Alternative BRICS Summit in Dharamsala

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Press Release: For Immediate Release

Alternative BRICS Summit in Dharamsala

Tibet Campaigners demand action from BRICS leaders as Xi Jinping attends first summit as China’s Head of State

Photos of the campaign can be viewed here:
Tibet at BRICS Summit 2013

25 March 2013

Press contacts:
Tashi Dolma, Tibetan Women’s Association: Tibetan, Hindi +91 9459553943
Dorjee Tseten, Students for a Free Tibet – India: English, Tibetan +91 9911 521 009

Dharamshala: As government leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and China prepare to meet for the BRICS Summit in Durban, Tibetans demand action for Tibet as China’s new President Xi Jinping travels to Durban for his first summit as Head of State, and highlight Xi Jinping’s Tibet Challenge.

A two-day summit starting tomorrow will witness a historic meeting of Xi Jinping with government leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa in Durban, South Africa, while the self-immolations in occupied Tibet – now totaling at least 110 – show no sign of abating. “In the months since Xi Jinping was elevated to the top of the Chinese Communist Party, there has been an increase in China’s hardline response to dissent in Tibet, with a heightened military presence, mass detentions and a campaign to “criminalize” family members of self-immolation protesters.” said Tashi Dolma, President, Tibetan Women’s Association. “These actions and China’s anti-Dalai Lama propaganda are exacerbating tensions in Tibet. Through this campaign we will explain the nature of Xi Jinping’s “Tibet Challenge”, and call on BRICS leaders to act collectively and with principle, to press Xi to lift China’s crackdown and urgently review China’s policies in Tibet.”

“Tibet is Xi Jinping’s number one challenge and he has to address the legitimate grievances of Tibetans living in occupied Tibet and bring about an end to the tragic wave of self-immolations.” said Dorjee Tseten of Students for a Free Tibet India. “Recently Indian MP Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise the ongoing critical self-immolation issue inside Tibet with his counterpart Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit. This is also a challenge to other BRICS leaders not to shy away from this reality, and press President Xi to use his new position to find a just and lasting solution for Tibet.”

Tibetans and supporters from the BRICS nations have issued a joint statement urging their respective government to discuss the Tibet issue with Xi Jinping. We received news of another self-immolation yesterday by a 30 years old mother of four. Tibetans inside Tibet are continuing to resist against brutal security measures by Chinese police. “Tibet today is one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world, where merely talking on the phone can land you in jail. Support for the Dalai Lama can be prosecuted as an offence against the state,” Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

We have also sent an open letter to the embassies of the BRICS nations in India including Indian PM office. In the letter we asked concerned government not to hide from the truth about China’s brutal repression of the Tibetan people. We appealed them all to urge President Xi to alleviate the situation by lifting the crackdown in Tibet and urgently review China’s policies in Tibet. We have also urged them to press Mr. Xi to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit all Tibetan areas as a matter of urgency.

Notes:
1. See Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolation and Protest, a timeline report which documents the current wave of self-immolations and protests across Tibet http://issuu.com/internationaltibetnetwork/docs/resistanceintibet_selfimmolationsandprotest

2. See reports from International Campaign for Tibet http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/distress-death-sentence-tibetan-accused-inciting-self-immolation
and
http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/thousands-tibetan-pilgrims-face-troops-religious-ceremonies-eastern-tibet

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