2009 in Tibet: The Uprising that China Feared

As the New Year begins and we reflect on the events in Tibet last year, we are reminded that 2009 was indeed a year of resistance. From the No Losar movement, to the farming boycott in Kham, to solo protests in Kandze, Tibetans made 2009 another year of uprising.

Since January 2009, Tibetan protests for freedom, human rights, and independence have taken place in more than 30 known areas of Tibet. In addition to protests and actions we have also seen a sharp increase in creative resistance through technology in Tibet. In 2009 Tibetan bloggers and “netizens” flooded the internet with writing expressing their discontent under Chinese rule.

Civil protests by Tibetans who were scammed by Chinese companies and discriminated in the Chinese educational system have also been on the rise.

In 2009 China learned that despite increased repression and a crackdown on all political activities, Tibetans are determined to fight for their fundamental rights.

Below is a list of places in Tibet and China where known acts of resistance by Tibetans took place:

  • Rabgya (Amdo)

Large protests by Tibetans in western China -Los Angeles Times

Monk kills self in Ragya, residents protest -Phayul

  • Derge (Kham)

Situation in Derge “Critical” after Residents Distribute Tibet Independence Pamphlets -Tibet.net

  • Drango (Kham)

Tibetan Monk Beaten to Death -RFA

  • Kandze (Kham)

Tibetans Stage Farm Boycott -RFA

Protester arrested in Kardze -Tibetinfonet.net

Woman arrested in Kardze -Tibetinfonet.net

China arrests two nuns of Dragkar Nunnery in Kardze -TCHRD

Details of Kardze Protests Emerge -Tibetinfonet.net

Tibetans Refuse State Dance Troupes -RFA

Two monks, three teenagers held for protesting -Voice of Tibet

A solo nun stages protest march in Kardze -RFA


  • Lutsang (Amdo)

Tibetan Monks in Protest March -RFA

Tibetan monks stage new year protest in China, report says -Monsters and Critics

Tibetans forgo New Years celebrations in protest -CTV


  • Nyagrong (Kham)

Tibetans Protest in Sichuan -RFA

  • Tsolho (Amdo)


  • Ngaba (Amdo)

More Protests in Tibet -Beijing Wide Open

New protest today in Ngaba after officials ban prayer ceremony -ICT

Tibetan monk killed by Chinese police after setting himself on fire -Asia News.it

China arrests Tibetan writer in Ngaba -TCHRD


  • Nagchu (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetan Bloggers and Citizen Journalists -High Peaks Pure Earth

  • Xining (Amdo)

Tibetan monks stage sit-in protest in front of Chinese court -TCHRD


  • Machu (Amdo)

Tibetans clash with Chinese soldiers, several injured -Phayul

  • Labrang (Amdo)

School students demonstration in Labrang County -TCHRD

A video appeal from a Tibetan inside Tibet to the International Community -TCHRD



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  • Markham (Kham)

Face off between Tibetans and Chinese security forces over gold mine -Phayul

Standoff at Tibet Gold Mine -RFA

  • Nangchen (Kham)

Tibetan national flag was raised in Nangchen county, eastern Tibet - Tibet Post International

Protesting children beaten in Yushu -Tibetinfonet.net

  • Lithang ( Kham)

Clash Over Tibet Has County in Lockdown -Washington Post

Tibetans Protest in Sichuan -RFA

Fifteen Tibetans arrested in Lithang after a peaceful protest -TCHRD



  • Kaykundo (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetan man flies flag on tree, police launch hunt -Phayul

  • Chamdo (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetan schoolboy arrested for anti China protest -Phayul

Act of defiance -Enriching thoughts

Seven monks arrested, abbot missing in Chamdo -Tibetinfonet.net

Schoolboy held in Chamdo after holding lone protest -Tibetinfonet.net


  • Dzogang, Chamdo (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetans in Chamdo Protest China’s Patriotic Education, 6 Detained -Tibet.net

  • Chentsa County (Amdo)

Protesters Call for United Stand Against China’s Wrong Policy in Tibet Tibet.net

  • Baygen County (Amdo)

China expels disciplinary head of Amdo Jaqung Monastery -TCHRD

  • Jodha County (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetans in Jodha county, eastern Tibet continue to refuse to plant crops -Tibet Post International

Tibetan woman stages sit-in protest to demand her husband’s release in Tibet’s Jomda County -Tibet.net

  • Tawu (Kham)

6 Tibetan women injured in Tawu police firing -Phayul

  • Lhasa (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetans ignore New Year -Tibetinfonet.net


  • Meldro Gongkar (Ãœ-Tsang)

Tibetans in Meldro Gongkar clash with miners, 3 injured -Phayul

  • Diru County, Tsashul Township (Ãœ-Tsang)

Two sentenced for bringing down Chinese flag, Ngaba Tibetans forced into renovation -Phayul

  • Sog County (Ãœ-Tsang)

3 Tibetans arrested for posting Dalai Lama contents on chat website -Phayul

  • Sershul (Kham)

20 Tibetans arrested in Sershul for “dissent” -Phayul

  • Matoe, Golog (Amdo)

China arrests eleven Tibetans in Golog over subversive VCD - TCHRD


  • Nagchukha (Kham)

Tibetans protest over jailed monk in southwest China -CTV

Tibetans continue with fasting and protest, situation extremely volatile in Nyachuka -TCHRD

Tibetan Protest Over Monk -RFA

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  • Chengdu (China)

Tibetans continue with fasting and protest, situation extremely volatile in Nyachuka -TCHRD

*The above list is not meant to be a event by event summary but rather a list of protest locations. If there are any corrections or additions please comment.

Two sentenced for bringing down Chinese flag, Ngaba Tibetans forced into renovation

SFTers in Delhi Call for Climate Justice in Tibet

SFT India joined the Global Climate Day of Action in Delhi, organized  by Greenpeace,350.org and several other Indian organizations.



SFTers en route to COP15 to highlight Tibet, the Earth’s Third Pole!

Pema Dolma (SFT UK’s Campaigns Coordintor) and David Demes (SFT Germany’s National Coordinator) are en route to Copenhagen today to join the Tibet Third Pole Team at the UN Climate Change Summit and to protest China’s policies of displacing Tibetan nomads under the guise of environmental protection. Stay tuned for more from Pema and David!

Join the Global Call: Record your own video message calling for the release of Dhondup Wangchen

SFT has joined other Tibet organizations to press President Obama to raise Dhondup Wangchen’s case with Chinese President Hu Jintao this week. Add your voice to the international call for his immediate release from Chinese prison at FreeTibetanHeroes.org

Record your own video message and upload to the  Gallery of Voices: http://www.freetibetanheroes.org/gallery/submit-your-words-photos-or-videos

Watch TenDolkar’s video here:

Tibet Activists Protest Empire State Building’s China Honor

On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Repbulic of China, the Empire State Building – possibly the most iconic building in the United States – will shine red and yellow in honor of communist China.

Tibetans, supporters and concerned New Yorkers took to the streets today to voice their outrage at the Empire State Building’s kowtowing before the totalitarian Chinese state. Read media coverage of the protest:

AP: Empire State Building honors China, riling critics

Fox News: Empire State Building Goes Red for Communist China, Sparking Protest

New York Times:  A Red and Yellow Glow for Celebration, and for Protest

Read SFT’s statement and watch footage of Tibet activists confronting China’s Consular General Peng Keyu. View more photos on flickr.




East Turkestan – an issue of nationhood for the Uyghurs

800px-flag_of_xinjiang_uyghur_east-turkestansvgMost of the news coverage of the events in Urumchi over the past week reduced the unrest down to an issue of “ethnic tension” or “ethnic rioting,” completely glossing over the issue of occupation. China’s occupation of East Turkestan (what China calls Xinjiang), the Uyghur homeland, is at the root of the violent events that have transpired. No one is denying that the ensuing violence manifested itself along ethnic lines, but ultimately this is not a battle between “Han” Chinese and Uygur “Muslims;”  it is a battle of survival for the Uyghur people against China’s systematic efforts to suppress the Uyghur nation and colonize the Ugyhur homeland.

Below are a few of the analysis pieces that are starting to address this issue:

Al Jazeera’s Steve Chao discusses how China’s “Go West” policy of Chinese resettlement has fueled the unrest:

The Guardian’s John Gittings talks about Uyghur separatism:

Until now, it has been Beijing that talked up the threat of ethnic separatism in its far north-west region of Xinjiang, while the attitude of most of the Muslim Uighur population has been one of quiet – though unhappy – acceptance of Chinese rule. But the latest outbreak of violence in the regional capital of Urumqi suggests that Uighur resentment at heavy-handed Chinese policies has begun to boil over. For Uighurs to challenge the authorities in what has become a largely Chinese city is even more remarkable.

Xinjiang has a history of only intermittent control from Beijing and the misfortune of being seen by the Chinese as a strategic buffer region against its neighbors. There were two short-lived independent “East Turkestan” republics in the 1930s and 1940s – the second under strong Soviet influence. After the 1949 Chinese communist victory, Beijing quickly moved thousands of soldiers to set up paramilitary state farms: Xinjiang became a favored location for penal centers, and later on for Red Guards who were “sent down to the countryside”. After subsequent waves of migration, Han Chinese now make up 40% of the population, not much less than the 47% of Uighurs.

SFT Delivers Petitions to Stop the Executions in Lhasa

SFT members deliver petitions to Chinese consulates worldwide to stop the executions of Loyak and Lobsang Gyaltsen. Both were sentenced for their alleged involvement in the March 2008 protests in Lhasa, Tibet. Without a reprieve, they could be executed at any time.

Help save their lives by taking action now.

Tibetans, Supporters March on Eve of Tiananmen Massacre Anniversary

Photos of yesterday’s Solidarity March in NYC. We took to the streets in support of the survivors of Tiananmen Square, their families and all those in China who continue to courageously advocate for their basic rights and freedom. Check out SFT HQ’s Flickr site to view more photos.