Bon Jovi concerts in China cancelled due to support for Tibet and Dalai Lama

A string of Bon Jovi’s first-ever concerts in China have been cancelled, presumable after the Culture Ministry discovered a photo of Bon Jovi with the Dalai Lama

World Religion News:

It looks like Jon Bon Jovi won’t be singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” in Mandarin any time soon. The long-standing rock front man of the self-named band Bon Jovi would have been performing for the very first time in China at major concerts in Beijing and Shanghai if the Chinese government hadn’t forced those shows to be canceled, TIME reported. Currently on a major world tour with concert dates scheduled across Asia in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and others, the dates scheduled in Bangkok and Shanghai were canceled by Chinese authorities, who have not given any explicit reasons to the band or to the organizers of the tour, AEG Live Asia.

The most prevalent theory about why the sudden cancellations occurred that has been circulating the Internet is relatively obvious considering, if it turns out to be true, Bon Jovi would just be part of a string of bands to be banned from performing shows in China because of their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. As was reported in the Financial Times, apparently the very powerful and influential Culture Ministry for China’s ruling Communist Party found an image of Bon Jovi performing in front of a giant video screen with His Holiness the Dalai Lama featured on it at a concert in 2010.

“The issue of Tibet is especially sensitive right now as the Communist Party marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region”, said TIME.

Approaching the ever controversial 50th anniversary of what many in the Western world view as a continuing travesty in which China began governing Tibet after the Battle of Chamdo in 1950, the same time when the current Dalai Lama was enthroned. After being forced into exile in India with the remnants of the Tibetan government, where they established the Central Tibetan Administration in exile.

Pro-Tibet stances are not new or unusual, and many of the world’s most famous stars and celebrities have made public their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. There have been several other bands and musicians who have found themselves banned from China for support of Tibet, like Bjork in 2008, to Maroon 5, who were supposed to play a concert in China this month, but were forced to cancel after one member of the band tweeted a “Happy Birthday” message to the Dalai Lama’s active Twitter account of nearly 12 million followers.

TIME reports that Bon Jovi’s Chinese concerts’ organizers were attempting to convince the Culture Ministry of the People’s Republic of China to reconsider the move to cancel the concerts, but it does not appear at this time that Bon Jovi’s status in China is likely to change.

The Dukha tribe, Mongolia’s last nomadic reindeer herders

My Modern Met:

After living in Nepal and exploring Tibet and the Himalayas for more than a decade, photographer Hamid Sardar-Afkhami decided he would travel to outer Mongolia to document the nomadic tribes and their unique way of life. A scholar of Tibetan and Mongol languages who received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Sanskrit and Tibetan Studies, Sardar was just the right person to capture the Dukha people, Mongolia’s last nomadic reindeer herders. The Dukha are an ancient group of people of Turk descent who are dependent on reindeer for their way of life. In addition to milk and cheese, the reindeer provide transportation for hunting. They’re ridden to hunt wild elk and boar.

The Dukha tribe is quickly disappearing. Only about 44 Dukha families remain, or between 200 to 400 people. In the 1970s, it’s estimated that there was a population of about 2,000 reindeer but that number has since dwindled to about 600.

Sardar has not only captured fascinating photos of this lost culture, he shot a film called The Reindeer People which followed a family on its seasonal migrations.

Synopsis:In Northern Mongolia, there exists a sacred alliance between people, ancestor spirits and reindeer. This film is an intimate portrait of a family of Dukha reindeer nomads following their migration through the forests of Mongolia’s Hovsgol province. They move with a herd of about a hundred reindeer through a sacred forest inhabited by the spirits of their ancestors, who communicate to the living through songs. The oldest Dukha, is a divine seer, a 96-year old shaman, called Tsuyan. She is the link between the healing songs of the forest ancestors, her people and their reindeer. She is the centerpiece of an extraordinary adventure that unites people and animals in one of the wildest regions of Mongolia – where people still live and hunt in a forest dominated by supernatural beings. To live in harmony with them, people had to learn to respect nature and animals and to pass down their beliefs, from generation to generation, by invoking the song-lines of their deceased ancestors.”

The film earned a jury prize for Best Film on Mountain Culture at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami’s website

Video

Breakdancing Buddhist monks honor fallen Beastie Boy

On Saturday, artists gathered to honor Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch for the third annual MCA Day, and a bunch of monks decided to get in on the action.

MCA Day is meant to celebrate Yauch, who died after a long battle with cancer in 2012, with festivities and performances taking place at the Littlefield Performance and Art Space in Brooklyn.

In what may seem as a more unconventional nod by some, four Buddhist monks took to Union Square, the site of the first MCA Day, to put on a tribute to the Beastie Boys by breakdancing to some of their biggest hits.

Some might question whether the dancers are even monks, but one thing’s certain: They sure as hell can dance and put on a show for the crowd. Yauch was a Buddhist and supporter for Tibetan independence, so it seems it’s a fully appropriate celebration of MCA Day.

Link

China fostering spy rings at Australian universities to monitor exchange students

 

20110527.125453_spy

 

There are almost 100,000 mainland Chinese students studying at Australian universities, where they are no doubt exposed to ideas that might be censored at home. This fact has not gone unnoticed by Chinese intelligence professionals, some of whom have admitted to a reporter for the respected Sydney Morning Herald that they recruit networks of students to monitor the Chinese community.

Officially, education counselors at the Chinese embassy organize student associations in order to provide support services that may be lacking at Australian universities for overseas students. These associations provide help and a sense of community for Chinese students, but they also provide a network to gather human intelligence and monitor their citizens’ activities.

In particular, Beijing wants to keep tabs on any anti-authoritarian movements and groups related to Tibet and Falun Gong.

Some students have said they faced negative repercussions based on reports made to the student association. After he attended a lecture by the Dalai Lama, one student’s parents back home were contacted and told to reign their son in. Others have reported that comments they made in classroom discussions were reported to officials, causing repercussions.

And it isn’t just the students, either. A Chinese lecturer at a major university was questioned four times by intelligence services when he returned to China regarding comments he made at a democracy seminar at the University of New South Wales. He was shown the report, made by a woman also making false claims that he had donated money to democracy organizations.

Singapore’s Straits Times published a piece at the same time claiming the Chinese government uses student organizations to spread patriotic feelings and to monitor any latent anti-government movements. According to that article, during the 2008 Olympic torch replay in Canberra, the organizations brought Chinese students in from as far away as Sydney to hold a counter-protest against Tibet supporters.

The Chinese government denies that their is any intelligence purpose to the student organizations.

Source: MSN Sankei News via Sydney Morning Herald

 

Check out this link:

China fostering spy rings at Australian universities to monitor exchange students

Link

Tibetan Monks painstakingly create incredible Mandalas using millions of grains of colored sand

 

My Modern Met:

Imagine the amount of patience that’s required to create such highly detailed art such as this! To promote healing and world peace, a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks, from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India, travel the world creating incredible mandalas using millions of grains of sand. For days or even weeks, the monks spend up to eight hours a day working on one mandala sand painting, pouring multicolored grains of sand onto a shared platform until it becomes a spectacular piece of art.

Each work begins as a drawing, the outline of the mandala. Then, colored sand is poured from traditional metal funnels called chak-purs. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid. It is almost as if they are truly painting.

A sand-painted mandala serves as a spiritual symbol. Shortly after it is made, it’s deconstructed. The destruction serves as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. As it states on the Drepung Loseling Monastery’s website, “The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.”

The Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are currently in Dallas, Texas at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. During their week-long residency, they will complete one of these sacred sand mandalas.

Check out this link:

Tibetan Monks painstakingly create incredible Mandalas using millions of grains of colored sand

 







The Mystical Arts website

Link

China repeats rejection of Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ for Tibet

 

Voice of America:

 

Tibetans play their traditional musical instruments to commemorate Serf Liberation Day in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, March 27, 2014.

Tibetans play their traditional musical instruments to commemorate Serf Liberation Day in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, March 27, 2014.

China has marked the 55th anniversary of the dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa with another explicit rejection of the so-called “middle way” approach of the Dalai Lama that emphasizes autonomy for the region.In the televised speech Thursday on state-run Tibet TV, the chairman of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region [TAR], Losang Gyaltsen, said the Dalai Lama’s approach is “a camouflaged approach” that seeks Tibet’s independence.

Tibet cannot be independent, neither can it be a semi-independence or disguised independence,” Gyaltsen said, standing next to China’s national flag.

He added that China’s fight against a “Western enemy force” and the “Dalai Clique” is an important political fight for unity versus separation, democracy versus authoritarianism, and progress versus backwardness.

Kunga Tashi, who works in New York for the exiled Tibetan government, said the statement shows that Chinese leaders are unwilling to compromise to solve the Tibetan problem.

The middle way approach agrees with the principle [demand] of China,” he said. “We say we are not separating from China, if we get a meaningful autonomy.”

In addition to the speech Thursday, Chinese officials carried out a campaign this week to highlight how much they say conditions have improved in Tibet since China took over.

Beijing frequently cites improved living standards in the region when defending its rule. Tibetan exile MP Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa said the comparison of old and modern societies is just an excuse.

China has no historical and legal support to occupy Tibet,” Bapa told VOA Tibetan service, speaking in Tibetan. “So they need to say old Tibet was dark and backward, and they came to develop Tibet. Such policy was used by other colonizers.”

The anniversary, which China calls “Serf Liberation Day,” marks Beijing’s 1959 dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa shortly after the Dalai Lama fled into exile. The date, however, has been officially commemorated only since 2009.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.

Check out this link:
Video

Guy Dances Across China in 100 Days

Jake Gaba spent 100 days in China studying Mandarin on a Dartmouth College study abroad program, and this was his way of cataloging the journey.

I knew I wanted to capture my experiences in a very special way, and I also knew that just taking photos of my travels wasn’t enough. I had to dance.

I danced and filmed all over, including: Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’An, Lhasa (Tibet), Yangshuo, Zhangjiajie, Shanghai, Feng Huang, and Hong Kong. In some locations I had 100+ people gathered around my camera taking pictures and videos on their phones.

I want to say a big thanks to all of the Chinese people I danced with. You all were great sports. Also thank you to all my schoolmates who put up with me stopping every 30 minutes to shoot another segment. And one more big thank you to 代姗姗 for being an awesome camera crew person.

Song: Treasure by Bruno Mars