Editor's note: Here's an inspiring update on a cool project some friends of ours are doing in India. About a year ago, Boing Boing readers began contributing to help the Tibetan exile community in Mundgod, India build the region's first free Tibetan public library, with the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Shiwatso Library is now open for reading! “We have visitors checking out books from the Library and also coming to read,” says Phuntsok Dorjee, who is one of the organizers, and was raised in one of the refugee settlements there. Read the rest “Tibetan free library opens doors to readers in India, with help from Boing Boing readers”
In this clip from “Good Morning Britain,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama pulls off what may be the greatest Donald Trump impression ever by a Tibetan monk.
The interview in which this fabulous impression was given by His Holiness was conducted by Piers Morgan, and for surviving that the Tibetan spiritual leader has our greatest empathy.
Earlier this year, His Holiness was asked by a somewhat less vile American news reporter to comment on Trump in another television interview. “That's your business,” he said, declining the opportunity to throw shade.
[Guardian via Jigme Ugen] Read the rest “The Dalai Lama does a pretty great Donald Trump impression”
Jason Louv reports on a surprising decision and what it means for Tibet's uncertain future
The International Campaign for Tibet reports that "Two Tibetan monks were shot in the head and several others seriously injured after Chinese police opened fire at a crowd gathered to peacefully celebrate the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama in Nyitso, Tawu, eastern Tibet, on Saturday (July 6)." Read the rest “Tibetan monks shot by Chinese police for praying on Dalai Lama’s birthday”
As the world marks the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday, the Tibetan community marks a grim milestone: 120 Tibetans, mostly youth, have burned themselves alive to protest China's repressive rule. Xeni Jardin
traveled to Washington, DC to document a group of Tibetan-American activists asking lawmakers to open up immigration doors for political refugees, and hold China accountable.
Snip from a Globe and Mail article quoting HH the Dalai Lama: “It is quite strange – as non-believers, totally non-believers, atheists – showing interest about reincarnation. I jokingly tell them: In order to be involved in my reincarnation, firstly, they should accept Buddhism. Or religion. Or Buddhism. Then they should recognize Chairman Mao Zedong’s reincarnation. Deng Xiaopeng’s reincarnation. Then, they have reason to show some interest about the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. Otherwise, nonsense!” (via @markkersten) Read the rest “China wants to name Dalai Lama's successor. Dalai Lama: "LOL!"”
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks during a teaching session on the first day of the Kalachakra festival in the eastern Indian city of Bodhgaya January 1, 2012. The Kalachakra is a 10-day festival comprising Buddha teachings and meditations, taking place at Bodhgaya where Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash
Ed Wong in the New York Times writes about reports that hundreds of Tibetan Buddhists who attended the Kalachakra ceremony in January in India have been detained without charge by Chinese security officers upon returning to China-controlled Tibet.
This is the first time that the Chinese authorities have detained large numbers of Tibetan pilgrims returning from the ceremony, held regularly in India among other places.
Many of the pilgrims are elderly and have been detained for more than two months in central Tibet, or what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. The detainees are being interrogated and undergoing patriotic re-education classes, and have been ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama, who presided over the ceremony, known as the Kalachakra, say people who have researched the detentions. The detainees are being held at hotels, schools and military training centers or bases; some are being forced to pay for their lodging and meals.
Full story is here (via NgawangYonten).
Meanwhile, the desperate protest-suicides continue. 33 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest of Chinese rule since 2009, according to the Tibetan government in exile. And on April 8, a 26 year old Tibetan man in India jumped to his death in the river Ganges, a few days after texting to a friend, “It is my personal decision... Read the rest “China detains Tibetans returning from Buddhist festival, arrests devotee who sees vision of Dalai Lama in the Moon”
Ethnic Tibetans throughout Tibet this week held some of the largest demonstrations against Chinese rule in four years. Chinese forces responded by shooting protesters. Up to 5 are said to have been killed and more than 30 wounded, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.
On January 9, a 42-year-old monk became the latest in a continuing string of desperate protesters who burned themselves alive to protest Chinese military rule and cultural repression.
A New York Times report gathered accounts from a number of human rights groups. NPR's Morning Edition today aired an extensive report on the worsening human rights crisis in Tibet (MP3 link).
Details are hard to confirm, as foreign press access to the areas involved is all but impossible. Free Tibet has more, and Radio Free Asia has compiled various reports.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, issued a statement on the conflict, published in video on YouTube (and embedded above).
Read the rest “Tibet: China's bloody crackdown on Tibetan protesters escalates, as self-immolations continue”
Photo: David Huang
This morning, a demonstration took place in McLeod Ganj, a quiet Northern Indian village adjacent to the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. In this town on the southern end of the Himalayas, young Tibetan exiles staged a memorial for Tibetans inside China-controlled Tibet who have burned themselves alive in recent months.
11 have self-immolated since February 2009. Most are teenagers or in their early twenties. The youngest was 17. It is an expression of despair, and an act of protest against increasingly harsh Chinese military crackdown on ethnic Tibetan cultural, religious, and social systems. For a list of the names, dates, and locations, read on (and there is more background at standupfortibet.org).
The demonstration was organized by Students for a Free Tibet and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamsala.
Oxblood Ruffin was at the demonstration. He tells Boing Boing,
Read the rest “Exiled Tibetans hold memorial for self-immolators protesting Chinese military rule”
It was a very moving demonstration. Young monks carried a graphic banner with flames in the background and the text, Tibetans are dying for freedom. They were accompanied by demonstrators wearing masks of world leaders.
It would be a little dramatic to say things have come to a head. But there's a definite shift, and I suspect that the recent spate of self-immolations will continue. The desperation is palpable, and there seems to be a sense of, "What have we got to lose?"
The Chinese are playing this off as though the Dalai Lama is running around with a lighter and inciting the monks to kill themselves.