U.S. Congress re-introduces “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act” amidst rise in tensions over the Dalai Lama’s travels

In the long shadow of the recent Trump-Xi meeting lingers a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to guarantee open access to Tibet for American citizens. Introduced just before the meeting early last month, the bill seeks greater access to the region for U.S. officials, journalists, and other citizens. The bill finds that, despite claims of openness by the Chinese government, heavy restrictions and frequent denial of travel documents has been observed, … [Read more...]

Images of Tibet’s Larung Gar demolition, April 2016 – April 2017

This month, photographer Jesse Rockwell posted images of Larung Gar, a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (10,000 being a more likely number).Last July Larung Gar was in the news, as the Chinese government began their demolition of structures there, threatening up to half of the monastics in the area.Click on the image for a larger image.As the image notes, Larung Gar was the world's larg … [Read more...]

UPDATE: Tibet Women’s Soccer team finds allies in Congress

As reported recently, the Tibet Women's Soccer team, the "Snow Lionesses," has been denied visas to come to the U.S. They were planning to join in an upcoming tournament. The team, based in India and coached by New Jersey native Cassie Childers was told that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." Congressional help Last week, two congressmen from New Jersey, Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Tom MacArthur, both Republicans, asked Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider the denial … [Read more...]

Tibetan Refugee Soccer Team denied visas to United States

A Tibetan Women's Soccer team based in India has been denied visas to the United States, raising concerns about our country's level of support for Tibetans and others under contested Chinese rule.Cassie Childers, a coach for the team, said that they were told at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." The team had been invited to play in Dallas and until recently, the travel would have been business as usual for all involved in international sports. … [Read more...]

In the Obituary of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar, some ominous words

The obituary for Elliot Sperling begins as most do, noting the peaks of the man's life: 66 years of vitality, a MacArthur (genius) Fellowship, and a reshaping of our understanding of Sino-Tibetan relations. Of particular note, the obituary's author Tenzin Dorjee, writes: Through his seminal writings on Tibet’s relations with China during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, he became arguably the first historian to extensively use both Chinese and Tibetan sources to bring to light the separation a … [Read more...]

Tibetan Buddhist immigrant told: ‘get the f— out of my country’

Tenzin Dorjee is from Bhutan, the tiny kingdom in the Himalayas made famous by its adherence to the idea that Gross National Happiness is at least as important as Gross Domestic Product. He is a practicing Buddhist, for whom "being peaceful is a huge part of his religion and identity."As an immigrant in America, he has faced racism and discrimination, but nothing like what happened to him last week.On November 9th, the day after Donald Trump's election, he was accosted outside his local … [Read more...]

2 More Tibetan Nuns commit suicide as China destroys vast Buddhist religious city

Phayul news service reports that two more Tibetan nuns have taken their lives due to the destruction of the city of Larung Gar in eastern Tibet (Western China). Authorities there claim that the expanse of new structures is a fire hazard and that the rapid growth of the city has not been officially permitted. I wrote this last month: This is Larung Gar a year ago. It is a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nu … [Read more...]

China gives Tibetans a search engine, immediately censors the Dalai Lama

After over 3 years of work, China has debuted its first ever Tibetan-language search engine: yongzin.com (which means "teacher" in Tibetan). The front page sports the bright blue, red, green, and yellow that are well-known to Google users, but the search results are very much a reflection of China's, and not Google's, priorities. According to the Wall Street Journal: A quick image search for the Dalai Lama, for example, requires sifting through pages of results before locating any of the man … [Read more...]