In this compilation:
Tibetan-Americans seek Congressional support
China pledges over NRs 7 billion assistance to Nepal
Police Crack Down on Banned Songs
One Tibet, Many Tibetan New Years: Tibetan Bloggers Call for Unity

Tibetan-Americans seek Congressional support

Updated on Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 15:28
Washington: Tibetan-Americans have converged in Washington to meet US lawmakers seeking Congressional support for concrete legislative measures to promote a political solution for Tibet.

"This Tibet Lobby Day demonstrates the growing political maturity of the Tibetan-American community and their desire for a larger political voice in Washington," said Todd Stein, director, government relations, International Campaign for Tibet.

"They will find open doors, given Congress' long-standing support for Tibet," he said in a statement as Tibetan- Americans urged Congressmen to support for the basic desire of all peoples, including Tibetans, for universal freedoms.

More than 110 participants from across the US, will participate in more than 100 meetings in the House of Representatives and Senate, a media release said.

"Tibet Lobby Day 2011 will capture the momentum for Tibet established at the January US-China Summit in Washington, during which President Obama publicly called for a resumption of the dialogue between Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama's representatives," it said.

Lobby Day is also taking place less than three weeks before the March 20, elections where the Tibetan exile population will choose their next leaders.

"Voicing our support for Tibet in the halls of Congress demonstrates our commitment to democracy. We look around the world today, and we feel the same yearnings for freedoms that our brothers and sisters in the Middle East feel," said ICT staff Tencho Gyatso.

"That we can organise and speak up with dignity and without fear of reprisals makes very clear the differences between being a Tibetan in America and being a Tibetan in the PRC (People's Republic of China).

We hope for a time when all Tibetans experience openness and accountability from their government," he said.

The first Tibet Lobby Day was held on March 9 and March 10, 2009, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile.

China pledges over NRs 7 billion assistance to Nepal

Phayul[Wednesday, March 02, 2011 17:29]
By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, March 2: The Chinese government has yet again pledged to increase its financial assistance to Nepal, a move apparently seen to further strengthen its growing influence in the impoverished Himalayan country.

In a latest announcement, China has agreed to provide loan and grant assistance worth over NRs 7.54 billion (RMB 690 million) to Nepal for "execution of different infrastructure projects".

The new pledge by the Chinese government comes in the wake of recent announcement by US government to provide major aid package to the crisis-stricken country to improve its security capability.

At the end of a four-day visit to Nepal, visiting vice minister of commerce of China Mr Fu Ziying on Monday signed a series of agreements with Rameshore Prasad Khanal, secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Finance, in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

According to the agreements, China through the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) has agreed to provide a loan assistance of RMB 640 million (about 7 billion Nepalese Rupees) for the construction of Upper Trisuli 3A Hydropower Project of Nepal, China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua said.

The project capacity of 60 MW is expected to help reduce “power deficit from the present power crisis across the country” and the construction work is expected to be completed within four years, Nepalese media reports cited a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance of Nepal as saying.

The Chinese government has also agreed to provide an additional RMB 50 million (some Rs. 547 million) assistance to the government of Nepal to “promote the economic and technical cooperation between the two countries”.

The financial assistance, according to the press release of Nepal government, is to be used for the “implementation of mutually agreed projects”.

Similarly, China has also agreed to provide the grant assistance for upgrading Kathmandu Ring Road (first phase) on Monday.

The Chinese delegation, led by Fu, was in Nepal from Feb. 26 to March 1. Media reports said the visiting delegation toured several China-aided projects in Nepal during the visit.

The delegation also met with Nepalese Prime Minister Mr Jhalanath Khanal on Monday evening.

According to the prime minister’s foreign relation advisor Milan Raj Tuladhar, China has pledged to consider providing assistance in education, health, drinking water and other social sectors in Nepal.

“The Chinese internal tourists visiting Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has reached 3.5 million per year. We will be encouraging them to visit Nepal,” Tuladhar was quoted Fu as saying by media reports.

About 10 percent of them are expected to visit Nepal in near future, according to the reports.

The prime minister reportedly thanked the Chinese governments for the latest assistance and in return “re-affirmed Nepal’s long-standing one-China policy”.

For an estimated 20,000 Tibetan exiles living in Nepal, the latest development is a worrying trend that could further limit their restricted freedoms ahead of the 2011 Tibetan General Elections to be held later this month.

Nepal government has lately vowed to check "anti-China activities" to strengthen friendly ties with China, a major donor for the impoverished country.

Nepal, which has accommodated Tibetan exiles for decades, has come under increasing pressure from China to crack down on the political protests in recent years.

Under Beijing's influence and lack of stable government in the impoverished nation, rights groups say Tibetans refugees in Nepal are increasingly vulnerable and at risk of arrest and repatriation.

In October last year, Nepal police forcibly disrupted Tibetan elections by seizing several ballot boxes from at least two polling stations set up in the capital Kathmandu

Police Crack Down on Banned Songs

Tibetans can be fined, jailed, and beaten if caught with forbidden songs on their mobile phones.
Chinese military patrol the streets in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 15, 2008 after violent protests.
Public security authorities in Tibet have recently banned songs deemed to be “reactionary” and are detaining young Tibetans found in possession of the songs on their mobile phones, according to sources in Tibet.
More than 20 young Tibetans have been rounded up for downloading the songs since a “Strike Hard” campaign was launched this winter in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), sources told RFA.
“Voice of Unity,” “My Lama,” “I Miss the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars” are among the titles of the prohibited songs, sources said.
“Yes, it’s true. ‘Voice of Unity’ is one of the banned songs,” a Tibetan identifying himself as Tenzin said.
The punishment can be severe as the authorities step up their crackdown in the region. 
“If someone has this song [on their mobile phone], they are detained, jailed from 10 to 15 days, heavily fined, and even brutally beaten.”
“Chinese authorities are coming down very hard now on Tibetans,” Tenzin added.
“They target Tibetans coming from Kham and Amdo and check to see if they have permits to stay in Lhasa,” the regional capital, he continued.
“They confiscate mobile phones from young Tibetans and open them, and if they hear songs sung by singers like Kunga in Tibet, or by singers in exile, they detain them.”

Fresh graduates
The authorities have deployed fresh graduates from the police academies to round up those with the songs, guaranteeing the graduates hiring in the future if they performed their duties well. 
"These policemen crack down on Tibetans ruthlessly,” Tenzin said.
He said that the lyrics of the songs only contained themes of unity among Tibetans "and are not a protest against the government.” 
Another caller from Tibet, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “Yesterday, I went to a restaurant and heard one man ask another, ‘Where have you been?’, to which his friend replied, ‘I was in Drapchi prison for 15 days for possessing banned songs.’”
Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, speaking to RFA, said that guarantees protecting religious freedom and cultural identity are “clearly stated” in China’s constitution.
“What the authorities have done is not lawful at all,” Jiang said.
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Popular Tibetan singer Tashi Dhondup was released from jail in early February after serving most of a 15-month sentence for recording songs calling for Tibetan independence.
The 30-year-old singer was convicted for violating laws by singing songs in support of Tibetan independence and exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
One song entitled "58" evoked the failed 1958-59 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule during which thousands of Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, fled across the border to India.

One Tibet, Many Tibetan New Years: Tibetan Bloggers Call for Unity

Thursday, March 3, 2011
High Peaks Pure Earth has been monitoring Tibetan blogs in the run up to Losar (Tibetan New Year). In 2009, we noticed that many sites were closed down in this period for "maintenance", partly also because the sensitive date of March 10 was approaching and also because many blogposts had been appearing, urging Tibetans not to celebrate Losar that year.
In 2010, there was an upsurge in online activity about being Tibetan and Tibetan identity that continued throughout the year. Also very popular on High Peaks Pure Earth last year was our posting of "The Tradition of Gu-thug Before Losar", Tibetans all around the world will be eating Gu-thug today, Losar this year falling on March 5, Saturday.

This year, there has been discussion amongst Tibetan bloggers on the subject of Losar itself. The issue is that Tibetans all over Tibet celebrate New Year at different times, for which there are various reasons. Particularly in Amdo and some parts of Eastern Tibet, New Year is celebrated at the time of Chinese New Year. High Peaks Pure Earth has selected and translated two recent blogposts, one in Tibetan and one in Chinese, that outline the debate and also some interesting comments.

The first blogpost was written in Tibetan and posted on AmdoTibet on January 24, 2011. The blogger outlines first how the regional Losar variations came about:

Due to different traditions and dissimilar farming periods of the various regions of Tibet, Losar is celebrated at different times. For instance, in the Kongpo region, it is celebrated on the first day of the tenth month in Tibetan calendar, and in Ngari's Puhreng county, in the south western part of Tibet, it is celebrated in the eleventh month. And many regions of central Tibet celebrate Farmer's New Year, which falls on the first day of the twelfth month. Therefore, there is no common Losar for Tibetans. However the main Tibetan New Year is generally celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. It is said the first day is the Lama's New Year, the second day is the King's New Year, and the third day is called Sepso Tuton, which means great feast or great party.

Although the blogpost makes no comment on the different Losar days, the comments to the post offer some viewpoints:

For Losar, Tibetans love to celebrate all festivals, and gather to feast, drink, and gamble. They celebrate the festivals of China, Mongolia, and the West. Is it because of they adore eating and drinking? In fact, the three provinces need to celebrate our Losar and other festivals. However there is no need to celebrate the festivals of all races, we must know the reasons for celebrating, and not celebrate every festival mindlessly. Oh, dear brothers and sisters, recognise who you are.

Losar, who inherits this sorrow?
Everyone says it is a joyful time.
But who has busted or emptied our home?
All those brothers and sisters who have passed away,
May their souls float on the top of the Potala this Losar?
When Losar comes, my heart is filled with sorrow.
Your student Dortse

If in all parts of Tibet only one Losar is commonly celebrated, then it will help to have a common language and unity among us! So many good things will come out of it. So let us spread the benefits by celebrating a common Losar...

The people from Amdo Chentsa will celebrate the central Tibetan Losar from this year; starting from this year, they will not celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The second blogpost was written in Chinese by a blogger called Muya Dorje and was posted online on February 7, 2011, just ahead of Chinese New Year. The title of the blogpost is “The Sound of Unity”, the same title as the popular song by Sherten that calls for Tibetans from all three provinces of Tibet to unite.

Muya Dorje begins by stating:
A while ago, I saw an article online called “Tibetan New Year and Chinese New Year”. In it, the article mentioned the problem with Amdo and Kham’s New Year celebrations, and stated that the people of Amdo and Kham were more accustomed to Chinese New Year. It was implied, that the people in these regions had neglected, or were indifferent to Tibetan Losar, and that to experience it properly, one had to be in Lhasa. One friend from Amdo decided to reply to this article. In the following passage, he says:
It’s not that after we have celebrated Chinese New Year, we don’t also celebrate Tibetan New Year. In terms of social importance, the preparations for Tibetan New Year start far earlier than Chinese New Year, and deep in our hearts, we all want to have a great Tibetan New Year, every year!
The rest of the blogpost takes the the theme of Losar to ruminate more largely on Tibetan identity and Tibetan unity:
Tibetan people nowadays keep on saying over and over again that we need to protect our culture, let it flourish and pass it on to the next generation. But internally, we are constantly bickering amongst ourselves, using disrespectful and undignified words to speak to one another. How can we protect and nurture our own culture if we treat each other like this? Today’s Tibetans are too smug and selfish. They only understand a little of our cultural heritage, which they are satisfied with, contently thinking that they are the model Tibetan. This appears to be very narrow-minded. In my point of view, in order to pass Tibetan culture onto the next generation, we also need to pass on the Tibetan spirit. We need to understand ourselves, from the depth of our soul and heart, what it means to be a Tibetan. Only then will future generations be able to inherit our culture, and our hearts will open.
If we open the pages of Tibetan history, we can understand the course of our people’s development to date. Why are there those who still deliberate over whether Amdo lies across a river in Hui territory, or if Kham has a valley in the Han land? Do you not realise you are consciously, or unconsciously, casting out fellow Tibetans simply for residing outside the Autonomous Region? Why do you look upon each other as if you are not one of the same? Lhasa is famous historically because of where it is, this we all know. But it doesn't give you the authority to brag about it. We who live outside the Autonomous Region all have the same lifelong dream of making a pilgrimage to the Holy City, to show our love for Tibet...
Please do not think that I am boasting or showing off in the above passages. I only wanted to inform my fellow Tibetans of how vast our land is, how rich and beautiful our culture is, and how great our nation is. Please do not try to separate you from me, or magnify the distance between us, or misunderstand each other. Even though there is a big difference in our dialects across these three regions, we all speak Tibetan, and we all bleed Tibetan blood. It doesn’t matter which region you are from, if someone asks you who you are, I trust that you will always loudly reply “I am Tibetan” every time. We do not represent an individual or a region, we all represent Tibet.
Nowadays, many outstanding Tibetan people are committed to unity, so that our Tibetan hearts will all be connected to one another, and never drift apart. I hope that we can forget about our own accomplishments and glory. Heart to heart communication and heart to heart discussions, so we can have a frank understanding of each other. Only this way can our deep and profound culture be protected, allowed to flourish, and passed onto future generations.
I know that one person alone is unable to change a lot, but I believe that if we are united, and have faith...
Let us hold our hands together, place them on our hearts, and pray for our Land of Snows to be peaceful and tranquil. We are all brothers and sisters, and will always be one family...