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The Torch in India, Australia April 17, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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The relay begins amid heavy security in New Delhi. Meanwhile, China cancels its plan to open Tibet on May 1st and seals the borders. And if you wonder why Nepal is cracking down on protesters so hard:

Chinese security police in athletic wear can be seen lounging in tea shops and strolling the sole street in the border town of Liping. They shadow three Associated Press journalists from the moment they arrive, ordering them not to take photographs — on Nepalese territory.

And in the capital Katmandu, Tibetan exiles say China is pressuring the Nepalese government to crush anti-Chinese activities by the world’s second-largest Tibetan exile community.

The torch is also headed to Australia, where more protests are expected. Chinese in Australia asay they’re ready to defend the torch. Plus, two opinions in Australia on the this “internal issue” of china’s taht is under the world’s spotlight.

[Photo: An exiled Tibetan activist being restrained in New Delhi. AFP]

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The Flame in Delhi April 16, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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Remember that Tibetans tried to storm the Chinese embassy here in March. Security will be tight. India’s relations with China are fragile enough already.

Torch comes to India; more voices against a U.S. boycott April 16, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, News, Tibet.
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The torch comes to India, home of the Tibetan exile community. (But the DL is in the U.S., currently getting a checkup at the Mayo Clinic — he has good insurance.) Several protesters have been arrested in India already.

Walter Mondale says theres no need for a boycott. Mondale, as Carter’s VP, was involed in the boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Bush’s foreign policy expert Stephen Hadley (the man who confused Nepal and Tibet) called boycotting the opening ceremonies a “cop-out” and said that instead, the U.S. is engaging in “quiet diplomacy.”

And Anne Wu, an associate at Harvard’s Kennedy Center says to keep Tibet and the Olympics separate:

Using the Tibetan issue as a cunning game of political machinations is unfair both to China and to the Tibetan people.

Foreign reporters highlighted a few weeping monks decrying Tibet’s lack of freedom in the Jokhang Temple after China organized the media trip to Tibet. Didn’t the young Han Chinese man shown separately on Sinovision, whose teenage sister died in the fire set by the mobs, deserve equal coverage?

It would be wrong to assume that the Chinese do not have free minds and that the government orchestrates everything. It’s not surprising that blogs in China have exploded with anti-splittist and anti-West comments of the “Fen Qing” (furious young surfers), expressing anger over the violence and the Western media’s one-sided, twisted reports.

Overseas Chinese have also been energized. A video on YouTube, “Tibet was, is, and always will be a part of China,” produced by a Canadian Chinese student, was clicked 1.2 million times and received 72,000 comments in three days. Patriotism and nationalism are strong among the Chinese. The power of the people’s voice should not be underestimated.

Historical burdens at times prevent people from moving forward. Buddhism’s art of meditation offers wisdom: Let go, develop a refined awareness of the present moment, and reach a clarity of mind.

Well, if you want to leave Tibet out of the Games, how about starting with keeping the torch out of Tibet?

Ths Cost of Going Green April 15, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Environment.
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An appeal is made to the E.U. to slow down on using biofuels, which can be worse for the earth per gallon than fossil fuels.

But on the other hand it’s a little frightening that India (along with many other countries) is building huge coal-burning plants as fast as they can. As Andrew Revkin writes:

The decision [to build the coal-burning plants] powerfully illustrates one of the most inconvenient facets of the world’s intertwined climate and energy challenges — that more than two billion people still lack any viable energy choices, let alone green ones.

Honored Guest or Pain in the Neck? April 5, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, News, Tibet.
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India weighs its relationship with the Dalai Lama. China grows impatient.

A slew of anti-China protests in India since last month’s unrest in Tibet has embarrassed New Delhi, which recognises Tibet as an integral part of China but which offered the Dalai Lama a refuge after he fled Lhasa in 1959.

Dharamsala in the north Indian hills now houses the Tibetan government-in-exile and was at the centre of the recent protests.

The survey showed 47 percent of respondents endorsed India’s diplomatic position of not angering China with open support for the Dalai Lama, yet 64 percent said they didn’t want the government to stop Tibetans from protesting against Beijing.

“People have a soft corner for the Dalai Lama but they don’t want India to take an extreme stand, like say, sending him back or stopping Tibetans from demanding back their country,” Prem Chand Palety, CEO of Cfore, the pollsters, told Reuters.

8 killed in Kardze April 5, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma, Dalai Lama, Meditation, News, Random Notes, Tibet.
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Police fired on monks and civilians in Kardze in eastern Tibet, killing eight. Radio Free Asia has a lot of info on this. The monks objected to a re-education program they were forced to undergo, and the government objected to their objections. Some sources say as many as fifteen were killed, and there are also reports of at least two monks in Sichuan province committing suicide:

On Saturday, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, based in India, said two monks committed suicide last month in Sichuan’s Aba County following government oppression. Aba County has been the scene of large protests involving hundreds of monks and citizens.

One monk, identified as Lobsang Jinpa, from the Aba Kirti Monastery killed himself March 27, leaving a signed note saying, “I do not want to live under Chinese oppression even for a minute,” the human rights group said.

The group said the second suicide occurred March 30 at the Aba Gomang Monastery, when a 75-year-old monk named Legtsok took his life, telling his followers he “can’t beat the oppression anymore.”

It was impossible to verify the information since Chinese authorities have banned foreign reporters from traveling to the region.

From Precious Metal: Outspoken activist Hu Jia arrested Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal on ethnic tensions in non-Tibetan areas of China, such as the Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The government of India draws sharp criticism from its own citizens and is accused of placating China.

Rebecca Novick of the Huffington Post on why the 2008 Olympics are good for Tibet: because they expose China’s abysmal human rights to the world.

Tricycle Pilgrimage to India, January 2008 March 7, 2008

Posted by tricycleblog in Events, News.
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The Tricycle pilgrimage to India was an eventful one, with so many sites visited we were all a bit winded by the end of it. This year, our unflappable Indian guide, Shantum Seth, took us down to the stone-temple caves of Ajanta and Ellora–truly spectacular.

Stephen Batchelor and Shantum led mediations and teachings, and most memorable for me–after Ajanta and Ellora–was our visit to Sanchi, in Madhaya Pradesh. Sanchi is the site of some of the most well-preserved stupas and examples of Buddhist architecture. Stone structures spanning centuries are perched high on a hill overlooking the plains below. The great thing about Sanchi is that it spans a period from the third to the twelfth centuries. The earliest structures show no representation of the Buddha at all, in keeping with the tradition’s focus on the teachings, not the man. The appearance in later centuries of Buddha images almost feels like a loss–odd, since we ordinarily find them so comforting.

Which is perhaps an interesting point: I suppose it was inevitable we’d fill the void–in this case an empty throne flanked by deer evoking the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught–with something. Emptiness is a pretty big challenge.

Take a look at pictures our pilgrims took this year.
Especially notable are those of Craig Morton, from Austin, Texas, whose shots–especially his portraits–best capture the feel and tone of the tour.

Next year’s In the Footsteps of the Buddha pilgrimage is in the planning, so keep an eye peeled for news of it.

-James Shaheen
Editor & Publisher