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Tibetan NGOs urge Obama to help Tibet with first India visit

November 8, 2010

November 5, 2010

Dharamsala, Nov. 5 -- Four Tibetan Non
Governmental Organisations have appealed US
President Barack Obama to use his first state
visit to India as "an opportunity to press for
fundamental change on the ground in Tibet."

In an open letter signed by the heads of Tibetan
Women’s Association, Students for a Free Tibet
India, Gu Chu Sum Movement and National
Democratic Party of Tibet, the four NGOs urged
Obama to "oppose the sinicization of Tibetan
schools and to do everything in your power to
help protect Tibetans’ distinct religious,
cultural, linguistic, and national identity.

In recent weeks, thousands of Tibetan students,
some as young as 13, have taken to the streets in
the eastern Tibetan province of Amdo (currently
annexed into China’s Qinghai Province) to protest
the Chinese government’s decision to replace
Tibetan with Chinese as the medium of instruction in Tibetan schools.

"Tibetan language is the foundation of our rich
culture and by denying young Tibetans the
opportunity to learn their own language, the
Chinese government is systematically attempting
to eradicate Tibetan culture and identity," the letter read.

The NGOs urged Obama to publicly recognize the
government of India for supporting the Tibetan
people and to seek new approaches with you Indian
government in bringing about a just and lasting
resolution for the Tibetan people.

"It is clear that an end to China’s occupation of
Tibet will also achieve greater regional security
and indeed global security. As the most
influential world leader of our time, you are
uniquely positioned to help bring this about," the letter further said.

India is the first stop Saturday of a 10-day,
four-nation Asia tour by President Obama.
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