G20 Leaders – Unite for Tibet

G20Tibetan NGOs urge G20 leaders to tackle Xi Jinping over failed policies and call for Multilateral Action for Tibet

[DHARAMSALA] On the eve of the G20 summit, 5 Tibetan NGOs have sent a strong message to G20 leaders to “Unite for Tibet”, and called on them to tackle Xi Jinping about his Party’s 60-year occupation of Tibet and appalling human rights abuses during the G20 summit in St Petersburg (5 and 6 September). Staging a protest in Dharamsala, the NGOs highlighted the Tibetan peoples’ increased resistance to China’s rule through protests, cultural resistance and the drastic act of self-immolation, and the urgent need for Governments to stand together in address the crisis in Tibet.

“China needs the world as much as the world needs China,” said Ms Tsewang Dolma, Information and International Relations Secretary of Tibetan Youth Congress. While we understand the need to further strengthen economic ties, we must remember that principles and values that sustain human rights, respect and dignity should be treated with equal importance. Tibetan Youth Congress believes that in order for there to be genuine progress in either economic or political field, G20 members must respect the right for people to have freedom and then hold accountable those nations who deprive people of basic human rights.
Tashi Dolma, President, Tibetan Women’s Association said “The situation in Tibet is fast deteriorating. China’s priorities of economic growth and political stability are implemented through hard-line policies inside Tibet and the exploitation of its fragile environment, without respect for human lives or human rights. The recent instances of Chinese security forces opening fire on Tibetans celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday in Tawu [1] and beating crowds of Tibetans protesting illegal diamond mining in Gedrong Zatoe [2] are examples of the intensified crackdown.”Exile Tibetans-Protest-G20

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. Conversely, the international community’s response to the suffering of the Tibetan people under China’s rule is the exact opposite; with China’s economic and political rise, explicit support from governments has fallen away, Governments have been bullied and threatened into silence by an increasingly intransigent China.
“The worsening situation in Tibet, where there have now been more than 120 self-immolations, warrants urgent attention from world governments. We call on G20 leaders to devise a new robust mechanism that has the potential to bring about genuine progress on the 60-year occupation of Tibet, whilst safeguarding each other’s diplomatic relationships with China” said Gelek Jamyang, President, National Democratic Party of Tibet.

“Since Xi Jinping came to power, nations occupied by China such as Tibet, Uyghur, and the Chinese Mainland Democracy activists, have come to fear what Xi terms the ‘Chinese dream’. G20 leaders have to be fully aware of (and accept) the fact that the power and pride that the Chinese government is currently parading is built on the blood and destruction of fundamental human ethics and values.” Lukar Sham, Acting President of Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet addresses.

The NGOs have joined international calls to urge G20 leaders to adopt a new approach to seek progressive concrete support on Tibet, through the creation of a coordinated, multilateral initiative that will advance international policy on Tibet [3].

“Since 2009, over 120 Tibetans have lit their own bodies on fire to protest China’s brutal occupation [4]. Tibetans are crying out for freedom and human rights and China is bullying world leaders to stay silent on Tibet. People worldwide are calling for action and I urge the Indian government to take multilateral action for Tibet!” said Rashi Jauhri, Deputy Program Director, Students for a Free Tibet, India.

International Governments must recognize that China’s threats to reverse or cancel trade ties are hollow. China is in need of the support of its G20 partners, just as G20 countries share the need for a relationship with China. However it is a relationship of interdependence, Governments must be on equal terms with China and ensure that the core values and democratic principles are not compromised.

After almost a year at the helm of China’s Communist Party, it is time for Xi’s fellow leaders in the G20 to hold him to account for his failed policies in Tibet. For Tibet, the situation has never been more critical. It is time to Unite for Tibet.

 

 

 

Notes:
[1] Tawu link eg Tibet Network statement http://www.tibetnetwork.org/sites/default/files/InternationalTibetNetworkStatementonTawuShootings.July9_.pdf
[2] Diamond Mining Source: http://goo.gl/9JNYHi
For example, in 2012, UK exports to China rose 7.5% according to China Daily, despite the fact that David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in May of that year. Even Norway, not a G20 nation but incurring China’s wrath through its Nobel Peace prize award in 2010 to Chinese dissident and Tibet supporter Liu Xiaobo, saw a 14% rise in exports to China during 2011.
[3] See recommendations in the report “Unite for Tibet”. Coordinated by the International Tibet Network, the report clearly illustrates the abject failure of the current policy to address China’s occupation of Tibet through bilateral approaches. It questions why Governments bow to China’s blatant bullying tactics whenever Governments and leaders decide to meet Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and challenges the widely held view that angering China over Tibet will lead to onerous economic and diplomatic penalties, contending that most of China’s punitive reactions are more hot air than genuinely damaging in the long-term. The International Tibet Network is a global coalition of more than 180 Tibet Groups, http://www.tibetnetwork.org/. The report was co-authored by the Australia Tibet Council http://atc.org.au/
US Tibet Committee, http://www.ustibetcommittee.org/, Students for a Free Tibet, https://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/ and Tibetan Women’s Association, http://tibetanwomen.org/
[4] The latest instance of self-immolation is an 18 year-old monk named Kunchok Sonam, who died following his protest on 20 July 2013 in Ngaba, eastern Tibet. For details of all self-immolation cases in Tibet see http://standupfortibet.org/learn-more/ or www.tibetanyouthcongress.org

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