Dhasa: A group of experts have urged the United States Congress to further their efforts to press China on issues of human rights abuses and reversals in their rule of law since 2008, Reuters reported on Tuesday (August 2). The plea comes after mounting evidence of a crackdown on ethnic minorities and critics of the Chinese regime.
Human rights and legal experts have accused Washington of downplaying human rights abuses in order to secure economic relations with Beijing.
The Diu Hua Foundation, a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving universal human rights through well-informed dialogue between the US and China, has compiled a list of 5,800 people in China imprisoned for non-violent expression of religious or political belief. Jerome Cohen, of the New York University School of Law, told the congressional panel that the statistics reveal a clearly concentrated effort to target political activists and those who represent them in court.
The experts urged the panel to increase their annual human rights talks with Beijing to at least twice a year, raise the ranks of official participation and concentrate on specific cases as opposed to the general tone preferred by Chinese authorities.

Beijing: An appeal by Karma Samdrup, the Tibetan environmentalist sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for grave robbery and dealing in looted antiquities, was rejected outright by a Chinese court on July 7th, the Associated Press reported yesterday (July 3).
The tomb-raiding charges against Samdrup, the businessman and 2006 Environmentalist of the Year, date back to a 1998 when looted items were found in his possession. His lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, has said he was unaware of the origin of the wooden artifacts and other antiques in question.
There was no response to the documents filed by Zhiqiang for his client's appeal, which was rejected without any explanation from the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate Court. Many of Samdrup's supporters believe he is being made an example of due to his public role in environmental activism. Zhiqiang suspects the steadfast dismissal of the appeal may be an attempt at a cover-up.
Since the initial ruling, Human Rights Watch have reported that Samdrup has been beaten by prison officials as well as undergoing several months of interrogation, sleep deprivation, and that he was drugged with a substance that causes the eyes and ears to bleed.
Attempts by the Associated Press to contact the court for further information have fallen on deaf ears.

Dharamshala: As a mark of condolence and respect for the passing away of Tibetan Parliamentary Secretary Mr Phurbu Tsering la, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) held a prayer session from 2-3pm today, after which its remained closed for the day. Mr Phurbu dedicated 37 years of his life to the Tibetan civil service.
Mr Phurbu, who had been ill for several months, breathed his last at the Tibetan Delek Hospital in Dharamsala on 29 July 2010, at the age of 57.
Mr Phurbu joined the CTA civil service as an accountant-cum-junior clerk at a Tibetan settlement in Nepal's Solo Khumbu region on 16 August 1973.
After completing his probation period, he served as a junior clerk in various locations, including the Lugsung Samdupling Co-operative Society at Bylakuppe, the Office of Tibet Affairs at Delhi, and progressed to become acting head of the Centre of Tibetan Religious Artifacts at Dharamsala and an accountant at the security department from 1 September 1978 to 10 October 1985.
From 15 April 1987 to 2 January 1991, Mr Phurbu worked as manager of the Tibetan Handicraft Centres at Mundgod and Dekyi Larsoe Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe.
He was promoted to under-secretary on 1 August 1992 and posted at the Department of Security. He continued to work at the department till 23 August 1993, after being promoted to deputy secretary on 15 June. He was promoted to joint secretary on 5 February 1999.
From 19 March 1999 to 3 November 2001, he worked as joint secretary at the ealth department and election commission.
Mr Phurbu was promoted to the post of additional secretary on 7 June 2007.
He was the acting secretary for Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat from 19 May 2008 to 16 August 2008, and was promoted to become the secretariat's secretary general on 1 June 2010.

Dhasa: The position of Chris Carter, a member of the ruling New Zealand Labour Party, has come under scrutiny after he kept a trip to China and Tibet a secret from party leaders. Carter claims the trip was financed entirely by the Chinese government, as opposed to taxpayer dollars, and therefore he did not see it as necessary to seek authorization for the vacation.
Mr Carter's controversial absence is another in a succession of rule-breaking issues that have put his parliamentary future in jeopardy. Phil Goff, the party leader, has expressed concern over his colleague's capabilities, suggesting that Carter's irrational behaviour may be due to mental health issues.
Revelation of the clandestine visit to China, as well as attempts to undermine Goff, prompted his ejection via a unanimous vote from a caucus (party meeting) on Thursday (July 29), almost guaranteeing his permanent expulsion from the party council on August 7.
According to the New Zealand parliamentary candidate, the trip was offered to him by China four months ago, to coincide with a conference on poverty alleviation. Carter said that during the trip he spent six days in China and one day in Tibet. He argued that the uproar about the trip was an attempt to conceal concern over Goff's leadership.

Dhasa: The three-day General Meeting of the People for the Movement of the Middle Way began today in Dharamshala. The speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Mr Penpa Tsering, attended as special guest along with around 100 others, including representative members from 15 regional chapters and envoys from Tibetan non-government organisations.
Attendees stood to sing traditional Tibetan songs to mark to beginning of the meeting, which were followed by an introduction by Mr Doctor Kyenrob, coordinator of the middle way movement. Mr Yuten Gyaltso later reported on the movement's activities and expenses over the past year and a half.
Penpa Tsering addressed the audience with the main tenets of the middle way approach, which seeks genuine autonomy as opposed to complete independence. He spoke of the importance of the approach for the struggle and why it is necessary to emphasise that this is the viewpoint of the majority of Tibetan people, not just His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The next two days will focus on ways in which the people of Tibet can advance the movement and how amiable relations between Tibetans and Chinese (something which the Dalai Lama strongly advocates) can be promoted and achieved. The expansion of the movement and its future developments will also be discussed, as well as the election of additional coordinators.

Jelsi: A small town in central Italy has presented its annual international prize - the Traglia - to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in recognition of his doctrine of kindness, love and compassion. The award was received by Mr Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness' Geneva representative, on July 27 in Jelsi, Italy. The ceremony was organized as part of the town's celebrations of Festa del Grano and was supported by the regional government.
In receiving the award, Mr Chhoekyapa said he was grateful and encouraged that a small town in central Italy recognised His Holiness' work, and expressed concern for the plight of the Tibetan people. Over 20,000 people from all over the region attended the first day of the annual festival.
Four monks from the Gaden Jangtse Monastery in south India constructed a sand mandala and prayed for world peace. After the mandala was dismantled, a long line of people queued to receive a small portion of the sand.
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message of peace and non-violence is very important for the growth of civilization," said Mr Michele Iorio, president of the Molise regional government, during a meeting with Mr Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa on July 28. Mr Iorio added that he supports His Holiness' call for autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Dhasa: Richard Gere, a prominent Hollywood actor and dedicated advocate of human rights in Tibet, has chosen outdoor locations in Dharamshala and Ladakh for his new movie, after permission to film in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region was denied by Chinese authorities. Mr Gere has been planning the film for the last five years and has confirmed filming will begin next month.
Lobsang Wangyal, director of the Miss Tibet Pageant and close friend of the film-star, has said the movie is based on Tibet and Buddhism. The finer details, however, are unknown. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts has reportedly been contacted by Mr Gere to feature in the film.
Mr Gere, who is chairman of the board of directors of the International Campaign for Tibet, has sponsored many programmes for Tibetans living in exile since his first visit to Dharamshala in the late 1980s. As a result of his strong support for the Tibetan cause, the actor is permanently prohibited form entering the People's Republic of China.

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