Chennai: As previously reported, Lhakpa Tsering hit trouble upon his arrival in Chennai, on the final leg of his motorbike world tour to promote the Tibetan cause. His bike was held by Indian customs officials on the September 17 and it emerged yesterday that he will need a significant deposit for his bike to be released.

After travelling through 22 countries, it appears that Indian regulations require more permits to be obtained and, in this instance, Lhakpa requires a 'carnet' from the Canadian Automobile Association together with an $18,000 deposit bond.

Lhakpa needs assistance to raise these funds and allow his trip to continue. Time is running out for him because storage costs for his bike will become prohibitively expensive after around ten days, and he will have to have it shipped back to the US.

Lhakpa, who is due to arrive in Dharamsala on October 23, said he was hopeful of raising the bond, but if this is not possible he will consider hiring a bike in Delhi to complete his journey.

To help Lhakpa in his quest, you can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on Facebook, or phone +91-988-413-8505 / +91-886-017-5509

Delhi: A discussion of the Human Rights Watch report I Saw It with My Own Eyes, which documents abuses by Chinese security forces in Tibet between 2008-2010, was held in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday (September 21).

The discussion at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, included panellists Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, and Dr Srikanth Kondapalli of the university's Department of East Asian Studies.

The report documents the Chinese crackdown following the sustained Tibetan protests in March 2008, using only eyewitness testimony and official Chinese sources. It concludes that more serious human rights abuses were committed than previously thought, including disproportionate use of force, ill-treatment of detainees and politically determined judicial proceedings.

The report says China has yet to explain the circumstances leading up to the clashes between protesters and security forces. It also says says China has failed to reveal the fate of hundreds of Tibetans arrested during the protests, or disclose how many it detained, sentenced, still holds pending trial, or has sentenced to extrajudicial forms of detention, such as 're-education through labour'.

The full report can be read at http://www.hrw.org/en/node/91846/section/1

 

Dharamshala: Palden Choedron, one of a group of 14 nuns who smuggled a recording of religious and patriotic songs out of their cells in Drapchi Prison in 1993, has escaped from Tibet and arrived in Dharamsala, north India, on September 1st.

Born in 1973 in Nyemo, near Lhasa, Palden became a nun at the age of 14 and was first arrested after a peaceful protest on Barkhor Street in 1990, after which she was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

In prison, along with a group of other nuns, she recorded songs praising the Dalai Lama and Tibet, hoping to demonstrate to the outside world that their spirits had not been broken by their harsh conditions. When the tapes were discovered, Palden's sentence was extended by five years and the group were reportedly subjected to torture, leading to the death of one of their number, Ngawang Lochoe.

According to US-based Tibetan non-government organisation ICT, Palden made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from Tibet four months after her release in 1998, and was sentenced to three more years in a 'reform-through-labour' camp. In 2006, all 13 remaining nuns were released, but were banned from returning to their nunnery and kept under constant surveilance. Five of the nuns remain in Tibet and eight now live abroad in exile.

Dharamshala: Two Tibetan monks from Namgyal monastery, Dharamsala, yesterday (September 13) arrived in Toronto, Canada, to begin the month-long preparations of the new Tibetan-Canadian Cultural Centre (TCCC), ahead of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit in October.

Lobsang Tendar and Tenzin Kunchok will perform a range of special ceremonies at TCCC, which is currently being renovated with the assistance of 15 to 20 volunteers.

It is expected to take the team around a month of day shifts to complete the preparations, which include 'filling' three 13-foot statues of Lord Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokiteshvara, and one six-foot statue and 21 one-and-a-half-foot statues of Tara. Relics used to fill the statues will include mantra scrolls, incense and juniper leaves.

TCCC is a not-for-profit charity, dedicated to preserving and sharing Tibetan culture and traditions in Canada while fostering cross-cultural understanding through the practice of the Tibetan values of altruism, compassion and harmony.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will inaugurate the centre on October 23 as part of his North America tour.

For details of the centre and His Holiness' Canadian itinerary, visit www.dalailamatoronto2010.org

Dharamshala: The Lower Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) school, Dharamshala, north India, has been hit by a food poisoning epidemic, leaving one student dead and 300 ill.

Late last week, students at Lower TCV were affected by fever, diahorreah and vomiting. The poisoning is suspected to have come from a stir-fried noodle dish, although it is possible it was caused by contaminated drinking water.

80 students were hospitalised in Delek hospital and others local facilities, of which half have now been discharged. The school campus will remain closed for five days as a precautionary measure.

The police have not been involved, but it has been reported that a committee will be formed to investigate the incident.

Dharamshala: Lhakpa Tsering, a Tibetan immigrant based in the USA, is facing problems getting from Chennai to Dharamala, India, as he attempts complete a world tour to raise awareness about Tibet.

Lhakpa set off from the UN building in New York on March 10 - the 51st Tibetan National Uprising Day - and travelled through 22 countries. He landed in Chennai from Melbourne on September 17, where his motorbike was impounded due to a problem with customs documentation.

On his website http://freetibetworldtour.com/ Lhakpa vowed to do everything in his power to continue his journey, writing, "I will use all my resource, and I will try my best not to leave India until I finish my tour. I spend next two days just to move the motorcycle from customs to storage while waiting for new documents to arrive."

Lhakpa's epic journey has taken in Australia, Japan, England, Canada and large parts of continental Europe, where he has canvassed support and spread the message about a free Tibet. Once his customs documentation is processed, he will complete the final leg of his tour by riding from Chennai to Dharamsala, via Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai and Delhi.

Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded his teachings on the 37 Practices of the Bodhisattava today (Septermber 9) and will perform the Avalokiteshvera initiation ceremony tomorrow.

The teachings today in Mcleodganj, north India, covered Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's famous verses which guide the day-to-day practice of a Bodhisattava. The concise and clear nature of the text is commonly considered to make it accessible to Western audiences.

Tomorrow's ceremony will provide an opportunity for participants to commit to a set of practices which include striving to liberate all sentient beings from Samsara. His Holiness jokingly noted that, as he is often referred to as a trouble-maker, it seems a contradiction for him to confer an initiation where participants commit not to cause trouble.

The initiation ceremony starts at 9am tomorrow and can be viewed live at http://dalailama.com/liveweb

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