Tsepa Bayul (617) 217-1612, Tsepa@studentsforafreetibet.org
Padma Dolma +447974249260, Padma@studentsforafreetibet.org
While we are pleased that President Obama raised the issue of Tibet publicly with Xi Jinping at the White House today – especially at this time when so many world leaders are failing to do so – we believe there is much more he can and should do.
President Obama, today, used virtually the exact same wording in his comments on Tibet as he did in 2011, when former Chinese President Hu Jintao was at the White House and yet, the situation for Tibetans under Xi Jinping has gone from bad to worse. Since that time at least 142 Tibetans have self-immolated to protest China’s crushing repression in Tibet.
If President Obama is serious about addressing the escalating repression in Tibet under Xi Jinping’s rule, it is simply not enough to re-issue the same statements that have been made in the past. Xi’s crackdown on Tibetans must be acknowledged, and he must be told, explicitly and publicly, to halt his assault on human rights and freedom.
President Obama and world leaders must wake up to the reality that their ‘quiet diplomacy’ approach to improving the situation in Tibet, and human rights in China, has failed. Xi Jinping and the Chinese authorities must be confronted publicly, and all of the closed-door, confidential discussions about China’s human rights record must now come out into the spotlight.
As long as world leaders continue to tiptoe around the issue of Tibet and human rights, and allow Chinese leaders to save face, Beijing will feel emboldened to continue its repressive ways because there is no price to pay, not even the embarrassment of public discussions.
Full video of President Obama and Xi Jinping’s press conference available via the White House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lhQjsbkAPI
Video of President Obama’s comments on human rights and Tibet during his press conference with Xi Jinping on January 25, 2015 available via Students for a Free Tibet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2sb524pNPc
Video of President Obama’s comments on human rights and Tibet during his press conference with Hu Jintao on January 19, 2011 available via International Campaign for Tibet: https://youtu.be/hCOByDIPcUg