For Immediate Release: 14 July 2014
For Press Contacts see below.

[Brazilia, Durban, Moscow, New Delhi] On the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s second BRICS summit, Tibet campaigners based in Brazil, South Africa, Russia and India [1] deliver an open letter and report [2] calling on BRICS leaders to take this important opportunity to tackle Xi Jinping over his Party’s on-going failed Tibet policies [3] and appalling human rights abuses.

“As Xi Jinping prepares to stand alongside leaders representing the largest and most influential democracies in the world, Tibetans are literally dying for freedom,” said Sandra Erickson, Rangzen: Movimento Free Tibete Natal. “As the host of this BRICS summit and with a history as an advocate of human rights and freedom [4] I urge President Rousseff to emphasize the importance of respecting the Tibetan people’s rights to freedom.”

China’s crackdown in Tibet has intensified in recent months, including a sweeping
campaign to criminalize relatives and friends of those protesters who have set themselves on fire, and the use of brutal force against other peaceful protests and gatherings of Tibetans. Most recently, on 30 June 2014, several Tibetans were seriously injured after Chinese Security Forces attempted to break up a peaceful protest in Martak village in Dechen county concerning a mining project. [5] The more China tightens its grip, the stronger the Tibetan spirit of resistance becomes, and the more each new wave of protest provokes a brutal military, judicial and propaganda crackdown.

“Rouseff, Modi and Zuma are three influential world leaders and we urge them to take this opportunity to hold Xi Jinping accountable for his failed Tibet policies, which have been responsible for at least 131 Tibetans setting themselves on fire in protest against China’s repressive rule.” [6] said Lobsang Tseten of International Tibet Network.

“BRICS leaders must stop hiding from the truth about China’s brutal repression of the Tibetan people, and recognize that by acting collectively, courageously and with principle, they can help Tibet, and resolve one of the world’s longest-standing injustices”, said Jyotsna George of Students for a Free Tibet India. “This is Prime Minister Modi’s first multilateral summit and he must not shy away from the difficult subject of Tibet but must urge other leaders to join him to press President Xi to find a just and lasting solution to the occupation of Tibet.”

Since Xi Jinping’s elevation to the top of China’s Communist Party over a year ago there has been a significant escalation in China’s hard-line response to dissent in Tibet, with a heightened military presence and widespread and systematic detentions. A campaign to “criminalize” family members of self-immolation protesters has led to ordinary Tibetans being threatened with “guilt by association” and a number of long prison sentences [7] These actions and China’s anti-Dalai Lama propaganda are exacerbating tensions in Tibet.

“As a South African I am proud that we overcame apartheid, but the actions of governments around the world played a part in our success. Now we need to do the same for Tibet; to unite and champion the Tibetan people’s right to freedom.” said Elizabeth Gaywood of Tibet Society South Africa.

“The situation in Tibet is really at breaking point and Xi Jinping must act immediately or risk creating an even greater crisis of geopolitical significance.” added Natasha Inozemtseva of Save Tibet Foundation Russia.

Press contacts:
Sandra Erickson, Rangzen: Movimento Free Tibete Natal [Brazil]: English, Portuguese +55 84 889 900 77
Elizabeth Gaywood, Tibet Society [South Africa]: English +27 083 551 3709
Jyotsna George, Students for a Free Tibet [India]: English, Hindi +91 8894933740
Natasha Inozemtseva, Save Tibet Foundation, Russia: English, Russian +7 903 764 53 15
Lobsang Tseten, International Tibet Network [India]: English, Tibetan + 91 9882545938

1. Rangzen: Movimento Free Tibete Natal, Students for a Free Tibet India, Save Tibet Foundation Russia and are Members of International Tibet Network; a global coalition of almost 200 Tibet related non-governmental organizations. The Network works closely with Tibet Society South Africa.
2. Open Letter: EnglishPortugese
Report: Flames in Tibet: Five Years of Resistance and Repression
3. Human Rights Watch, ‘China’s failing policy in Tibet is ‘self-defeating
4. Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, is a former political prisoner having fought against the military dictatorship in Brazil in the 1970s. Rousseff was captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972 and reportedly tortured.
5. Radio Free Asia, ‘Tibetan Women Attacked, Beaten at Anti-mining Protest
6. For details of all self-immolation cases in Tibet see or Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolation and Protest, a timeline report documenting self-immolations and protests across Tibet
7. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘Absurd and terrifying’ new regulations escalate drive to criminalize self-immolations by targeting family, villagers, monasteries