International Tibet Network Tactics Report (Updated 2015)

Page 1

a tactical report on the tibet movement


CONTENTS .......................................... INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 TACTICS CURRENTLY IN USE BYTHETIBET MOVEMENT. . . . . . . . . 2 1. Tactics

used by

T ibetans

2. Tactics

used by the


T ibet .......................................2

M ovement


T ibet .....................3

3. O verarching T actical P rinciples .....................................5

DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1. P ersuasion


P rotest


D irect C ommunications ...7

2. P ersuasion


P rotest


R eportage


T hird

P arty C ommunications .................................................12 3. I ntervention


N on - cooperation ..............................12

Appendix 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 Appendix 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 6 Appendix 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 9 In light of the wave of self-immolations, Tibetans and supporters in Dharamsala, India participate in a rally on Human Rights Day, 2012 to express solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet. Photo Credit: Norbu Wangyal Cover Photo by Norbu Wangyal






his report comprises the findings of a Tactics Task Force (see Appendix 1 for members and methodology). Tactics are the actions we use when we execute our campaign strategy


his report comprises the findings of a Tactics Task Force (see Appendix 1 for members and methodology). Tactics are the actions we use when we execute our campaign strategy.

The purpose of the Tactical Review and this report is to make our campaigns more intelligent, powerful and effective. We interviewed many campaigners, including those in parts of the world where political activity is difficult, explored tactics we’re not yet using and considered if any current tactics should be abandoned. The Task Force did not review campaign strategy, but considered tactics in the framework of the Tibet Network’s Strategic Plan, the goal of which is “A substantial increase in coordinated, sustained activity by Tibet Groups leading to a major increase in pressure on China so that it genuinely addresses the Tibetan political situation”. The Plan has four Strands or strategic pathways for achieving a major increase in pressure on China over Tibet; i. Putting Tibetans in Tibet First ii. Sustained pressure on governments and companies to take action for Tibet iii. Targeting Chinese leaders responsible for Tibet Policy iv. Outreach to Chinese People


examined the different kinds of tactics described by scholar Gene Sharp - persuasion, protest, non-cooperation and intervention and considered different methods of communication; i.e. direct communications and the use of others to communicate on our behalf (“reportage”). This report summarizes our findings and recommendations for the future.

ibetans in Tibet have been broadening the scope of their activism. While many of the tactics used remain protestbased with a high risk and cost to participants, including the emergence of self-immolation as protest, Tibetans have also adopted tactics that are selfconstructive (e.g. promoting Tibetan language, culture and civil society) and noncooperative (e.g. refusing to support Chinese institutions and businesses). A growing number of Tibetans are making a conscious effort to wear traditional clothes, speak Tibetan, perform circumambulations, eat in Tibetan restaurants and buy from Tibetanowned businesses.

Individual or small group street protests, shouting slogans, banner waving (especially in the 2008 uprising) and since 2009 self-immolation protests.

China’s restrictions on information makes it hard to quantify the spread and usage of tactics, but some of the often-used tactics employed by Tibetans in Tibet are:

Language preservation: Voluntary punishment for speaking Chinese (fine box)

Mass protests linked to specific events, for example detentions of local leaders or educational “reforms” Petitioning, letter-writing, appealing (especially in areas afflicted by resource extraction) Publishing poetry, essays and books criticizing the Chinese authorities Boycotting Chinese shops, restaurants, institutions

Interventions such as blockades, encirclement - Kirti

“Tibetans are now also adopting a range of new tactics including those that are self-constructive such as -promoting Tibetan language, culture and civil society - and non-cooperative, for example refusing to support Chinese institutions and businesses. ”

Monastery gate was blocked by Tibetan residents of Ngaba, blockades have been used in mining protests Dramatizing religious rituals to the point where they become political (Lhakar, Wednesday rituals) View a short video about Lhakar - com/watch?feature=player_ embedded&v=jBm8IbHWzW4 Knowledge about what Tibetans in Tibet are doing is vital for our campaigns, especially since the purpose of Strand 1 of the Strategic Plan is to mirror and amplify their actions.



The following information was gathered from our 2010 online survey of the Tibet movement



rom the bar-graphs on page 3, it can be seen that the half-dozen or so most often used tactics are the same as the tactics considered most effective. However, despite Face to Face advocacy being rated quite a long way above Online Communication as the most effective tactic, it is not the tactic used most often. See Appendix 1 for information about who completed the survey. Some good tactics the movement is currently using, and why they are effective, include: •

Protests: They can fulfill multiple purposes - they pressure those they target, and send signals to the public/other audiences (directly & via the media) that support for Tibet is active, vibrant and strong.

Face to Face advocacy including Lobby Days: Face to face advocacy brings influence and can give us access to new information. Lobby Days engage and motivate elected representatives, as well as motivate and empower Tibet supporters.

Letter-writing: Letters to political prisoners can positively impact their living conditions, even though early releases seldom happen these days. Non-standard letters are better than “form” letters.

Cultural Events can engage people in parts of the world where political activity is hard. The cultural resurgence in Tibet means there is a wealth of powerful material to promote.

Online Actions & Social Networking: This can help Tibet reach new audiences, and is a tool that is constantly changing and becoming more innovative. There is great scope for creativity online, but also see below for limitations.

Media work: Effective media work takes resources and can be very hit and miss, but the right message in the right paper at the right time can build influence and support for Tibet.

Some tactics with limitations that the movement is currently using, and why their use is limited, include: •

Social Networking and Online Actions: While this can be very valuable, as described above, the resources we invest should be in proportion to the return. There is talk in some parts of the world of people leaving Facebook. Do not expect someone who “likes” a Facebook page to be automatically willing to take action for Tibet.

Hunger Strikes: Such actions evoke very strong emotions, but without achievable objectives they risk being perceived as emotional blackmail that could make influential supporters turn away.

Flag Raising, Petitions: These are excellent tactics provided we are clear about our objectives in using them. They are good for awareness raising and building capacity/local support but there are more effective ways to put direct pressure on China.


espite Face to Face advocacy being rated quite a long way above Online Communication as the

most effective tactic, it is not the tactic used most often.”


OVERARCHING TACTICAL PRINCIPLES We recognize that there is a great deal of information in this report. The Network Secretariat is committed to supporting Groups that would like to try new Tactics and need advice or assistance. We suggest that the following principles are taken into account when planning campaigns. See Page 7 for more detailed recommendations on specific tactics, and Appendices 2 & 3 for examples of effective and appropriate tactics for use in the Network’ s Strategic Plan. Use tactics strategically and intelligently. Choose the tactics that are most likely to achieve your campaign objectives, but that are also suited to your local context, your capacity and your skills. The ultimate goal of all our campaigns is for China to genuinely resolve the occupation of Tibet. The International Tibet Network’s strategy is to achieve this through a massive increase in pressure on China via 4 Strands of our Strategic Plan. For all individual campaigns you must know your objective, decide your strategy and identify your target audience before you can know which Tactics are most likely to help you achieve success (some may be counter-productive). See Appendices 2 and 3 for more on planning. Play to our strengths as a movement; showing that we are organized worries China. e.g. these may include taking coordinated action, engaging in protests and choosing to


campaign on issues that China’s leaders care about.


Of tibet groups use

street protest, political theatre, marches, vigils

“These tactics can fulfill multiple purposes - they pressure those they target, and send signals to the public/other audiences (directly & via the media) that support for Tibet is active, vibrant and strong..”


Of tibet groups use

online communication, social networking

“While this can be very valuable and there is great scope for creativity online, the resources we invest should be in proportion to the return. ,”


Of tibet groups think

music & literature events, cultural events are effective

“Cultural Events can engage people in parts of the world where political activity is hard. The cultural resurgence in Tibet means there is a wealth of powerful material to promote.”


Of tibet groups think

face to face meetings/advocacy is effective

“Face to face advocacy brings influence and can give us access to new information. Lobby Days engage and motivate elected representatives, as well as motivate and empower Tibet supporters.“

Try something new. Using a variety of tactics within the movement is important, because: • Tactics have different effects on different targets and appeal differently to individuals. • Tactical flexibility keeps our supporters interested, as well as the media. • Varying tactics makes it harder for the object of our campaigns to learn how to handle us. But be aware of your capacity. It is better to do one thing well than several things badly. Build face-to-face relationships with Opinion Formers such as elected representatives, government Ministers/officials and experts. Face to face meetings give you significantly more personal influence, and often lead to valuable new information being shared. We especially encourage Mass Lobbies. Protest! Protest is a “core” activity for the movement, and can be very effective if carried out intelligently: it can put pressure on China’s leaders and on our governments, can mobilize supporters and generate media coverage. We have some ideas about how to make protest more effective (see 3), such as greater use of “Flash Mobs” (see page 8) and “dilemma” actions (for an example view “Barrel of Laughs” – a ‘dilemma’ action by Ivan Marovic of OTPOR. vc1CcxHwypE). Use more humour and ridicule, especially in protests and direct communications, as humour generates a positive public reaction and engages new

people, e.g. “Shoe Jintao”, when people in Dharamsala threw shoes at an image of Hu Jintao. See also “A Barrel of Laughs” above. Adopt “inside/outside” campaign strategies and tactics in coalitions, eg in the World Bank campaign ICT lobbied Bank officials while SFT hung a banner on the Bank’s offices (see image below). Develop your own strategic campaign plan using the framework of the Network’s Plan. Evaluate why you use certain tactics - are they the most effective choices, or is it habit? Prioritize “direct communication” over “reportage” (see Introduction); Communicating your message directly to your target is usually more effective than relying on someone else to do it for you, especially if that third party (eg the media or an interlocutor) puts their own ‘spin’ on it. Direct communication is most effective when you can make your message visual, e.g. protests/street theatre, videos, websites that ‘map’ problems, though carefully targeted press coverage can help you reach new audiences. NB The media is not in itself an audience, but a means to deliver your message. First determine who you ultimately want to reach with your message, then target your media work accordingly. For example, government officials might listen to a certain breakfast news radio program, or readers of a left-wing newspaper could be potential new supporters.) Use Cultural Events as a means to an end, especially in parts of the world where political work is difficult. Try to include

the opportunity for some kind of political action in all your events. We propose to help groups in these regions to develop a step-by-step plan to use cultural projects as a way to create a situation where more political work is possible. Intervene! – Interventions, such as Direct Actions, exposés and Shareholder resolutions and legal actions are more risky and confrontational, and require considerably more training and dedicated resources than other tactics. However, there is often a greater return. Intervention is usually only advisable in the context of a well-developed campaign strategy, when the target audience has failed to respond to other tactics, or in exceptional circumstances, such as a particular outrage in Tibet.

SFT banner hang action at the World Bank in Washington DC in 1999. Photo Credit: SFT


DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS Through our survey of the Tibet movement and interviews with experts and successful campaigners, we have formulated the following recommendations of tactics we propose the movement should use. The categories used are similar to Gene Sharp’s although we have distinguished between tactics that involve direct


• • • •

2. Phone calls and Texts to decision-makers, perpetrators These should primarily be used as a form of protest; it is inadvisable for less well-informed supporters to call friendly decision-makers en masse, but use calls to perpetrators in China •

communications and those that involve reportage. See also Appendix 2, which illustrates where some of these ideas could be used in the context of a campaign. The

need advice or assistance.

PERSUASION AND PROTEST USING DIRECT COMMUNICATION 1. Face to face meetings/advocacy Face to Face advocacy is highly recommended, providing greater influence and access to information. • • • •

Lobby elected representatives; build contact with their staff, Arrange Mass Lobbies Brief/Advise officials and government Ministers (try engaging other Ministries in addition to Foreign Ministries, eg Aid or Development/Trade etc) Build relationships with your embassies and consulates in China. Brief diplomats and ambassadors before they take up post and when they come home to visit capitals. Meet them in China if possible. Make better use of the movement’s success elsewhere, eg if Norway can make a

Send Text/SMS message landlines in China, Chinese embassies overseas, companies.

3. Letter-writing/postcards/faxes/emails to decision-makers, perpetrators, prisoners • • •

Secretariat is committed to supporting Groups that would like to try new Tactics and

statement about Ngaba, why cannot Sweden? (NB This requires better information-sharing by Groups.) Attend Company Annual Meetings, hold closed-door meetings with companies. Set up friendship groups with Chinese people. “Doorstop” visiting Chinese leaders with relatively low security (TWA/Governor of Sichuan) Make sure your messaging is relevant (it can be subtly different from public messaging)

Individual letters and messages are substantially more effective than mass messages. Target people whose job requires them to respond, e.g. elected representatives, not officials. Diversify targets, eg write to prisons, local officials, to Chinese media etc, but send copies to senior leaders to increase accountability. Faxes are good because people are less used to receiving them in large numbers.

4. Petitions and Mass Email Actions. (Petitions can be hard-copy or online.) These are good for building grassroots support, but generally have much less impact than individual letters. On issues at “tipping point”, a show of mass support can however be effective. Consider these tactics as primarily a means to engage new people and build capacity (collect names & contacts but be aware of data protection laws) and keep existing supporters active.

5. Protests, Political Theatre, Marches, Vigils, Banners and Projections •

• • 43% consider media work to be an effective tactic “Effective media work takes resources and can be very hit and miss, but the right message in the right paper at the right time can build influence and support for Tibet.”

Use Flash Mobs. These are sudden unexpected actions in public places that last a short time. NB we have a short “How To” guide to organizing Flash Mobs, see resources-flashmobs Prioritize protests for visiting Chinese leaders: protests tells them the Tibet issue is a continuing problem for them, tells governments and the public that the issue is alive and well, and attracts the media. Take jasmine flowers to present to crowds of Chinese supporters. NB, we plan to create a set of “off-the-shelf” ideas and resources for visiting Chinese leaders. Protest intelligently; vary your location and targets, don’t choose a space where your presence will look insignificant, tailor your messages to your primary audience. Use Dilemma Actions. These are generally most suited to inside Tibet but are also possible for visiting Chinese leaders – choose actions that ridicule the visiting leader but, if they are stopped, make the host government look weak for kow-towing to China.


• • • • • • • •

See video link on page 6. “A barrel of laughs” Use Humour/Spoofing; this can create a positive public response e.g. Dress as Chinese soldiers to welcome visiting leaders/’celebrate’ anniversaries. Use puns for slogans on placards. Take part in Global Days of Action (a show of movement-wide coordination worries China) Create an image that sums up your issue – this will increase your chance of media coverage Participants in protests should ideally be well-briefed on the issues Be creative to freshen up regular events (eg for 53rd Uprising have 53 x 1 minute speakers, or 53 people taking part in a Flash Mob) Mass prostrations Play Tibetan music (perhaps at embassies) or Project images as a form of protest. Personalize the occupation for the overseas families of Chinese leaders. Tail them/ interact with them/expose them to Tibetans and Tibet campaigns.

6. Flag Raising, Twinning with Tibetan towns/villages This requires considerable organisation/planning, but is excellent for engaging supporters and reaching out to local politicians. In Europe, well over 1,000 mayors fly Tibetan flags on 10 March and 40 French & Luxembourg municipalities have adopted Tibetan towns and villages. Best used for awareness-raising and capacity-building, but can be made more effective when political action is involved (for example towns in France also “adopt” a political prisoner.)

Tibetan NGOs in Dharamsala, India organize a solidarity rally on Human Rights Day, 2012 with the Tibetans in Tibet in light of the series of self-immolations. Photo Credit: Norbu Wangyal


7. Cultural Events: Music, Film Screenings, Literature, Art, Religion, Medicine Use these to engage new people (always collect names) and consolidate existing support. • • • •

Emphasize this is a culture under threat, that action is required to protect it. Emphasize that Tibetan music and literature is a form of resistance. Record or film your events and post them online so others can share. Events should feature an action component (a petition to sign or letter to write) Get celebrities to do cover versions of Tibetan songs? (other languages)

8. Advertising and flyposting, stickering, banners, spray-painting, street art These can be used for general public awareness-raising or to target a specific individual or company. • • • •

Choice of location for your message is important Use humour; Flyposting or stickering could be effective before Chinese visits Newspaper advertising is expensive, and highly unlikely to pay for itself even if you include a request for a donation. This tactic is recommended for exceptional circumstances only. Use Street Art to reach new public audiences (eg See image below or go to http://www. for more images like this; See also the Tibet roundabout in Poland).

Street Art at Helvetiaplatz, in Bern, Switzerland in 2011 to higlight the self-immolations in Tibet. Photo Credit: Kelsasng Gope


9. Publishing Information (leaflets, reports etc). Place OpEds in news outlets • • •

Publish/Edit articles on Wikipedia to address pro-China bias (the Network is looking into a good way to organize this) OpEds should be carefully targeted and - with today’s global media - can only be placed in one media outlet. NB We hope to re-establish a team of OpEd writers Use online mapping software to visualize issues.



physically STOP something from happening. They require considerable training & planning and may involve danger and legal consequences. They should only be used within a multi- faceted campaign or in response to a major outrage.

The purpose/objective and audience should be in proportion to the time and resources required.

• •

10. Seminars/Conferences

Hold Conferences online. Encourage academics to bring Tibetan and Chinese academics together

11. Online Communication - Social Networking, Tweeting Be realistic about the effectiveness of social networking; it can help build support, but someone who “likes” a Facebook page cannot be relied on to take action. Social networking works best when there is a critical mass or an issue is at tipping point. • • • • •

Create Websites that uses mapping software to visualize issues. Use videos, especially those that spoof Companies or other targets (see page 12 Intervention) Spoof official Facebook pages, or join and subvert official Company Facebook pages Create graphics that supporters can use for their profile pictures. Ask supporters to pretend to be a prisoner on their cellphone voicemail message (eg “hello, this is Dhondup Wangchen. I can’t take your call because I am in prison in Tibet”) Set up mobile Action booths using a laptop and wireless internet to engage the public. Use “Thunderclap” (pre-planned simultaneous tweeting) to maximise the impact of a message

• •

Develop a media strategy for your big campaigns to maximize return on effort. Focus on media outlets that you know your target audience reads or listens to and respects Hold Press Conferences in unusual places (eg Taiwan in Sichuan Governor’s hotel) Hold online press conferences for Beijingbased media, perhaps using Google+ Hangout (see the International Tibet Network’s Google+ press conference Build relationships with media in Beijing, meet/brief them when they come “home” on holiday. Target publications that are read in mainland China, eg South China Morning Post, Straits Times, Phoenix Magazine.

2. Influential people as Interlocutors

Effective, but we recommend it is done strategically, not as a general approach, or it may take too much time. Retain our identity as a movement, believe in the legitimacy of our cause.

Interlocutors could include scholars, former political leaders, business-people, celebrities; they might have access to deliver your message to Chinese leaders, government Ministers, the media. Be aware that your message could get altered, and be aware that the media may write more about a celebrity than about Tibet, or ALWAYS expects a celebrity spokesperson in the future!

13. Educational Activities; Talks in Schools, Education Packs

3. Documentaries, Films and Books

Effective in countries where political work is hard. Children can have a “penpal” from TCV?

These can be direct communications if we have editorial control.

• •

12. Collaborating/Networking with other movements

INTERVENTION AND NONCOOPERATION This category of tactics are more confrontational; a way to ‘force’ change. Casa del Tibet, CAT and TYC representative at Spain’s High Court in Madrid after presenting a case accusing Chinese officials of genocide and crimes against humanity in Tibet June 28, 2005. Photo Credit: REUTERS

1. Direct Actions Direct Actions are not just protests - they

• • •

All recommendations about protests also apply (see page 6) Choice of target, location and timing is critical. Occupying or blockading embassies/ consulates? Activists must be very well-informed about the issue as the media will expect them to be spokespeople.

2. Economic Actions Use the principle of “Follow the Money” •

• • • •

Use Scorecards/Rankings/Certification/ Mock Awards to play companies off against each other - Table Shareholder resolutions at Company AGMs Attend the AGMs of Chinese companies in Hong Kong or China Target customers or suppliers as a means to put pressure on companies Engage company staff, customers and suppliers as a means to put pressure on companies. Subvert Company Facebook pages, spoof their websites or their adverts, eg view both the following

Chevron: “We Agree” (Chevron’s advert) http:// “Chevron Thinks we’re stupid” (spoof advert) DW6BdppIgIg

3. Investigations, Exposés and political intervention • •

Promote “Smart Sanctions” (eg get governments to withhold visas for family of leaders etc) Legal Actions, for example the Spanish Tibet lawsuit and legal challenges to police who suppress protest during Chinese leadership visits. Expose the connections/benefits elected representatives have with China/Chinese companies - Dig into Chinese leaders’ pasts



for scandals. See Build websites that visualize China’s influence overseas (Tibet Action Institute)

Task Force Members and Methodology Task Force Member

4. Face to face Meetings/Briefing with media and political figures in China or Tibet

Steering Committee • Tenzin Dorjee (Chair) • Todd Stein • Ran Natanzon • Aloma Sellanes • Philippa Carrick • Dorothy Berger (planning stage) • plus Network Staff: (MandieMcKeown, Tenzin Jigme, Exa Mendez, Tsering Choedup and Alison Reynolds)

We recognize very few groups will have the capacity for this, but it can be extremely effective. • •

Press conferences, briefing sessions (embassy staff and visiting delegations) film screenings. Face to face meetings with Chinese leaders overseas, eg TWA and Sichuan Governor.


5. Withdrawing support/Noncooperation •


• • • •

Boycotts. We recommend these are tightly targeted only, especially in response to the actions of Tibetans in Tibet, eg a boycott of Chinese vegetables, or of products made in prisons. General boycotts are unlikely to make an impact and it can be hard to sustain interest.

Around 30 interviews with people in the movement, in other movements and with experts. Online research. Conference Calls and discussions. Comparisons between the Tactics used in Latin America with those used in South East and East Asia. An online survey for the movement, with almost 120 responses, see below

Summary of contributors to the Tactics Survey • • • • • •

There were 118 responses, but some were incomplete. All the larger Tibet Support Groups responded – ICT, SFT (various offices, note that 13 of 117 people claimed an association with SFT), Free Tibet, ATC, TID. Also Swiss Tibetan Friendship, TJC, US Tibet Committee, CTC, France Tibet etc. The 3 main Tibetan NGOs - TWA, TYC (or someone who claimed to be TYC) and Gu Chu Sum also responded. 40 respondees were Tibetan. 3 respondees were Network staff. One person from Human Rights Watch responded.

Geographically the responses were roughly in proportion with our Membership distribution


hoose the tactics that are most likely to achieve your campaign objectives, but that are also suited to your local

context, your capacity and your skills. The ultimate goal of all our campaigns is for China to genuinely resolve the occupation of Tibet. ”

• • • • • • • • • •

EU including Switzerland – 31%, North America – 21% South Asia – 12% Latin America – 6% Australasia – 4% East Asia – 3% Middle East & Africa – 2.5% South East Asia – 1.5% Unstated – 10% Anonymous – 2.5%




APPENDIX 2 Campaign Tactics Checklist for the International Tibet Network Strategic Plan Remember that the ultimate goal of all campaigns is to put pressure on China over Tibet.





North America - 21% Latin America – 6%


E P O UR EU Including Switzerland - 31%

midd l

South Asia – 12%


$ af east ric

Australasia – 4%


East Asia – 3% South East Asia – 1.5%


1. What is your campaign objective? This should be tangible and realistic, eg “to achieve X” by a target date. 2. What strategy or route do you need to take in order to achieve your objective? eg “to achieve X by getting Y to do Z.” This means your campaign (indeed almost all campaigns) will involve influencing or pressuring someone to behave the way you want to them to behave. 3. Who do you need to target in order to achieve your objective? Who is your audience? These are determined once you have decided on 1. and 2. You will probably have Primary Targets (the people you ultimately need to influence) and Secondary Targets (people whose help you might need to obtain to increase your influence). Your target audiences – Primary and Secondary - might be a government, an individual or a section of the public – or all of these! (Remember the media is not in itself an audience.) You need to answer all these questions above before you can decide which tactics would be most effective in your campaign. We recommend you do a “SWOT” Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) about your organisation to help you identify what you are good – and bad – at, and to identify what opportunities you have to influence your Target Audiences. Once you have this information, you can start to consider which tactics will be most effective. Your tactical decisions should be primarily based on which tactics are most likely to have the correct impact on your audience and therefore help you achieve your campaign objective, but your capacity and your skills and your local context are also important. Note that some tactics can be counter-productive if used in the wrong circumstances. Bigger groups and coalitions of groups can develop multiple strategies (including inside & “outside track), with different target audiences requiring different tactics, but all working towards the same campaign objective. See Appendix 3 for a Planning Template, which takes you through these various questions. The Objectives, simple strategies and Tactics below are examples only, and not comprehensive.

Strand 1 - Tibetans in Tibet First Example Objective “To secure the release of Dhondup Wangchen by the end of 2012”. Strategy A: To apply direct public pressure on China’s leaders/authorities to release Dhondup Wangchen • •


Unstated -10% Anonymous - 2.5%

Target Audience(s): Chinese government (Primary Target), Supporters (Secondary Target) Try: Texting, Faxing, Letter-writing (to prisons, ministries, Chinese media); protests/vigils/projections/ political theatre at Chinese embassies on key dates; Interlocutors

Strategy B: To pressure your government to raise the case of Dhondup Wangchen with China • •

Target Audience(s): Ministers and Government officials (Primary), Elected Representatives (Secondary) Try: Face to face lobbying; building relationships with your country’s Beijing embassy; asking supporters to write personal letters/send faxes; Urgent Action emails; Op-Eds in “high end” newspapers; asking elected representatives to ask questions, table motions; Interlocutors.

Sub-Objective: To build public support and awareness for Tibet by highlighting the case of Dhondup Wangchen. (This will also support Strategies A & B by increasing the numbers of people taking part in those actions.)


Strategy: To use the case of Dhondup Wangchen to plan events and activities that will appeal to new audiences. • •

Target Audience: Supporters, Sympathetic (left-leaning?) public, left-leaning newspapers. Try: Film/music/literature events; talks, tours by former prisoners; viral videos; stickering; social networking, tweeting; petitioning, mass emailing to decision-makers; producing educational materials; ask supporters to change their voicemail to pretend to be a political prisoner; vigils; targeted media (Features) in populist papers.

Strand 2 - Sustained Pressure on Governments/Companies to take action for Tibet and stop harm Example Objective i: To increase the number of elected representatives active on Tibet by 2012.


Strategy: To make sure Tibet is highly visible to Mr Xi and his entourage. • •

Sub-objective B: To get your government to make a public statement of concern about Tibet during the visit. Strategy: To create “irresistible” pressure on the government to act for Tibet. • •

Strategy A: To make direct appeals through a variety of means to elected representatives to support Tibet. • •

Target Audience(s): Elected Representatives (Primary), Interlocutors, Political Media (Secondary) Try: Face to face lobbying; setting up an All Party Group, joining INPaT, suggesting regular activities for action (eg inviting speakers, tabling motions & questions etc); personal letters; making appeals through Interlocutors; Op- Eds/targeted media in political papers. More provocatively, try exposing elected representatives benefiting from links with China, to create outrage/build support from others.

 Strategy B: To demonstrate to elected representatives that there is broad constituency/public support for Tibet • •

Target Audience: Your Supporters and sympathetic members of the public. Try: Lobby Days; constituency meetings; letter-writing.

Example Objective ii: To get a mining company to pull out of Tibet by end of 2012. Strategy A: To directly pressure Company Directors to withdraw Target Audience(s): Company Directors (Primary), Trade Press, Shareholders (Secondary) Try: Phone calls/Texts to Company Directors; attending their Annual shareholder meetings (even tabling a shareholder resolution); using Score Cards to compare the Company unfavourably to competitors; spoofing their advertising, setting up a spoof Facebook page/subverting their own FB page; protests/door-stopping Directors; flyering the workforce to get them onside; targeted media (in trade press), create scandal with exposés of Company activities using information from Tibet for mainstream press; interlocutors Strategy B: To put pressure on the mining company by demonstrating consumer support for the issue. • •

Target Audience(s): Supporters and Members of the Public. Try: Letter-writing, faxing to Company; stickering; spoof ads, social media - subvert the Company’s Facebook page, tweeting; targeted boycott of the Company’s customers or suppliers; mass media.

Strand 3 - Targeting China’s Leaders responsible for Tibet Policy Example Objective: To use the visit of (future President) Xi Jinping to highlight Tibet. Sub-objective A: To show Xi Jinping directly that Tibet is a major concern in your country and is not going away

Target Audience(s): Xi Jinping and his entourage (Primary), Prestigious media (Secondary) Try: protests/Flash Mobs, blockades/tailing or door-stopping, “dilemma” action (*see below) using humour/ridicule, press conference in their hotel, use of Interlocutors, Exposés, stickering.

Target Audience(s): Your Government (Primary) prestigious media programmes listened to/watched by Decision- makers, Interlocutors, elected representatives, other Rights Groups. Try: Op-Eds, Interview on prestigious news programme, Networking with other interest groups, working through elected representatives (Lobby Days, getting representatives to ask Questions/table motions); “dilemma” action which may expose government weakness; Interlocutors, expert seminar; faxes, letters, emails.

Sub-objective C: To use Xi’s visit to raise public awareness and mobilize support for Tibet Strategy: to indelibly link Xi Jinping to Tibet, • •

Target Audience(s): Supporters, potential supporters (Primary), Mass Media (secondary) Try: petitions, Flash Mobs, protests with carefully planned/novel image for mass media coverage; stickering, mass emails, spoof viral videos, tweeting, cultural events.

Strand 4 - Outreach to Chinese People NB Groups need to think very carefully about their objectives for outreach work. Your strategy will depend on what you want the outcome to be. The tactical suggestions below are based on two target audiences; Chinese people known to you, and mass/non-selective outreach. Target Audience A: A known individual or clearly defined group of Chinese people Try: mutual acquaintances/Interlocutors, friendship groups, arranging a film or cultural event to invite them to (perhaps hosted by elected representatives), building a strategic coalition (eg with Chinese human rights defenders), academic exchanges, Target Audience B: Mass outreach or non-selective outreach Try: online outreach – meeting people who want to practice English, flyering/handing out postcards on university campuses in Chinatowns, posting ‘disguised’ videos on Chinese You Tube.



APPENDIX 3 Campaign planning sheet The Planning sheet can be downloaded from capacity-building/

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TIBET NETWORK The International Tibet network is a global coalition of Tibet-related non-governmental organisations. Its purpose is to maximise the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement. The Network works to increase the capacity of individual member organisations, develops coordinated strategic campaigns, and encourages increased cooperation among organisations, thereby strengthening the Tibet Movement as a whole. Network members are committed to non-violence as a fundamental principle of the Tibetan struggle. They regard Tibet as an occupied country and recognise the Tibetan Government in exile as the sole legitimate government of the Tibetan people. Beyond these principles, the International Tibet Network respects the variety of views and opinions of its member organisations, for example concerning Tibet’s future political status, and believes that diversity strengthens our movement. We currently have over 180 member organisations. The Network’s day to day functioning is managed by a small Secretariat, whose work is overseen by an elected Steering Committee. Steering Committee members represent all six continents where there are Tibet Groups.


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