’s been startling to witness mass demonstrations in countries across the Middle East for freedom from autocracy, while, in the Tibetan community, a die-hard champion of “people power” tries to dethrone himself and his people keep asking him to stay on. Again and again the Dalai Lama (who tends to be more radical and less romantic than most of his followers) has sought to find ways to give up power, and his community has sought to find ways to ensure he can’t. It could be said that almost the only time Tibetans don’t listen to the Dalai Lama is when he tells them they shouldn’t listen to him. Now, on the eve of an important … Read more »

Dalai Lama to retire from political life

March 10, 2011

The Dalai Lama has announced he will retire from political life within days.

In a speech posted on the internet and delivered in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamasala, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said he would ask the Tibetan parliament in exile to make the necessary constitutional changes to relieve him of his “formal authority” as head of the Tibetan community outside China.

The assembly, which meets early next week, is expected to approve his request. Though long-anticipated, the move away from the limelight by one of the world’s best known political figures signals a dramatic change.

Analysts and supporters have described the decision of the Dalai Lama, whose office traditionally combines spiritual … Read more »

Falun Gong and rival group battle for Chinese hearts and minds in Flushing

March 8, 2011

On the bustling thoroughfare of Chinese immigrants that is Main Street in Flushing, Queens, countless people hand out fliers for massage parlors, calling cards, English classes, money-wiring stores and other services.

But one group of regulars that offers fliers from its daily spot is not commercially minded. Its message is an ideological one: to disparage Falun Gong, the spiritual and meditation movement founded in China. It’s a movement, Falun Gong organizers say, that has found its largest following outside Asia in Flushing.

The group denounces Falun Gong as a cult, and it incorporates this charge into its name: the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance. The alliance set up a small folding table in the summer of … Read more »

Tibetan lama faces scrutiny and suspicion in India

February 8, 2011

His daring escape from Tibet seemed out of a movie. Then only 14, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most revered incarnate lamas, and his journey through the icy passes of the Himalayas was viewed as a major embarrassment for China. The youth arrived in India in early 2000 to a euphoric greeting from Tibetan exiles.

India, though, was less certain about what to do with him. Intelligence agencies, suspicious of his loyalties and skeptical of his miraculous escape, interrogated him and tightly restricted his travel. He remains mostly confined to the mountainside monastery of a Tibetan sect different from his own. And that spurred an idea: He wanted his own monastery. Eventually, … Read more »