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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

China's new rail line lures tourists, workers to Tibet

BEIJING — Travelers in the Himalayas can now bypass some of Tibet's hazardous roads by using a new railway line that has renewed fears about Tibet's cultural identity and deepened concerns about China's ambitions in the strategic, high-altitude region.
Passenger services started Saturday on the railroad's just opened $2 billion extension line from Lhasa, Tibet's capital, to Shigatse, Tibet's second -largest city, and a major pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists.
The new rail line, which follows the completion of the Beijing-Lhasa line in 2006, connects the two cities in just two hours, compared with a five-to-seven-hour road trip on National Highway 318, "which is said to have many safety hazards," the state-runChina Daily newspaper said.

Indeed, on Monday, at least three passengers on a tour bus were killed and another 15 were missing after their bus plunged into a river southeast of Tibet, Chinese state media reported. The accident followed a similar tragedy nine days earlier, when 44 Chinese tourists died after their bus crashed off a cliff in southern Tibet. Monday's accident occurred on Highway 318, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Source Credit: USA Today

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay Launches Middle Way Approach Campaign

DHARAMSALA, INDIA, JUNE 5, 2014: THE Central Tibetan Administration’s leader, or Sikyong, today unveiled the administration’s most concerted effort to date to bring about basic freedom for Tibetan people.
Four years after talks reached a stalemate in 2010 and following the self-immolation of 130 Tibetans since 2009, Dr. Lobsang Sangay said the Middle Way Approach Campaign would help people across the globe understand exactly what the Tibetan people were calling for – genuine autonomy.
“The Middle Way Approach information materials – including an interactive website, short documentary video, Social Media campaign, timeline of the Tibetan struggle and FAQs – many of them available in 7 languages including Chinese – will make it very easy for people around the world to understand exactly what the Tibetan administration is proposing in terms of genuine autonomy within China,” Dr. Sangay said.
“With the Middle Way Approach Campaign, we are trying to engage the international community – young people, diplomats, media, people from all walks of life across different nations — to counter the Chinese Government’s misinformation campaign about the policy.
“By visiting our website ( OR they will learn the exact nature and intent of the policy, and then by clicking on through to such forums as our UMAYLAM page on Facebook and making a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ they can show their support for the Middle Way.”
The Middle Way Approach is already supported by international leaders including US President Barack Obama and many Chinese intellectuals, such as imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. The name, the Middle Way, refers to ‘the middle way’ between repression and separation. 
Dr. Sangay said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had spent the past year creating a set of documents and multimedia materials that would make it clear how long His Holiness and the Tibetan administration had stuck firm to this policy, about its impact to date and its intentions for the future.
During an auspicious inauguration ceremony today, the Sikyong presented His Holiness the Dalai Lama – who has devolved his political responsibilities to the elected leader – with the information package.
He said that His Holiness and the then-Tibetan administration formulated the “Middle Away Approach” policy in 1974 as a realistic option to solve the issue of Tibet.  This foresight of His Holiness was affirmed in 1979 when Chinese paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, stated that, “apart from independence, all issues can be discussed” and offered talks with His Holiness.
His Holiness presented the Middle Way Approach to the Chinese leader, and a long period of contact and discussions between Dharamsala and Beijing resulted.
“Since this time, there have been 9 Rounds of Talks, four fact-finding delegations to Tibet and regular visits by Tibetans to the Tibetan regions,” Dr. Sangay said
“We are calling on the people of the world – young and old – to join the UMAYLAM: Middle Way Approach Campaign and help secure the future of the Tibetan people.”
There are 6 million Tibetans in Tibet, and another 150,000 around the world.
Credit Source:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dalai Lama offers answers to universal questions

It can seem overwhelming to seek answers to universal questions. Sometimes the answers we find seem too complex to digest. Sometimes it’s too simplistic of a solution. Other times the questions are too philosophical to even be answered.

If a reassuring, quick read is what you’re looking for, “Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & The Meaning of Life” is a good starting point. The book is assembled from quotes, articles, speeches and written works attributed to the Dalai Lama.
Broken up into five sections, “Questions” delves into the following topics: Love, compassion, success, life’s challenges and happiness. The format is easy to follow and read in full or in sections.
Each chapter starts with several quotes, followed by questions and answers. Questions range from “how can we each make the biggest difference in the world?” to “how do I deal with difficult people?” and “is love a natural need in humans?”
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” — The XIV Dalai Lama said about love.
The bulk of the Dalai Lama’s answers aren’t religion specific. This may seem out of place considering he is the world’s foremost Buddhist leader. Yet it matches the principles he’s taught for decades about peace and compassion regardless of what religion is practiced.
“Freedom is the real source of human happiness and creativity. Irrespective of whether you are a believer or nonbeliever, whether Buddhist, Christian, or Jew, the important thing is to be a good human being.” — The XIV Dalai Lama
And it’s these type of messages that are universal.
Source Credit: The Sentinel

Friday, February 21, 2014

Obama to meet Dalai Lama on Friday as U.S. urges talks with China

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices.
Obama's midmorning session with the Dalai Lama may well draw a reprimand from China, which views him as a violent separatist because he seeks more autonomy for Tibet.
In what appeared to be a small concession to the Chinese, Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president's inner sanctum.
But the fact the meeting is taking place at all reflects U.S. concerns about a wide range of Chinese activities from human rights practices to territorial tensions in the East China Sea. Obama's U.S. strategic pivot, or rebalancing, toward Asia is seen as a reaction to the growing clout of China.
The White House views the Dalai Lama as "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader" and noted Obama had met with him twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.
A senior Chinese official vowed this week to ignore foreign pressure on human rights, and said foreign leaders who meet with the Dalai Lama should "pay a price" for it.
The United States recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support Tibetan independence, but supports the Dalai Lama's approach for more autonomy, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
"We are concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China," Hayden said.
"We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions," Hayden said in a statement announcing the 10 a.m.(1500 GMT) meeting.
The United States has also been concerned about a territorial dispute between China and Japan over a remote chain of islands in the East China Sea. Washington has vowed to ignore an air defense zone declared over the area by Beijing.
The White House is expected to issue a statement about the meeting after it takes place.

The Dalai Lama was in Washington on Thursday meeting with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative organization.
Source Credit: The Reuters

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blaze destroys ancient Tibetan town dubbed 'Shangri-La'

A ten-hour inferno has destroyed the ancient Tibetan town which, according to the Chinese government, was the earthly incarnation of the lost paradise of Shangri-la.
The blaze, which began in the early hours of Saturday morning, swept through the narrow alleys of Duzekong, a 1,300-year-old village high up in the mountains of Tibet which was once a stop on the southern Silk Road.
Thousands of firefighters, soldiers and police were mobilised to fight the blaze, but were unable to save hundreds of the traditional wooden buildings that helped create a boom in tourism since 2001, when China officially renamed Duzekong - and the modern Chinese town that has sprung up around it - as Shangri-la.
“The fire was huge, the wind was blowing hard and the air was dry,” said He Yu, one of the town’s 3,000 or so residents, to the Associated Press. “It kept burning and the firefighters were there but there was little they could do because they could not get their fire engines into the narrow streets.”
Investigators said the fire began at the Ruyi Inn, and that it was unlikely to be arson. One tourist who visited in 2012 said that electrical wires in the old town were a chaotic tangle and that a shop had caught fire during her visit, causing a mini-blackout.
Source Credit: The Telegraph

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Health Kalon calls on more Tibetans to avail Tibetan medicare

DHARAMSHALA: Health Kalon Dr Tsering Wangchuk has appealed to Tibetans to enrol in Tibetan medicare system to avail the benefits of health care services, as the third year of the programme commences from 1 April.
In an exclusive interview with Tibet TV yesterday, Health Kalon said since the Tibetan medicare system was launched on 1 April 2012, it has been able to enrol 8,000 Tibetans in the first year and 10,000 in the second year. A total contribution of around Rs 79 lakh has been collected in the second year.
He said the health department has provided health care services to over 435 members enrolled in the second year and over 200 members need to be covered before the commencement of the next programme from 1 April 2014. 
Health Kalon said the medicare system launched by the 14th Kashag is aimed at creating a more sustainable financing source for poor Tibetan families as well as those in need of urgent medical attention.
“More Tibetans need to join the medicare programme to reach the target of 20,000 members set by the health department,” health kalon said, adding, “the success of the health insurance depends solely on the participation of the general public.
“As many Tibetans are in different cities for the winter garment business before the third year of the medicare system starts from 1 April,” he said, “the health department will dispatch staff to these areas to raise awareness programme on medicare system and collect insurance fund from the enrolled members in January. Similar programmes will be organised in the Tibetan settlements and cluster areas from February till mid-March.”
“Therefore, we appeal to Tibetans to enrol in the medical system to avail an insured health care services when faced with urgent medical problem,” Health Kalon Dr. Tsering Wangchuk said.
Emphasising that Tibetans based overseas could a vital role in encouraging their family members and relatives living to enrol in the medicare system by providing financial assistance to them, health kalon requested the Offices of Tibet and Tibetan Associations to raise awareness programmes among the public.
The health kalon wished Tibetans good health in 2014.
Who are eligible to receive the benefits? 
All Tibetan people in exile in India can enrol in the Tibetan Medicare System (TMS) and are eligible to receive the benefits.
How much to pay and what is covered?
For a family up to five, you would have to pay INR 3565 and INR 713 for each additional member on yearly basis as contribution, which will cover up the family floater for hospitalisation with reimbursement benefit up to INR 100,000. This includes the cost of the medicines prescribed and bought within one month of the discharge from the hospital. Individuals who are without a family can opt for individual coverage by paying a contribution of INR 950 for a year. For this contribution, an individual would get a reimbursement benefit up to INR 50,000 for hospitalisation expenses at referred hospitals. This includes the cost of the medicines prescribed and bought within one month of the discharge from the hospital. 
How to enroll?
You can enroll at the hospital or the health care center of the Department of Health, CTA, in your settlement. If there is no health care center, enrollment can be done at the office of the Representative or Welfare Officer. A TMS member has the following responsibilities:•    Attend meeting or get information on Tibetan Medicare System•    Make a decision on enrollment•    Fill the enrollment form with help of enrollment officer who could be any one of (Representative, Welfare officer, Doctor, Executive secretary, Health worker, camp leader etc.) •    Submit the form with contribution amount and ID card charge to the enrollment officer•    Verify the accuracy of the information given on your ID card and inform to the enrollment officer if there’s any mistake•    Sign the “Received ID Card” sheet.
How to claim for benefits?
In case of sickness, approach the hospital or health care center of the Department of Health, CTA, or traditional Tibetan medical center in the settlement. If there is no health centers at the settlement, then go to a designated primary care provider In case there is a referral, take the referral slip from the first health care center or hospital and must go only to the referred hospital. After discharge from the hospital, all the original documents should be submitted to the Representative/Welfare officer/Executive secretary of the settlement for the reimbursement of the claim. The claim will be considered only to the enrolled patient who are hospitalised for more than 24 hours.
Claim will not be entertained in the following cases: 1. Submission of unnecessary or excess bills.  2. Any treatment related to alcohol and substance abuse. 3. Cost related to birth control or pregnancy prevention.  4. Vaccination (Included in primary health care services).  5. Cost of injuries related with fighting. 6. Treatment after attempting suicide. Any other health cost not covered under the TMS. 7. Treatment for cosmetic related surgeries.

    Submit your name before 15 March 2014 to your Settlement Office or Hospital under the Department of Health.
    For further information: visit
    Source Credit:

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Oldest big cat fossil found in Tibet

    The oldest big cat fossils ever found - from a previously unknown species "similar to a snow leopard" - have been unearthed in the Himalayas.
    The skull fragments of the newly-named Panthera blytheae have been dated between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old.
    Their discovery in Tibet supports the theory that big cats evolved in central Asia - not Africa - and spread outward.
    The findings by US and Chinese palaeontologists are published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

    They used both anatomical and DNA data to determine that the skulls belonged to an extinct big cat, whose territory appears to overlap many of the species we know today.
    "This cat is a sister of living snow leopards - it has a broad forehead and a short face. But it's a little smaller - the size of clouded leopards," said lead author Dr Jack Tseng of the University of Southern California.
    "This ties up a lot of questions we had on how these animals evolved and spread throughout the world.
    "Biologists had hypothesised that big cats originated in Asia. But there was a division between the DNA data and the fossil record."
    Surprising find
    The so-called "big cats" - the Pantherinae subfamily - includes lions, jaguars, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards.
    DNA evidence suggests they diverged from their cousins the Felinae - which includes cougars, lynxes, and domestic cats - about 6.37 million years ago.
    But the earliest fossils previously found were just 3.6 million years old - tooth fragments uncovered at Laetoli in Tanzania, the famous hominin site excavated by Mary Leakey in the 1970s.
    They found over 100 bones deposited by a river eroding out of a cliff, including the crushed - but largely complete - remains of a big cat skull.The new fossils were dug up on an expedition in 2010 in the remote Zanda Basin in southwestern Tibet, by a team including Dr Tseng and his wife Juan Liu - a fellow palaeontologist.
    "We were very surprised to find a cat fossil in that basin," Dr Tseng told BBC News.
    "Usually we find antelopes and rhinos, but this site was special. We found multiple carnivores - badgers, weasels and foxes."
    Among the bones were seven skull fragments, belonging to at least three individual cats, including one nearly complete skull.
    The fragments were dated using magnetostratigraphy - which relies on historical reversals in the Earth's magnetic field recorded in layers of rock.
    They ranged between 4.10 and 5.95 million years old, the complete skull being around 4.4 million years of age.
    "This is a very significant finding - it fills a very wide gap in the fossil record," said Dr Manabu Sakamoto of the University of Bristol, an expert on Pantherinae evolution.
    "The discovery presents strong support for the Asian origin hypothesis for the big cats.
    "It gives us a great insight into what early big cats may have looked like and where they may have lived."
    However, Prof William Murphy of Texas A&M University, another expert onthe evolutionary relationship of big cats, questioned whether the new species was really a sister of the snow leopard.
    "The authors' claim that this skull is similar to the snow leopard is very weakly supported based on morphological characters alone, and this morphology-based tree is inconsistent with the DNA-based tree of living cats," he told BBC News.
    "It remains equally probable that this fossil is ancestral to the living big cats. More complete skeletons would be beneficial to confirm their findings."
    Dr Tseng and his team plan to return to the fossil site in Tibet next summer to search for more specimens.
    Source Credit: BBC News