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Obama asked to move beyond verbal support

November 22, 2009

Phayul
November 20, 2009

Dharamsala, November 20 -- With right groups,
activists, Chinese dissidents and Tibetans
expressing their disappointment in unison over
President Obama’s remarks in Beijing during his
maiden trip to China, the Students for a Free
Tibet has urged Obama administration and other
“democratically elected governments to move
beyond verbal statements of support to press
China for real change on the ground inside Tibet."

The international students organization that
pioneered one of the most vociferous campaigns
against the Beijing Olympics said Obama’s call
for resumption of dialogue between the Chinese
government and the Dalai Lama's representatives
was an indication of US concerns for Tibet but
that his statement recognizing Tibet a part of
the present-day People’s Republic of China
"failed to address the reality of the Chinese
government’s ongoing, violent repression of the Tibetan people."

"President Obama’s remarks on Tibet failed to
embody the messages of hope and change that
Americans elected him on. The Tibetan people need
more than the same old statements from
governments; they need America to lead with
concrete actions that will actually pressure
China to sit down at the negotiating table," said
Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for
a Free Tibet. "In March 2008, Tibetans rose up in
a clear rejection of Chinese rule, showing once
again that they do not see themselves as part of
China, but as citizens of a formerly independent
nation. It is well past time for leaders of the
world's democracies to stand up for the Tibetan peoples' right to freedom."

In the lead up to President Obama’s
much-anticipated visit to China, Tibetans and
people of conscience across the United States and
around the world sent thousands of letters to the
White House calling for concrete action on Tibet.
President Obama’s decision not to meet with the
Dalai Lama last month drew widespread criticism
and was viewed by Tibet activists as a dangerous
concession -- one that has brought no visible
return for the U.S.’s foreign policy, economic,
or climate goals with regards to China.

"The Obama administration is pursuing a flawed
strategy of appeasement with the Chinese
government, which will only embolden Chinese
leaders to crack down harder on Tibet and issues
of human rights," said Kate Woznow, Deputy
Director of Students for a Free Tibet.
"Democratically elected governments must not shy
away from pressing China’s leaders to peacefully
negotiate a just and lasting resolution for the Tibetan people."

President Obama’s China visit came just days
after the Tibetan leader’s highly publicized
visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern
Indian state that China claims as its territory
based on the region’s cultural and religious ties
with Tibet. Beijing vehemently opposed the visit
but the Indian government gave a go ahead to the
visit saying the Tibetan leader was an honored
guest of India and was free to travel anywhere in
India. The SFT also said that border disputes
between India and China can not be resolved as
long as the Tibet issue remains unresolved.
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