TAKE ACTION: Chinese Police Open Fire On Tibetans Over Cement Factory Protest

Ocement_protest_may2010n Saturday, May 15th, Chinese police opened fire on a group of Tibetans outside a cement factory in Madang Township, Labrang County, Amdo in eastern Tibet (Ch: Xiahe, Gansu province). At least 15 people were injured from gun wounds or beatings by the police. Tibetans in the area have been campaigning to stop the pollution caused by the factory, which, sources say, spews out so much dust that it is “difficult to open one’s eyes.”

TAKE ACTION: Send a letter to the Chinese authorities condemning this violent attack: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/madang

Call on the Chinese government to close the factory until the demands of the local Tibetans have been met. (We will also fax your letter to the county and provincial government offices).

Please also call the Xiahe County People’s Government Office to register your concern over this violent attack by Chinese police: +86 941 712 1818 (Please note: China is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time).

Read the International Campaign for Tibet’s report (in English): http://is.gd/cgDoj
Read the Tibet Times report (in Tibetan): http://is.gd/cgDmP

This incident is part of a growing crackdown by Chinese authorities against Tibetans advocating for environmental protection. Just last week, Radio Free Asia reported that five Tibetans were injured when police moved in to stop protests against mine operations in Markham, another part of eastern Tibet. Learn more: http://is.gd/cgDlm

Help ensure the Chinese government hears from people worldwide. Global pressure does make a difference and helps protect Tibetans inside Tibet who are risking everything to preserve their fragile homeland: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/madang

Thank you for all that you do for Tibet,

Tendor, Kate, TenDolkar, Schuyler, Mary Kate, Annie and the rest of the SFT HQ crew

MORE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:

1) Call the Xiahe County People’s Government Office and register your concern over this violent attack against Tibetans: +86 941 712 1818 (please note: China is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time). You can also call the Gansu Provincial Government at: +86 931 460 9000

2) Print & fax a letter to the Gansu Provincial Government. Contact information can be found here.

Sample letter to the Chinese authorities:

Dear Secretary Lu Hao,

I am outraged to hear that Chinese police opened fire on unarmed Tibetans in Madang Township, Labrang County in Amdo, eastern Tibet (Ch: Xiahe, Gansu province) who were protesting pollution caused by the Amdo Cement Factory. I understand that 15 people were injured by the attack.

Tibetans in Madang have petitioned the Chinese government to stop the company from polluting the local environment, the preservation of which is crucial to their livelihood. The factory is also damaging religious sites in the area.

Instead of addressing these legitimate concerns, Chinese authorities sent armed police into the area who then opened fire on the Tibetans.

I join people worldwide in condemning this violent assault against peaceful protesters. This is a blatant violation of Chinese law and shows the extent to which Chinese authorities will go to silence Tibetans who dare protest the degradation of Tibet’s environment caused by Chinese or other foreign owned companies.

I call on you to immediately shut down the Amdo Cement Factory until the company agrees to address the concerns of the Tibetans in Madang Township and to order an investigation into the shooting incident. I further call on you to ensure those injured receive medical treatment and that no Tibetan is detained or harassed as a result of this incident. I will continue to monitor this situation closely and urge my elected representatives to do the same.

Sincerely,

Send a Message of Condolence to the Dalai Lama and Support his Right to Visit Quake Zone

Tibetans in Kyegundo hold portrait of HHDL

Tibetans in Kyegundo hold portrait of the Dalai Lama

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, many governments have issued statements of condolence and support to the Chinese government. Please write your own message of condolence to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile – the rightful representatives of the Tibetan people.

Tibetans in Kyegundo have appealed to China’s leaders to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the quake zone and he has expressed a desire to go there to offer prayers and provide much-needed support. As the true leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama has every right to be with his people in their hour of need.

Click here to post your comments and SFT will send it to the Office of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Voice of Tibet radio service has also set-up a hotline for people to send message of support into Tibet. Click here to learn more.

UPDATE: Letter from Tibetans in quake zone requesting visit by the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama's photo in earthquake stricken Kyegundo

Dalai Lama's photo in earthquake stricken Kyegundo

Please read & share this moving request from Tibetans in the earthquake zone:

Requesting His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Quake Area:

A letter from the victims of the Yushu Earthquake to President Hu and Premier Wen

(Boxun Beijing Time: 2010 April 16)

Dear President Hu and Premier Wen,

Wish you both good health. During the initial hours of the natural disaster, we appreciate your government’s immediate relief efforts through soldiers and all round support from different sections of the society and we, the victims of this calamity, thank you for the same.

But we are a deeply religious community having a strong faith in the teachings of Buddha. Since many generations, we have a deep faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Today, as we are suffering from a great physical and mental anguish, we really need His Holiness to visit the quake affected area to pray for the departed souls and to provide solace to the broken hearts. Today, we request you, president Hu and premier Wen, to find the compassion in your hearts and fulfill this desire of us quake victims. We, the quake victims numbering more than 10,000, implore you from our hearts to temporarily set aside your government’s political differences with the Dalai Lama and kindly consider our request.

With this invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have no other objective apart from fulfilling our religious aspirations of praying for the departed souls and the survivors of the disaster.

In this hour of distress, His Holiness’ visit to offer prayers and condolences in person is the only way to heal our wounded hearts. There is no other better way.

(courtesy: www.boxun.com)

Letter also posted in Tibetan at: http://www.tibettimes.net/news.php?id=2557

The Dalai Lama has also expressed his wish to visit the region: http://tibet.net/en/index.php#

Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Ripoche said this morning “If the external circumstances become favorable, there is no difficulty on the part of His Holiness’ aspirations and could make his visit to the affected areas at the soonest possible.”


Tibet Earthquake Update: More Ways You Can Help

Kyegundo  MonksThank you to everyone who has taken action to support the relief efforts in Kyegundo (spoken Jyekundo). It is heartbreaking to hear the news and watch footage from the quake zone and our thoughts and prayers remain with those in the region.

SFT has posted a list of organizations that work in the region and have set-up emergency relief funds: http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/article.php?id=2189
You can find updates on the relief efforts here: http://www.tibetanvillageproject.org/yer.html and here: http://yushuearthquakerelief.com/

We’re also working to educate the international community that the earthquake struck in Chinese-occupied Tibet (as opposed to “Western China” or “Qinghai province bordering Tibet”) and indeed, in a region with strong Tibetan resistance roots. Read SFT’s statement on the quake: http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/article.php?id=2192

Ways that you can help:

1) Write a thank you note to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In her statement of condolences issued yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a long-time Tibet supporter) acknowledges the impact of the quake on the people of China and Tibet.

Read her statement here: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/pressreleases?id=1629

You can send her a message here: http://www.speaker.gov/contact/

2) Call on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to acknowledge the Tibetan victims of the quake.

In glaring contrast to Pelosi’s statement, Secretary Clinton does not once mention Tibet or Tibetans in her brief statement issued yesterday. Instead she expresses her support for all the people of China: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/04/140218.htm

Read SFT’s response here: http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/article.php?id=2193

Help ensure she hears from Tibetans and Americans from across the country urging her to acknowledge that the earthquake took place in Tibet and its victims are overwhelmingly Tibetan. You can send her a message here: http://is.gd/buyXO

3) Call out CNN for not once referring to Tibet in its quake coverage.

While most of the major news networks include some mention of the quake victims being Tibetan or refer to Yushu as a Tibetan area of China, we are shocked by CNN’s omission of any references to Tibet in its quake coverage. Watch Errol Barnnett’s coverage from CNN’s China Quake Desk: http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2010/04/14/barnett.china.quake.update.cnn

Even CCTV, China’s state television network, recognizes Yushu as an overwhelmingly Tibetan area: http://english.cctv.com/program/worldwidewatch/20100415/105559.shtml

You can post comments directly to Errol on his Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ErrolCNN) and by tweeting @errolcnn.

Please also send your comments to CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form4.html?133

4. Read and share Josh Schrei’s Huffington post article on the quake: “To Die with Dignity in your Own Land: Tibet, China, and the Politics of Disaster.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-schrei/to-die-with-dignity-in-yo_b_538840.html (Josh is a long-time Tibet activist and former SFT Board Chair.)
Thank you for taking action at this difficult time,

TenDolkar and all of us here at SFT HQ

Sample message to CNN:

I am writing to express my concern about your Tibet earthquake coverage. The earthquake struck in the Tibetan area of Kyegundo (spoken: Jyekundo), in Tibet’s traditional Kham province. The Chinese government, which occupied Tibet in 1949, refers to the region as the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. Even CCTV, China’s state television network, recognizes Yushu as an overwhelmingly Tibetan area. I call on you to, at a minimum, recognize that the earthquake struck a Tibetan area and that its victims are overwhelmingly Tibetan.

Huffington Post: To Die With Dignity in Your Own Land: Tibet, China, and the Politics of Disaster

Please read & share the Huffington Post article To Die With Dignity in Your Own Land: Tibet, China, and the Politics of Disaster by Josh Schrei, former SFT board chair and lifelong Tibet support.

Josh gets to the heart of the issue of the international media’s ongoing misrepresentation of where the quake hit. Article after article refers to the earthquake zone as “western China” or “Qinghai province bordering Tibet.” In reality, Kyegundo is located in the historical Tibetan province of Kham:

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, control over Kham and the wide, sparsely populated region of Amdo vacillated between Chinese and Muslim warlords and the Tibetan government in Lhasa. Finally, after a period of Tibetan independence the area was invaded and occupied by the People’s Liberation Army along with the rest of eastern Tibet in 1950. The entire region was divided by the government of the People’s Republic of China into its current provinces in 1965, but years of occupation and the migration of Han Chinese west into Tibetan provinces have not diminished this region’s Tibetan identity. Even China refers to the area as a “Tibetan area,” and the particular province — Yushu — is 97% Tibetan.

Background information on the region: This area  has a long history of resistance to Chinese rule. In 2008, as protests raged across Tibet, Tibetans in Kyegundo and the surrounding areas also took to the streets to demand their independence and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

From Woeser’s 2008 Protest Updates:

March 20, 2008

A great number of students in Yushul County in Kham (Yushul [Ch. Yushu] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province) held a protest, but at present we do not know what actions the authorities are going to take.

Three days ago (April 6, 2008), outside of one of the monasteries in Yushul (Ch. Yushu) County in Kham (Yushul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province), over 100 Tibetans shouted such slogans as “Free Tibet” and “Let the Dalai Lama Come Home.” At that time the monastery was holding Buddhist ceremonies. The protesters were immediately suppressed by a large number of the armed police, and many people were arrested. An insider said that protests have erupted frequently in the county after the Lhasa Incident, each one suppressed by the armed police. Authorities have not announced the number of protesters who were arrested or whether there were any deaths or injuries.

Tibetan & Supporters hold vigils for victims of Tibet earthquake

Keep checking here for updates on prayer vigils and other events being planned by Tibetan communities around the world to mourn the loss of life in Kyegundo.
USA

New York, NY

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Location: Deki Day Care Center (30-81 Steinway Street, Astoria, Queens)
Organized by: TCNY&NJ, TVA, Deki Day Care Center
Contact: Deki Day Care 718-278-1570, Thupten Sherab of TVA 718-726-2434, TCNY&NJ 917-721-6404

Saint Paul, MN

Date: Friday, April 16, 2010
Time: 5:00-8:00pm
Location: Tibetan Community Cultural Center (1096 Raymond Avenue)
Organized by: TAFM, RTYC of MN, RTWA of MN, SFT MN, Gyuto Dhama Center
Contact: Ngawang Dolker 763-639-4616

San Francisco, CA

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Nechung Buddhist Center ( 1224 Rivera St, El Cerrito)
Organized by: TANC
Contact: 510-666-1355; contact@tanc.org

Date: Friday, April 16, 2010
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: BFUU, Connie Barbour Hall (1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley)
Organized by: TANC
Contact: 510-666-1355; contact@tanc.org

CANADA

Toronto

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Parkdale Collegiate Institute (209 Jameson Avenue)
Organized by: SFT Canada, CTA of Ontario, TWA Toronto, CTC Toronto, Chushi Gangdruk Canada, TYC Toronto
Contact: Tenzin Lobsang; lobsang@studentsforafreetibet.org

UK

London

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Jamyang Buddhist Centre (43 Renfrew Road, London)

Devastating earthquake hits eastern Tibet – Please Help

15quake-inline3-popupEarly this morning local time, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake followed by a number of powerful aftershocks struck in Kyegundo སྐྱེ་རྒུ་མདོ།  (spoken as Jyekundo) in Kham, eastern Tibet (Ch: Jieguduo or Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province). At least 600 people are reported dead and more than 10,000 injured by Chinese & Western media, but Tibetans with contacts in the area have heard the death toll may be as high as 4,000. We will continue to post updates on SFT’s facebook page and twitter feed.

All of us at SFT send our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Kyegundo and the surrounding area.

How you can help:

1) Donate to organizations working in the region and help support emergency relief efforts:

Tibetan Village Project:  http://www.tibetanvillageproject.org/ (Note: you can also donate via Causes at:
http://www.causes.com/causes/472609)

Tibetan Relief Fund: http://www.tibetrelieffund.co.uk/

Machik: http://www.machik.org/index.ph

Tibet Foundation: http://www.tibet-foundation.org/news/urgent_emergency_appeal_-_kyekudo_yushu_earthquake/

Thrangu Rinpoche Trust: http://www.thranguemergency.org/

2) Help spread the word that this awful tragedy occurred in Tibet not in Western China as the media is reporting:

  • Read and share a moving blog post about the earthquake with reactions from Tibetans in Tibet on High Peaks Pure Earth
  • Read and share the statement issued by the five leading Tibetans exile organizations in Dharamsala (including SFT India).
  • Write to the editor of your local newspaper to educate him/her that the earthquake struck Chinese occupied Tibet, which is at a minimum disputed territory. Kyegundo is in the Tibetan province of Kham, annexed into China’s present day Qinghai Province..

From High Peaks Pure Earth: Chinese media refers to the affected area as the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu (玉树) in Qinghai province, Western media has been calling it Western or South Western China inhabited by “ethnic Tibetans” or part of the “Tibetan plateau”.

Although spelled Kyegundo, when spoken it sounds more like Jyekundo. This Google map shows the position of Kyegundo in relation both to Lhasa and also to the provincial capitals of Qinghai and Gansu, Xining and Lanzhou, to the north east.  Here is the link to the map on the website of Tibetan and Himalayan Library, an excellent resource site.

Fears over potential dam burst:

The BBC has  reported that a massive dam at the headwaters of three rivers in the area has been damaged and that people have fled for higher ground in fear that the dam might burst.  A crack in the dam wall has prompted Chinese officials to drain the reservoir.  The Chinese government has plans to build several more dams in this earthquake prone area.  View a map posted on the Tibetan Plateau blog: http://tibetanplateau.blogspot.com/2010/02/dams-on-upper-reaches-of-yangtze-mekong.html

Also, according to an NPR report 85% of the buildings in the town have collapsed and the Red Cross is reporting that 70% of schools have been destroyed. The area is home to Tibetan nomads and farmers who traditionally live on the grasslands of the plateau.  A Newsweek blog post from April 14th documents the Chinese government’s massive push to forcibly settle Tibetan nomads into concrete housing projects like the kind we see lining the streets of Kyegundo. China plans to settle all of the nomads in Qinghai Province within 5 years.

The media is reporting that relief efforts by the Chinese army are underway, but we’re also hearing that many people in the surrounding areas are without food and water. A Tibetan was able to send word out that:  people as far away as Denma (5-6 hrs drive from jyeku) sleeping outside right now. People don’t have food and troops are apparently only going in by road, so it could take 2-3 days for relief to get here.

Please check back for updates and more ways that you can help the people of Kyegundo.

Read more:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama sends his condolences to the earthquake victims: http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/520-his-holiness-offers-his-condolences-to-the-victims-of-the-earthquake-in-kyigudo

Statement by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/pressreleases?id=1629

Free Tibet (UK based Tibet Support Group): http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/earthquake-eastern-tibet

International Campaign for Tibet (Washington, D.C. based Tibet Support Group): http://savetibet.org/

World News Blog (The sensitivity behind the latest Chinese earthquake): http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog/2010/04/14/the-sensitivity-behind-the-latest-chinese-earthquake/

BBC (China earthquake kills hundreds in Qinghai): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8619593.stm

NPR (Earthquake In China Kills 400; Thousands Injured): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125930694

Free Tibet (UK based Tibet Support Group): http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/earthquake-eastern-tibet

New York Times (Strong Quake Kills Hundreds in Western China): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/world/asia/15quake.html

SFT: Tibetans, Supporters Protest Chinese President at Nuclear Security Summit

STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12th, 2010

Contact:    Kate Woznow (in Washington, D.C.), +1 917 601 0069
Tenzin Dolkar (in Washington, D.C.), +1 917 664 5530

TIBETANS, SUPPORTERS PROTEST CHINESE PRESIDENT AT NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT
Call on President Obama to press President Hu on Tibet resolution as part of global security agenda

photo_hujintaoWashington, D.C. ­– Tibetans and their supporters are protesting Chinese President Hu Jintao’s arrival to the United States today, starting at 10:00am at Samuel Gompers Memorial Park (11th St. NW and L St. NW) near the Walter E. Washington Convention centre. President Hu will join more than 40 heads of states for the Nuclear Security Summit and will also meet with President Obama today, the first meeting between the two leaders since the U.S. President met with the Dalai Lama in February. Demonstrators are calling on President Obama to press the Chinese leader on a resolution for Tibet amidst reports of new protests by Tibetan students in eastern Tibet.

“We urge President Obama to go beyond the rhetoric and to press President Hu for measurable progress in negotiating a just and lasting resolution for the Tibetan people,” said Tenzin Dolkar, U.S. Grassroots Director for Students for a Free Tibet. “An end to China’s military occupation of Tibet will not just give the Tibetan people the freedom that is their birthright, but would greatly contribute to the goals of peace and security being pursued by President Obama at the nuclear summit. An independent Tibet would create a buffer zone between Asia’s nuclear powers of Pakistan, India and China, and would help ease tensions in the region.”

President Obama angered China when he met the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader and fellow Nobel laureate, at the White House in February. Tibet activists have launched a global campaign calling on the President and leaders of free countries to take bold and coordinated approaches to resolving the Tibetan issue, including heads of state publicly offering to personally facilitate a meeting between the Dalai Lama and China’s leaders. Tibet is situated at the roof of the world, surrounded by Asia’s great nuclear powers of China, India, Pakistan, and Russia. Since the early 1980s the Dalai Lama has been advocating for Tibet to be a nuclear free zone in order to achieve regional and global security.

“The recent series of student-led protests in Tibet shows that a new generation of Tibetans is uncowed by China’s violent military repression,” added Dolkar. “Tibetans from every corner of Tibet are calling for freedom and by demonstrating here today we will ensure President Hu hears their voices.”

Tibetans and Tibet supporters will protest today, April 12th at Samuel Gompers Memorial Park on the northwest side of the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre (11th St. NW and L St. NW) starting at 10am. President Obama is scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao at 2:30pm. Protests are also scheduled at the same location tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13th.
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