Monday, April 21, 2008

Pen American Center Objects over Arrest of Prominent Tibetan Writer & Journalist, Jamyang Kyi

New York, Toronto, Stockholm, April 18, 2008—Writers from Canada, the United States, and China expressed concern today about reports that Jamyang Kyi, a prominent Tibetan writer, reporter, activist and singer, has been detained in Qinghai Province. Citing “further evidence of a deterioration of human rights,” representatives of PEN Canada, PEN American Center, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center called on the Chinese government to release Kyi and immediately end the crackdown on writers and journalists in Tibet and China.

Jamyang Kyi, a blogger who has also published articles on women’s rights in Tibet, was escorted from her office at the state-owned Qinghai TV on April 1, and has been detained since then. Her husband, Lamao Jia, says that she has not been seen since April 7. Police reportedly searched her home and confiscated her computer and contact lists.

Kyi’s arrest comes amidst a crackdown against protests in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas in Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces, and at a time when the Chinese government is rigorously prosecuting writers throughout China before the Olympic Games begin in August. Writer and activist Hu Jia was repeatedly denied access to his lawyer last week and subsequently missed a deadline to appeal his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

“We are loathe to add yet another writer to our list of colleagues imprisoned in China,” said Larry Siems, Director of the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center. “The rising number that PEN is charting points to ominous signs that free expression is increasingly threatened on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. With our colleagues at PEN Canada and the Independent Chinese PEN Center, we urge the Chinese government to reverse this trend and release Jamyang Kyi and the other 38 writers immediately and unconditionally.”

PEN American Center, PEN Canada, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center are among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that works to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience of world literature. On December 10, 2007, the centers launched We Are Ready for Freedom of Expression, an Olympic countdown campaign to protest China’s imprisonment of at least 39 writers and journalists and to seek an end to internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that country.

Jamyang Kyi is also a noted singer & performer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Report on Beijing's Displaced

Click on the title above for a graphic depiction of Chinese petitioners in Beijing from all over China. The video is an in depth coverage of the displacement of Chinese citizens in Beijing who have been evicted from their homes for development associated with the Olympic games. Aiden Hartley is the journalist. Thanks to China Digital Times
for the link.

This film, "China's Olympic Lie" is well worth watching as it shows just how frustrated and enraged ordinary Chinese citizens are. Mr. Hartley manages to get footage of a "Black Jail," an unofficial facility where petitioners are illegally being held in violation of their citizen's rights.

China On My Mind

Last night on my other [dharma] blog Advice to AbushriI touched upon some of the themes of these two NY Times Op Eds.

China's Loyal Youth

Don't Know Much About Tibetan History

Both these links are connected to a further conversation started below by Mr. Liang Jing in response to Nick Kristof's "Calling China."

Nick Kristof's "Calling China"

On March 30, 2008, Nick Kristof in the NY Times asked Chinese readers to respond to his column, "Calling China." Of the hundreds of posts, here's one that I found to be
an astute analysis of basic cultural misunderstandings regarding Chinese perceptions of the Dalai Lama by a Mr. Liang Jing who brilliantly outlines the root source of
Han Chinese ignorance about Tibet.

April 1st,
10:03 am

The Dalai Lama’s Wisdom and Ignorance of the Han

On March 28 the 14th Dalai Lama appealed personally to Chinese people everywhere, especially to those in the PRC, hoping that they understand his sincere wishes for Tibetan autonomy and cultural rights only, without seeking independence for Tibet. This was to my knowledge the first time the Dalai Lama has gone over the heads of the Chinese government and leaders to engage the Han people’s understanding directly; its significance is far-reaching. No one, of course, imagines that this appeal will have a positive impact on Hu Jintao and the Chinese leadership as a whole. On the contrary, I believe that it can only further shame them into anger. If Hu Jintao has recently relaxed at all on the issue of dialogue with the Dalai Lama, it would not be due to this appeal, but more likely the result of pressure exerted by Western communities, in particular the United States. The only language understood by China’s mediocre rulers is that of power and interest.

The Dalai Lama’s appeal showed that he knows this, but more importantly, sees further that another huge and terrible force supports the truculence of China’s leaders, and that is Han ignorance. As long as the majority of the Han people cannot cast off their ignorance, Chinese leaders hardly dare face the Tibet issue rationally.

The ill-informed responses to western media reports of some overseas Chinese youth are most thought-provoking in this connection. They immediately relay these false reports back to China as ironclad proof of Western ill will, and gain a strong response among domestic internet users. Chinese residing overseas should not be surprised that Western media, faced with fierce commercial competition, often report things inaccurately. However, they have not hesitated to politicize such false reports, and what they actually expose is their own prejudice. Why don’t they use this to demand that the Chinese government adopt a more open policy toward the media at home and abroad? Was it not the Chinese authorities’ comprehensive blockade of the media that created an opportunity for these false reports?

Nationalism poisons the intelligence of mankind, using the traditional weaknesses of various civilizations to enlarge the common weaknesses of humanity. The concept of an authoritarian grand unity that has dominated Chinese civilization for more than 2,000 years has left a deep imprint in the culture of the Han. Two pathologies thus formed among them—cultural arrogance, and the mentality of power and interest. These two are the root causes of the disease of ignorant thinking among many Han Chinese.

Of course, the culture of arrogance, and the pathology of playing up to the powerful are not unique to the Chinese. Western cultural arrogance in particular, bloated thanks to its technical, military and overall economic strength, has brought great harm to humanity.

China was one of the most serious victims of Western cultural arrogance. Were it not for the ferocity of Marxism-Leninism would China’s modernization have killed so many people? But a major reason for China becoming a serious victim of Western cultural arrogance, was the Han predilection for power and interest. When stubborn cultural arrogance incurred comprehensive humiliation, China’s Han people not only rushed to cut off the queues he Manchust had forced them to wear, they set about indiscriminately purging their own cultural traditions. It was not good enough to “smash the Confucian shop” — without understanding what the October Revolution was all about, they concluded that they had to “follow the Russian path.” Compared to the Han people’s destruction of tradition and fratricidal rush to catch up with trends, the Dalai Lama may look like an out of touch, stubborn fool. To safeguard the autonomy of a mere few million Tibetans rights and protect their obviously backward culture, he has dared to set itself against the more than one billion Han Chinese.

Everyone, however, from Jiang Zemin on his visit to the US to the “indignant youth” on the Internet today, is puzzled by the same question: how can a monk in exile not only gain Western political support, but, even more inconceivably, be pursued by Western celebrities, gaining wide appreciation and support from Western cultural and religious elites? With the strength of but one man, the Dalai Lama has outdone thousands of Chinese diplomats overseas, and has overwhelmed the favor the Communist Party has spent millions on currying with Tibetans domestically. Could it be he really does have superhuman intelligence?

The wisdom of the Dalai Lama, so difficult for Chinese to understand, benefits from his Buddhist beliefs, from the ancient sagely wisdom concentrated in Buddhist culture. This is not only gives him the self-confidence for dialogue with Western culture as an equal; through meeting him, many of the Western cultural elite become convinced of the stupidity of Western cultural arrogance, and recognize that every culture, as every life, has unique value, regardless of how powerful it is. The Dalai Lama’s great wisdom not only to enables him to win dignity for the Tibetan culture, but also makes him the embodiment of equal cultural rights, which is a universal value.

Lao Zi said, “By not contending, none in the empire will be able to contend with you.” The Dalai Lama’s wisdom shows us the true meaning of this great idea: someone who upholds the principles of mutual respect can be invincible, and because he is in fact maintaining common human dignity. The reason the Dalai Lama does not contend for sovereignty over Tibet yet insists on Tibetan autonomy, is because he is convinced that without national autonomy the cultural rights of Tibetans cannot be preserved, or their dignity maintained, and without dignity for the Tibetans there cannot be any for the Han either.

The ignorance of many Han lies in the fact that devotion to power and interest has rendered them incapable of understanding this reasoning: that when the Han deprived Tibetans of their autonomy, they deprive themselves of their own rights to democratic self-government, and thereby to give up their dignity in the face of all humanity.

— Posted by Liang Jing

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chinese Lawyers for Tibetans Threatened by Chinese Officials

Last week, I reported that the Dalai Lama and his cabinet (Kashag} thanked Chinese lawyers who offered to defend Tibetans detained by China from the recent protests. Human Rights in China reports that 21 Chinese human rights lawyers who offered their services to Tibetans jailed recently have been told not to become involved.

Here is another instance where the virulent anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric as orchestrator of violence in Tibet is summarily discounted by China's actions towards its own people based on statements that such protests are a deep threat to Chinese national unity and the work of outside agitators or 'splitists" taking their orders from the Dalai Lama. Chinese deep undercurrents of social unrest go far beyond Tibet as part of a larger pattern of abuse.

It is estimated that 1.5 million Beijing residents were displaced without renumeration to build the Olympics. Chinese "crack down" policies are an effort to silence millions of disgruntled Chinese who like Tibetans are victims of Chinese internal Human Rights abuses.

HRIC Statement: Chinese Authorities Target Lawyers Offering Legal Assistance to Tibetans

April 09, 2008

[Chinese / 中文]
Human Rights in China is deeply concerned by reports of official threats against Chinese lawyers offering legal aid to Tibetan detainees. “These threats by the Chinese authorities politicize and undermine the independence of the legal profession and China’s goal of establishing a rule of law,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China.

Authorities in China told the members of the group of lawyers, now numbering 21, that they should not involve themselves in the “Tibet incident.” Lawyers involved in the project have been questioned by authorities, put under surveillance, and had their phones tapped, according to reports. The authorities told some members of the group that there were enough lawyers in the region where the Tibetans were being held and there was no need for outside lawyers to get involved, lawyer Li Subin (李苏滨) told the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily on April 9.

The public offer of legal assistance by the group of lawyers first appeared last week on a number of Chinese Internet forums, following the arrest of what is believed to be hundreds of Tibetans as part of a crackdown by the Chinese security forces following protests last month in the Lhasa area. Among the lawyers signing the offer was Teng Biao (滕彪), one of China’s most active rights defense lawyers. The group called on other lawyers to join their cause and appealed to the authorities to deal with the arrested Tibetans “in strict accordance with the Constitution, laws, and related criminal procedures” of China.

For more information on, and an English translation of, the Chinese lawyers’ offer of legal aid to Tibetans, see:

* "HRIC Press Advisory: :Chinese Lawyers Offer Legal Help to Detained Tibetans," April 4, 2008

For more information on attacks on lawyers in China, see:

* "HRIC Trends Bulletin: Setback for the Rule of Law - Lawyers Under Attack in China," February 2007

Friday, April 11, 2008

Shattered Shangri-La: Depression And Anxiety Widespread In Young Tibetan Refugees

Science Daily yesterday reported that ethnic Tibetan refugees suffer greater depression and anxiety disorders than Tibetan refugees born and raised in exile.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 10, 2008) — A new study led by Emory University School of Medicine researcher Charles L. Raison, MD, is the first to show that depression and anxiety are more prevalent in Tibetan refugees than they are in ethnic Tibetans born and raised in the comparative stability of exile communities in Northern India and Nepal. The study findings were reported in the April 2008, on-line version of the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Click above to access the full article.

The author credits several factors including being separated from families and the traumatic experience of the actual escape from Tibet. Tibetan families often send their children into exile or leave in order to obtain educational opportunities in the Tibetan language and culture, as well as freedom of religious practice, that the Tibetan exile communities offer. To experience the traumatic escapes routes from Tibet, I strongly recommend the BBC film from Dispatches below.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Real Tibet--Dispatches: Undercover in Tibet-A BBC Report

One of the best films about Tibet's lack of human rights incorporating footage from the recent protests with undercover interviews inside Tibet. 48 minutes. Posted on Google video 4.4.08.

This film touches upon all the major problems the vast number of Tibetans experience daily. The stories here come from both urban and extremely isolated people inside Tibet. They are not propaganda from some "splitist" group aiming for an independent Tibet or stimulated by the Dalai Lama as PR but real life stories bravely spoken in the shadows of a hidden camera. With compelling accuracy you'll experience the intense paranoia and fear Tibetans live with since the slightest infraction can get one imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Telling their stories is done at great personal risk.

So what are some of the issues Tibetans are faced with:

--Lack of the most basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of movement (confiscation of land and enforced resettlement), freedom of their bodies (females are forced into abortions and sterilization, their menstrual cycle monitored), freedom of religious practice.

--a punitive penal system that regularly uses torture over the most minor misdameanors such as passing out leaflets, speaking out against a policy or simply talking with foreigners.

--Extreme poverty and poor health care

--lack of skilled employment for Tibetans who do not speak and write fluent Mandarian Chinese

--Destruction of the environment through mining,building, forestry practices and destruction of natural habitat leading to endangered species and flora and fauna.

--Degradation of traditional Tibetan culture including historic buildings, Buddhist teachings, and Tibetan symbols of national identity such as the Dalai Lama.

--Distortion of the historical and archaeological record of Tibet and its relation to China.

--an implicit policy of genocide by mass influx of Chinese into the TAR who benefit from economic development

--a military state with no operative legal infrastructure based on citizen rights

Chinese Offer 20,000 Yun for Secret Information About Tibetans Involved int he March 14 Protest Sent Through text messages to Users of China Moblile

Reprinted from Tsering Woeser's Blog entry of April 9, 2008 in Epoch Times

Wang Xiangming, deputy Party Chief of Lhasa, once told the media over 1000 people who participated in the unrest in March were arrested or gave themselves up. Their trials will be held before May 1. Media generally considered Wang's talk provided the most comprehensive clues about Beijing's suppression in Tibet.

The scale of the anti-government protest in Tibet and the length of the protest is the largest and longest in the past 20 years. The highest ranking party cadre in Tibet, Zhang Qingli spoke on TV on April 2 about the government's suppression in Tibet. Zhang said the "soldiers were brave and skillful in fighting" and admired them for "listening to the Party, serving the people, and being brave."

The Tibet Autonomous Region Public Safety Department sent out a text message to users of China Mobile in Lhasa, "We encourage people to spontaneously provide information on the criminals involved in the March 14 incident. Once your information is proven to be true, you will receive 20,000 yuan (approximately US$ 2,857) as a reward and your information will be kept secret. The hotline is 0891-6311189, 6324422, or 110 to directly reach the Public Safety Department."

The Tibet Public Safety Department issued No. 13 warrant in both Tibetan and Chinese and broadcast on Tibetan Literary Television and Lhasa Television. Five people were wanted, all male. To date, 79 Tibetans are wanted.

For the complete article go to Epoch Times

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Kashag (Cabinet) Welcomes Chinese Lawyers in China for Offering Legal Service to Tibetans

The Kashag (Cabinet of the Tibetan Government in exile) Welcomes Chinese Lawyers in China for Offering Legal Service to Tibetans

The following communication of appreciation was sent to Chinese lawyers:
Source: Tibet Office of the Tibetan Government in Exile

We are heartened and inspired to learn that a group of Chinese lawyers based in Mainland China have offered their legal assistance to Tibetan arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned by Chinese authorities following the peaceful protests starting March 10, 2008 in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas.

We are equally encouraged to note that the lawyers, while expressing their serious concern for the well being of the arrested Tibetans, have called upon the concerned Chinese authorities to “obey the constitution, following the legal procedures in dealing with the arrested Tibetans….. no torture throughout interrogation and respect the independence of legal system”.

The Kashag would like to thank all those Chinese lawyers who have taken upon themselves to protect the legal rights of the Tibetans as well as Chinese people and have come forward to save the arrested Tibetans from the onslaught of a regime bent on curbing the fundamental rights of its own people to have a fair and just legal representation.

The Kashag
3 April 2008

Chinese human rights activists and lawyers inside mainland China are playing a key role in advocating on behalf of improved conditions for Tibetans. They are risking their lives, freedom of movement, imprisonment, and other punitive responses to their dedicated commitment to challenge China's internal disregard for its own constitution.

Friday, April 04, 2008

April 5th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Death

When aked how he wanted to be remembered, Allen said, "Father Death Blues"


Father Death Blues

Hey Father Death, I'm flying home
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going

Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home

Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.

These days I am reminded that Allen spent three months in China in 1984, some years before Tiananmen Square. He taught some of the greatest writers of that time at several universities.The transcripts of his lectures in China on American Poetics prepared by Randy Roark are incredible. Wherever he went he made a difference.

For further comments about Ginsberg's Mind Writing Slogans go to my dharma blog,Advice from Abushri.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

International Community of Tibetan Scholars Sends Open Letter to President Hu Jintao

President Hu Jintao

People’s Republic of China

Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City

People’s Republic of China

Dear Mr. President,

Over the course of the last two weeks the world has witnessed an outbreak of protests across the Tibetan plateau, followed in most instances by a harsh, violent repression. In the majority of cases these protests have been peaceful. The result has been an unknown number of arrests and the loss of numerous lives, which have been overwhelmingly Tibetan. This has understandably triggered widespread concern and anguish across the globe. As scholars engaged in Tibetan Studies, we are especially disturbed by what has been happening. The civilization we study is not simply a subject of academic enquiry: it is the heritage and fabric of a living people and one of the world’s great cultural legacies. We express our deep sorrow at the horrible deaths of the innocent, including Chinese as well as Tibetans. Life has been altered for the worse in places with which we are well acquainted; tragedy has entered the lives of a people we know well. At the time this statement is being written, continued arrests and shootings are being reported even of those involved in peaceful protest, the accused are being subjected to summary justice without due process and basic rights, and countless others are being forced to repeat political slogans and denunciations of their religious leader.

Silence in the face of what is happening in Tibet is no longer an option. At this moment the suppression of political dissent appears to be the primary goal of authorities across all the Tibetan areas within China, which have been isolated from the rest of China and the outside world. But such actions will not eliminate the underlying sense of grievance to which Tibetans are giving voice. As scholars we have a vested interest in freedom of expression. The violation of that basic freedom and the criminalization of those sentiments that the Chinese government finds difficult to hear are counterproductive. They will contribute to instability and tension, not lessen them.

It cannot be that the problem lies in the refusal of Tibetans to live within restrictions on speech and expression that none of us would accept in our own lives. It is not a question of what Tibetans are saying: it is a question of how they are being heard and answered. The attribution of the current unrest to the Dalai Lama represents a reluctance on the part of the Chinese government to acknowledge and engage with policy failures that are surely the true cause of popular discontent. The government’s continuing demonization of the Dalai Lama, which falls far below any standard of discourse accepted by the international community, serves only to fuel Tibetan anger and alienation. A situation has been created which can only meet with the strongest protest from those of us who have dedicated our professional lives to understanding Tibet’s past and its present; its culture and its society. Indeed, the situation has generated widespread shock among peoples inside and outside China as well, and we write in full sympathy with the twelve-point petition submitted by a group of Chinese writers and intellectuals on 22 March.

Therefore, we call for an immediate end to the use of force against Tibetans within China. We call for an end to the suppression of Tibetan opinion, whatever form that suppression takes. And we call for the clear recognition that Tibetans, together with all citizens of China, are entitled to the full rights to free speech and expression guaranteed by international agreements and accepted human rights norms.