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An urgent appeal from Amnesty International for Tibetan prisoners

  1. Guru-C profile image55
    Guru-Cposted 8 years ago

    - From Amnesty International USA

    To read the current Urgent Action newsletter, go to
    For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/ … a07608.pdf

    18 March 2008

    UA 76/08 Fear of torture and other ill-treatment

    Samten (m), aged 17, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
    Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, (m), aged 26, Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
    Gelek Pel (m) aged 32 Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai Province
    Lobsang (m) aged 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Lobsang Thukjey (m), aged 19 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Tsultrim Palden (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Lobsher (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Phurden, (m), aged 22 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Thupdon (m), aged 24 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Lobsang Ngodup (m), aged 29 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Lodoe (m), aged 30 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan Province
    Thupwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
    Pema Garwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery
    Tsegyam (m), aged 22, Kashi Monastery
    Soepa (m), aged 30, Mangye Monastery

    According to information published by the Tibetan Centre on
    Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), 15 Tibetan monks were
    detained on 10 March for staging a peaceful demonstration in
    Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of Tibetan Autonomous Region.
    There is no information of their current whereabouts or of
    any charges brought against them. They are at high risk of
    torture and other ill-treatment.

    On Monday 10 March hundreds of monks began a march from
    Drepung Monastery towards Barkhor. Another group, which
    included the 15 monks now in detention, began their march
    from Sera Monastery, but were soon detained. The monks had
    been demanding that the government ease a "patriotic re-
    education" campaign which forces them to denounce the Dalai
    Lama and subjects them to government propaganda.

    Protests began in other monasteries in support of those
    detained. Demonstrations also involving lay people then
    followed across Lhasa, in other parts of Tibet and in areas
    of the neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan
    with large populations of Tibetans. On Friday the protests
    became violent, with some protesters specifically targeting
    and setting fire to Chinese-owned businesses and attacking
    people from other ethnic groups.

    The Chinese authorities urged the protesters to give
    themselves in by Monday 17 March at midnight, Beijing Time,
    and promised that those who did would be treated leniently.
    As of today, the streets of Lhasa were reported to be
    largely quiet and empty.

    Police and soldiers are reported to be conducting house to
    house sweeps in Lhasa. Some eyewitnesses have reported
    individuals being dragged from their homes. There continue
    to be reports of unrest in neighboring Sichuan and Gansu
    provinces. There are also reports that some Chinese police
    and soldiers have used excessive force, including lethal
    force, against Tibetan demonstrators in Lhasa and elsewhere.
    With large numbers of troops now deployed in the region
    further human rights violations may be committed.

    The Chinese authorities have imposed a near-total block on
    information leaving Tibet and surrounding areas. Permits for
    journalists to enter Tibet were stopped from 12 March.
    Foreign journalists have been barred or removed from
    districts in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, where the
    unrest has spread.

    The Chinese government has the right and duty to defend all
    individuals and property from violence. At the same time
    international law requires that the authorities handle such
    crises in ways that uphold fundamental human rights and the
    principles of necessity and proportionality in the use of
    force. For example, firearms should only be discharged as a
    last resort and when lives are at risk.

    TCHRD has obtained pictures of fourteen of the detained monks. The portraits are on their website at:

    RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
    - urge the authorities to release the 15 monks named above, as well as all others detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
    - urge the authorities to fully account for all those detained during the demonstrations, ensuring they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, have access to lawyers and medical care, are brought promptly before an independent
    court and are able to challenge their detention;
    - ensure that those prosecuted are charged with internationally recognizable offences and tried in proceedings which meet international fair trial standards;
    - allow full and unimpeded access to Tibet and other Tibetan areas to journalists and other independent observers
    - allow independent UN investigation into the events of the last week, including full access to scenes of confrontation, eye-witnesses, and detainees, and allow similar access to independent observers, including journalists and human rights NGOs.

    President of the People’s Republic of China
    HU Jintao Guojia Zhuxi
    The State Council General Office
    2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
    Beijingshi 100017
    People’s Republic of China
    Salutation: Your Excellency

    Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People’s Government
    Qiangba PUNCOG Zhuren
    Xizang Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
    1 Kang’angdonglu
    Lasashi 850000, Xizang Zizhiqu
    People’s Republic of China
    Salutation: Dear Chairman

    Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China
    MENG Jianzhu Buzhang
    14 Dongchang’anjie
    Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100741
    People’s Republic of China
    Fax: 011 86 10 63099216 (it may be difficult to get
    through, please keep trying)
    Salutation: Your Excellency

    Mayor of Lasa Municipal People’s Government Tibet Autonomous Region
    LOBSANG Gyaincain Shizhang
    Lasashi Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
    16 Jinjulu, Lasashi 850000, Xizang Zizhiqu
    People’s Republic of China
    Salutation: Dear Mayor

    Ambassador Wen Zhong Zhou
    Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
    2300 Connecticut Avenue NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008
    Fax: 1 202 745 7473

    Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 29 April 2008."

    1. SparklingJewel profile image67
      SparklingJewelposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Here is the address for a petition you can sign that will go to the Chinese government calling for not violence; I just received it recently


  2. premsingh profile image59
    premsinghposted 8 years ago

    I don't think chinese government shall pay any attention to such appeals by individuals.Influential governments of powerful countries should  make diplomatic efforts to convince or pressurize chinese government. This is  incidence of human right violation similar to Iraq, Afganistan and some other  countries. Unfortunate thing is that poor people of Tibet neither has many natural resources nor they are economically or politically sound.

  3. Shirley Anderson profile image85
    Shirley Andersonposted 8 years ago

    I think premsingh is right, I don't think appeals will carry any weight with the Chinese.

    Monks and violence, what a sad combination.  It makes me mad that anyone would be so brutal with such a peaceful order.  Perhaps the earthquake will get all the soldiers called back to where they came from and leave the poor monks alone. 

    I'm neither a monk nor a Buddhist, but I very much like the Dhali Llama.  For Pete's sake, why can't one sect leave the other alone and in peace.

  4. Guru-C profile image55
    Guru-Cposted 8 years ago

    I agree with Premsingh and Shirley Anderson that the Chinese government is a huge monolith, and that it will be difficult to influence them.  However, every voice counts, and I would suggest clicking on the links above to see how you can add yours.

    You may find an article that appeared in the New York Times interesting: 

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/22/world … p;emc=eta1

  5. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 8 years ago

    Guru-C -
    Well done for raising the issue here. I've been watching the coverage of the unrest on Chinese CCTV4, where, of course, the slant is very different. The problem the 'free' world has in making representations to the Chinese government on Tibet's behalf is that our own credibility is at a pretty low ebb in regard to human rights and respect of sovereignty. Nevertheless, individuals can make a difference, even to China. Remember Tiananmen Square?

    1. Guru-C profile image55
      Guru-Cposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Hello Paraglider,

      I'm sorry it's taken me this long to respond.  Thank you so much for your comments.  It's so true what you say, individuals can make a difference.  Look at Gandhi or Martin Luther King. 

      Right now there's an objective to send 2 million signatures to the Chinese government.  Even if there's a remote possibility that they will take positive action, it's worth the attempt.

      Best Regards,

      PS:  How's the baby in your family?  I hope very happy.

  6. Hope Alexander profile image79
    Hope Alexanderposted 8 years ago

    Maybe I am missing something here, and I am sure I am, but I thought that being a Buddhist monk was about non attatchment, from things, and the world?

    Tibet is a tiny, poor country being ruled over by a large country who are prepared to use whatever force and violence are necessary to keep the country under control. The larger world powers like Russia, don't care, and the USA can't say a damn thing after the Iraq fiasco. Essentially, Tibet is screwed and everyone knows it. China is a major power, and nobody has the inclination or the nous to really stand up to them. They could gas the whole of Tibet tomorrow and I doubt they would suffer any ill effect on a global scale. The yuan is supporting the US economy, and China makes for a huge part of the world's food production as well.

    In spite of an atrocious human rights record, China was awarded the Olympics Games. Let's face it, the powerful majority of the world has spoken on the China issue, and they've resoundingly said that they don't care what China does to its own citizens, or to Tibetans.

    But why are Buddhist monks getting involved in something so very obviously worldy, after all, this is about politics and borders, neither of which matter a whit on a spiritual plane. I understood a monk's role to be a spiritual one, focused on living in the present with what one has, rather than inciting protest. Those things seem very separate from discovering inner peace.

    (I'm not supporting what China is doing in any sense, or saying that the Buddhist monks shouldn't protest, I just wonder why it is that these people hopelessly make trouble for themselves, and seem to take themselves away from their spiritual goals.)

    1. Guru-C profile image55
      Guru-Cposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Dear Hope:

      I feel your heart is in the right place, and agree that the world has already weighed in.  The reason, I think, Tibetan Buddhist monks have taken to protesting, is that through the years into the present, innumerable monks and nuns have been harassed, imprisoned, tortured and executed for expressing their views.  Remember, it is a capital crime in Tibet to own a photo of the Dalai Lama. 

      Also, Tibetan monks tend to not be as removed from the world as one might think.  Many of them are asked to go out into the world and engage in commerce to help support the monastery.  It is the monks' and nuns' families and the monks themselves who help pay for the monasteries' subsistence, as well as sponsors.  There is no actual institution that supports the monasteries.    So while they are not of the world, they are in the world.

      I think that even though it is a very daunting task, every individual can help by adding one's name to the lists of protesters.

      I hope this helps.

  7. Shirley Anderson profile image85
    Shirley Andersonposted 8 years ago

    Hope Alexander, I think you've raised a good point, and it's one I wondered about it when I first heard the news.  I think that their protest arose because of the Chinese denouncing the Dahli Llama.

    Still, it was a bit of a surprise.  Perhaps not peaceful demonstration, but the ensueing violence.

  8. Hope Alexander profile image79
    Hope Alexanderposted 8 years ago

    Thanks for your reply Guru-C, I find this situation, and others like it incredibly disheartening, and to be honest, a clear sign that either A) Democracy doesn't work, or B) Humans are inherently evil. For no major country, or indeed, the citizens of China themselves, feel inclined to do anything about what is happening to the Tibetans. Sure, there are protests, I remember there being protests about this very issue 10 years ago. In that time absolutely nothing has changed, in fact, things only seem to be getting worse.

    We might care a little, but we don't care enough to actually do anything to stop the multitude of known human rights travesties going on across the world. You would think that people would be outraged and put an immediate end to terrorism, torture, and repression, but we don't. Evidently there is some element of the human psyche that supports these things.

    I don't think that writing to the Chinese will help. I think that ceasing to buy the products they are churning out at such a massive rate would work though, because it would cripple their economy. That's the sort of action that could be taken en masse at an individual level, or in the form of a trade embargo at a governmental level. But instead, we will all continue to buy the products that support these evil practices, and our governments will continue to broker trade deals.

    We're all just too damn selfish to really care.

    (Well maybe not ALL of us technically, but enough of us are that those that aren't are probably statistically irrelevant anyway.)

    1. Guru-C profile image55
      Guru-Cposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Dear Hope,

      So much of what you say resonates about the need to do more to promote human rights.  And you are right, boycotting their exports may be a step in the right direction.  The only thing I fear there is that China is such an economic superpower, I don't have the mathematical mind to figure out the impact in either direction.  I certainly try not to consume any products that were produced in inhumane conditions. 

      I don't really think democracy is the problem here :smile 

      The most immediate possibility is to boycott the 2008 summer Olympics in every way possible and to sign the petitions, make the phone calls to our representatives, send the letters to the Chinese government officials, attend the candle light vigils.  If we would share the links above with everyone on our mailing lists, and urged our friends to do the same, our politicians would here the roar of people who care.

  9. Guru-C profile image55
    Guru-Cposted 8 years ago

    People here may find it heartening that there are politicians holding office who have spoken out against the actions of the government of China toward Tibet.  I received a press release today that was issued by the office of Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen:

    Ros-Lehtinen Condemns Beijing’s Policies in Tibet
    Critical of removal from U.S. list of countries with major human rights concerns;
    Warns of potential for Beijing’s repression of rights advocates during Olympics   

    (WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that China’s violent crackdown in Tibet is a clear indication that the State Department acted prematurely last week in removing China from the list of nations with major human rights issues. In a March 10th letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Ros-Lehtinen raised concerns about the continuing crackdown on the rights of Tibetan and Uighur minorities.  She also cautioned that attempts by Chinese officials to silence advocates of democracy and human rights, as well as critics of the regime, during the  August Olympic games in Beijing could lead to the arrest and mistreatment of American citizens. Statement of Ros-Lehtinen:
    The failure of Beijing’s policies has led to the violence we now see on the streets of Lhasa, and the people of Tibet are paying a terrible price.
    Clearly the State Department’s decision to remove China from the list of countries with which we have major concerns about human rights was hasty and ill-considered and should be reversed.
    Americans are very concerned about human rights abuses throughout all of China, including the suppression of the Falun Gong and every form of political dissent. Beijing’s steadfast support for the murderous regimes in Sudan, Burma and North Korea further demonstrates its callous disregard for basic human rights.
    Beijing is attempting to use the Olympic games to hide its repressive policies. Responsible nations must not buy into this façade. Protests by human rights activists and others during the games are likely to result in a crackdown similar to that we are witnessing in Tibet. The gleam is already off the Olympic gold which Beijing so desperately seeks.

  10. Hope Alexander profile image79
    Hope Alexanderposted 8 years ago

    My comment about people either being evil, or democracy not working was meant to imply that either the people of the nations of the world don't give a damn about tyranny going on elsewhere, and are therefore complicit in the evils that go on... or the system of democracy has failed these people, and their views are not being represented and acted upon.

    1. Guru-C profile image55
      Guru-Cposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Dear Hope,

      It's true that the world doesn't give a damn about tyranny going on elsewhere, or, that people's views are not being represented.  I know that mine aren't. 

      Wishing you a great day,

  11. Guru-C profile image55
    Guru-Cposted 8 years ago

    Today I received a link to a video of two New York City cops beating up a Tibetan protester in front of the United Nations.  The protester was merely holding up a Tibetan flag.  It makes me feel ashamed that police brutality would occur in a city as sophisticated as New York.

    If you'd like to view the video to see for yourself, it's at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7NUNwq2 … ture=email

    While you're here, please, please click on the link in the first posting of this thread to add your signature to the petition to the Chinese Government to end the violence towards the Tibetan people.  Thank you.