International Tibet Network Statement, 13 February 2013.
China passes suspended death sentence on Tibetan monk and detains at least 70 further Tibetans. Global Tibet movement calls for joint action by world governments to urgently address China’s crackdown in Tibet.
Contact: Tenzin Jigme +1 703 424 0015 (English/Tibetan), Tsering Choedup + 91 941 822 1605 (English/Tibetan), Mandie McKeown + 44 7748 158618 (English)
On 13 February 2013 the number of self-immolations by Tibetans living under Chinese rule was confirmed as reaching at least 100 (1).
“Since the fateful day of 27 February 2009 when Tapey, a monk from Kirti monastery, Ngaba in eastern Tibet, set light to himself in protest, at least 99 other Tibetans living under Chinese rule have followed suit”, said Tenzin Jigme of the International Tibet Network. “There were 12 confirmed self-immolations in 2011, and 83 during 2012, of which 28 were in the month of November 2012 alone. All those self-immolating in Tibet have called for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.”
Lobsang Namgyal, a 37-year old Tibetan monk from Ngaba’s Kirti monastery, became the 100th self-immolation protester living under China’s rule when he set light to himself near the Dzoge Public Security Bureau on 3 February; he died at the scene (2). Due to the security clampdown in Tibet, this news only reached exiled Kirti monks on 13 February, the same day that a young monk set light to himself in Nepal. The monk, who has not been named and whose status is unknown, staged his protest near Kathmandu’s Boudhanath stupa on the third day of Losar (Tibetan New Year) and on the 100th anniversary of a proclamation by the 13th Dalai Lama, reasserting Tibet’s independent status (3).
The 185 Tibet advocacy organizations that form the International Tibet Network (4) express their collective and profound concern at the worsening situation inside Tibet. As Tibetans continue to set themselves on fire to protest against the intense repression under China’s rule, the authorities are responding with an even greater crackdown, thereby increasing the chances that more Tibetans will self-immolate.
“This staggering figure of 100 individual self-immolation protests must bring the world to its senses. This milestone demands widespread condemnation of China’s failed policies and of its brutal crackdown in Tibet”, said Tenzin Jigme. “Each one of these incidents is a personal tragedy, but the combined total of 100 people setting light to themselves in protest warrants an international response. We urgently call on world governments to issue a joint statement of concern on this tragic occasion and to collectively formulate a diplomatic initiative that will directly address China’s leaders over the crisis they have created in Tibet” (5).
China continues to escalate its response to the self-immolations with an aggressive strategy to stop information reaching the outside world. On 31 January, a court in Sichuan found two Tibetans guilty of “intentional homicide” and passed a death sentence, suspended for two years, to Lobsang Konchok, 40, and sentenced his nephew Lobsang Tsering, 31, to ten years in prison. According to Xinhua the men had confessed to “recording details of the protesters, gathered photographs and passed them on to exile groups in India”. (6). On 7 February, China’s state media announced 70 further detentions (7).
Although the escalation in China’s response prompted a flurry of statements of international concern during November and December, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union and the governments of Canada, the UK and USA (7), the Tibet movement urgently calls for more visible coordination of action by world governments.
1. For a comprehensive list see www.StandupforTibet.org/learn-more. The total of 100 includes 99 confirmed incidents in Tibet, along with 62-year old Passang Lhamo’s self-immolation in Beijing on 13 September 2012, in a protest against land-grabbing in Kyegudo. There have also been six instances of self-immolation among exiled Tibetans, including one in Kathmandu on 13 February 2013.
2. This self-immolation on 3 February was reported on 13 February by the monks of Kirti monastery in exile in Dharamsala, India. See their report in Tibetan at http://www.tibettimes.net/news.php?showfooter=1&id=7314 with an image of Lobsang Namgyal.
3. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/world/asia/tibetan-monk-immolates-himself-in-nepal.html. For information about the centenary, see http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/marked-02122013154150.html
4. The International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet-related non-governmental organisations. Its purpose is to maximise the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement, which campaigns for an end to human rights violations in Tibet and to restore the Tibetan people’s right under international law to determine their future political, economic, social, religious and cultural status. See www.tibetnetwork.org.
5. The Membership of the International Tibet Network call on concerned governments to urgently establish a multi-lateral Contact Group or forum through which future diplomatic measures concerning Tibet can be agreed and implemented. New approaches to Tibet are critical as other strategies, including bilateral human rights dialogues, have failed to deliver long term benefits for the Tibetan people.
6. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-21271854. See also ‘Those Who Incite Self-Immolations Must be Severely Punished Under the Law’, Gannan Daily, 3 December 2012. http://gn.gansudaily.com.cn/system/2012/12/03/013508017.shtml. Translation into English by Dui Hua, http://www.duihuahrjournal.org/2012/12/china-outlines-criminal-punishments-for.html.
7. See http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/uk-china-tibet-idUKBRE9160CK20130207
8. See http://standupfortibet.org/governments-for-tibet/
The International Tibet Network calls on Xi Jinping and 5th generation leaders to adopt a paradigm shift in the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to Tibet that gives full agency over formulating future policies to the Tibetan people, by first acknowledging its failures and the illegitimacy of its military rule over Tibet. Xi Jinping must commit to a just and lasting resolution that recognizes the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination under international law.
In connection with the self-immolations, the Network calls on China to:
- Stop the use of military force to crackdown on the Tibetan people. As a matter of urgency, withdraw all security forces from monasteries andplaces where protests have taken place.
- Release all political prisoners detained for engaging in peaceful protest, arbitrarily detained or sentenced without a just trial in accordancewith international law immediately and unconditionally.
- Allow immediate and unfettered access to Tibet by foreign media, diplomats, international observers and foreign tourists.
- Cease the harsh and systematic repression of religious and cultural life in Tibet, and suspend with immediate effect the Chinesegovernment’s patriotic education programme.
- Remove all Party cadres from monasteries in Tibet with immediate effect, and suspend policies concerning interference by Chineseauthorities in the selection of reincarnate lamas.
- Ensure the Tibetan people’s right to practice and promote their language is respected by restoring the Tibetan language as the primarymedium of instruction in schools and universities.
- Halt all economic and development policies detrimental to safeguarding the prospects and livelihood of the Tibetans. Reduce thedependency of the Tibetan economy on Chinese government subsidies by favouring bottom-up, sustainable development models that offeropportunities to disadvantaged Tibetans and cease all financial incentives for Chinese settlement onto the plateau.
- End and reverse the coercive policy of nomad settlement; suspend all ongoing settlements and allow those nomads already settled to returnto their land and way of life if they wish, and their cancelled long term land leases restored. Allow the Tibetans to be full partners in alldecisions over land use in Tibet.
Recommendations to world governments
- To issue a joint démarche with other concerned governments on the occasion of the 100th confirmed self-immolation by a Tibetan livingunder Chinese rule, and in response to the suspended death sentence given to Lobsang Konchok.
- Establish and participate in a Contact Group or multilateral forum by world governments to devise and implement new, more robust,coordinated strategies for resolving the Tibet crisis.
- Urgently seek to send diplomats to affected areas and demand from China assurances that foreign journalists be allowed unfettered accessto the TAR and Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan.
- Vigorously pursue actions in appropriate international forums that will focus the attention of the government of the PRC on the severity of thesituation in Tibet and on the legitimate concern of the international community that Tibetans enjoy the rights and freedoms enshrined in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants to which China is a party.
- Expand capacity to monitor the situation in Tibet, including continuing to push for greater access to Tibet. Initiate or elevate efforts toestablish a diplomatic presence in Lhasa, and expand existing resources within Beijing embassies for monitoring.
- Utilize all opportunities to raise bilateral concern about Tibet in the context of China’s Leadership handover, emphasizing the failure ofsecurity, economic and development policies to achieve stability in Tibet and urge the immediate adoption of measures to address thelegitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.
We appeal to people of conscience to:
Stand Up for Tibet; sign the pledge athttp://standupfortibet.org/
Join a Tibet campaign group and participate in grassroots campaigning and advocacy in support of the Tibetan people.https://www.tibetnetwork.org/find-a-group/
Signed, Member Organisations of the International Tibet Network
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet
Association Rencontres Tibetaines – C.S.P.T. Midi-Pyrenees
Associazione Italia -Tibet
Austrian Committee for Tibet
Briancon05 Urgence Tibet
Caisse d’Aide aux Prisonniers Tibetains
Casa del Tibet – Spain
Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT)
Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain (Les Lilas)
Corse – Tibet
Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin, France
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal
International Campaign for Tibet Deutschland
International Campaign for Tibet Europe
International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter (IGFM)
Jamtse Thundel Association
La Porte du Tibet, Geneva
Les Amis du Tibet – Belgium
Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg
Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France
Lungta Association Belgium
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
Nos Amis de l’Himalaya
Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara
Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet
Save Tibet, Austria
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Students for a Free Tibet – France
Students for a Free Tibet – UK
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF)
Tibet 59 / 62
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibets Kinder im Exile V.
Tibet Liberte Solidarite
Tibet Libertes, France
Tibet Society, U.K.
Tibet Support Group – Ireland
Tibet Support Group – Netherlands
Tibet Unterstutzung Liechtenstein
Tibetan Association of Germany
Tibetan Community Austria
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibetan Community in Ireland
Tibetan Youth Association in Europe
Tibetan Youth UK
TSG Free Tibet And You
Tsowa-Maintenir la Vie, France
Vrienden Van Tibet
Tibetan Community of Italy
Tibetaanse-Vlaamse Vriendenkring vzw
Association of Free Tibet
Friends of Tibet in Finland
Swedish Tibet Committee
The Norwegian Tibet Committee
Tibet Support Committee Denmark
Tibetan Community in Denmark
Tibetan Community Sweden
Central & Eastern Europe
Fair Society o.s.
Friends of Tibet Slovakia
Friends of Tibet Society St. Petersburg, Russia
International Youth Human Rights Group – Human Rights in Tibet
Lithuanian Tibet Culture Foundation
Polish Movement for a Free Tibet
Save Tibet Foundation
Society for Croatia-Tibet Friendship
Students for a Free Tibet, Poland
The Foundation for Civil Society, Russia
Tibet cesky (Tibet in Czech)
Tibet Support Association – Hungary
Tibet Support Group – Krasnodar Region, Russia
Tibet Support Group – Romania
Tibet Support Group – Sochi Region, Russia
Tibetan Community in Poland
Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation
TSG – Slovenia
Union Latvija Tibetai (Latvia for Tibet )
Zida Cels, Latvia
Tibetan Association of Slovakia
Association Cognizance Tibet, North Carolina
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Boston Tibet Network
Canada Tibet Committee
Colorado Friends of Tibet
Committee of 100 for Tibet
CTC – Calgary
Dhokam Chushi Gangdruk
International Campaign for Tibet
International Tibet Independence Movement
Los Angeles Friends of Tibet
Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association
San Diego Friends of Tibet
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Sierra Friends of Tibet
Snow Lion Foundation
Students for a Free Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet – Canada
The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago
The World Tibet Day Foundation
Tibet Committee of Fairbanks
Tibet Justice Center
Tibetan Association of Ithaca
Tibetan Association of Northern California
Tibetan Association of Philadelphia
Tibetan Association of Santa Fe
Tibetan Association of Southern California
Tibetan Cultural Association – Quebec
Tibet Oral History Project
Toronto Tibet Youth Congress
United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT)
U.S. Tibet Committee
Western Colorado Friends of Tibet
Wisconsin Tibetan Association
Central and South America
Amigos del Tibet, El Salvador
Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana
Asociación Cultural Tibetano – Costarricense
Casa Tibet Mexico
Centro De Cultura Tibetana – Brazil
Grupo De Apoyo a Tibet Chile
Grupo Pro-Cultura Tibetana, Chile
Le Club Francais – Paraguay
Pensando En Tibet – Mexico
Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay
Fundación Pro Tibet – Argentina
Friends of Tibet in Costa Rica
World League for Freedom and Democracy
Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India
Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India
Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H. H. the Dalai Lama
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet
Himalayan Committee for Action on Tibet
India Tibet Friendship Society
Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha)
Mahatma Gandhi Tibet Freedom Movement
National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India
National Democratic Party of Tibet
Raise Tibetan Flag Campaign
Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia
Students for a Free Tibet – Bangladesh
Taiwan Friends of Tibet
Taiwan Tibet Exchange Foundation
The Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Mongolia and Turkestan
Tibet Lives, India
Tibet Philippines Support Network
Tibet Solidarity Forum, Bangladesh
Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan
Tibet Support Network Japan
Tibetan Student Association, Madras (TSAM)
Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre
Tibetan Rights and Freedom Committee (TRFRC)
Tibetan Women’s Association (Central)
Tibetan Youth Congress
Japan Committee of 100 for TIbet
Ns3 Rigpa Community Builder’s Foundation
Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti
A.C.T. Tibet Support Group
Australia Tibet Council
Friends of Tibet New Zealand
Students for a Free Tibet New Zealand
Africa and Middle East
Friends of Tibet – Isamailia (Egypt)
Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People
South African Friends of Tibet
Tibet Support Group Kenya