Tibet Lobby Day www.tibetlobbyday.org
Tibet Lobby Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 What is Tibet Lobby Day? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Why should our group plan a Tibet Lobby Day? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 What should we ask for during our Tibet Lobby Day?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What do we need to do to organise a Tibet Lobby Day?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Tips for a successful lobby day meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Week-by-Week Tibet Lobby Day Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Tibet Lobby Day Pack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Sample Tibet Lobby Day Registration Form. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Preparing to meet your representative: Guidelines on how to lobby. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Tibet Lobby Day Briefing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Background to Self-Immolations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Political Prisoner Profiles Dhondup Wangchen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Runggye Adak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Lobsang Tenzin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Tibet Lobby Day
Tibet Lobby Day What is Tibet Lobby Day? Tibet Lobby Day is an annual, internationally coordinated effort by Tibet groups and supporters to meet with their elected representatives and encourage them to take action for Tibet. On a chosen day or days – ideally on or near 10 March – campaigners and supporters will gather at national Parliaments, Senates or Congress buildings, to attend pre-arranged meetings with their elected representatives, bring them up to date on recent developments in Tibet and press for coordinated action. [Note that priority actions are agreed on a national level among Tibet groups in advance.] An alternative to a lobby day in your country’s capital is for campaigners and supporters to meet their elected representatives on the selected day in their constituencies. By engaging groups and supporters around the world in Tibet Lobby Day we can highlight the need for action to be taken on Tibet and raise key demands with elected representatives.
Why should our group plan a Tibet Lobby Day? Organising a Tibet Lobby Day means you will be part of a growing global effort to collectively and personally engage elected representatives, demonstrate public support for Tibet and call for coordinated action on behalf of the Tibetan People. If you want more reasons… It’s effective: • Research has shown that elected representatives pay more attention to issues raised by constituents in a faceto-face meeting than they do to letters or emails, as personal meetings have a greater impact on them. • It can be a good way to engage new elected representatives on Tibet, or reinvigorate the interest of those who have not been so active lately. • Personal feedback has shown that these meetings genuinely strengthen the relationships between lobbyists and elected representatives, and that elected representatives are more committed to Tibet as a result. • It demonstrates to elected representatives that there is a real constituency of support for Tibet in your country. • Strengthening parliamentary/congressional support can lead to practical action that benefits Tibetans. • Stronger support in national parliaments or congresses can be an effective counterweight to Chinese diplomatic pressure on our governments. • A lobby day can be of interest to the media and send a strong signal to China about the determination of the Tibet movement to keep up the pressure. It’s motivating: those who participate know they are making a very practical contribution to the Tibet issue, and are getting a very direct response from their elected representative. It is empowering to be admitted to the “corridors of power!” It’s not as hard as you think: Lobbying is not a specialist skill, but engaging on a personal level with your elected representative can make a real difference. This pack will guide you through the necessary steps. It’s fun: Tibet Lobby Day means meeting up with other Tibet campaigners and supporters.
What should we ask for during Tibet Lobby Day? Lobby day meetings with elected representatives are likely to be only 10 – 15 minutes long, so it will be important to develop a really concise list of things to ask for. The International Tibet Network, in consultation with Member groups in other countries, can help you draft this list of “asks” nearer the date of your lobby day(s). In 2012 we recommend a major focus on the root causes of the series of self-immolations in eastern Tibet. See page 10 for some examples of ‘Key Asks’ for Tibet Lobby Day 2012.
What do we need to do to organise a Tibet Lobby Day Let the Network know that you want to take part in Tibet Lobby Day by contacting email@example.com. We will let you know if any other groups from your country have shown an interest and we can help you join together to make more of an impact with your lobby day. The next thing to do is to check the regulations for lobbying at your national Parliament, Congress or Senate. Each and every country has their own specific rules concerning how individuals can lobby their elected representative. What is allowed in one country may not be allowed in another. For example, if constituents are not permitted entry to national parliament buildings, you may need to plan your Tibet Lobby Day differently, and ask your supporters to arrange meetings with their elected representatives in constituency offices instead. Once you have found out the regulations and assured yourselves that it is possible to hold a lobby day it is time to decide a suitable date. In 2012, the Network recommends that groups hold their Tibet Lobby Day(s) during March, with the Tibetan Uprising Anniversary on 10 March as a key date to reference your demands. However, if March is not a suitable time for your groups/country, choose when you believe would be most beneficial and set your date around your regional preferences. We will provide guidelines and template materials for you to use to inform supporters about taking part, arranging meetings, ‘Key Asks’ and feeding back responses from representatives.
Tips for a successful lobby day meeting • Set the date for your lobby day in good time to allow you to organise well. • Ensure you have good background materials to familiarise lobbyists about what to do and say to their representatives. • It is highly recommended that Tibet groups hold a Tibet Lobby Day briefing session with lobbyists to ensure that individuals know what their meeting will entail. This briefing can either be held prior to Tibet Lobby Day or on the day itself. This briefing session will help your lobbyists be clear about what they should discuss and what the Key Asks of Tibet Lobby Day are. It will also let you ensure that they have the correct briefing papers to give to their representative. • Meetings with elected representatives will be short, likely taking no more than 15 minutes. With this in mind lobbyists need to plan in advance what they want to say making sure that they are concise and have the most important points to raise at the top of their list. • It is advisable to take notes during lobby meetings so that lobbyists can advise you of what was discussed and alert you to anything that they or your Tibet group need to follow up with i.e anything that they promised to do or find out, or any significant comments that the elected representative made. • Make sure that everyone going to a lobby meeting has a Lobby Pack (see pages 9 – 11 for example materials) that they can leave with their elected representative or one of their staff.
Tibet Lobby Day
Week-by-Week Tibet Lobby Day Checklist Once you have decided the date of your Tibet Lobby Day it is time to begin the finer preparations. Ideally you will begin your planning about four months in advance of the date set i.e. if your Tibet Lobby Day is set for around 10 March your planning should begin in early December. Below is an overview of a week-by-week planner, which will help to ensure you are ready for your Tibet Lobby Day. This planner was prepared to show what to do for lobby days happening around 10 March; for other dates you will need to adjust the schedule accordingly.
By 1 December • Determine the exact process in your country for holding a lobby day i.e. specific times allowed to lobby, process for booking meetings with elected representatives etc. • Write down a list of all the lobby day logistics you will need to plan for – e.g. find a place for your lobbyists to meet for a briefing beforehand, will you need stewards, or need to provide transportation etc.
By 15 December • Assign a key coordinator and create a full week-by-week Tibet Lobby Day schedule. • Begin to compile the materials you will need to recruit lobbyists and help them arrange meetings with their elected representatives, e.g. letters of introduction, registration documents. The Network can provide templates. • Begin promoting Tibet Lobby Day and recruit supporters to participate. We recommend setting a deadline of 31 January for your lobbyists to register with you.
By 31 January • Remind participants they need to contact their elected representative to book a lobby day meeting and register with you as a lobbyist (Note: The process of booking meetings may vary in each country).
By 15 February • Finalise Key Asks, determine what issues supporters and participants will be discussing and draft simple talking points. The Network will provide templates. • Compile your list of individual participants and their elected representatives. • Recruit volunteers to steward during the lobby day (if required). • Start planning your media strategy. Are there media based in your Parliament buildings that you can contact? The Network will provide sample press materials by early March. • Organise a photographer, checking to see if there are any restrictions about taking photographs in or around Parliament buildings.
By 1 March • Double-check all your meeting arrangements including signs or name badges if these are needed. • Compile Tibet Lobby Day packs which cover your priority issues, to give to participants before they meet their elected representatives.
2 Days Before: • Send a Press Advisory to the media regarding Tibet Lobby Day including all the countries that are taking part, how many participants are involved and any information about key elected representatives that will be lobbied etc. The Network will provide a sample Press Advisory. • Brief the photographer about where to be, when to be there and who they should take photographs of etc.
On the Day of Event • Arrive at your meeting place or at the lobby venue at least 2 hours earlier than your first participants, to ensure that everything is in place and ready for their arrival. As your lobbyists arrive at your meeting place, ensure they have a Lobby Pack, remind them of the objectives of Tibet Lobby Day, take them through the tips for a successful meeting and update them on any new information concerning their elected representative or the situation in Tibet. • Take quotes and comments from participants and elected representatives for any articles that you may write. • Send an updated Press Release with more details about Tibet Lobby Day to the media. • Make sure you have photos of all the participants and elected representatives that you wish to feature in your publicity materials.
5 Days after Tibet Lobby Day • Send thank you letters to your participants with instructions on how to follow up with their representative. • Write an article for your website and newsletter. Remember to advise your supporters who are unable to attend Tibet Lobby Day in person that is is still possible for them to lobby their elected representative by visiting them in their constituency office, by sending a letter or email or by phone. Ask for any responses they receive to be forwarded to you.
Tibet Lobby Day Pack
The Network will provide the following template materials that can be adapted for your Tibet Lobby Day. Examples of previous materials can be seen at the end of this brochure. 1. Registration Materials 2. Tibet Lobby Day Background Information – Preparing to meet your elected representative – Sample Letter – On the day: Key Tips for meeting your elected representative – After the meeting: How did it go?
3. Tibet Lobby Day Briefing sheet and ‘Key Asks’ 4. Background Information to Self-Immolations 4. Political Prisoner Profiles 6. Sample Press Releases 7. Feedback Forms For more updated information, downloadable Tibet Lobby Day materials and to view the Network’s ‘Tibet Lobby Day’ video visit www.tibetlobbyday.org
Tibet Lobby Day
Return to: [YOUR ORGANISATION’S CONTACT DETAILS.]
Tibet Lobby Day Registration Form YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME: .......................................................................................... CONSTITUENCY: .......................................................................................... POLITICAL PARTY: ..........................................................................................
YOUR NAME: .......................................................................................... ADDRESS: .......................................................................................... TELEPHONE (day):. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (evening):. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . EMAIL: .......................................................................................... DATE & TIME OF MEETING: ..........................................................................................
If you know of others who are lobbying your representative at the same time please give their names below: .......................................................................................... .......................................................................................... .......................................................................................... .......................................................................................... ..........................................................................................
We would like to let people who are lobbying the same representative know that they have support in their constituency. If you are happy for us to let people know that you will be part of Tibet Lobby Day please let us know. Please feel free to copy this form and distribute it to friends and family members that you think would also like to take part in Tibet Lobby Day.
[The next two sheets to be given to individual lobbyist]
Preparing to meet your representative Guidelines on how to lobby Find out who your elected representative [EDIT TO USE YOUR COUNTRY’S WORD i .e MP] is . This is easy to do by visiting [ADD A WEB ADRESS or PHONE NUMBER OF WHERE INDIVIDUALS FIND OUT WHO THEIR REPRESENTATIVE IS] . Contact your representative and let them know that you are attending Tibet Lobby Day and you would like a meeting with them . Your representative will need to know ahead of time that you are requesting a meeting with them . The Sample Letter below can be used to post or email your representative to arrange a meeting . If your elected representative is unable to meet you on the actual Tibet Lobby Day you can ask that a staff member from their office meets you to hear your concern or, alternatively, you can meet them in the constituency office .
Dear [Your Elected Representative’s name] Re: Tibet Lobby Day, [ADD THE DATE OF YOUR LOBBY DAY] I am writing to request a meeting with you on [ADD THE DATE OF YOUR LOBBY DAY] to discuss my concern for the serious situation in Tibet . This meeting will be part of an international Tibet Lobby Day initiative; one of hundreds of meetings taking place around the world between elected representatives and Tibet supporters to highlight the Tibetan struggle for freedom . As an elected representative I believe that you can play a vital role in helping to build international political support for Tibet and provide a counter-balance to China’s diplomatic pressure . Please could you allocate a time in your diary for this meeting so that I can voice my concern for Tibet and understand what actions you are prepared to take to help the Tibetan people keep their culture – and their hope for the future – alive . Yours sincerely, [ADD YOUR NAME]
Tibet Lobby Day
Now it is time to prepare for Tibet Lobby Day. Once you have requested your meeting please let [ADD THE NAME OF YOUR GROUP]’s Tibet Lobby Day coordinator know that you are attending, the name of your representative and what time your meeting is scheduled for. It is now a good idea to find out more about your representative. We may already have information about whether they have taken a stance on Tibet before and you may also be able to find out more on about their interests and what causes they support online.
Key Tips for meeting your representative: • Familiarize yourself with the background materials in your Lobby Pack and prepare what you want to say. Ask your Tibet Group’s lobby day coordinator if you are unclear about any of the objectives of your meeting. • Keep it short: it is worth finding out how long your meeting will be before you start, bearing in mind that it is unlikely to be more than 15 minutes. • Make sure you carry the necessary identification to ensure your admittance to your Parliament or Congress building. • Dress appropriately so that you will be taken seriously. Make sure you are at your elected representative’s office 5 – 10 minutes before the meeting is due to begin. It’s a good idea to use the time to chat to their staff, as a friendly relationship with your elected representative’s team is a useful asset. • If you are able to establish a personal connection with the elected representative, eg you live in the same town or met at a local event, say so at the start of the meeting, then quickly move on to Tibet. • Be concise and make sure your most important points are at the top of your list of things to say. • Give your representative time to respond. It is best to go into the meeting with the assumption that your elected representative will be sympathetic to your concerns. It is unlikely they will try to put you on the spot. If your elected representative talks about China’s influence and the difficulties of achieving anything, emphasise that the things you are asking them to do are practical and will make a positive contribution to the issue. • Take notes so that you can follow up with anything that they have promised to do, or any significant comments that they make. If they ask you a question you cannot answer, don’t worry. Make a note, promise to find out the answer for them and remember to follow-up! • Remember to keep your discussion on Tibet! If your elected representative tries to change the subject politely bring it back to point and keep the conversation focused. • Leave a copy of the Briefing Sheet with your elected representative or one of their staff. • Thank your elected representative for their time, and ask him/her to keep you updated on any ongoing work they do that is related to your Key Asks. This way he or she will know you expect to see some action from them after the meeting. Also included in this pack is a Tibet Lobby Day Briefing sheet, which is for you to hand over to your elected representative. It outlines the information that you will have brought to their attention and has the Key Asks written down for them to see. You may find that that you are meeting your elected representative along with other individuals. If this is the case it is a good idea to agree between yourselves before your meetings who will speak about what e.g one person might touch on the background situation in Tibet, another might discuss specific prisoner issues, while a third might summarise etc.
After the meeting: How did it go? • Tell us how the meeting went and what response you had from you Representative. • Let us know what happened and we can let others know in our newsletters and on our website. • We will be available at [ADD WHERE YOU CAN BE FOUND] during Tibet Lobby Day and would really like to hear you feedback personally on the day. A Feedback form is included in this pack. Please fill it out and send it back to us or email us your responses to [ADD YOUR GROUPS EMAIL CONTACT]
[To be handed to elected representatives, during your Tibet Lobby Day meeting]
Tibet Lobby Day Briefing Tibet Lobby Day, March 2012 What is Tibet Lobby Day about? 10 March 2012 is the 53rd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, when Tibetans first rose up against Chinese rule. China’s response to the Uprising in 1959 resulted in the deaths of at least 80,000 Tibetans and led to the Dalai Lama escaping into exile, where he has remained ever since. The subsequent 52 years have seen the erosion of Tibet’s unique culture and religion by the Chinese Government. Basic human rights continue to be denied to this day; for example, freedom of expression is routinely denied and the right of Tibetans to practice their religion is severely restricted. In the last twelve months there have been a tragic series of self-immolations in eastern Tibet, in Ngaba (Ch: Aba, Sichuan Province) and Kardze (Ch: Ganzi, Sichuan Province). There have been 12 incidents from March 2011 to November 2011, preceded by an earlier self-immolation in February 2009. At least seven of the Tibetans involved have died. On 16 March 2011, a monk named Phuntsok set light to himself in Ngaba town on the 3rd anniversary of the 2008 protests, during which Chinese security services opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing at least 10 Tibetans. China’s reaction to the self-immolations has been harsh; hundreds of monks were forcibly removed from Ngaba’s Kirti Monastery, during which incident two elderly Tibetans were beaten to death. Security personnel have been stationed in these areas, and long sentences passed on a number of Tibetans who were associated with those who self-immolated. [YOUR ORGANISATION’S NAME], along with Tibet Groups around the world, is calling for meaningful political support to be given to Tibetans in Tibet now. Over half a century is just too long; it is time for [YOUR COUNTRY’S NAME] to stand up and support the Tibetans’ desire for China to genuinely address the occupation of Tibet, and to respect their human rights.
What can you do? Please call on the [YOUR COUNTRY’S] Government to do the following: • - - - -
In partnership with other concerned governments, insist that the People’s Republic of China …. immediately remove security personnel from monasteries and the Ngaba and Kardze regions account for the whereabouts and well-being of all those who have self-immolated, allow diplomats and media access to Tibetan areas. Immediately suspend the implementation of religious and security policies in Ngaba.
• Make a strong public statement of concern about the situation in eastern Tibet. • To urgently establish, with other concerned governments, an appropriate and effective multi-lateral mechanism through which future diplomatic actions for Tibet can be implemented. • To raise directly with the Chinese Embassy in [YOUR COUNTRY] the cases of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Dhondup Wangchen, Runggye Adak and Lobsang Tenzin. (Please see profile sheets provided. ) • To establish a Tibet desk in [YOUR COUNTRY’S] Beijing Embassy (or, if your country does not have an embassy in China, to establish a Tibet desk in the China section of the Foreign Ministry), in order to closely monitor the situation in the TAR and other Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China.
For further information on Tibet and the current situation please contact: [YOUR ORGANISATION’S CONTACT DETAILS]
Tibet Lobby Day
Self-immolations crisis Background to the situation in eastern Tibet Twelve Tibetans – seven of them current or former monks from Kirti Monastery near Ngaba – have set fire to themselves in Tibet since March 2011; Ten since 26 September. Seven have died including two nuns, one from Ngaba. In 2009 a monk named Tapey from Kirti Monastery self-immolated. His current status is not known. We can only speculate about the personal motivations for such acts. But we do know that China’s harsh policies in Tibet restricting freedoms and basic human rights have intensified Tibetan grievances and exacerbated the resentment and desperation felt across Tibet. Thousands of Chinese troops are currently stationed in the area and monks and nuns have been subjected to harsh ‘patriotic re-education’ programmes. Whatever the motivations, this growing tragedy, if left unchecked, could spiral even further into a nation-wide crisis.
What have other Governments said? See: http://www.savetibet.org/resource-center/maps-data-fact-sheets/government-statements-tibet-immolationsand-crisis-kirti-monastery
Chronology Self-Immolations in Tibet (11 in 2011 and one 2009) 27 February 2009
Tapey, mid-20s, of Kirti Monastery. Whereabouts unknown.
16 March 2011
Phuntsok, 20, of Kirti Monastery. Died 17 March 2011.
15 August 2011
Tsewang Norbu, 29, monk of Nyitso Monastery. Died at the scene.
26 September 2011
Lobsang Kelsang, 18, monk of Kirti Monastery. In hospital. Also Lobsang Kunchok, 19 , a monk of Kirti Monastery. In a different hospital to Lobsang Kelsang.
3 October 2011
Kelsang Wangchuk, 17, monk of Kirti Monastery. In hospital
7 October 2011
Choephel, 19 former monk of Kirti Monastery. Died 11 October. Also Khaying, 18, former monk of Kirti Monastery. Died 8 October 2011.
15 October 2011
Norbu Dramdul, 19, former monk of Kirti Monastery. Status unknown.
17 October 2011
Tenzin Wangmo, 20, nun of Ngaba Mamae Choekorling Nunnery, about 3 km from Kirti Monastery. Died at the scene.
25 October 2011
Dawa Tsering, 38, monk of Kardze Monastery. Thought to be being cared for in Kardze Monastery after refusing hospital treatment.
3 November 2011
Palden Choetso, 35, nun of Geden Choeling Nunnery. Died at the scene.
1 December 2011
Tenzin Phuntsog, 46, a former monk of Karma Monastery. Died on 6 December.
Dhondup Wangchen [Chinese: Dunzhu Wangqin] Age: 34 Sentence: Six years Prison: Xichuan Prison, Xining City, Qinghai Province Case Summary: Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan film-maker, serving a six year prison sentence for filming interviews with ordinary Tibetans; the interviews were made into a remarkable film “Leaving Fear Behind”. Dhondup’s trial was held in secret and he was denied access to the Chinese lawyers appointed by his family. While in detention Dhondup has been tortured and has not received medical treatment despite having contracted Hepititis B. Action Required: • Urge for the immediate and uncondictional release of Dhondup Wangchen who has been sentenced to six years for exercising his right to freedom of expression. He is currently being held in Xichuan Prison, Xining City, Qinghai Province. • Express concern for Dhondup Wangchen’s health and well being and request that he recieve medical treatment as a matter or urgency. On 28 December 2009, Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to a six year jail term, for filming interviews with ordinary Tibetans about their views on the Olympic Games, the Dalai Lama and Chinese government policies in Tibet. Dhondup Wangchen was arrested in Tibet on 26 March 2008 for filming the interviews, which were made into a documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. The film gives a remarkable portrayal of ordinary Tibetans and their stories of hardship and courage that gives a rare glimpse of the thoughts, feelings, and struggles of Tibetans living under occupation and has now been screened in 30 countries. Dhondup, who is being held in Siling (Ch: Xining, Qinghai Province), was born on 17 October 1974 in Amdo, northeastern Tibet, into a farming family. In 2007 he and his cousin Gyaljong Tsetrin began to work in collaboration on the film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’, with Dhondup in Tibet and Gyaljong in Switzerland. Dhondup, with the help of a friend Jigme Gyatso, set out with extraordinary courage to film Tibetans in Tibet describe in their own words their views and feelings about the Dalai Lama, the Beijing Olympic Games and Chinese laws in Tibet. They traveled thousands of miles and overcame innumerable hurdles, determined to bring the unheard voices of the Tibetan people to the world stage. The footage for the film was smuggled out of Tibet in early March 2008. For the filmmakers, revealing their identities was always a part of the plan. Fully aware of the risks they took, they rejected anonymity as an option. In order for the film to be made, fear had to be truly set aside. On 26 March 2008, Dhondup Wangchen was detained in Tongde eastern Tibet (Ch: Qinghai Province). Jigme Gyatso was also detained but released in October 2008. According to information provided by official sources, Dhondup Wangchen was formally arrested in July 2008 under suspicion of “inciting separatism and stealing, secretly gathering, purchasing, and illegally providing intelligence for an organisation, institution, or personnel outside the country.” He was charged in June 2009. In a letter which was smuggled out of No. 1 Detention Centre in Siling (Ch: Xining, Qinghai Province) in September 2009, Dhondup Wangchen reported that his trial had started, saying “I will face my fate. While I am aware that a release will be very difficult and I may remain here for a longer period there is a feeling that I have failed to be a more caring son for my parents. My trial has started. There is no good news I can share with you. It is unclear what the sentence will be.” Despite international demands for observers to be present at his trial, his case was tried in a closed court with a lack of due legal process. Dhondup Wangchen’s family originally appointed a lawyer but he was forced by the Chinese authorities to stop representing him. The sentence passed was 6 years’ imprisonment and Dhondup Wangchen has appealed against the sentence. Dhondup Wangchen’s wife Lhamo Tso, who now lives with their four young children in Dharamsala, India, continues to appeal to China and the international community for her husband’s release. Dhondup risked everything to ensure that Tibetan voices are heard around the world and inspire individuals and governments to take stronger action for Tibet.
Tibet Lobby Day
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche [Chinese: A’an Zhaxi] Age: 58 Sentence: Life imprisonment (commuted from a suspended death sentence) Prison: Last known location Chuandong Prison, Sichuan Province, but may have been moved recently. Case Summary: Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a revered religious leader and visonary advocate for Tibetans, is serving life imprisonment (commuted from a suspended death sentence, passed in 2002) for “conspiring to cause explosions”; a crime he did not commit. Since his arrest Tenzin Delek has maintained his innocence and no credible evidence has ever been found linking him to this crime. In late 2009 up to 40,000 Tibetans in Tenzin Delek’s local community in eastern Tibet, convinced of his innocence, signed a petition calling for a new trial. Hundreds of Tibetans staged demonstrations in eastern Tibet. Action Required: • Urge the Chinese Government to allow Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (A’an Zhaxi) access to independent legal representation, and permission to make a new appeal against his sentence. If, in a new, open trial, that conforms to international standards, no credible evidence is presented against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, he should be released immediately. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a revered religious leader from Lithang, Kham, eastern Tibet. He is an advocate of Tibetan identity and culture who developed social, medical, educational and religious institutions for Tibetan nomads. He oversaw the building of Tibetan nunneries and was a strong advocate of religious education for men and women. Tenzin Delek was also an environmental leader who worked to stop indiscriminate logging and mining projects in eastern Tibet. Due to his influence and popularity, and his great efforts to preserve the Tibetan identity, the Chinese authorities viewed him as a threat to their control in the region. Over the course of a decade, he was the target of increasing harassment and intimidation by officials. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested in April 2002 within a few days of the arrest of a distant relative called Lobsang Dhondup. They were accused of conspiring to cause a bomb blast in Chengdu. Both men were convicted on 29 November 2002, after a 3-day closed trial, during which Lobsang Dhondup was portrayed as the bomber and Tenzin Delek as the conspirator. The main evidence presented against Tenzin Delek was a confession from Lobsang Dhondup, which he later retracted claiming that he had been tortured. Neither defendant had access to independent legal counsel. During the trial Tenzin Delek claimed he was tortured and shouted out his support for the Dalai Lama. On 2 December 2002 both men were sentenced to death, with Tenzin Delek receiving a two-year reprieve. Tenzin Delek said: “I am completely innocent… I have always said we should not raise our hand at others. It is sinful… I have neither distributed letters or pamphlets nor planted bombs secretly. I have never even thought of such things, and I have no intention to hurt others.” On 26 January 2003 the Sichuan Higher People’s Court upheld Lobsang Dondhup’s death sentence and confirmed Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s two year suspended death sentence. Lobsang Dhondup was executed the same day. After two years of advocacy by people around the world, the Chinese authorities commuted Tenzin Delek’s death sentence to life imprisonment on 26 January 2005. Tenzin Delek’s current place of detention is unclear. He had been held at Chuandong Prison, Sichuan Province, but appears to have been moved. He is in poor health, suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and problems with his legs. He has been denied the Tibetan medicine that he has requested. A recent report indicates that his life sentence may have been reduced to a fixed term of 20 years. Local Tibetans continue to courageously campaign for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s release. In November 2009, a group of relatives and friends traveled to Beijing to request the central government for a further review of the case, on the basis of three points; that there was no proof against him, that he refused to admit any guilt, and that he was framed by an official plot. According to the petition Tenzin Delek recently told a relative; “I am not responsible for these explosions or any other illegal actions, they have pinned this on me, I have always taught people that one should not harm any life, not even that of an ant, how could I then possibly be responsible for such an action? If it is possible to appeal, there is hope that I may be cleared of all charges.” From 5 December, scores of Tibetans in Tenzin Delek’s home region peacefully gathered and held hunger strikes in support of their imprisoned spiritual leader; there were numerous beatings by the police and up to 90 Tibetans were arrested.
Runggye Adak [Chinese: Rongjie Azha] Age: 54 Sentence: Eight-years Prison: Mianyang Prison, Sichuan Province Case Summary: Runggye Adak , a nomad from Lithang in eastern Tibet, publicly called for the return of the Dalai Lama at the Lithang Horse Racing Festival in 2007. For this simple act of expressing his opinion Runggye Adak was sentenced to eight years in prison. He is known to be in ill health and in need of medical assistance. Newly available video footage captures an extract of this speech. To view see http://vimeo.com/13798060 Action required: • Urge Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Runggye Adak who has been sentenced for simply expressing his opinion. • Request that Runggye Adak’s family be allowed to visit in the company of a doctor and that Runggye Adak be given the urgent medical attention he requires. On 1 August 2007, Runggye Adak boldly grabbed the microphone and addressed a crowd of several thousand Tibetans gathered for the annual Lithang Horse Festival. He said: “If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet.” He also called for the release of the Panchen Lama and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The crowd applauded loudly. An eyewitness said: “It all happened so fast – Runggye Adak just came onstage and started speaking… Quite a few people were cheering him… But then uniformed officers arrived and … took him away, and other people around me were saying how scared they were about his fate.” The Chinese government described this action as a “major political incident” and charged Runggye Adak with “provocation to subvert state power”. He was sentenced to eight years in prison along with two other Tibetans who were sentenced for “endangering national security” and who had attempted to provide pictures and information to ‘overseas organizations’ (foreign media): Adak Lupoe [Ch: Azhu Lubo], Adak’s nephew and a senior monk from Lithang monastery, 10 years. Jamyang Kunkhyen [Ch: Jiangyang Gongchen], a Tibetan art teacher and musician, 9 years. In response to Adak’s arrest, over two hundred Tibetans congregated outside Lithang police station to appeal for his release; some managed to get inside and demanded to speak to local officials. Eye-witnesses described how police and soldiers violently dispersed local gatherings in Lithang by using tear gas, stun grenades and metal batons. Hundreds of local government officials were subsequently ordered to attend meetings to condemn Adak’s actions. A Xinhua statement on 3 August 2007 said “the villager named Runggye Adak went to a platform … and shouted out words of ‘Tibetan independence’… police sources said they would handle the case of Runggye Adak, whose words and deeds were meant to separate the country and harm national unity and has disrupted public order, according to law.” When Runggye Adak was sentenced he is reported to have told the court: “I wanted His Holiness to return, and I wanted to raise Tibetan concerns and grievances, as there is no outlet for us to do so. That made me sad and made me act.” The International Campaign for Tibet reported that several weeks earlier, the Chinese authorities had circulated a petition at Lithang monastery which monks were required to sign, saying that they did not want the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. The organization speculated that this incident may have provoked Runggye Adak into taking action. Adak’s nephew, Atruk Lupoe, [Ch: Azhu Lubo] a senior monk from Lithang monastery, was sentenced to ten years in prison and a Tibetan art teacher and musician Jamyang Kunkhyen [Ch: Jiangyang Gongchen] to nine years, both for attempting to provide pictures and information to ‘overseas organizations’ which were judged to ‘endanger national security’. Another nephew, Adak Kalgyam (a younger brother of Adak Lopoe), was sentenced to five years imprisonment on 14 July 2008 for the crime of “inciting splittism”. He was arrested on 3 October 2007, 2 months after Runggye Adak’s protest. A fifth Tibetan, Jarib Lothog, [Ch: Luotuo] was sentenced to three years linked to the same case. Lothog was recently released. Eye-witnesses also say that Runggye Adak’s speech called for local Tibetans to stop fighting among themselves about land and water issues – a reference to fights that have broken out among Tibetan nomads, often following the division of their land by the authorities in accordance with Beijing’s directives. It is China’s stated policy to remove Tibetan nomads from the land and settle them in towns, imperiling their livelihoods and their culture.
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Lobsang Tenzin Summary: Arrested in 1988 for protesting, he has now spent over half of his life in prison and is the longest serving Tibetan political prisoner. Charge: “Principal culprit” in murder charge. Sentence: Death; commuted to 20 Years. Expected release date April 2013. Prison: Chushur (Ch: Qushui) Prison, TAR. Status: Serious concerns for his deteriorating health. Continued to show outstanding courage in prison. Due for release in 2013. Action required: • Urge Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Lobsang Tenzin who is in serious health condition suffering from diabetes and weakened eyesight, which causes blindness at times. • Reqyuest Lobsang Tenzin be allowed a doctor to visit and assess his health to provide urgent the medical attention he requires. Lobsang Tenzin was in his mid twenties on 5 March 1988 when he took part in a protest for Tibetan freedom in Lhasa. At the time he was a student at the Tibet University. He was one of five Tibetans charged in relation to the death of a police officer, who fell or was thrown from a window during the protest. In January 1989 Lobsang Tenzin was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve; in 1993 the sentence was commuted so that he would serve a further 20 years in prison term. During his detention, Lobsang Tenzin has continued to protest against China’s occupation and has repeatedly managed to carry out acts of resistance from his prison cell. In 1989, he wrote a letter expressing support for the ongoing pro-independence demonstrations that was smuggled out to the students of Tibet University. During the same year he also co-founded a group called “Snow Lion Youth for Tibetan Independence” with three fellow prisoners and several non-prisoners. When officials discovered the existence of the movement the inmates were brutally beaten and subjected to solitary confinement for 34 days. Lobsang Tenzin was also put in shackles for 17 months. Two prison-mates of Lobsang Tenzin, called Dawa and Migmar Tashi, who co-founded the proindependence group and were also serving suspended death sentences on murder charges, were executed in 1990 for allegedly planning to escape from prison. After being released from solitary confinement in 1990, Lobsang Tenzin organized the first known mass protes in Drapchi prison. Following the death of fellow prisoner and activist Lhakpa Tsering, Lobsang Tenzin tore his bed sheet in half and wrote, “We mourn the death of Lhakpa Tsering,” and, “We demand improvements to the conditions of political prisoners,” on the two halves. During a scheduled break when there were few guards around, Lobsang Tenzin organized a group of 150 prisoners to carry banners and march through the courtyard of the main prison office to demand information about the cause of Lhakpa Tsering’s death. The distance of the courtyard was less than 100 yards but as one prisoner recounted, “that distance seemed like miles, such was the courage required to cover it.” Despite being completely surrounded at this point by armed guards, Lobsang demanded that Lhakpa Tsering’s death be investigated and that the medical officers and guards involved punished. The day the protest occurred coincided with the day that criminal prisoners were allowed visitors. This ensured that the news of the protest quickly spread throughout Lhasa, generating a large amount of public support for the prisoners. On 31 March 1991, Lobsang Tenzin was again at the forefront of prisoner resistance. When James Lilley, U.S. Ambassador to China, visited Drapchi prison Lobsang Tenzin and another prisoner, Tenpa Wangdrag, attempted to hand over to the Ambassador a letter listing all the names of prisoners who had been tortured and an appeal for help from the United States government. The letter was confiscated by Lilley’s Chinese interpreter. Lobsang Tenzin and Tenpa Wangdrak were beaten and put in solitary confinement for three weeks. However, the ensuing international pressure and personal intervention of the Ambassador led to Lobsang Tenzin’s death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment in 1991. For his bravery and courageous determination to fight against all odds, Lobsang Tenzin became a hero amongst the prisoners at Drapchi. They repeatedly appealed for his release and made sure he was brought extra food rations. Lobsang Tenzin sentence was further reduced to 20 years and he is scheduled to be released on April 26, 2013. In 2005, Lobsang Tenzin was again transferred, this time to Chushur prison, where it is believed he is carrying out farm work. In 2011, various sources reported that he was suffering from severe diabetes, which was causing temporary blindness.
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