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Tibetans in Cannes make urgent appeal to G20 Leaders to Help End China's Repression in Tibet amid reports of a 12th self-immolation

November 7, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

3 November 2011

Contact:

Tenzin Jigme: + 33 762 449 260, English, Tibetan
Thupten Wangchen: English, Spanish, Tibetan + 34 654 86 56 55
Tenzin Namgyal: English, French, Tibetan + 33 633 69 90 99
Migmar Dhukyel: German, English, Tibetan + 41 7887 47922
Pema Yoko: English  + 33 658 97 42 36

Enough! Global Intervention Now to Save Tibetan Lives

[Cannes] An international team of Tibet campaigners is in Cannes to send an urgent message to China's President Hu Jintao, here at the G20 summit, that he must order an end to the crackdown in eastern Tibet. Reports are emerging of a self-immolation by a nun in Tawu, Kardze earlier today. 35 year- old Palden Choetso is reported to have died at the scene after calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet (1). Eleven further Tibetans have self-immolated since March this year; twelve since 2009. At least six have died.


Just as the world leaders were being received by President Sarkozy deep within the security cordons, a group of 5 Tibetan woman staged a piece of political street theatre on the very edge of the restricted zone, lying in the road draped in Tibetan flags, whilst a supporter unfurled a banner saying "Enough! Global Intervention to Save Tibetan Lives." Seven activists were detained including the Venerable Thupten Wangchen.

"These unprecedented and truly desperate self-immolations by Tibetans are a cry to the outside world for help," said Venerable Thupten Wangchen, a Member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile. "China’s merciless and violent crackdown is intensifying Tibetan grievances and exacerbating this crisis. We send an urgent appeal to G20 leaders to immediately and robustly press Hu Jintao to withdraw military forces from eastern Tibet and end the crackdown now."

In Cannes nine activists were detained yesterday after representatives of Students for a Free Tibet and Tibetan Youth Association Europe hung banners from Cannes Railway Station as part of a Global Day of Action. Other protests took place in 90 cities around the world (2).

"In Cannes and in cities around the world, Tibetans and our supporters are standing up and saying ‘Enough!’ Enough to China's violent, military rule over our people, our land, and our culture and enough to world leaders for failing to hold Beijing accountable for their atrocities in Tibet” said Tenzin Jigme of the International Tibet Network, a worldwide coalition of more than 180 Tibet Groups. “Inaction will lead to the loss of countless more Tibetan lives, and we can not just stand by and let that happen" added Migmar Dhukyel of Tibetan Youth Association.

"It's time for China to face up to its human rights responsibilities if it truly wants to be recognized as a leading world nation. It’s also time for the rest of G20's leaders to 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 to resolve one of the world's longest-standing injustices – China’s occupation of Tibet." said Tenzin Namgyal of Students for a Free Tibet France.

The "Enough! Campaign for Global Intervention to Save Tibetan Lives" is backed by celebrities, politicians and other prominent individuals, including Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor Richard Gere and musicians Radiohead, who have joined over 23,500 people in calling for multilateral pressure on Hu Jintao to resolve this escalating crisis in Tibet.

Campaigners are calling for a coordinated, multilateral approach, including a joint démarche and the urgent creation of an appropriate and effective multi-lateral mechanism through which longer-term diplomatic measures to address the Tibet issue can be agreed (See “Demands” Below).

Lobbying efforts have won the support of parliamentarians around the world. See www.StandUpforTibet.org. Statements of concern following the series of self-immolations since March 2011 have been issued by a number of governments, such as the United States, Germany and also the European Parliament and six United Nations Experts (4).

Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled head of Kirti Monastery in Ngaba said recently "It is my hope that those in Tibetan (exile) society who are calling for an engagement in struggle here and now, rather than voicing mere empty words of support and sitting back, are listened to" (5).

Notes

1. On 3 November 2011, in Tawu Kardze, reports say that Palden Choetso, aged 35 of Geden Choeling Nunnery, self-immolated: She is said to have shouted for freedom and for the Long Life and return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Reports indicate she died at the scene and her body taken to Nyitso Monastery (the monastery of Tsewang Norbu, a monk who self-immolated and died on 15 August 2011).
For a photo of Palden Choetso see https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BznuJeH49IWRMWIxNzlmYTQtZWQxOS00NDA0LWEyNzEtMDA3YjAyMWQ1NzY5
For a map showing the route she took during her protest, see http://g.co/maps/mfhex

2. For images of the Global Day of Action. See http://www.flickr.com/groups/stand-up-for-tibet

4. UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt, commenting on China's use of security raids, surveillance within monasteries, and police presence inside and outside monasteries to monitor religious activities, said “Such restrictive measures not only curtail the right to freedom of religion or belief, but further exacerbate the existing tensions, and are counterproductive.”

5. In response to questions posed by the International Campaign for Tibet, 8 October 2011.

Background to the Self-Immolations in Tibet and the Tibet Movement’s Demands

11 young Tibetans - seven of them current or former monks from Kirti Monastery near Ngaba - have set fire to themselves in eastern Tibet since March 2011; nine since 26 September. At least six have died, including two nuns, one of them today, 3 November. There was an earlier self-immolation in Ngaba in February 2009. Eye-witnesses reported that all of those who self-immolated shouted slogans, calling for the “return of the Dalai Lama,” for “religious freedom”, “freedom” or “independence” for Tibet. Many carried photos of the Dalai Lama or a Tibetan flag.

Self-Immolations in Tibet (11 in 2011 and one 2009)


* 27 February 2009, Ngaba: Tapey, mid - 20s, of Kirti Monastery. Whereabouts unknown.

* 16 March 2011, Ngaba: Phuntsok, 20, of Kirti Monastery. Died 17 March 2011.

* 15 August 2011, Kardze: Tsewang Norbu, 29, monk of Nyitso Monastery. Died at the scene.

* 26 September 2011, Ngaba: Lobsang Kelsang, 18, monk of Kirti Monastery. In hospital.

Also Lobsang Kunchok, 19 , a monk of Kirti Monastery. In a different hospital to Lobsang Kelsang.

3 October 2011, Ngaba: Kelsang Wangchuk, 17, monk of Kirti Monastery. In hospital

7 October 2011, Ngaba: Choephel, 19 former monk of Kirti Monastery. Died 11 October.

Also Khaying, 18, former monk of Kirti Monastery. Died 8 October 2011.

15 October 2011, Ngaba: Norbu Dramdul, 19, former monk of Kirti Monastery. Status unknown.

17 October 2011, Ngaba: Tenzin Wangmo, 20, nun of Ngaba Mamae Choekorling Nunnery, about 3 km from Kirti Monastery. Died at the scene.

25 October 2011, Kardze: Dawa Tsering, 38, monk of Kardze Monastery. Status unknown, possibly being cared for in Kardze Monastery after refusing hospital treatment.

3 November 2011, Kardze: Palden Choetso, 35, nun of Geden Choeling Nunnery. Reports say she died at the scene and her body has been taken to Nyisto Monastery.

Our Demands:

This growing tragedy could spiral even further into a nation-wide crisis across Tibet, unless the world acts now. We are calling for Global diplomatic intervention, to save Tibetan lives. We are engaged in a global advocacy and grassroots campaign to put pressure on our Governments to take action for Tibet at this critical time. Tibetans and supporters around the world have been meeting with their governments and enlisting the help of supportive elected representatives and others. Over 23,500 supporters around the world have signed an online pledge to Stand Up for Tibet. See www.StandupforTibet.org.

We demand that the People’s Republic of China;

1. Immediately remove security personnel from the Ngaba (Ch: Aba) and Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) regions and from individual monasteries. All monks must be allowed to return unconditionally to their respective monasteries in the Ngaba and Kardze regions.

2. Release all those detained in connection to the 11 self-immolations since 16 March 2011 and account for the whereabouts and well-being of all those who have self-immolated since February 2009.

3. Allow foreign diplomats and independent foreign media unfettered access to all Tibetan areas, especially the regions of Ngaba and Kardze.

4. Immediately suspend the implementation of religious and security policies in Ngaba.

We call on G20 Leaders and other Governments to:

1. In partnership with other concerned governments, insist that the People’s Republic of China accede to the above demands, including allowing diplomats and media access to Tibetan areas.

2. Express their concern about the situation in Ngaba directly to Hu Jintao in the fringes of the G20 summit in Cannes, France.

3. Jointly démarche (officially reprimand) China concerning the situation in Ngaba, seeking a full accounting for the removal of monks from Kirti Monastery and their current whereabouts.

4. Urgently establish, with other concerned governments, an appropriate and effective multi-lateral mechanism through which future diplomatic actions for Tibet can be implemented.

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