Students at forefront of protests in Tibet

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Across Tibet, in villages, towns and cities, Tibetans from all walks of life are participating in different types of protests to demonstrate their rejection of Chinese rule and their solidarity with their fellow country-men and -women. Chinese authorities are supressing Tibetan calls for freedom using brute force, intimidation, and the manipulation of information.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden commented:

“The number of Tibetans willing to risk the repercussions of joining protests is growing exponentially just as the avenues that they are exploring to express their rejection of Chinese rule are multiplying.

“China can only lose by continuing this approach of either ignoring or brutally supressing Tibetan calls for freedom. Repressive measures in Tibet already far exceed those in other parts of China, but this is one pot the Communist Party cannot keep a lid on.”

• A school in Tibet was under military lockdown yesterday for the third day, following protests by around a thousand of its students on 26 November (1). Three students have been arrested by police who told other students that the three, reportedly accused of being ringleaders of Monday’s protest, would be sentenced to life imprisonment. (2)

• A group of 60 Tibetans in cities in Tibet and China have been fasting in solidarity with freedom protests. The Tibetans taking part in this campaign are highly educated and include government officials, writers, monks, teachers, academics, and business people. The fast has been observed in cities across a wide area of Tibet, from Lhasa in central Tibet to Chengdu in the East (3). The fast, which began on 26 November, ended yesterday.

• On the night of 27 November, between 11:30pm and midnight, the eighth Tibetan in a week (4) set fire to themselves in protest at China’s policies in Tibet. Sangay Tashi, who was only 18 years old, died at the scene of his protest in Sangkog Township, Sangchu County (5) after calling out for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and for the release of the Panchen Lama (6) and other political prisoners.

Ends

Notes to editors

1. http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/student-protesters-rushed-hospital-tibet

2. Chinese military forces have been surrounding Sorig Lobling school in Chabcha, North-eastern Tibet (Ch: Gonghe, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province) since 26 November. Students who were protesting in the town on the 26th were forced to return to the school by the military and have not been allowed to leave since, nor have any visitors been allowed any contact with them.

At least 20 students were hospitalised with injuries sustained during the protest. Four students in a critical condition have been transferred to a bigger hospital in Tsolho Prefecture. Those remaining in Chabcha hospital have been allowed visitors but apparently they are not allowed to talk with them (it is unclear how this is being monitored), and visitors are not allowed to bring mobile phones with them.

3. Tibetans participated in the fast in Lhasa, Siling (Ch: Xining), Trindu (Ch: Chengdu), Rebkong (Ch:Tongren), Jomda County (Ch: Jiāngdá Xiàn, Tibet Autonomous Region), Zachukha County (Ch: Shíqú).

4. See Free Tibet press releases for further information: http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/press-releases

Full list of Tibetan self-immolations since 2009: http://freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet

5. Chinese: Xiahe, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province

6. Further information about the Panchen Lama, the youngest known political prisoner in the world at the time of his abduction by Chinese state personnel: http://freetibet.org/content/panchen-lama

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7971 479515
E: Stephanie@freetibet.org
S: stephaniefreetibet