Experts from Tibet, East Turkistan and S. Mongolia raise common voice in an international webinar to mark the ‘UN Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearance’


New Delhi, New York, Canberra and Dharamshala – 30 August               In addition to thousands of citizens of Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia who disappear every year under the Chinese colonial rule, millions of children of 6 – 18 year age group have also disappeared into the brainwashing schools established by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in these colonies. While grown up individuals, who raise their voice against the Chinese colonialism in their respective countries vanish forever into the Chinese jails, these children are the victims of President Xi Jinping’s game plan of enforcing a ‘Common national Chinese identity’ as they will be lost forever to their own culture, families and society. Experts from these three countries called upon the world community, especially the United Nations, to take urgent and effective steps to stop this process of disappearance and ‘cultural genocide’ in these Chinese colonies.

These experts made a common cause of their sufferings under China’s colonial rule at an international webinar on 30 August to mark the United Nation’s “International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance”.  The webinar was organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and was entitled “DISAPPEARING VICTIMS OF CHINESE COLONIALISM.” The main focus of the discussion was the serious situation of disappearance of a large number of people in Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia who dare to speak up against the problems being faced by local massed because of the colonial rule of China over their respective countries. It was one of those rare occasions when activist experts from these three countries, occupied by China, shared their pain and struggle from a common platform.

The three speakers who represented their respective country were Ms. Rinzin Choedon, the National Director, Students for a Free-Tibet India who spoke from Dharamshala; Ms. Nurgul Sawut, the Executive Chairperson of Uyghur Freedom Forum (UFF) who presented the Uyghur case from Canberra in Australia; and Mr. Enghebatu Togochog, the Director of Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, who spoke from New York. Vijay Kranti, a senior Indian journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE moderated the webinar from New Delhi.

In her presentation Ms. Nurgul  said that there have been thousands of cases of disappearance of the Uyghurs and other Turkik people in East Turkistan, renamed as ‘Xinjiang’ by China after its occupation, in which the families were given no information about the fate of the person after one was arrested or just taken away by the Chinese police. “In most cases it is a male member of the family who simply disappears after his arrest and the Chinese officials refuse to let the families meet him or share any information about him. As a result of the agony and frustration the incidence of suicide among the Uyghur women has gone very high over the years. It has been noticed that most of these women are in the 25 to 40 year age group who could not cope with the disappearance of their husband or son,” she said. “It is very strange that the United Nations records and displays the cases of disappearance in many countries, especially in Africa, but refuses to take note of this type of disappearances in “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” under the Chinese colonial occupation.

Nurgul said that, “Entire East Turkistan has been converted into a jail. While a few million people, majority of them in the 14-65 year age group, have been enclosed in mass internment camps, more than 950,000 (0.9 million) Uyghur children have been forcibly taken away from their families and are being brainwashed with communist ideology in the schools which are being run by the CCP”. She emphasized that going by the United Nation’s own definition of ‘forcible disappearance’ these children of East Turkistan also belong to this category because they are not only taken away by force and without the parents’ consent, these children are also cursed to live permanently away from their own family and cultural environment to be brainwashed under the CCP’s control.

Mr. Enghebatu Togochog, an internationally acclaimed and a prominent human rights activist from Southern Mongolia, presented cases of two well-known citizens of his country who were kept in jail even after their jail terms were complete. In one such case the person was kept hostage and tortured by the Chinese police in a private house building. When his family insisted on knowing about his welfare and whereabouts, all members of the family were also arrested. On this point Kranti referred to a common practice of Chinese police maintaining innumerable houses across all provinces of China which have come to be known as ‘Private Jails’. These Private Jails are nowhere documented in official records but are regularly used by the Public Security Bureau, the police tool of the CCP, to keep political dissidents incognito and out of the public or official scrutiny. There have been frequent allegations, especially by activists of Falun-Gong, a banned cultural sect of China,  that such ‘private jails’ are used to keep prisoners for organ harvesting which is a roaring underground activity that is patronized by some influential CCP and PLA leaders to support organ transplant business across China.

Enghebatu spoke about the new policy of the Chinese government to replace the Mongolian language in the educational institutions and the official system in Southern Mongolia. “Under President Xi Jinping’s new campaign of adopting ‘Common Chinese national identity’ in the colonized regions he has started a ‘cultural-genocide’ which is aimed at destroying original national identity of these countries and submerge them into the Han Chinese identity. The Mongolian people are strongly resisting this Chinese policy. As a result of this national resistance movement thousands of Mongols who were fighting for their mother tongue have been arrested in recent times. Unfortunately, families of a large number of those who were arrested are not able to get any information about their whereabouts,” he added.

Rinzin Choedon who is a keen watcher of the human rights situation inside Chinese ruled Tibet, said that the current target of Chinese rulers in Tibet is the new generation of Tibetan writers and musicians who are among the most efficient influencers of the public mind. She gave example of Geshe (Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy) Sherab Gyatso who is a renowned and vocal Tibetan scholar and who publicly asked the Chinese government to stop replacing Tibetan language with the Chinese language in school system. He was arrested and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. Despite all efforts of his supporters the Chinese refuse to give any information about him.

She presented the case of the Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet as the most prominent example of disappearance of dissidents and ‘unwanted’ people inside China ruled Tibet. Gedhun was 6 years old in 1995 when the China appointed team of Tibetan monks identified him as the incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama after secretly consulting the Dalai Lama in exile. Angry over their attempt to contact the Dalai Lama the Chinese police not only arrested the monks but also took away the child and his parents and announced another 5 year old boy Gyaltsen Norbu as the ‘real’ incarnation. Since then the Chinese government has refused to share any information about Gedhun and his parents despite repeated efforts of major international human rights organizations like the Amnesty International and forums like the European Parliament.

Rinzin also mentioned that just like what Nurgul had pointed out, more than eight hundred thousand Tibetan children of 6-18 year age group too have been taken away from their parents by the Chinese government to lodge them in specially established schools of the Chinese Communist Party. She called upon the people of Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia to join hands and fight what she termed as ‘cultural genocide’ being committed by the Chinese government in these colonized nations.


Highlights on Tibet


Human Rights Watch, an American-based organization, released its highly regarded annual human rights report on 12th January 2023. The report, covering over 100 countries, highlights Tibet’s position as the second least-free country, alongside South Sudan and Syria, based on the previous year’s Freedom House Global Report. The findings underscore the Chinese government’s alleged abysmal human rights violations, maltreatment, and systematic eradication of Tibetan culture, Buddhism, and the Tibetan language, which has historically served as the medium of education for Tibetan school students.



In 33rd annual global human rights report, Tibet, unlike any time before, got larger space to hue her infliction, both potent and latent under the Chinese fragrant system.  Human Rights Watch, this year, did not let economic interest outweigh human rights; and they courageously brought out Tibetan issue more practical, covering some urgent issues: environmental degradation, the primary education system in Chinese-designed boarding schools; and restrictions on religious activities. The report also emerged of the arrest and sentencing of Tibetan cultural figures, notably Go Sherab Gyatso and the popular young Tibetan pop singer Tswang Norbu attempted self-immolation in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet in 2022.


“Holistic View of Tibetan Human Rights Challenges in Human Rights Watch’s Annual Report”


In its 33rd annual global human rights report, Human Rights Watch shines a spotlight on Tibet, providing a comprehensive examination of the multifaceted challenges faced by the region under the Chinese governance. This year, the report demonstrates a commendable commitment to prioritizing human rights over economic interests, bringing crucial Tibetan issues to the forefront. The report addresses pressing concerns such as environmental degradation, shortcomings in the Chinese-designed boarding school system for primary education, and restrictions on religious activities. It also highlights the arrests and sentencing of Tibetan cultural figures, including Go Sherab Gyatso, as well as the attempted self-immolation of popular young Tibetan pop singer Tswang Norbu in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, during 2022.





“U.S. Department of State Launches Global Political Prisoner Campaign, Urging for the Release of 18 Prominent Political Prisoners”



On January 10, 2023, the U.S. Department of State unveiled its “Without Just Cause Political Prisoner Campaign,” urging the international community to take decisive action to secure the freedom of 18 prominent political prisoners. Among those highlighted are Go Sherab Gyatso, a Tibetan religious philosopher, and Mohamed El-Baqer, an Egyptian human rights lawyer, who have endured lengthy confinement under the Chinese government’s prosecution. Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, called for the immediate release of these international political prisoners without any preconditions. Stressing the urgency, Zeya emphasized that countless political prisoners worldwide face torture, suppression of fundamental freedoms, and enforced disappearances, impacting both their families and nations. The campaign aims to address these injustices and advocate for the rights and freedom of political prisoners globally.


“International Campaign for Tibet Reports Alarming Impact of China’s Policy Shift on COVID-19 in Tibet”


On January 19, 2023, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) released a comprehensive report detailing China’s sudden abandonment of its “zero-COVID” policy and the dire consequences for elderly Tibetans in Tibet. The report draws on extensive research, including first-hand accounts from Japan and Brazil, as well as on-ground information from individual Tibetans.


According to ICT’s findings, since the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions in Tibet on December 7, 2022, a worst-case scenario predicts that over 220,000 Tibetans aged 60 and above could lose their lives following the end of the zero-COVID policy. Furthermore, considering the current case fatality rate during the COVID surge, it is estimated that over 45,000 Tibetans aged 80 and older may face mortality.


It is important to note that these estimates represent the most severe outcome based on current levels of vaccination and immunity, as well as China’s alleged mismanagement of the pandemic. However, without genuine transparency from the Chinese government, the true COVID death toll in Tibet remains uncertain.

The report highlights the urgent need for transparency and accountability from the Chinese government regarding their handling of the pandemic in Tibet. Efforts to mitigate the impact on vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, are crucial to protect lives and ensure the well-being of Tibetan communities.





“Arrest of Tibetan Monk Rongwo Gangkar Raises Concerns over Intellectual Suppression”


Rongwo Gangkar, a 43-year-old Tibetan monk known for his deep appreciation of poetry and literature, was actively involved in book-related discussions and advocated for the celebration of the Dalai Lama’s birthday just before his arrest. However, he was arrested by local Chinese authorities in early 2022 in the Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Since his arrest, information regarding his whereabouts and well-being has been limited.


According to information compiled by Free Tibet.Org, released on January 21, 2023, Rongwo Gangkar’s arrest is part of a larger pattern wherein Chinese authorities have specifically targeted Tibetan intellectuals and individuals who promote Tibet’s language and culture. This alarming trend underscores the suppression of intellectual freedom and the stifling of Tibetan cultural expression.


The arrest of Rongwo Gangkar has raised concerns within the international community regarding the ongoing targeting of Tibetan intellectuals by Chinese authorities. It highlights the need for greater attention to the protection of human rights and freedom of expression in Tibet.


“Global Week of Action Highlights Concerns Over Thermo Fisher’s Involvement in China’s Surveillance and Attack on Tibetan Identity”


As part of the ‘HANDS OFF TIBETANS’ DNA’ Global Week of Action, an expert panel hosted by the Internal Tibet Network on February 1, 2023, focused on Thermo Fisher’s corporate responsibility and their alleged involvement in China’s latest assault on Tibetan identity and extensive surveillance measures. The event garnered support from 120 NGOs worldwide, as well as coalitions including the Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, and Students for a Free Tibet at Mcload Square in Dharamshala.


On February 3, 2023, participants united their voices through theatrical performances and signature campaigns to protest China’s mass DNA collection of Tibetans, including children as young as five. The event aimed to raise awareness and express concerns over the infringement of Tibetan rights and the potential misuse of genetic data for surveillance purposes.


The Global Week of Action serves as a platform for various organizations and individuals to come together in solidarity, advocating for the protection of unique identity, human rights, and the preservation of cultural heritage in the face of mounting challenges caused by the Chinese Communist government’s repressive policies.



“UN Receives Damning Report on China’s Colonial Boarding Schools in Tibet”


A comprehensive report exposing China’s extensive network of colonial boarding schools in Tibet, which garnered significant social media coverage upon its release in 2021, has reached the United Nations table on February 7, 2023. The report provides in-depth research, shedding light on the alarming situation of over 900,000 Tibetan children being forcibly enrolled in state-run boarding schools.


The report further condemns the emotional and psychological distress experienced by young Tibetan children in these boarding schools, emphasizing the unacceptable indoctrination and the heavy-handed torture inflicted by the forced separation of approximately 1 million Tibetan children from their families.


The findings presented in the report have ignited global concerns over the welfare and rights of Tibetan children, calling for urgent attention and action from the international community to address the severe consequences of this system.



“110th Anniversary Celebration of Tibet’s Independence Day Marked with International Webinar”


On February 13, 2023, Tibetans around the world commemorated the 110th anniversary of Tibet’s Independence Day, a historically significant event in Tibet’s political history. The 13th Dalai Lama’s resolute declaration of Tibetan independence on the same day in 1913 resonates deeply within the hearts of every Tibetan.


In recognition of this momentous occasion, the Tibetan Youth Congress along with the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement organized an international webinar titled “Tibetan has been an Independent Country in History.” The webinar featured esteemed keynote speakers including Bhuchung Tsering, Interim President of the International Campaign for Tibet; Dr. Uwe Meya, Board Member of Gesellschaft Scheweiz Tibetische Freundcha; Tenzin Zockeur, Executive Director of Tibet Initiative Deuschland, Berlin; and Tibetan parliamentarian Youdon Aukatsang dropped in her perspectives during the event.


The webinar provided a platform for insightful discussions and reflections on Tibet’s historical independence, reaffirming the Tibetan Youth Congress’s unwavering commitment to restore Tibet’s rightful independence.


“Tibet Watch and Free Tibet Organization Expose Human Rights Violations in Drago County”



Tibet Watch, in collaboration with the Free Tibet Organization, held a press conference at Norbu House’s auditorium hall on February 9, 2023, to shed light on the extensive human rights violations, environmental exploitation, and distressing desecration occurring in Drago County, Tibet, between 2012 and 2022. The conference presented compelling evidence and a comprehensive report that had been previously released in the United Kingdom Parliament earlier in 2023, gaining significant news coverage and international attention. The report drew on individual experiences, testimonial documents, and satellite images to provide a nuanced understanding of the situation.


During the press conference, an exiled Tibetan monk from Drago County shared his recollections, stating that the escalating repression imposed by the Chinese authorities in Kham Drago, as with other areas in Tibet, aims to eradicate Tibetan identity, culture, influential Tibetans, and Tibetan language and education centers.


The press conference served as a platform to bring attention to the plight of the Tibetan people in Drago County and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, preservation of their culture, and the restoration of their freedoms.




“Chinese Government Initiates Massive Railway Construction Project in Tibet”



On February 9, 2023, Tibet Times reported that the Chinese government has commenced a new railway construction project in Tibet, aiming to establish a comprehensive railway network connecting the Tibetan plateau with China. The ambitious project comprises 10 railway constructions and is projected to commence operations around 2035.


The planned railway lines strategically target crucial areas within Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, including Nagri, Shegatse, Lhokar, and Nytri. In a report released by the Central Tibetan Administration in August 2001, it highlighted the environmental concerns associated with China’s Railway Project. The report emphasized that the Railway Project Committee had allocated an estimated 100 billion yuan (US$12.1 billion) for the construction of large and medium-sized railways.


Critics express deep concerns over the potential environmental impact of these railways, including the degradation of permafrost, destruction of the ecosystem, and damage to the habitats of wildlife and river systems. The extensive construction and operation of the railways raise significant ecological and environmental challenges in the region.


“G20 Summit in New Delhi Marred by Tibetan Activist Protests”


Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet, and National Democratic Party of Tibet activist staged a protest targeting Chinese Foreign Minister Qing Gang. On February 27, 2023, prior to Qing Gang’s arrival at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, our protesters confronted him, displaying banner posters and demanding his departure with slogans like “Qing Gang, Go Back” and “G20 Protect Tibetan Children”.


Despite their peaceful intentions, the protesters were met with opposition from Indian police constables who intervened, resulting in scuffles and the confiscation of torn banner posters. The activists’ attempts to raise awareness about the Tibetan cause and advocate for the protection of Tibetan children were silenced during the protest and detained for the rest of the day, and later released.


“Tibetan National Uprising Day Marked by Global Demonstrations and Detentions”



On March 10, 2023, Tibetans worldwide came together to commemorate the 64th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day. In Dharamshala, a significant gathering of Tibetans from various states in India and overseas congregated to express their grievances against China’s policies. Five NGOs organized a nationalistic peace march denouncing China’s practices, including the mass collection of Tibetan DNA samples, the sinicization of Tibetan culture, the implementation of massive surveillance systems, the existence of colonial Chinese boarding schools, and the arbitrary imprisonment of Tibetan intellectuals.


The Tibetan community, both within India and abroad, united in peaceful demonstrations, petition campaigns, and street protests to draw attention to the ongoing challenges faced by Tibetans under Chinese rule. Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, Delhi police intervened and detained all the TYC activist.


The Facebook livestream video of the protest receiving more than 11 million views and being shared by fourteen thousand Facebook users suggests that the protest event was successful in reaching a large audience and generating engagement on social media. This level of viewership and sharing indicates that the protest was able to capture people’s attention and generate interest in the advocacy campaign for freedom.


In 2023 again, Freedom House testified Tibet of a zero-free country from the entire worldwide countries and it has remained in the same category as it was in the last year 2022.  Tibet is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government based on its dictatorship system. The residents of both Han Chinese and Tibetan ethnicity are denied fundamental rights, but the authorities are especially rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of Tibetan religious beliefs and cultural identity and language.



Warn Experts on World Environment Day

-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

International webinar on “Environmental Destruction in Tibet by China and Implications for Asia” on World Environment Day

New Delhi

5 June 2021: Insatiable greed of China for resources and its desperation to exploit these resources from a delicately placed Tibet to feed its mammoth industry and trade has damaged Tibet’s environment tremendously. So much so that loss of environmental equilibrium in Tibet has become a serious and potential threat to almost entire Asia and the world. China’s tinkering with Tibetan rivers by building massive dams to extract electricity and water for its deficient mainland is capable of causing earthquakes and sinking of mountains which can lead to catastrophes that no Chinese technology or political machinery would be able to handle. This is one of the common messages which emerged in an international webinar focused on “Environmental Destruction in Tibet by China and its Implications for Asia” on the World Environment Day.

Some other major common observations of the experts were that since Tibet covers as huge a region on the top of the world as all countries of Western Europe put together, the world cannot afford to ignore or keep helplessly watching how China is feverishly exploiting Tibet’s natural resources. China’s arrogant style of damming Tibetan rivers and exploiting fresh water, minerals, timber and electricity from Tibet needs to be checked before it is too late. Especially damming and diversion of Tibetan rivers which have been directly feeding more than 2 billion people in 10 other countries of Asia since centuries, is incompatible with sustaining the life and livelihood of these people and countries.

This international webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) to draw international attention to the dangers building up in Tibet for Asian countries due to indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources in Tibet by China. The experts who discussed various aspects of the issue were Mr Gabriel Lafitte, a leading and veteran Australian environmentalist who has been studying Tibet and its environment for over 40 years; Mr Claude Arpi, a renowned Tibetologist, historian and a keen observer of China’s water plans in Tibet; Prof. Milap Chand Sharma, a glaciologist at JNU who has studied Tibet from a Glacial Geomorphologist’s angle; Mr Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, Head of Environment Desk at Tibet Policy Institute of Dharamshala; Mr Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC and a leading activist on issues related to Tibetan environment; and Mr Vijay Kranti, a veteran Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE who moderated the discussion.

Presenting his analysis of how China is handling Tibet’s natural resources for fulfilling its own industrial and business needs Gabriel Lafitte said that it is very difficult to reconcile with two completely incompatible approaches of China on the environment. One is the destruction of the environment which is being done by China inside occupied Tibet. The other is that Chinese leaders are taking every opportunity to portray themselves as ‘deeply committed’ not only to doing the right things for bio-diversity and climate but also being the ‘world leader’ in protecting the environment.

Lafitte said that there is a major change in China’s approach towards Tibet over the past 70 years. In the initial period after the occupation of Tibet, China has been presenting Tibet as an ‘underdeveloped’ and ‘poor’ region which was a ‘liability’ for China. In its public utterances on Tibet, it used to term Tibet as a liability, danger and threat to its safety and stability. In terms of environment and assets, they used to call Tibet a ‘wasteland’ that was ‘good for nothing’. But over the years China is treating Tibet as an asset and as a source for extraction of precious minerals, mass tourism, and exploitation of water and generation of hydro, solar and wind electricity which is being used to run industry in far distant China. This way Tibet has changed from a cost centre to a profit centre for China. At this rate, the “third pole of the world” Tibet would end up becoming a moonscape, he feared.

Claude Arpi discussed China’s policy of taming and exploiting Tibetan rivers to meet its ever expanding needs of power and water. To make his point he discussed in details the case of Tibetan river Yarlung-Tsangpo which is known as Brahmaputra after it enters India in Arunachal Pradesh. He said that China has always taken pride in what it is doing with Tibetan rivers and never intended to hide what it does in Tibet as its “own land”. After building many dams on Yarlung Tsangpo, China is now focusing on its new Giga project at the U-Band of the river over the ‘Grand Canyon’ in Medok area which is only about 30 km from Indian border. It is going to produce three times more electricity than China’s and world’s biggest “Three Gorges Dam”.

“The magnitude of the engineering work in this remotest area of Tibet is so huge that it will need China to bring in tens of thousands of JCBs and other heavy machinery along with tens of thousands of workers from China. “This is bound to change the demographic and ecological character of this area which is not only a serious threat for the local Tibetan populations but also a big security threat for India,” says Arpi. Narrating that China’s original plan was to use controlled nuclear explosions in this area to divert the flow of Tsangpo River from India towards China’s own areas. “There are chances that the current hydro-project may not prove feasible due to its huge size and geographic complications. In that case there are big chances that China can undertake the river diversion project. This will be a catastrophic act on the part of China,” he said.

Prof. Milap Sharma presented a detailed analysis of the complex tectonic nature of the Himalayas, especially in the Tibetan plateau, and also of the climatic changes which are affecting the glaciers and permafrost regions of Tibet. He said that this region, especially along the southern Himalayan ranges along India, is highly earth quake prone due to its tectonic nature. “Any tinkering with the rivers of Tibet and building of massive dams can prove catastrophic in the event of earth quake. Even building of big dams itself can lead to cave in and trigger earthquakes. It will be worse than a nuclear disaster,” he warned.

Presenting his personal experience of study travels through the permafrost regions of Tibet Prof. Sharma said that the climate of this region is changing fast and increase of carbon over the Tibetan glaciers due to Chinese industrial activity the glaciers are melting ten times faster. Hence they are receding fast. Also the construction of railway in this region has worsened the situation. China’s policy of banning grazing and permanently settling the nomads away from the grasslands is only accelerating this deterioration process. He said that the earlier theory about Himalayas working as a wall to stop monsoon clouds of India is proving only partially correct. Actually the glaciers and Snow Mountains of high Tibetan plateau contribute in a big way in creating winds and pressure zone above in the skies which affect the monsoons also.

Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha has been working with many international environmental forums to convince UN related organizations and government to put pressure on China to stop damaging Tibetan ecology and take disaster mitigation and management seriously in Tibet. Due to worsening environment over the Tibetan plateau events of land slides, avalanches, mud slides and mountain collapse have become frequent. Prior to China occupying Tibet and undertaking big projects of mining, road construction and damming of rivers Tibetans rarely witnessed such destruction. But there have been many instances when entire Tibetan villages were buried under snow or mud.

Tempa gave example of a big land slide into the Dri-Chu (Yellow River) in Eastern Tibet when about 23 million cubic meters mass of mountain crashed and blocked the river in October 2018. It stayed for 11 days resulting into the water to accumulate up to 70 km from the site. But Chinese equipment and teams could reach there only on the 5th day. Another similar event occurred after 23 days again. It shows that China is capable of building 15 thousand dams over the Yellow River but is not capable of handling such catastrophes.

Sonam Tsering himself belonged to a Tibetan nomad family before escaping out of Tibet. He spoke about how China is forcing the nomads to live in specially designated congested and cemented housing colonies. He expressed serious concern that after removing the nomads from their grasslands China is grabbing their lands for establishing industries and making money through what it claims as ‘natural tourism’. “This forcible act of relocating the nomads and depriving them of their traditional livelihood and lifestyle is bound to destroy Tibet’s cultural and social identity forever,” he warned.

Vijay Kranti, a veteran Tibetologist said that the destruction of the environment in Tibet has become a new reason for keeping up the Tibetan freedom movement alive inside Tibet. Based on his extensive travels inside Chinese controlled Tibet he said that China’s massive security and surveillance apparatus, backed by internet and artificial intelligence has drastically reduced chances of armed resistance or organized political activity by ordinary Tibetans. “Public expression of anger against Chinese administrators on issues related to land grabbing by the government, poisoning of local water bodies and forcible eviction of nomads from their grasslands have become a common form of collective social action. This has given a new lease of life to the Tibetan freedom movement inside Tibet,” he said.

Winding up the discussion with her vote of thanks and observations Prof. Aayushi Ketkar said that the problem of ecological degradation in Tibet has ceased to a problem of Tibetan people alone. “It has acquired serious social, political and strategic dimension for entire Asia, especially for India. The world community must take note of it and join hands to meet this Chinese challenge before it is too late”, she warned.



-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

New Delhi

27 November 2021: China’s desperation to dominate and exploit Tibet has gone too far as it has been carrying out multiple projects which have seriously impacted not only Tibetan plateau’s fragile ecology but has also severely exposed the whole of Asia to imminent environmental disaster. The Tibetan Plateau, living under forcible occupation of China since 1951, is world’s highest and most extensive alpine area which has come to be known as the ‘Third Pole’ for being the home to the largest bulk of fresh water snow and ice after the North and South poles. Experts, speaking at the webinar “CLIMATE CHANGES ON THE THIRD POLE – TIBET” were of the opinion that China must stop its on-going process of mindless exploitation of Tibetan rivers, minerals, jungles and other natural resources and the world must confront China to save the rest of Asia from imminent ecological collapse.

This webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) from New Delhi in the light of the international summit on environment ‘COP-26’ which concluded recently in Glasgow. Two main experts who made their presentations were Dr. Martin Mills, the Director of the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research at the University of Aberdeen in UK and Ms. Dechen Palmo who is an expert on Tibetan environment. Dr. Mills has been the coordinator of the three yearlong ‘Scottish Parliamentary Third Pole Climate Change Inquiry’ which concluded early this year and published its report under title “Climate Change on the Third Pole: Causes, Processes and Consequences”. Ms. Dechen is associated with the Tibet Policy Institute, a leading think tank on Tibet and China at Dharamshala in India. She was a member of the team which presented the case of Tibetan environment at COP-26. The webinar was moderated by Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE. The webinar was an effort to understand the extent of the damage that has happened in Tibet and what more can happen in near future.

Dr. Mills pointed out that although man made situations have impacted the ecology of entire world, but China’s actions in Tibet and exploitation of its natural resources have taken very serious dimensions. Tibet has become a climate change hotspot, with a warming pace double of that of the rest of world. Tibet being the origin of Asia’s eight major rivers is responsible for feeding water to people of about a dozen countries. These waters directly impact the lives of 1.9 billion people and indirectly of nearly 4 billion which is half of world population, he said.

He said that in addition to its snow and rivers, a substantial part of Tibet is permafrost which has grasslands on the top but the lower layers of the land hold huge amounts of frozen water. With fast increase in the surface temperature in these parts of Tibet the underground ice is melting and has shown its consequences in the form of land sinking and massive landslides over past many years. This will finally result into dying of grasslands on the top and desertification of a big part of Tibet. Giving example of the Gormo-Lhasa railways, an expensive and a major show piece project of China in Tibet, Dr. Mills said that a good part of this railway line is built on the permafrost. Increasing temperatures in Tibet is soon going to result into serious damage to this railway line and this project might become infeasible in a few years,

Dr. Mills referred to already on-going damage to the environment in China, other countries of Asia and the rest of world which have impacted Tibet’s ecology. China itself is a major producer of greenhouse gases. But mindless and aggressive mining, deforestation and urbanization in Tibet are making it worse for this already fragile plateau, he added.

Ms Dechen Palmo pointed out that Tibet, with its area nearly equal to entire Western Europe, has serious consequences for entire Asia and, to a good extent to the whole world because of its fragile ecology. Hence it will be suicidal if the world governments leave China unchallenged over its reckless exploitation of Tibet.  She called upon the international community to take the fast degradation of ecology in Tibet seriously because it has already started impacting the life of billions of citizens outside Tibet and China.

Referring to Tibet as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’ she pointed out that Tibet is home to more than 46,000 glaciers which keep releasing fresh water slowly across the year to about a dozen countries of Asia. But in its mindless attempt to grab most of this water for its own use, the Chinese government has constructed thousands of small and big dams on these rivers. As a result it is impacting the natural flow of water to all riparian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos etc. Moreover, with the help of massive hydro power plants on these dams China is attempting to pump out and steal water of these rivers which actually belongs to the downstream riparian countries, she said.

Dechen referred to massive landslides of 2017 and 2018 in the Yarlung Tangpo (known as ‘Brahmaputra’ in India) and said that by building cascades of dams over many Tibetan rivers China is increasing danger to already fragile Himalayan mountains.

Vijay Kranti, referred to China’s strategy of using Tibetan rivers as a ‘water bomb’ against India. He gave examples of three events in 2000 and 2005 when China allowed water bodies, caused by landslides in the Tsangpo River in Tibet across border in Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, to accumulate to dangerous proportions. Then it exploded the banks on the Indian side at a time of its own choosing. The floods caused massive damage to roads, power system and infrastructure deep in these two states. Despite India’s repeated requests, China refused to share information on accumulating water and its release.

In her concluding remarks Prof. Aayushi Ketkar, an expert on international and defence matters at the Special Centre for National Security Studies at JNU, pointed out at the hypocrisy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. She said that on the one hand he claims to be serious about environment in Tibet, but on the other hand he did not have the courage to face questions of the world community and hence skipped attending the world summit at COP-26.

Mr Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC presented vote of thanks as co-organizer of the webinar. TYC is the largest and most influential socio-political organization among the Tibetan Diaspora. It has functioned as the nursery of Tibet’s leadership since its inception.

TYC attends IUSY Global Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden

On 23rd October 2021, TYC President Gonpo Dhundup participated in the International Union of Socialist Youth Global Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden with participants from more than 13 countries. During the seminar, TYC President Mr. Gonpo Dhundup emphasized and highlighted the critical situation in Tibet and briefed on the activities carried out by TYC.

TYC President Mr. Gonpo Dhundup with IUSY participants of IUSY Global Seminar.

On the 2nd day, TYC President participated in a panel discussion jointly organized by the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) and the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). The day-long program has participants from more than 24 countries. President Gonpo Dhundup highlighted the Importance and Urgency of safeguarding Tibet’s environment.

Tibet’s Environment Asia’s Security

Tibetan Youth Congress Symposium on

Tibet’s Environment Asia’s Security

4th June 2017,India International Centre, New Delhi


Amidst the scorching Delhi heat with temperatures upto 48 degrees, the Tibetan Youth Congress symposium on ‘Tibet’s Environment Asia’s Security’ was convened at India International Centre in New Delhi on 4 June, 2017. The purpose of the symposium was to raise awareness and to bring attention to China’s massive destructions on Tibet’s environment by their irresponsible mining and damming projects all contributing to climate change and affecting surrounding Asian nations and the world at large. The presence of the third largest number glaciers in the world and an extensive permafrost makes the Tibetan Plateau the head source of Asia’s six largest rivers i.e Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, Salween, Indus and Brahmaputra and is also referred to as the Water Tower of Asia. These waters are a critical resource to the more than 1.3 billion people in the 10 most densely populated nations on earth surrounding the plateau.


The symposium had two major objectives:

  1. a) It aimed to raise awareness of the environmental impact of Tibet on Asia
  2. b) Calls for a collective proactive approach to hold China responsible for their actions on the environment in Tibet


The symposium was opened by the President of Tibetan Youth Congress Tenzing Jigme who highlighted some of the critical situation of Tibet’s environment due to massive destruction led by Chinese government for their major damming and mining projects. He also urged world leaders for immediate action to halt China’s major projects which will make huge impact to Asian nations in near future. “Our hope and aim is to raise awareness and bring about a discussion on this important topic which is not only relevant but also should be a cause of major concern for Asia. The future of Tibet and the Tibetan people’s freedom is not only a moral issue but also a political and environmental issue,” President Jigme stated.


In the scope of deliberation for the symposium, Tibetan Youth Congress had invited Chief guest Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, Secretary at the office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in New Delhi. Mr. Arya commended TYC for organizing such a symposium which he said is very important for Tibet.


Among the panelist for the symposium were Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar Former Minister/Diplomat, Prof. Maharaj K. Pandit, Environmental studies at University of Delhi, Tempa Gyaltsen, Research Fellow at Tibet Policy Institute and Lobsang Yangtso, Phd Research Scholar at JNU.


Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar expressed concerns regarding the United States recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord under the administration of President Donald Trump. “This has made China the greatest supporter of climate change accord. However, China is destroying Tibet’s environment at the same time. This has become a serious matter of concern for all of us,” said Mr. Iyer.


Prof. Maharaj K. Pandit, spoke on ‘Global change and the Himalayan highland crisis’. He said, “Yak is the crucial to economy and livelihood security of Tibetan and highland Himalayan population. If the global warming trend and global change continues than you would have lot of shrubs and woods and plants getting into Tibet. The grasses would go, if the grasses go than the yak goes, if the yak goes, the Tibetan culture goes therefore, not only would you have destroyed habitat of yak, you would have destroyed the culture which is 30,000 years, Tibetan culture will become extinct”.


Mr. Tempa Gyaltsen talked about China’s dam projects in Tibet and how the dams are affecting the rivers of Tibet and their flow downstream to South East Asia and finally Lobsang Yangtso spoke on China’s river politics on the Tibetan Plateau comparative study of Brahmaputra and Mekong.


Tibetan Youth Congress distributed a booklet titled, ‘Tibet – The Third Pole’, at this symposium which was attended by more than 100 people including long time Tibet supporters and students around New Delhi.


The symposium brought about a substantive discussion during the Q&A and succeeded in being a true knowledge and exchanging ideas session as well as a catalyst for further discussions on this important topic in the future.

TYC Promotes Clean India Campaign



Swachh Bharat or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Campaign Clean India) is a national level campaign by the Government of India officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to reports, the campaign is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive and 3 million government employees and schools and college students of India have participated in this campaign. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Indian Independence Day & launched on 2 Oct 2014, Gandhi Jayanti.

After the illegal occupation of Tibet, along with HH the Dalai Lama thousands of Tibetans fled the nation in 1959. India is host to the largest number of Tibetans in exile and home to our beloved leader HH the Dalai Lama. From settlements in South India to the hills of East India and from the plains of Central and Ghats of western India to the mountains of North India, today Tibetans live in harmony co-existing with our hosts all over the country with the blessings of the Government of India. We remain forever grateful to the Government of India and the people of this great nation for the kindness and support it has shown to the Tibetan people.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Campaign was launched by Prime Minister Modi and today as Tibetans living in India we feel that we have a greater responsibility to keep the schools, cities, villages and settlements that we live in clean.

TYC calls upon all our Regional Tibetan Youth Congress chapters to participate in the Campaign to Clean India. On Jan 26, 2015 Republic Day of India, TYC will initiate an all day campaign to clean the surroundings of the area that we live in. TYC regional chapters will be working with other organizations in their regions. We also request all Tibetan NGO’s, institutions, organizations (kyidugs), monasteries and schools to participate in this campaign. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just a one-day event. We have to continue to keep our schools, neighborhoods and settlements clean. We request all to be mindful and continue this habit of cleanliness every day in our lives. A cleaner surrounding not only benefits the environment but also the health of our people.

TYC Tibetan Poster TYC Poster finalTogether let’s make India Clean.

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