TIBETANS CALL FOR UN ACTION ON TIBET AS SELF-IMMOLATIONS CONTINUE
Dharamsala, India – Tibetans and supporters staged a dramatic political theatre action in McLeod Ganj today to call on the United Nations and world leaders to take immediate and coordinated action to condemn China’s escalating crackdown in Tibet following the self-immolation of Sonam Dhargyel, a Tibetan farmer, on 17th March. Thirty Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet in an unprecedented wave of protest against China’s occupation; 17 of them this year alone.
The political theatre depicted China’s extreme and violent response to the self-immolations. Tibetan monks in blood-soaked robe were surrounded by Chinese military who violently assaulted them for calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. Bystanders were asked to deliver petitions to Ban Ki-Moon, urging him to take urgent action for Tibet.
“This harrowing scene is being repeated across Tibet as Tibetans are attacked and harassed by Chinese authorities for simply advocating their basic rights and freedom,” said Tsewang Dhundup, a Tibetan who narrowly escaped Tibet after being shot by Chinese police for taking part in a peaceful protest in 2008. “I saw a Tibetan monk shot right in front of my eyes. He later died in my arms as I tried to help him. The United Nations and world governments must intervene now to stop China’s extreme and violent attacks against Tibetans before more lives are lost.”
The Chinese government has sealed Tibet off to foreign media to stop the news of the protests and its horrifying response from reaching the outside world. According to the media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, the foreign press has a bigger presence in North Korea than in Tibet.
“The situation in Tibet demands an immediate response from the United Nations and our elected leaders that Beijing cannot ignore,” said Dorjee Tseten, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet-India. As Tibetans in Tibet are making the ultimate sacrifice to draw global attention to the unbearable oppression the Tibetan people are suffering under every day, we demand global action to help secure a resolution for the Tibetan people so they can live in the peace and freedom they have sacrificed so much to achieve..
The political theatre comes as two Tibetans enter the 29th day of a hunger strike organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress in front of the United Nations in New York. A third hunger striker was forcibly removed by police yesterday and taken to a hospital. He vowed to continue his fast to demand UN intervention in Tibet. This week, Tibetans and their supporters worldwide are taking part in a global coordinated lobby initiative for Tibet. In New Deli, Washington, Brussels, and Canberra, Tibetans and their supporters are meeting their elected representatives to commit them to taking action for Tibet.
Today’s protest was organised by activists and supporters of Students for a Free Tibet-India