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World Tibet Day (WTD) was initiated in Chicago in 1997 as an annual worldwide event, designed to help the Tibetan people regain essential freedoms and to celebrate the unique value of Tibetan culture and thought. Tibet supports groups across the world will celebrate July 6, the birthday of the Dalai Lama, as "World Tibet Day".

Today Tibet is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government based in Beijing, with local decision-making power concentrated in the hands of Chinese party officials. 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. State policies, such as incentives for non-Tibetan people to migrate from other parts of China and the compulsory relocation of ethnic Tibetans, have reduced the ethnic Tibetan share of the population over time.


Nicknamed the ‘third pole’, Tibet holds the third largest store of water and ice in the world after the Arctic and Antarctic. With a lake, river, or glacier at every turn, the immensity of this region’s water resources soon dawns on travelers, as well as the immensity of the region full stop. It doesn’t come as a great shock then, that six of Asia’s biggest rivers originate in Tibet, including the Mekong, the Yangtze, and the Indus to name just a few.


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  • In March, the authorities announced that nearly 2,000 “inspectors” were being deployed to police Tibetan rural communities and enforce tighter travel restrictions, particularly near international borders in the south.

  • Chinese government officials continued to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic, among other justifications, to restrict religious practice, including by closing or limiting access to Buddhist temples and monasteries. Officials also imposed increasingly oppressive ideological controls and political indoctrination within temples and monasteries, and supplemented internal video surveillance at such sites with human supervisors and informants.

  • As part of a broader program of military training and indoctrination for ethnic Tibetan students, new rules introduced during the year required students who receive government aid for their schooling to enroll in two years of military training.

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