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News in Brief May 16, 2008

Posted by Sarah Todd in Burma, News, Tibet.
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  • The junta in Burma has raised its estimated death toll to 78,000, with 56,000 missing. [CNN]
  • Harvard Professor (and former Obama aide) Samantha Power and Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt talk about Burma and the moral and political complexities of intervention. [NPR]
  • In China, at least 5 million people are left homeless in the aftermath of the largest earthquake the country has seen in 58 years. The country continues to struggle to recover the injured and dead while grappling with aftershocks and landslides. [Times Online]
  • The 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorje, makes his first visit to the United States. [New York Times]

Kristof on Amdo May 15, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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Nicholas Kristof on violence against monks in Amdo:

At Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, almost 10,000 feet high in the mountains, more than 220 Buddhist monks were arrested and beaten, local Tibetans said. The great majority have been released, but some are still hospitalized because of injuries. Some monks are hiding in the mountains, and they are all terrified.

“I was beaten for two hours with sticks, and kicked all over,” said a monk who was released after one night of imprisonment.

Last month, the Chinese authorities ushered a group of journalists here on a tightly scripted tour to show that Labrang was calm — and then 15 monks rushed up to the group. One was crying, and all said that their human rights were being systematically violated.

After the reporters left, those who joined that peaceful protest were imprisoned, beaten and in some cases subjected to electric shock torture, the monks here say. That is impossible to confirm, and Tibetan versions of events are sometimes exaggerated.

Nepal prepares to abolish the monarchy.

Tibetan Tectonics May 13, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, News, Tibet.
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The twin disasters continue to unfold.

The storm is over in Burma but the humanitarian nightmare continues. And the constitutional referendum went ahead despite being “blatantly rigged.”

Meanwhile ABC says “Tibetan tectonics triggered China quake.”

The violent quake that shook China’s Sichuan province this week is linked to a shift of the Tibetan plateau to the north and east, researchers say.

Hmm. And some inside China didn’t take kindly to the cheery spectacle of the Olympic torch jogging along as if nothing were wrong.

“Nowhere Near the Scale Required” May 12, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, Tibet.
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There’s been a lot of back and forth over aid to Burma, but the first U.S. plane has just landed.

A number of other flights arrived over the weekend and some supplies reached Burma by land.

But many foreign experts are still waiting for visas to enter the country and on Sunday, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said that the amount of aid getting to victims was “nowhere near the scale required”.

The US military says about 11,000 servicemen and four ships are in the region for a military exercise and could be harnessed to help.

The junta insists that foreign aid is acceptable but foreign aid workers are not.

The BBC has an interactive map of the torch’s route in China — You can click on a city to read more about it. The torch is due to be in Lhasa June 20th and 21st.

Burma Slow to Recover; Torch climbs Everest May 8, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, News, Tibet.
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Five days after the storm, Burma’s main city of Rangoon is paralyzed and lacks basic services, but the death toll there was small, 400 or so, compared with the Irrawaddy Delta. Food, water, and other necessities are desperately needed on the delta, which was slammed by the incoming storm, and aid teams are stuck waiting in Thailand for permission to cross the border.

Meanwhile, with very little fanfare outside the Chinese media echo-chamber, the torch summits Everest.

Angry Young Chinese Students, and Woeser May 7, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, News, Tibet.
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Should’ve linked to this earlier but Konchog at Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa has a great post on feeling sympathy for the young Chinese people who are vigorously defending their country from what they see as unfair attacks from abroad. Some good mythbusting info on the office of the Dalai Lama among other things in there too.

And Danny Fisher linked to a Washington Post article on the Tibetan writer Woeser, who was profiled in the New York Review of Books and elsewhere some months ago. She bravely lives and writes in Beijing, along with her husband, the activist Wang Lixiong.

Torch expected to climb Everest soon; Radiohead May 7, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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What a shame.

Radiohead staged a Tibet protest of their own in Florida, on the first day of their tour.

The Reincarnation / Karma Conundrum May 7, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, Reincarnation, Tibet.
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Interesting stuff going on at the Urban Monk, where Dogo Barry Graham declares:

The Buddha did not believe in reincarnation (those who think he did do not understand the sutras).

This stems from an earlier discussion where the Dalai Lama said (among other things) that Tibet is being punished for feudalism. (See the DL interview here.)

The Urban Monk is a great blog. And if you’re in the Valley of the Sun, probably a pretty warm spot these days, go visit the Sitting Frog Sangha. Dogo Barry Graham is a student of the great Kobutsu Malone.

Death Toll Rises Again from Storm in Burma; Karmapa visit; Beijing Accuses TYC of Terror Ties May 6, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, Environment, News, Tibet.
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More than 22,000. The junta allows aid to trickle in.

The Karmapa’s visit to the U.S. is coming up. His schedule is on this site. At Tricycle we’re obligated to mention the controversy over who is the 17th Karmapa, and that there are duelling Karmapas, but this site, which of course has an agenda, says it’s a non-issue. It is true that the Karmapa who is coming to the U.S. has a bigger following here, which may explain why he is coming. This is not to stoke controversy or push an agenda — this visit is a big deal for Buddhism in America.

Beijing says the Tibetan Youth Congress has ties to Al Qaeda. They must be angling for funding from teh Department of Homeland Security. Of course, our government would have to borrow the money from Beijing to pay Beijing anyway

Dalai Lama’s Envoys Head to China May 2, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, News, Tibet.
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The talks will be “informal” and their visit will be “brief”.

Update: The torch in Hong Kong.