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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."

Tibetans Converge on Chinese Consulate at Start of Beijing Olympics

August 10, 2008

Demand Human Rights and Freedom in their Homeland
U.S. Tibet Committee
August 8, 2008

New York -- Joining thousands of protestors around the globe, the
local Tibetan community, along with US-Tibet Committee (USTC) and
their supporters in New York, converged on the Chinese Consulate
today to demand human rights and freedom in Tibet.  Speakers at the
rally include New York City Council Member Tony Avella who introduced
City Council Resolution 1299 condemning China for its human rights
violations in Tibet.  As China attempts to shift focus away from its
brutal military lockdown in Tibet during the $40bn Olympics
coming-out party, Tibetans will seek to remind the world that while
Beijing celebrates, Tibetans live in a climate of fear; many of their
people remain missing or imprisoned following the demonstrations that
rocked Tibet in March and April and a harsh "patriotic re-education"
campaign is underway.

According to Wangchuk Shakabpa, USTC National Coordinator, "The
situation inside Tibet has never been more dire.  While Beijing
boasts of media freedoms during the Games, the Chinese leadership is
returning Tibet to the Dark Ages with arbitrary arrests, forced
'Patriotic Re-education,' expulsion of monks and nuns from their
religious institutions, and other Cultural Revolution-era fear
tactics."  It has widely been reported by Tibet Support Groups, in
addition to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, that
China's promise to make improvements in human rights before the
Olympics has not been upheld, nor has the International Olympics
Committee's vow to ensure the Chinese government's progress in these areas.

"What we are finding now is that not only are human rights not being
improved by the Olympics, but even worse, the Olympics are being used
by the Chinese government as a pretext to crack down even harder on
groups they feel are a threat to their world image," said Mr.
Shakabpa from USTC.  "One thousand Tibetan monks have been rounded up
and removed from their monasteries in advance of the Games and
shipped out of Lhasa to undisclosed location, because the Chinese
government is afraid of being embarrassed by nonviolent protest."

Tibetans and supporters are calling on the Chinese government to halt
human rights violations in Tibet, enter into serious, high-level
negotiations with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, and urging
governments around the world to take strong action in the period
following the Olympics to promote a resolution for Tibet.  Today's
event is part of a coordinated effort by an international network of
more than 150 Tibet organizations that will see ongoing
demonstrations and events worldwide during the Olympics, from
Santiago to Mexico City, Los Angeles to Toronto, Amsterdam to Warsaw,
Delhi to Brisbane, and many more.

USTC was formed in 1977 and is the oldest Tibet advocacy NGO in the
United States.  USTC's mission is to promote human rights, democracy,
and freedom for Tibet and its people.

USTC is part of the International Tibet Support Network, a global
coalition of Tibet related non-governmental organizations, which
works to maximize the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement.
ITSN Member organizations hold varied positions on Tibet's future
political status, but all regard Tibet as an occupied country and are
dedicated to ending human rights violations in Tibet, and to working
actively to restore the Tibetan people's right under international
law to determine their own political, economic, social, religious,
and cultural status.
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