How You Can Help the People of Tibet Now
Tribute to the Tibetan People
March 17, 2008
Paradoxically, a few days ago, we wrote about how the Tibetan community in exile has always utilized the most peaceful means to try to bring about change. The fact that they've been relentlessly oppressed since the Chinese invasion of 1959 is a testament to the patience of the Tibetan people. With a message that devolved from "FREE TIBET" to "SAVE TIBET", the Tibetan people have used calm abiding to try to maintain their cultural heritage.
A combination of factors met at a fork in the road: The ensuing Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and the 49th Anniversary of the Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. What better time to garner attention for the cause of Tibet? Tibetans in India joined in a march to the Tibetan border, only to be arrested in the country most known for tolerating passive resistance. And in Lhasa, Tibetans have rioted in a gesture of "enough is enough".
The objective was not in promoting change through violence. The objective was getting the world's attention as the consciousness of the issue of occupation by the Chinese Government has been eclipsed by the glitz and glamour of the upcoming sports championships and sponsorships. We only hope that the deaths will come to an end and that the Chinese government will do the right thing. To allow Tibet its sovereignty and Tibetans their dignity.
Please read the letter that follows from John Ackerly, President of the International Campaign for Tibet which outlines the ways that we can all do our part to help preserve the gentle culture of Tibet.
Urgent Appeal from Amnesty International
March 19, 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 ProvinceGelek Pel (m) aged 32 Lungkar Monastery, Qinghai ProvinceLobsang (m) aged 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceLobsang Thukjey (m), aged 19 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceTsultrim Palden (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceLobsher (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvincePhurden, (m), aged 22 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceThupdon (m), aged 24 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceLobsang Ngodup (m), aged 29 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceLodoe (m), aged 30 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan ProvinceThupwang (m), aged 30, Darthang MonasteryPema Garwang (m), aged 30, Darthang MonasteryTsegyam (m), aged 22, Kashi MonasterySoepa (m), aged 30, Mangye MonasteryAccording 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.
Tibetan Protest In Amdo (1 of 2)
For additional ways to help out in Lhasa, consider the following:
1. Contact your member of Congress and ask that they call on China to release all detainees, and allow international media access to Lhasa.
2. If you know any tourists in Lhasa, or others who may have direct knowledge of what is happening in Tibet, please contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Events of support are happening around the U.S. and Canada. To join a rally at a Chinese consulate or embassy in your area, please click here to review the list of local Tibet Support Groups holding demonstrations.
And please share this email with friends that you know would like to help. We need as many people with us now as possible.
I also encourage you to visit our web site often, http://www.savetibet.org/, to keep up to date on what is happening inside Tibet.
We need to act now -- I hope I can count on you.
With thanks for your support,
International Campaign for Tibet
1825 Jefferson Place, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Letter from John Ackerly, President, International Campaign for Tibet
There are now many reports of Tibetans being killed in the streets of Lhasa by security personnel. And many reports of Tibetans damaging Chinese stores. We now have photos of security vehicles overturned and in flames. And, a Tibetan in Lhasa told ICT staff that martial law has been imposed.
Reports of new developments are coming in every hour.
Reports by doctors in Lhasa of dozens of wounded streaming into hospitals.
Riots escalate in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa as lay Tibetans join in the protests which began on March 10th, anniversary of the Tibetan uprising of 1959.
Unconfirmed reports that soldiers are firing on Tibetans in the streets.
Confirmed reports that the major monasteries around Lhasa have been sealed off.
Three hundred monks from Drepung monastery and 100 nuns from Chutsang nunnery marched toward the center of Lhasa, stopped by armed police. One was beaten to the ground.
Unconfirmed reports of scores of Tibetans shot and killed including a 16 year-old girl killed and taken away by Tibetans on Beijing Middle Road.
Arrest of around 500 students from Tibet University, according to CNN.
A Danish tourist just sent this email. . .
“Lhasa is in flames. There are tanks/armoured vehicles driving round in the streets - what's going on is crazy . . . . it looks like a war zone. Almost all Chinese shops on the main street up to the Dalai Lama's Winter Palace have been set on fire.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has issued a statement calling on the Chinese to show restraint and calling on Tibetans not to resort to violence.
This appears to be by far the largest uprising in Tibet since 1989, and if unconfirmed reports are true, there may be more Tibetan casualties in the streets of Lhasa than at any time since 1959.
We fear that as I write this, hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested and are being interrogated and tortured. We are still digesting the scope of this emergency and working the phones with governments, the media and others to bring pressure to bear on Beijing.
I want to let you know that the International Campaign for Tibet is currently working on many fronts to improve the situation in Tibet as only we can . . .
Making preparations now to provide basic necessities for what is expected to be a large influx of new Tibetan refugees fleeing to Katmandu.
Around the world, Tibet supporters have held demonstrations of solidarity. Here, a Tibetan protestor is detained by police in New Delhi, India.
Beefing up our on-the-ground field team inside Tibet to make sure that the facts of what is really happening are getting out, accurately and without bias, to world media as quickly as possible.
Putting pressure on China to open Lhasa and other parts of Tibet to the media so the world can know what is really going on behind the veil of Chinese propaganda.
Encouraging our friends in governments here in the U.S. and around the world to demand that the Chinese show restraint in their reaction to the protests.
As a friend of Tibet, I hope you can help us at this critical time with a generous donation so we will continue to have the resources we need to react quickly and effectively.
Lhasa Burning - Images.
Please make it part of your political agenda to require your candidate of choice to support the cause of Tibet.