Monday 31 October 2011

Save Tibetan Lives - AVAAZ Petition

Days ago, Tenzin Wangmo walked out of her nunnery, covered herself in petrol and set herself on fire while pleading for a “free Tibet”. Minutes later she died -- she was just 20 years old. In the past month, seven other monks have self-immolated to protest a growing Chinese crackdown on the peaceful Tibetan people.

These tragic acts are a desperate cry for help -- machine gun toting Chinese security forces are beating and disappearing monks, laying siege to monasteries, and even killing elderly people defending them -- all in an effort to suppress Tibetan rights. China severely restricts access to the region. But if we can get key governments to send diplomats in, break the blackout, and expose this growing brutality, we could save lives.

We have to act fast -- this horrific situation is spiraling out of control behind a censorship curtain. Over and over we have seen that when diplomats themselves bear witness to atrocities, they are motivated to act, and increase political pressure. Let’s build a massive petition to the six leaders with the most influence in Beijing to send a mission to Tibet and speak out against the repression. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone:

Tibetans are suffocating under China’s stranglehold. They are unable to practice their religion freely -- just downloading a photograph of the Dalai Lama can land a Tibetan in prison. And it is getting worse: columns of Chinese troops have blockaded the largest monasteries and are abducting monks in "patriotic re-education" programmes. This horrific situation is spiraling out of control.

Just yesterday another monk, Dawa Tsering, was rushed to hospital after setting himself ablaze, and with every protest China tightens it’s grip. For Tibetans, self immolations are a very severe sacrifice and reveal their level of despair. They are deeply religious and believe that if you commit suicide it has a devastating impact on the cycle of re-incarnations and may even put you back 500 lifetimes. But their situation is so horrific that they are forfeiting their position in the cycle in exchange for the hope of international attention and freedom for their brothers and sisters.

The Chinese government won't allow journalists and human rights monitors into the region -- Sky news and AFP journalists were forced out last week. But diplomats can request access and get in and, as we have recently seen in Syria, they are the best way to get first hand reports, let China know that the world is watching and start high level political conversations on Tibetans’ human rights.

It’s up to us to raise the global alarm. If we can get the US, UK, Australia, India, France and the EU to send a delegation now, they could push China to action. We have no time to lose -- sign the urgent petition and share this email:

Avaaz members have supported projects that are piercing the blackout and defending Tibetan culture and religious practice. But China’s ruthless crackdown is escalating. It’s time for our whole community to take a stand together with these peaceful people sacrificing their own lives for basic rights. Let’s show them that the world has not forgotten them.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Iain, Dalia, Ricken, Diego, Shibayan, Giulia, and the whole Avaaz team

More information:

Tibetan Nun Who Set Herself On Fire Dies (Sky)

Self-immolation 'trend' at restive Tibetan monastery (BBC)

Study points to heavy handed repression of Tibetan area in China (The New York Times) (including HRW report)

China is fuelling the fires of Tibetan resistance (Guardian)

Graph showing China’s increased spending in Tibetan regions:

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