self-immolations in Tibet escalate, global supporters vow to secure
(Montreal, 10 March 2012) – Tibetans and their supporters from Victoria to Toronto and in over 30
countries worldwide are taking to the streets to join the Tibetan resistance and to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising when thousands of Tibetans rose up against China’s
invasion and occupation of Tibet; defiantly resisting the repressive policies that continue to this day which have provoked unprecedented instances of self-immolations by Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople.
In just under two years, 26 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have self-immolated. At least 19 have died (2), including Rinchen, a mother of four children (3). Since the beginning of the year, 13 of the 26 have set themselves alight as an act of protest, calling for freedom for Tibet and the
return of the Dalai Lama.
Similar calls for freedom were also heard during a recent wave of large-scale peaceful protests in January and February when Chinese security forces responded by opening fire on crowds, killing at least five
Tibetans and seriously injuring many more.
“On 10 March 2012 we commemorate every Tibetan who has resisted China’s occupation. We stand in solidarity with Tibetans who are engaging in a nonviolent resistance to take back their freedom.” said Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) Executive Director Dermod Travis.
“We vow to intensify our efforts in support of Tibetans inside Tibet and call on world governments and the global community to escalate pressure on China to end its siege on the Tibetan nation before more
lives are lost.”
The CTC also calls on Canadians to act by contacting China's ambassador at:
Ambassador: Zhang Junsai
Address: 515 ST. Patrick St,
Ottawa, ON KIN 5H3
Tel: 613-789-3434 791-0511
More than five decades after the 1959 Uprising, Tibetans in Tibet are continuing to risk everything in defiance of the Chinese leadership, which recently announced it was preparing for “war” against Tibetan “saboteurs” (4).
In an effort to stop news of this unrest reaching the world the Chinese government has sealed Tibet off from foreigners and journalists.
Undercover footage of the military build-up in eastern Tibet shows the intense security that Tibetans are forced to endure. On 6 March, Sky News broadcast an interview with a Tibetan in Ngaba who said “I feel
very sad, you know because of the situation, a lot of the people died, so just Tibetan people alone, no body can help, no body…no body try to help. We are not terrorist, we are buddhism, so we are
not going to harm any other people.” (5)
“China is responsible for writing the darkest chapter in Tibet’s history but we are here today to support Tibetans in their determination to regain their freedom. We say “ENOUGH! to Beijing’s violence and
call for global intervention now to save Tibetan lives”, said Travis. “We call on the government of Canada to join with other world leaders to take new, bold and coordinated action to help secure a just and fair resolution for the Tibetan people, so that they can live their lives in the peace and freedom they have sacrificed so much to achieve.”
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent, non-governmental organization of Tibetans and
non-Tibetans living in Canada, concerned with the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
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For more information:
Notes & references:
1. 10 March 2012 is the anniversary of one of the most momentous days in Tibetan history; on this day in 1959 thousands of Tibetans in Tibet took to the streets of Lhasa to protest against Chinese rule and
protect their leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As China shelled Lhasa, the Dalai Lama was forced to escape from Tibet. In 2008, 10 March was the beginning of the most widespread opposition to China’s
occupation of Tibet as protests swept the Tibetan plateau.
2. See www.StandUpforTibet.org/further-information.
3. See report by the International Campaign for
4. In February 2012, Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Chen Quanguo told officials to prepare for “a war against secessionist sabotage” [Tibet Daily, quoted by The Telegraph, see
5. Sky News 6 March 2012, “China: Self-Immolations are terrorism in disguise”. See http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16183059
Solidarity and Resistance: A video statement by the Global Tibet Movement