Tibet Activists Kick off Protest Against Xi’s India Visit for the BRICS Summit

Contact:
Tenzin Tselha,
Students of Free Tibet National Director
Phone no: +91 8600064641 // +919805941166

Goa, India – Today, on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in India for the BRICS summit, Tibetan activists staged a protest by flying the Tibetan National Flag and unveiled a 6X2ft banner on the popular western sea coast of Goa where the conference is being held from 15 -16 Oct 2016. The banner read “Free Tibet.”

Dhasal, a 20 year old Tibetan Woman Activist who did the parachute action with the Tibetan National Flag and ‘Free Tibet’ Banner in Goa said, “I did this action to protest Xi Jinping, who is responsible for all the Human Rights violations in Tibet today. Over 144 Tibetans have self-immolated to protest illegal Chinese Rule in Tibet and called for Freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Tibetan nonviolence movement will continue until China ends its illegal occupation of Tibet.”

Just 15 minutes after Xi Jinping landed at Goa Airport, activists from Students for a Free Tibet India also staged another protest at Dambolin Airport Road and raised slogans saying “Tibet’s Independence – India’s Security”, and “Stop Demolition of Tibetan Monastery Larung Gar in Tibet by Chinese Govt”.

The BRICS Summit comes on the heels of unprecedented environmental crisis in Tibet due to China’s construction of mega dams on Tibet’s rivers and illegal mining activities which have caused a major threat to India and other downstream countries whose survival depends on Tibet’s rivers.(2) On the other hand the human rights situation in Tibet has worsened dramatically in recent years, as fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, religion and privacy have been severely restricted. In July 2016, large-scale demolition of monks’ and nuns’ homes (3) at the world’s larges Buddhist institution, Larung Gar in eastern Tibet (Ch: Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), commenced under Chinese government orders. The demolitions at Larung Gar have caused 3 suicides and deep distress among the residents of Larung Gar and the wider population of Tibet.

The vast majority of self-immolation protests in TIbet have taken place under Xi’s presidency (5).

“Prime Minister Modi should heed our voice and concerns during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS conference, and hold a strong position now and bring the issue of Tibet into discussion. There cannot be lasting peace in the region without addressing the issue of Tibet. Tibet’s independence is the only way to ensure India’s security,” said Tenzin Tselha, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet-India.

Pranav, an Indian member of Students for a Free Tibet, expressed his solidarity with the Tibetan struggle by raising a banner that read, “ Xi you are a Criminal, You are not welcome to India”.

“India got it’s independence 70 years ago from British rule, and the freedom I enjoy today is due to the sacrifice of our Indian freedom fighters. Therefore, I joined the Tibetan nonviolent resistance for freedom, which is their birthright, and India should stand with them in their fight for truth and justice,” said Pranav SFT Goa Member. “As an Indian I am also very concerned about China’s systematic damming of Tibet’s rivers and extensive water diversion projects which will have devastating consequences for India. I call PM Modi to take a strong stand and raise the Tibet issue with Xi Jinping. Only Tibet’s freedom can ensure lasting peace in the region.”

Students for a Free Tibet works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. It is a chapter-based network of young people and activists around the world. Through education, grassroots organizing and nonviolent direct action, they campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom.

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Endnotes:

1. The protest was organized by Students for a Free Tibet-India.

2. Read “Damming crisis in Tibet: Threat to water security in Asia

3. Serta County Order on Larung Gar Monastery; Human Rights Watch, July 2016

4. Tibet encompasses the Tibetan provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo, which have been merged into the Chinese provinces Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan after China invaded Tibet.

5. At least 145 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009. ICT report.

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