Global solidarity vigils for Tibet

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A global vigil called by Tibetan Kalon Tripa (1) Dr Lobsang Sangay in response to recent violence in Tibet


UK-based Tibetans, Tibetan monks, Tibet groups and supporters will hold a vigil, in solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, for those who have died in the last few weeks during the escalating crisis. Similar vigils will be taking place across the world (2).


Place: Chinese Embassy, Portland Place, London


Time: 4pm – 7:30pm


There will also be a vigil at the Chinese Consulate in Edinburgh from 6pm - 8pm


Speakers: Tibetan monks will lead prayers and there will be guest speakers including Thubten Samdup, Representative for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the UK and Northern Europe.


Photographs: Tibetan monks, Tibetans in traditional Tibetan dress and other Tibet supporters available for photographs, with Tibetan flags. Attendees will wear black ribbons over their mouths to highlight how Tibetans are being silenced in Tibet.


Interviews: Tibetans, Tibet supporters and heads of organisations available for interview


Contact: Harriet Beaumont +44 7900 203307

 

 

Background

On 23 January, in the most serious shooting incident in Tibet since 2008, two Tibetans were shot dead and at least 36 sustained gunshot wounds when Chinese state security personnel opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters in Draggo in Eastern Tibet. Between 23 and 26 January, at least three more Tibetans were shot dead and many injured in two further incidents in different towns (3).

In the past year, 19 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest at China’s repressive policies in Tibet; 13 are known to have died. These individual acts of protest are not happening in isolation; Tibetans are standing together in ever larger numbers across a widening area calling for freedom.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:
“People across the world are standing up for Tibet at this critical time. We hope that news of this global solidarity reaches Tibetans as they call continue to call for freedom in the face of fierce Chinese repression and at great risk to themselves. It is time for governments across the world to take concerted action for Tibet.”

The Chinese state has closed areas where protests, self-immolations and shootings have taken place, cutting phone and internet access and preventing independent observers, including journalists, from entering. The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China released a statement condemning restrictions, saying “The Chinese authorities have set up a massive security cordon in an attempt to prevent journalists from entering Tibetan areas in Western Sichuan Province where major unrest – including killings and self-immolations – has been reported.”

Despite restrictions on communications, Tibetans have managed to share photographs, videos and information about what is happening inside Tibet: images of Tibetans who have set fire to themselves, of the victims of shootings (4) and beatings (4) by Chinese state security personnel have reached the outside world, and there are repeated reports of huge numbers of troops being deployed in Tibet.

The situation remains incredibly tense in Eastern Tibet and also in other areas such as the capital Lhasa, which has also seen 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 Tibetans assert their identity and continue to call for freedom, there are fears that many more lives could be lost in China’s brutal crackdown.
Ends

Notes to editor
1) The Tibetan Prime Minister in exile

Caption: Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay at Tibet solidarity vigil in Dharamsala, North India, 8 February 2012 (credit www.freetibet.org)
2) http://www.freetibet.org/solidarityvigils

Caption: Tibetans in exile in Dharamsala light candles for their countrymen and women who have self-immolated in protest at Chinese policies in Tibet, 8 February 2012 (credit www.freetibet.org)
3) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/two-killed-and-more-wounded-confirmed-draggo
http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/second-day-killing-tibet-two-more-shot-dead-many-more-injured-second-town
http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/press-release-tibetan-shot-dead-ngaba-autonomous-prefecture
4) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/shooting-injuries-photos
5) http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/photos-chinese-force-tibet

For further information please contact Free Tibet’s Media Officer Harriet Beaumont
E: harriet@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7900 203307