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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Press Statement

October 23, 2011

TIBETAN SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
 
PRESS STATEMENT
 
 The Tibetan Solidarity Movement is deeply saddened and moved by the recent tragic acts of self-immolation by monks of Kirti Monastery in Ngaba District, North- eastern Tibet.
 We are gravely concerned about the deteriorating situation inside Tibet that has driven the Tibetans to such desperate acts.
 In solidarity with the plight of the Tibetan people inside Tibet the Tibetan Solidarity Movement will launch a series of activities from October 18- 21, 2011 to highlight the situation inside Tibet.
·      October 18:  Members of Tibetan Parliament in exile (TPIE) will hold a 24 hour Fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi
·      October 19: 3000 Tibetans from all over India and Nepal will take part in the Global Solidarity Fast at Rajghat followed by Peace March led by Tibetan Monks and Nuns
·      October 20: Tibetan women will lead a Peace March from Samta Sthal to Jantar Mantar followed by day long Prayers
·      October 21: Young Tibetans will lead a Peace March Samta Sthal to Jantar Mantar followed day long Prayers
(see attached program for more details)
Tibetan parliamentary delegations are visiting various embassies and prominent Indian leaders to apprise them of the situation in Tibet.
 Tibetan Solidarity Movement’s Call for Action:
·      Strongly urge the People’s Republic of China to respect the fundamental right of the Tibetans to freely practice their religion
·      Strongly urge People’s Republic of China to review its existing policies in Tibet in order to fulfill the aspirations of the Tibetan people for a truly harmonious society
·      Appeals to Governments and the UN to call on China to genuinely uphold the international human rights standards. 
·      Calls on China to allow international independent fact-finding delegations and media to visit Tibet and in particular Kirti Monastery
·      Calls on China to completely withdraw Chinese military from the Kirti Monastery
·      Calls on China to clarify the condition and whereabouts of Lobsang Kalsang(age18), Lobsang Konchok(19), Kelsang Wangchuk(17) and Norbu Damdul(19).
 
Background:
The situation inside Tibet has been deteriorating since the 2008 uprising. It has become even more urgent with increasing cases of self-immolation by young Tibetans who are using this extreme method of protest to raise their voice against the oppressive Chinese regime. Tibetans in Tibet are driven to these drastic acts to resist political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalization and environmental destruction.
The Kirti monastery in Ngaba District in North-eastern Tibet is the site of seven self-immolations this year. The monastery witnessed large scale non-violent protests,, many of whom were subsequently detained. The movement of the monks is strictly controlled and the monks are being subjected to “Patriotic Re-education campaign”. Reportedly, there is a huge Chinese military presence inside the Monastery where they have outnumbered the monks. This appears to be a long-term strategy as residential quarters are being constructed within the premises of the monastery.
The eight cases of self-immolations are as follows:
·      Lobsang Phuntsok, 20, set himself on fire on March 16 to mark the March 2008 uprisings in Tibet. He died the following day due to the burns and beatings by the Chinese Security personnel. That resulted in more protests by the local population in support of his sacrifice. 
·      Tsewang Norbu, 29, a monk from Nyatso monastery, Kham Tawu, self-immolated and succumbed to his injuries on 15th August 2011.
·      Lobsang Kalsang, 18. Lobsang Phuntsok’s younger brother, set himself aflame on September 26. He was hospitalized, but no information has been made available about his condition or whereabouts even today.
·      Lobsang Konchok, 19, set himself on fire along with Lobsang Kalsang on the same day. His condition and whereabouts are also not known.
·      Kelsang Wangchuk, 17, a novice monk, set himself on fire on October 3 and sustained serious head injuries during detention. His condition and whereabouts are also not known.
·      Khaying, 18, committed self-immolation on October 7. Khaying was taken to Bharkham hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries the next day. The authorities refused to hand over his body for fear of more public protests. His family received only his ashes and bones.
·      Choephel, 19, set himself on fire along with Khaying on the same day and died on October 11.
·      Norbu Damdul,19, a former monk of Kirti Monastery set himself on fire in the Ngaba district market at 11.50 am on October 15, 2011. He was taken away by the police and his condition and whereabouts are still not known.
·      Tenzin Wangmo, 20, a nun of Mame Dechen Chokorling nunnery (also known as Mame nunnery) and from Shakoma Village in Ngaba, lit herself at a crossroads near her nunnery around 1 pm on October 17, 2011. She is reported to have died at the scene.
All the victims of self-immolation have raised slogans demanding freedom for Tibet, freedom of religion, language, movement, speech, end to discrimination and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
 
Penpa Tsering
Speaker
Tibetan Parliament in Exile
 
 
 
Press Contacts:
Thupten Lungrig (Tibetan and Hindi Media): +91 99 10965887
Kelsang Gyaltsen (Chinese Media): +91 98 16 851889
B.Tsering (English Media): +91 94 18 792810
Youdon Aukatsang (English and Hindi Media): +91 99 99 915061
 
Suggested websites for further background:
http://www.hrw.org/node/102319
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/045/2011/en/83abb4ee-dc73-4a31-9208-d29d0ff7d190/asa170452011en.html
http://www.tibet.net/en                             
http://www.tchrd.org/
http://www.savetibet.org
http://www.voanews.com/tibetan-english/news/Tibetan-Woman-Set-Herself-on-Fire--131986838.html
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