Wednesday, March 19, 2008

International Campaign for Tibet Updates

International Campaign for Tibet


(...) The size and scope of demonstrations continues to grow -- and have spread from the monks to the laypeople, from central Tibet to eastern Tibet, and now to Tibetan university students throughout China. We are witnessing an amazing display of solidarity between Tibetans from all of Tibet’s regions. The Chinese military brings tanks into the streets of Lhasa during recent protests.

Tibetan demonstrators are taking enormous risks. They could easily be arrested and tortured and spend months or years in prison. Yet they still demonstrate.

Earlier today I received an email with an eye-witness account of events in Lhasa.

... “It is not clear how many people were arrested. All of the main streets have been blocked by military. The soldiers have been checking for everybody’s ID. Specially, people who were wearing Tibetan clothes were searched thoroughly. Soldiers forced their way in civilian homes to arrest people. They were using stick to beat those who have been arrested, and teargas to drive away onlookers.”

In coming weeks, we expect hundreds if not thousands of Tibetans will be arrested and tortured.

Today, we received the first photo showing bodies of Tibetan demonstrators in eastern Tibet. China is rapidly moving tourists, aid workers and journalists out of Tibet so that a much larger and systematic crackdown can begin without witnesses.

As I write this, we know that twenty-five journalists have already been expelled from eastern Tibet and only one is left in Lhasa. Without their coverage, we may never know how many Tibetans have been killed, how many arrested.

Monday night at midnight was the deadline for Tibetans to surrender and be treated more leniently -- but only if they agree to cooperate with Chinese authorities to identify friends, neighbors and relatives involved in protests. You can read more about this, and see the translated Chinese ultimatum at http://www.savetibet.org.

China’s propaganda machine is working overtime to quash news of the dozens of peaceful demonstrations, to focus on the damage to Chinese establishments by Tibetans in Lhasa, and to constantly broadcast the news and images that most inflame the Chinese people.

No historical civil rights movement can be reduced to the small handful of events that precede a shift in our culture and ethics.

Tibet’s movement for justice and freedom cannot be reduced to the burning of Chinese shops.

And now in this emergency, there is a great need for those of us who can stand up without fear of repression to do so.

1. Urge President Bush to speak out publicly and ask China to show restraint, as well as address the fundamental causes that have led to events of the past week. Please call the President at 202-456-1111 or contact him by email at http://us.f277.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=comments@whitehouse.gov.

2. It is urgent that reporters be allowed into Tibet to independently verify what has happened. If you live in the U.S., please contact your member of Congress and ask them to demand that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao honor his promise to open Tibet to journalists.

If you have not already, please make a donation to support ICT’s response during this critical time so we will continue to have the resources we need to react quickly and effectively.

Updated: 19th Mar 2008
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(...) 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. (...) Around the world, Tibet supporters have held demonstrations of solidarity. Here, a Tibetan protestor is detained by police in New Delhi, India. (...)

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. For additional ways to help out in Lhasa, consider the following:

1. Contact you 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 http://us.f277.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=info@savetibet.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, 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 (...) >>>

Updated: Mar 15th 2008
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