Tibet’s treatment of women is questioned by CEDAW

The situation of women in Tibet has drawn the attention of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

China was questioned by the body as well.

According to Tibet Rights Collective, the committee in charge of overseeing the application of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women takes a deep interest in the rights and well-being of Tibetan women.

In a recent meeting, CEDAW members focused on China’s treatment of Tibetan women and asked for clarity on a number of concerns, according to the news site.

The majority of the committee’s inquiries focused on gender equality, healthcare and educational access, political engagement, and the protection of religious and cultural rights for Tibetan women living in Tibet.

During a UN public briefing on May 8, 2023, the Tibet Bureau and the Tibetan Women’s Association jointly made a statement on the plight of Tibetan women in Tibet.

Reviewing China’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was the goal of the briefing, which was arranged as part of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CEDAW) 85th session.

China must respond to questions from a UN committee about the treatment of Tibetan women in Tibet.

China has been questioned about the predicament of Tibetan women in Tibet by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

According to Tibet Rights Collective, China has been questioned by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) about the state of Tibetan women in Tibet.

The rights and welfare of Tibetan women are of special importance to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which is in charge of directing the Convention’s implementation. Recently, CEDAW members requested clarity on a number of problems with regard to China’s treatment of Tibetan women.

The bulk of the committee’s enquiries, according to Tibet Rights Collective, were on gender equality, access to healthcare and education, political participation, and the preservation of religious and cultural rights for Tibetan women living in Tibet.

At a UN public briefing on May 8, 2023, the Tibet Bureau and the Tibetan Women’s Association jointly released a statement about the situation of Tibetan women in Tibet. Examining China’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was the main objective of the briefing. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CEDAW)’s 85th session included the briefing.

Attending the conference, representative Thinlay Chukki gave an outline of the circumstances of Tibetan women living under Chinese administration in Tibet. She attended the conference together with Tenzing Dolma, President of the Tibetan Women’s Association (Central), and UN Advocacy Officer Kalden Tsomo.

Due to charges of discrimination against its Tibetan community and human rights abuses, Tibet has attracted attention from throughout the world. The CEDAW committee’s investigations, according to Tibet Rights Collective, were mainly designed to shed light on the challenges encountered by Tibetan women and evaluate the effectiveness of China’s attempts to address these concerns.

Fears for Tibetan women
Concerns were raised by the committee over allegations of gender-based violence, women’s restricted access to healthcare and education, their economic opportunities, and their difficulty integrating into new cultures. The Chinese delegation was questioned over the measures taken to solve these problems, guarantee equality, and protect the rights of Tibetan women.

Assuring the committee that China was dedicated to developing gender equality and bettering the position of Tibetan women, its delegate recognized the committee’s concerns. The delegation claims that several legislation and programs have been implemented to improve women’s rights and give them greater influence in Tibetan society.
According to Tibet Rights Collective, they emphasized programs in the fields of education, healthcare, poverty reduction, and job possibilities in an attempt to address the problems brought up.

The CEDAW committee will now examine China’s remarks and the information shared at the meeting. The review will assist the committee in formulating its final findings and recommendations, which it will share with China to guide future efforts to enhance gender equality and defend the rights of Tibetan women.

This development shows how the world is concerned about the rights and welfare of Tibetan women. The CEDAW committee’s involvement shows how committed it is to fulfilling states’ responsibilities under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and ensuring Tibet’s women’s rights are protected and respected.

In order to address the challenges encountered by Tibetan women and strive toward a more inclusive and fair society in Tibet, the UN and other pertinent parties may hold more discussions and take other steps as the situation evolves, according to Tibet Rights Collective.

In occupied Tibet, a wide range of religious rights violations are being reported in an annual US report.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2023 Annual Report released on May 15 showed a marked rise in religious repression in the People’s Republic of China over the previous year and noted that under Xi Jinping, who advocates a Marxist atheist state ideology, the situation had gotten progressively worse.

The annual report observed that reports by official and non-governmental groups had shown the imprisonment and torture of Tibetans, Catholics, Protestants, and Buddhists, as well as the placement of almost one million Muslims in detention facilities and the organ harvesting of Falun Gong followers. It further said that clergy appointments and worship services were now entirely under the supervision of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The study details charges of “forced disappearances, arrests, physical abuse, and prolonged detentions without trial of monks, nuns, and other persons due to their religious practices” about the situation in Tibet.

According to the report, China has continued to refuse to engage in negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s representatives in order to address and resolve the situation in Tibet.

It alluded to the fact that China demanded that members of the church and representatives of the Tibetan administration repudiate the Dalai Lama.

According to the study, China “continued to place restrictions on the size of Buddhist monasteries and other institutions and to implement a campaign begun in 2016 to evict monks and nuns from monasteries.” This included evicting thousands to tens of thousands of monks and nuns from their homes.

Authorities forbade kids from traveling on pilgrimages or attending traditional religious festivals during school breaks, according to the article, and warned parents and monks that continuing with monk-led lessons may result in the suspension or detention of their social security payments.

The following was specifically mentioned in the report: “Authorities also continued to force monasteries to display portraits of [CCP] leaders and required Tibetans to replace images of the Dalai Lama and other lamas in their homes with portraits of CCP leaders, including former chairman Mao Zedong and General Secretary and President Xi Jinping.”

“The Dalai Lama’s images were outlawed, and there were severe penalties for owning or displaying his image.”

The report claimed that authorities also required clergy and government workers to swear allegiance to Gyaltsen Norbu, whom Chinese leaders appointed as their own Panchen Lama after kidnapping Gedhun Choekyi Nyima—the 6-year-old recognized as Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama—on May 17, 1995. This is one of the most pressing issues for Tibetan Buddhists.

The report repeated the US stance and rejected China’s desire to choose its own reincarnate as the next Dalai Lama, stating that “Decisions on the succession of the Dalai Lama should be made solely by the Tibetan people, free from interference.”

A danger to the very survival of the Tibetan language and culture, according to the research, is China’s forced separation of over one million Tibetan children from their families and enrollment in separate boarding schools where they are taught Mandarin Chinese via a curriculum centered on Chinese culture.

A number of Tibetans self-immolated last year, and the study also said that there were more over 700 political detainees in Tibet as of November 2022, according to the International Tibet Network.

During a ceremony at the State Department, the report was presented by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain.

Tibet seen from above: the enigmatic Lhegu Glacier

The Tibet Autonomous Region’s southeast is home to marshes, meadows, woods, snow ranges, glaciers, and lakes. The southeastern region of Tibet is an area of warmth and greenery because the water vapor and heat from the Indian Ocean move through gorges until they reach Tibet’s interior land. Lhegu Glacier is a collection of glaciers in Tibet that are close to Lhegu Village. Up to this point, it is the largest and broadest glacier on the Tibet Plateau. Watch the aerial video to explore this enigmatic and stunning glacier.

(Screenshot of the cover photo. designed by Li Jingjie of CGTN.)

After the Tibet copper mine catastrophe, six people were reported missing.

Following an incident on May 14, six employees at the Julong Copper and Polymetallic Mine in Maldrogungkar (Chinese: Mozhugongka) County of Lhasa City, Tibet Autonomous Region, have been reported missing. Although it is known that Chinese employees from mainland China are employed in mines in occupied Tibet, nothing has been said regarding the ethnicity of the missing miners.

According to Reuters, China’s Zijin Mining Group Co. said on May 15 that it had halted operations at the mine while searching for the six people who had vanished. According to reports, the missing miners were employed by a subcontractor.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock market, Zijin said that contact with the six employees was lost after a lift cage dropped during the building of shafts in the drainage system of the Julong Copper and Polymetallic Mine. The mine also added that production had been interrupted.

According to the research, Julong Copper produced 115,000 tonnes of the metal in 2022 with plans to produce 152,000 tonnes in 2023. The metal is utilized in construction and the power industry.

Tibet Julong Copper Co., which runs the mine, is 50.1% owned by Zijin Mining. The Qulong Copper and Polymetallic Mine, the Rongmucuola Copper Mine, and the Zhibula Copper and Polymetallic Mine are all under the control of Tibet Julong Copper.

The International Copper Study Group (ICSG), which was cited in the paper, predicted a shortfall of around 114,000 tonnes on the global copper market this year.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering Meets Honourable CM of HP Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

On the third day of Sikyong Penpa Tsering’s arrival in Shimla, he called on the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shri Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.  During the meeting, Sikyong raised the issues of land lease problems faced by the Tibetan residents and appealed to the CM to resolve the issues to which the latter responded positively.

In the morning, Sikyong paid visits to the Tibetan cluster communities in Chimey Ling, Tridey Ling, and the local Tibetan market and listened to their welfare concerns. He was accompanied by Chief Representative Officer Tsewang Phuntsok and staff of CRO, Chairman of Local Tibetan Assembly Tenzin, Additional Secretary Tenzin Norbu, Joint Secretary Tashi Dickey, Department of Home, CTA.

Following the assessment visits, Sikyong delivered public address where he stressed the importance of abiding by the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to ensure he lives up to the prophesied age. He asserted the need for the Tibetan community to be self-reliant and further identified the key sustenance challenge of settlements due to youth migration to cities and abroad.

The gathering was advised to read Kashag’s vision paper to understand better the goals of the 16th Kashag.

Chairman of Local Tibetan Assembly Tenzin was honoured for his valuable contributions to the Tibetan community in Shimla and certificates of ownership were also distributed at the programme to the shop owners as part of the event.

Sikyong on his assessment visit to Chimeling.

Sikyong addresses the Tibetan residents of Trideyling.

Sikyong walks down to the Malyana rehabilitation site.

Sikyong at the Sambhota school with Chairman Tenzin who was felicitated for his valuable contributions to the Tibetan community.

Blinken concerned over China collecting DNA of Tibetans

Blinken’s statement met with an accusatory response from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has publicly expressed concerns over reports of China gathering DNA from Tibetans, making him the senior-most American official to raise the issue to date.

As the featured speaker at Freedom House’s annual Freedom Awards on Wednesday, Blinken stated: “We’re also concerned by reports of the spread of mass DNA collection to Tibet as an additional form of control and surveillance over the Tibetan population.”

In September 2022, Citizen Lab reported that Chinese police may have gathered about 920,000 to 1.2 million DNA samples in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which spans around half of traditional Tibet, over the prior six years.

Those figures represent one-quarter to one-third of the region’s total population.

That same month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said China’s authorities were systematically collecting DNA from residents of the TAR, including by taking blood from children as young as five without their parents’ consent.

Blinken’s statement met with an accusatory response from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

However, the International Campaign for Tibet welcomed the Secretary’s remarks.

“Throughout its brutal occupation of Tibet, China has used Tibet as a laboratory for relentless methods of social control, including this horrific campaign of mass DNA collection,” said the ICT, an advocacy group based in Washington D.C. and Europe.

“The best way to protect Tibetans from China’s authoritarian rule is to push for a peaceful resolution to China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. The US can and must do that by passing the bipartisan Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act that is currently in both Houses of Congress.”

According to Citizen Lab, China’s DNA collection program is unrelated to criminal justice.

“Our analysis indicates that for years police across Tibet have collected DNA samples from men, women, and children, none of whom appear to be criminal suspects,” Citizen Lab says in its report.

Police are also not targeting specific groups like activists or government critics. Instead, they are collecting DNA from entire communities.

Similarly, the HRW said in its report that, “there is no publicly available evidence suggesting people can decline to participate” in the DNA collection, “or that police have credible evidence of criminal conduct that might warrant such collection”.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded to a question about Blinken’s remarks by claiming they “mean nothing except manufacturing sensational news items”.

Wang then accused the US military of collecting genomic data of Chinese, Arabs and “European Aryans”.

China has illegally occupied Tibet for over 60 years, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959.

Earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans in both chambers of Congress reintroduced a bill that can help peacefully resolve the occupation.

The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act will pressure China to resume negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s envoys for the first time since dialogue between the two sides stalled in 2010.

The legislation will recognize that Tibetans have the right to self-determination and that Tibet’s legal status is yet to be determined under international law.

Tibet advocacy organization in Australia holds “Tibet Brief” event

On May 11, 2023, the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (AAPGT) hosted an occasion dubbed “Tibet Brief” in the capitol. The Australia Tibet Council organized the gathering with the help of the Tibet Information Office and the ACT Tibetan Community.

With the use of occasions like Tibet Advocacy Day, the Australian All-Party Group for Tibet seeks to strengthen Tibet’s voice in the Australian parliament. The purpose of the gathering was to bring new legislative allies together to hear from representatives of the ACT Tibetan Community, Australia Tibet Council, and the Tibet Information Office about Tibet and its current circumstances.

Karma Singey, the Dalai Lama’s representative in Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia, talked briefly on the deteriorating conditions in Tibet and thanked all of his legislative colleagues for their concerns and unwavering support for the cause of Tibet. He also let them know that Sikyong Penpa Tsering will be visiting Australia in June.

When they recently visited Dharamshala in April 2023, Senator Janet Rice, Dr. Sophie Scamps MP, Susan Templeman MP, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Sharon Claydon all shared their insights into the lives of Tibetan refugees in exile and their experiences meeting with the exiled Tibetan leadership.

“Australia has recognized that there are real challenges for Tibetans in Tibet and there are threats to culture, education, language, and your Tibetan way of life,” stated MP Susan Templeman during their tour to Dharamshala. She admitted that their visit’s objectives are to “gain a deeper understanding of those issues” and “see what we can do as an Australian friend to be able to assist.”

A total of 20 lawmakers, including McCormack MP, a former deputy prime minister, and Hon. Shayne Neumann MP, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade, attended the discussion.

Mental Health Monitoring Team Visits to South Indian Tibetan Settlement

South India: From 25 April to 12 May, CTA’s mental health dealing staff Tenzin Chondhen, Southern-zone Telepsychiatry coordinator Sherab Tsomo and Intern Sonam Dolma visited the four southern settlements where the telepsychiatry project is being piloted in collaboration with Sangath, Goa.  A total of 3 members (Dr Abhijit Nadkarni, Kedar Mirchandani and Urvita Bhatia) from Sangath joined the visit to monitor and assess the feasibility and acceptability of telepsychiatry mode of treatment by the Tibetan people in Mundgod and Bylakuppe where a larger number of mental health beneficiaries are registered and seeking treatment under this project. 

Not only do they interview the dealing nurses of the hospitals but also have face-to-face communication/discussion with the beneficiaries and their families on their experience of the project, observing their responses and the actual feedback towards this approach. 

It is found that many of the beneficiaries benefited greatly by bringing and providing timely treatment and intervention to their location, which helps meet their need for convenient, affordable and accessible mental health services without any need to travel for long hours to city areas. 

In addition to the telepsychiatry monitoring visit, the staff also gave separate awareness sessions on mental health and its problems to 59 community leaders, 468 public and on adolescent mental health to 531 students in those five settlements. 

The program was funded by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

Telepsychiatry coordinator Sherab Tsomo during public awareness in Hunsur.

Dealing staff Tenzin Chondhen during the public awareness in Mundgod

Awareness to Kollegal STS students

Mental health desk and Sangath team

Pioneering Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden has passed away at age 53.

His videos accurately depicted Tibetan life today as it was experienced by the people, free of the prejudices that had long been attached to their culture.

Pema Tseden passed away on Monday in Tibet. She was a writer and filmmaker who, under heavy scrutiny from Chinese censors, gave an honest portrayal of current Tibetan life. He was 53.

He was a professor at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, which released a statement to confirm his passing. It was not stated what caused his death or where it occurred.

Clichés have been used often to describe Tibet and its people incorrectly. In the eyes of the West, it was a dream paradise modeled after the portrayal of Shangri-La in British novelist James Hilton’s 1933 book “Lost Horizon.” Chinese Communist Party propaganda films portrayed Han cadres as liberators while depicting Tibetans as serfs or barbarians in need of rescue and rehabilitation.

Pema Tseden, who like the majority of Tibetans went by his two given names instead of his family name, claimed that as a youngster, he had yearned for realistic depictions of his land, people, and culture that were missing from current Hollywood and Chinese films.

In a 2019 interview, he said that “every element, even the smallest, was inaccurate,” including the attire, traditions, and manners. Because of this, I believed at the time that later, if someone created films with even a passing familiarity with the language, culture, and customs of my people, they would be quite different.

Pema Tseden seldom used images of Tibet’s growing Chinese population, which increased after the Red Army occupied Tibet in 1951, in his movies. He avoided mentioning the Dalai Lama, who is seen in China as favoring Tibetan independence, in order to avoid being subject to Chinese censorship. This enabled him to address bigger issues like the loss of traditions and identity in the face of technology without avoiding overtly political comments.

He was the first Tibetan filmmaker active in China to produce a full-length movie exclusively in Tibetan. Additionally, he was the first Tibetan filmmaker to get a degree from the esteemed Beijing Film Academy, which produced many of the nation’s top directors. However, he was compelled to submit screenplays in Chinese for assessment and was subject to further screening by state censors, like other Chinese artists who explore ethnic minorities and religion.

Tenzing Sonam, a Tibetan writer and filmmaker who lives in Dharamshala, India, said by phone: “His challenge, of course, was to make films that would reflect a Tibetan sense of identity, a Tibetan cultural sensibility, while not upsetting the Chinese authorities.” Pema Tseden expertly straddled that precarious edge.

He portrayed typical Tibetan experiences in “The Silent Holy Stones” (2005), including monks watching television and peasants practicing for a New Year’s opera. Additionally, the authority of the state and the challenges of privatizing ancestral lands were explored in “Old Dog” (2011), which included pictures of barbed-wire fences snaking across the Tibetan grasslands.

His films were “not just about Tibet,” according to Tsering Shakya, a Tibetan historian and academic at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who made this statement in an interview. This is about China and the people who are suffering as a result of that country’s economic miracle.

Chinese viewers and the film industry started to embrace Tibetan as a language utilized on the big screen as Pema Tseden’s influence expanded. And his films created an altogether new genre that some referred to as the Tibetan New Wave by fusing the oral storytelling and music traditions of Tibet with contemporary filming techniques.

According to Shelly Kraicer, a curator and scholar who specialized in Chinese cinema and who prepared translations for several of Pema Tseden’s films, “the stories his films contained — which are always painstakingly framed and exquisitely modulated — speak powerful truths in the gentlest of voices.” He is a significant global filmmaker.

He worked to create a close-knit community of Tibetan filmmakers, including Jigme Trinley, Sonthar Gyal, Dukar Tserang, Lhapal Gyal, and Pema Tseden’s son, Sonthar Gyal, all of whom went on to become independent film directors. Drivers, helpers, and other crew workers sometimes played many parts, acting as extras and training performers in regional accents.

Pema Tseden was known to Françoise Robin, a professor of Tibetan language and literature at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, for more than 20 years. “He created from scratch an embryonic Tibetan film circle, film industry,” she stated over the phone. He is a very loyal buddy. Some of his employees stayed with him for ten years.

Pema Tseden was born on December 3, 1969, in Qinghai Province, which is a part of Tibet’s northern Amdo area. Both farmers and herders, his parents were.

His grandpa reared him, and after school he was required to type out Buddhist texts by hand. This practice gave him an early passion for Tibetan language and culture. Prior to studying Tibetan literature and translation at the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, he worked as a teacher for four years. After that, he spent many years working as a government servant in his area of origin.

He began releasing short tales in both Tibetan and Chinese that were set in Tibet and featured characters who were faced with radical change in 1991. They emphasized the value of developing a relationship with animals and the natural world by illuminating “the complexity of life in the simplest language,” according to Jessica Yeung, a lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University who translated Pema Tseden’s works and knew him for ten years. Later, he turned several of his tales into motion pictures.

He released “The Silent Holy Stones” and numerous more films to great acclaim after attending the Beijing Film Academy in the early 2000s. Ten years later, “Tharlo” (2015) had its Venice Film Festival debut. The film follows the journey of a shepherd who must leave his remote community to apply for a government ID. It received multiple honors, including Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award for best script adaptation. Within a few years, it also rose to prominence among Tibetans as a key work for budding filmmakers.

In an undated interview, Pema Tseden said that “a Tibetan film should show Tibetan life,” according to a recent Kangba TV broadcast in Tibetan. “In my situation, I wanted my movies to definitely include people who are Tibetan, who would all speak Tibetan, and whose conduct and style of thinking were Tibetan. I wanted this from my first movie ahead. This is what distinguishes Tibetan cinema.

His greater notoriety aided Pema Tseden’s later flicks. Produced by the Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s Jet Tone Films, “Jinpa” (2018) tells the story of a truck driver who hits a sheep before picking up a hitchhiker. It had its world debut at the Venice Film Festival, where it took home the Orizzonti Award for outstanding script. The Venice Film Festival saw the world debut of “Balloon” (2019), which is about a family struggling with an unplanned pregnancy in the midst of Chinese family planning restrictions. The post-production phase of the upcoming movie “Snow Leopard,” which explores the precarious coexistence of people and carnivorous animals, is now under progress. He was working on another movie when he passed away.

There was no immediate information about surviving save his son.