Students for a Free Tibet’s statement on China’s pressure and censorship of Marriott

Press contact:
Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director: 646-753-3889

Backed by Chinese state media, and through pressure from state-controlled internet watchdogs, Marriott International in China faced immense online backlash for having ‘Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao’ listed as countries in a question for a poll they conducted over email for their members.[1] This online backlash resulted in Marriott International giving in to their pressure, changing the poll, and issuing a public statement.

At Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), we firmly believe that Tibetans should have the right to claim “Tibet” as their nation, and not be forced to identify themselves under their occupying state of China. Tibet has been under China’s military occupation since 1959 and continues to be one of the “least free countries” in the world.[2] [3]

SFT strongly condemns China’s pressure and censorship in response to Marriott International’s original poll which included Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. China’s oppressive occupation has resulted in the continued protests by Tibetans, both inside and outside Tibet. Since 2009, it is recorded that over 150 Tibetans have self-immolated , many of whom called for freedom, the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet.[4]

As a response to this online backlash, and Marriott’s response to it, SFT has launched an online survey on Facebook to continue this poll so people can freely specify Tibet as a separate nation and their country of origin.[5] We are also conducting this poll so that Marriott knows Tibetans, and people of other occupied nations, exist regardless of China’s propaganda, and that all persons should be allowed to declare whatever nation they identify with.

Dorjee Tseten,
Executive Director


[1] China furious with Marriott Hotels after chain suggests Tibet is a country
[2] Invasion & After
[3] Tibet: 2017 Country Report – Freedom House
[4] Self-immolations by Tibetans

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