Wednesday 8th February: global vigils for Tibet
To show world-wide solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet and call on China to stop killing innocent Tibetans
[London, 7 February] On 8th February, Tibetans and supporters will gather at Chinese Embassies across the world to show their solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet and on China to stop killing innocent Tibetans and seriously and progressively address Tibetans’ grievances about the lack of human rights and freedoms in their country
In London, Tibetan monks will lead prayers and there will be guest speakers including Thubten Samdup, Representative of the Dalai Lama in the UK and Northern Europe. Attendees will wear black ribbons over their mouths to highlight how Tibetans are being silenced in Tibet. There will also be a vigil at the Chinese Consulate in Edinburgh between 6 and 8pm.
Last week the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, Lobsang Sangay, called for world-wide vigils on February 8 to express solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet and to, “send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that violence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable.”
The last few months have seen escalating tensions and increased use of force by Chinese security forces in Tibet. At least six Tibetans are known to have been killed in the last two weeks and many more wounded after Chinese forces opened fire on crowds of hundreds of peaceful protesters in three separate incidents; in Draggo on 23rd January, Serta on 24th January and Dzamtang on 26th January.
The Chinese state has imposed a media blackout in Eastern Tibet, cutting phone and internet access and banning journalists from entry, including teams from Sky and CNN, who filed video reports of them being turned away at checkpoints. Since then, Tibetans have managed to share disturbing photos and videos of what is happening inside Tibet, showing huge numbers of troops being deployed in Tibetan regions and documenting state brutality including photos of Tibetans being beaten by scores of troops and of gunshot wounds.
In the past year, 19 Tibetans have set themselves alight attempting to draw attention to the situation in Tibet, most recently on Friday 3 February; 13 are known to have died.
The situation remains extremely tense in eastern Tibet and in other areas including the capital Lhasa, which has also seen Tibetan protests and an increased military build-up in past weeks. One Tibetan in Lhasa reported, “I dare not move around freely. Armed personnel are everywhere, police are in every corner.” As the traditionally restive spring period approaches, there are fears that many more lives could be lost in China’s brutal crackdowns.
In his statement, Dr Sangay said, "Stability cannot be restored in Tibet through violence and killings of Tibetans. The only way to resolve the issue and bring about lasting peace is by respecting the rights of the Tibetan people and through dialogue." He went on to call on the international community to, “show solidarity and to raise your voices in support of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people at this critical time. I request that the international community and the United Nations send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet and that the world media be given access to the region.”
The vigils in the UK have been organised by The Tibetan Community in Britain, Tibetan Youth UK, Students for a Free Tibet UK and Tibet Society.
Date: Wednesday 8 February
Place: Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL
Place: Chinese Consulate, 55 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 5QG
Sonam Dugdak, Tibetan Community in Britain; 020 8523 0335
Karma Chura-Tsang, Tibetan Youth UK; 07725 501 995
Gabriel Hartnell, Students for A Free Tibet UK; 07941292913
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society; T 020 7272 1414, M 07941 105485
Amie Robertson, Edinburgh Tibet Society; firstname.lastname@example.org
6 February: Briefing by Kalon Dicki Chhoyang, Foreign Minister, Tibetan Government in Exile: http://tibet.net/2012/02/06/kalon-dicki-chhoyang-issues-statement-regarding-critical-situation-in-tibet/
28 January: Statement by Dr Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister, Tibetan Government in Exile: http://tibet.net/2012/01/26/statement-by-kalon-tripa-dr-lobsang-sangay-on-the-recent-killings-of-tibetans-by-the-p-r-chinas-government/
Reports on recent events: Tibetan Centre for Human rights and Democracy: http://www.tchrd.org/
CNN report: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/31/world/asia/tibet-protests-timeline/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
Photos from recent military crackdown in Tibet: http://on.fb.me/wdN9SL
Global pledge for Tibet: www.standupfortibet.org
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