FALL/WINTER TWO THOUSAND SIX
STOP MINING TIBET:
COMPANIES TARGETED FOR DRILLING OPERATIONS The rush of Canadian mining companies seeking to exploit Tibet’s gold and copper resources has sounded alarm bells for Tibetans and their supporters worldwide. Under Chinese occupation, Tibetans are unable to exercise their internationally recognized right to determine the use of their own natural resources. Mine operations pose a serious threat to Tibet’s environment, Tibetans’ cultural survival, and help entrench China’s control over Tibet. The Chinese government is aggressively promoting Tibet to foreign mining firms in order to benefit from Tibet’s resources while consolidating control over the region by moving an ever-increasing number of Chinese settlers into Tibet to work on mining and other resource extraction projects. If international companies are successful in setting up operations in Tibet, it will be an open invitation to Chinese and other foreign firms to join them. This would mean increased extraction of Tibet’s resources without the consent of local people, increased environmental damage, and increased support for the Chinese government’s efforts to move large numbers of Chinese into Tibet. While mining projects would have serious long-term political impacts, they would also have SFT Vancouver Protesting HDI Mining devastating social and economic impacts. For example, gold mining is a process that is particularly destructive to local environments for a number of reasons, including the chemicals that are used to process gold minerals - usually cyanide or arsenic - and the sheer volume of waste rock left behind. One Canadian company, Hunter Dickinson, is drilling at a site in Shethongmon that is very close to the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the main water source for Shigatse, Tibet’s largest city, and other Tibetan communities living downstream. Water contamination would have serious health effects on the local people. Continued on pg. 7
On June 28th, a small group of activists from SFT and Free Tibet Campaign (FTC) arrived in Beijing with one goal: to disrupt the launch of the China-Tibet railway. The momentum had been building for weeks. Hundreds of articles and television programs were focusing on the historic and controversial railway; SFT was preparing for an international day of action as part of the “Reject the Railway” campaign; and scores of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) members had just been arrested for storming the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. Now we had brought the campaign directly to Beijing and were determined to insert the voice of opposition into the stories written by foreign journalists who would be riding the first train to Lhasa.
The courageous activists who staged the Railway banner hang
China’s Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy
From the top of Beijing’s central rail station
Following is a first hand account of how the action unfolded from Kathy Ni Keefe, one of the three women who participated in the action. Kathy is a long-time Tibet supporter and a former member of SFT’s Board of Directors. As we walked to the train station from our hotel on the day of the action, my stomach felt knotted. What would the police response be like? We had heard of western activists being treated leniently in China. And some…not so leniently. What would happen to us? Even as these questions ran through my head, I knew what I needed to do. I knew that my voice could be heard and that I was able and willing to carry out this action. I knew that the Tibetans inside Tibet who have grave concerns about this railway could not speak out as I could without the risk of imprisonment, torture, and even death. We had prepared well and we were ready. Omi Hodwitz of Canada and Katie Mallin of the United Kingdom were the other two activists who took part in this action. As we walked into the station, my nervousness subsided. We were in motion. Omi took a walk past the window to make sure all was well while Katie and I sipped orange soda at a café. It was time. One by one, we climbed through the window and out onto the ledge. People crowded the square below, filing into the station, on their way to journeys unknown to us. With our banner unfurled, we stood delivering our message: “China’s Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy”. This train is a lie. It was not built for Tibetans. It is a political move by Chinese government officials. It is designed to destroy. We expected to get hauled away quickly and aggressively and were surprised that we were able to stand out on the ledge for at least five minutes. Security had seen us, but apparently no one wanted to take responsibility. Finally, the police came, took us back inside, and led us to the police station across the square. After a few hours of questioning about why and how we did this, we were free to go. This quick release seemed to be a decision from up on high…a desire from the Chinese leadership to make us go away as quickly as possible – and a sign that the pressure and mounting scrutiny around the railway was being felt.
2 E.D. Letter
6 Chapter Updates
3 Rejecting The Railway Olympics Update 4 Free Tibet! Action Camp VII 7 Inside Tibet ‘07 Featured Speakers Bhuchung Sonam Poem
Dear Friends, The Chinese government opened the first rail service from Beijing to Lhasa in July. This longtouted Chinese project was an extremely depressing moment for Tibetans and supporters everywhere because this railway is meant to inextricably link Tibet to China and swamp Tibet with Chinese migrants in order to annihilate Tibetan culture. At SFT, we knew that we could not stop the launch but we were adamant about seizing this historic moment to put the voice of Tibetan resistance and opposition firmly on the record. On the eve of the inaugural run, three SFT and Free Tibet Campaign activists unfurled a banner on Beijing’s Central Railway Station reading “China’s Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy” (see article on page 1). This action, along with the global, SFT-led, “Reject the Railway” campaign, helped to expose the truth about China’s plan for this new line. Following closely on the heels of the Railway opening is yet another historic campaign opportunity. August 8, 2007 will mark one-year to the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremonies. At SFT, we’re planning global Countdown Actions for this date in order to highlight the link between China’s Games and their occupation of Tibet. This Fall/Winter we will launch the “One World, One Dream: Free Tibet” and “Team Tibet” campaigns and expand our leadership training to focus specifically on Beijing 2008. tWe have worked hard to respond to the brutal shooting of Tibetan refugees by Chinese soldiers at Nangpa Pass on September 30th. This atrocity was witnessed and documented by hundreds of Western mountaineers at a nearby Everest base camp. Their footage, photographs, and testimony – along with the first-hand testimony of these Tibetan refugees – have shown the world the startling extent of China’s ongoing brutality against Tibetans. Our fight for truth and accountability goes on – we’re currently trying to secure information about the thirty-two Tibetans missing following the shooting and believed to be in Chinese custody. And speaking of leadership training, we just hosted our first Free Tibet! Action Camp in India. This Camp represents an exciting turning point for SFT as we further expand our network and programs. Since the first Action Camp in Florida in 2000, we’ve wanted to go to India to work with the Tibetan and Indian youth - the young people on the forefront of the struggle for Tibet’s independence. Over the last couple of years, SFT members in India have effectively led and organized cuttingedge campaigns in India mobilizing a wave of young Tibetan and Indian activists. The camp was an inspiring and wonderful experience for everyone and we look forward to seeing this training help make SFT India’s work for Tibet even more effective. From SFT HQ, we feel privileged and inspired to have had the opportunity to support them in this way. Bod Rangzen! Free Tibet! In solidarity, Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director
SFT’s new Board of Directors
Board of Directors’ Letter Greetings from the new Students for a Free Tibet Board of Directors! At your service with great respect and honor is a dynamic board from a diversity of backgrounds, professions and personal experiences. After our summer meeting in Connecticut we are more enthusiastic than ever to be here for each of you and our marvelous staff, supporting all efforts to educate and activate our chapters and communities worldwide! Students for a Free Tibet thrives on the energies of you, the members. With your time and your dedication to SFT’s mission, we on the Board are inspired to make a continued commitment to do what we do best: effect change when others simply think that it’s impossible! Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with questions, ideas, challenges and your successes. In solidarity, Heidi Basch
THANK YOU HAN
Han-shan, SFT’s Development Director, has transitioned from staff member to a new role as the Chair of SFT’s recently formed Leadership Council. Han has been working at SFT HQ for the past three and a half years and while we are sad to see him leave his full-time role at SFT, we’re comforted by the fact that he’s not going far. Han will stay in New York and take charge of the Leadership Council, which will engage SFT alumni and former board and staff members more actively in the organization. On behalf of the entire SFT network, the Board and Staff wants to say a big THANK YOU to Han for all of his incredible work raising critical funds for SFT over the past few years. Because of his efforts, we are in a better position to take full advantage of the opportunity the Beijing 2008 Olympics present us.
To fill Han’s big shoes we are lucky to have Tenzin Chokey, a former staff member of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in Dharamsala, India. Chokey worked at TCHRD for six and a half years before moving to the U.S. to attend the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Aside from being an outspoken Tibetan activist, Chokey is a natural fundraiser and talented singer and air guitarist!
AND WELCOME KALAYA’AN SFT’S NEW GRASSROOTS COORDINATOR
SFT is lucky to have the wonderfully energetic and outspoken Kalaya’an Mendoza as our new Grassroots Coordinator. Kala has been a member of SFT for seven years at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has also served as a Regional Coordinator for the past 5 years. Kala is bringing an incredible amount of energy and organizing experience to SFT HQ and we are all looking forward to his full-time presence in the office. Welcome Kala and watch out China!
CHINESE SHOOT TIBETAN REFUGEES AT NANGPA PASS On September 30th, Chinese border troops opened fire at a caravan of seventy-three Tibetans fleeing to Nepal through Nangpa Pass. Kelsang Namtso, a seventeen year-old nun from Nagchu Prefecture, was killed and twenty year-old Kunsang Namgyal is also feared dead. The incident drew international attention after foreign mountaineers released video footage – as well as photographic evidence and their oral testimonies – of Chinese soldiers taking aim and opening fire at the line of Tibetan refugees. China claimed their soldiers were acting in self-defense, but the footage and the witnesses clearly prove them wrong. The Chinese government’s perpetration of human rights abuses in Tibet has been exposed to the global community at a time when China is trying so hard to show a respectable face to the world. The European Union, Canada, the United States, and many other nations issued strong rebukes against China for the shooting, which violated international laws protecting the movement of refugees across borders. Despite all the media attention and foreign diplomatic pressure, thirty-two Tibetans from the group, including fourteen children, are reported to have been detained by Chinese border forces. Chinese officials have yet to release information about any of the detainees’ whereabouts or well-being. SFT is stepping up the campaign for their release and demanding an immediate end to the attacks by Chinese border patrol on Tibetan refugees. Join the call for the release of these captured Tibetan refugees by visiting: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/nangpadetainees 2
REJECTING THE RAILWAY: ST JULY 1 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION IN PROTEST OF THE CHINA-TIBET RAILWAY LAUNCH On July 1st, the China-Tibet railway opened and the first train to travel directly from Beijing to Lhasa rolled out of the Beijing Railway Station. The train launch was not only representative of a new era in Tibet’s relationship with China, but also invoked the fear Tibetans share that the Chinese Communist Party will use the railway to further its colonization of Tibet. The rail line is a low cost ticket for an evergrowing number of Chinese people and military personnel to settle in Tibet, further marginalizing the local Tibetan population. Tibetans refusal to abandon their culture, identity and quest for independence, even after fifty years of occupation, religious repression, and mass re-education campaigns, has forced the Chinese government to inundate Tibet with Chinese settlers in the hopes of destroying the Tibetan identity. Not only will the railway be used to facilitate this population transfer, but it will also be a means to further exploit Tibet’s natural resources without the consent of the Tibetan people. We’ve seen this come to light in recent months as more and more foreign owned companies are maximizing on Tibet’s resource extraction market. The railway is a key component in the Chinese government’s plan to wipe out Tibetan identity and culture in order to secure their hold over Tibet.
International Day of Action against Bombardier
With so much at stake for the Tibetan people and their environment, it was no surprise that Tibetans and their supporters fiercely challenged the opening of the railway. July 1st was marked as a Black Day for Tibet and in the weeks leading up to the launch of the railway, SFT India spearheaded the Reject the Railway campaign. All around the world, Tibetans and their supporters donned black armbands as a symbol of Tibetan resistance to the railway and to show solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet. The widespread opposition was captured online at RejectTheRailway.com, including pictures of former Tibetan political prisoners, Tibetan soccer stars, Tibet’s most famous freedom fighters, and the who’s who of Dharamsala, all wearing the black armbands. Shop owners in Dharamsala also participated by displaying black flags and closed business on July 1st. The Day of Action was launched on the eve of the train’s first departure, when three Tibet supporters were detained in Beijing after unfurling a banner reading “China’s Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy” off Beijing’s Central Rail Station. Meanwhile, in the hours that followed, demonstrations erupted all around the world. In London, two members of SFT and Tibetan Youth UK blockaded the entrance of a luxury travel exhibit to protest GW Travel, a UK based company promoting travel on the China-Tibet rail line. They were eventually removed by security as Tenzin Tsundue - famous Tibetan freedom fighter and poet - and others confronted GW representatives at their booth. In North America, demonstrations were staged at Chinese consulates and embassies from coast to coast, including in New York, DC, Ottawa, Chicago, Vancouver, and San Francisco. The news coverage of the day’s events was broadcast around the world and we successfully challenged China’s claim that the railway will bring economic development to Tibet. We exposed the real motivation behind the railway, which is to strengthen the Chinese government’s illegal occupation of Tibet and scandalized Beijing’s much-touted launch. There have already been reports of structural problems along the rail line and even Chinese scientists are warning that the effects of melting permafrost (as a result of global warming) will dramatically damage the structural integrity of the line. It’s only a matter of time before the train, like China’s occupation of Tibet, is derailed for good.
TWO YEARS AND COUNTING
August 8th, 2006 marked the two-year countdown to the Beijing 2008 Olympics Games. This fourteen-day spectacle stands to be the most watched Olympics Games, if not the most watched event, in human history. China held the first experimental contest, a softball tournament, a carefully scripted production that included spectators who were bused in and made to cheer on cue. During the first press briefing for the Beijing Games, held this past September, Chinese officials assured over 300 media representatives present that journalists would experience ‘good working conditions’ during the Games, including uninhibited travel and uncensored media access. Such ambitious promises stand in stark contrast to the current obstacles faced by foreign media working in China. Amnesty International’s most recent report on human rights in China documents how the Chinese government is failing to fulfill the human rights commitments it made when it awarded the Games in 2001. Of particular concern was the continued crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, and internet users. These findings were echoed in another report released by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Beijing, which cites that over 38 foreign journalist have been detained in the past two years for covering stories deemed ‘politically sensitive’ by the authorities. As the Games approach, censorship and control of the foreign media has increased, not decreased. The Chinese government’s dependency on foreign media to portray China as a progressive and democratic state is essential to their Olympic success. However, it’s this reliance that is also their primary weakness. With so much at stake it is inevitable that the Chinese government will censor political information during the Games. Journalists don’t appreciate this censorship and will likely strive to tell the world what’s going on inside of China, whether the Chinese government likes it or not. Media figures are already contacting SFT to find out what we’re going to do to take advantage of the world’s attention on China during the Olympic Games. Over the next two years, Tibetans and their supporters have an unprecedented opportunity to unmask the Chinese leadership for who they really are - an authoritarian and oppressive regime - and have it broadcasted from a global platform. The 2008 Olympic Games will be a pivotal moment for the Tibet movement and together we can ensure the issue of Tibetan independence is discussed in every news story about the Beijing Games. We’ll drive a wedge in China’s illegal and illegitimate rule over Tibet for once and for all - and we’ll use their own tools against them to succeed. “One World, One Dream” is the official slogan of the Beijing Games. On August 8th, SFT announced our Olympics slogan: “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet.” This is an example of how we will use the opportunities provided to us by China’s Olympic propaganda campaign to promote the message of Tibetan freedom. We’ll use innovative and creative tactics to spread our version of the Olympic slogan around the world so that by 2008 people will be associating the Olympics with a Free Tibet. SFTers around the world are already asking each: Where will you be in August 2008? Will you be helping to coordinate a mass protest at the Chinese embassy in London or Paris or New York? Will you be in Hong Kong? Or in Beijing? Wherever you plan to be, we can use your skills and your talents to make these Olympics more than just the most watched event in history. Together we can make August 2008 the tipping point, the moment in history when Tibetan freedom was recognized globally as inevitable.
FREE TIBET! AC
I decided to attend Free Tibet! Action Camp VII as I had gained so much from the previous year’s Action Camp. Feeling that it was only right to give something back to SFT, I decided to be a volunteer for the week. I had a great time, being a member of a team helping out with general camp maintenance. We all had loads of fun, and it was really satisfying to see that we were helping the participants have a great time. In my free time I managed to participate in some of the advanced training sessions that were being offered. The quality of the training was first-rate, with all sessions being both informative and engaging. My action planning and facilitation skills have all improved as a result – I’m that much closer to becoming a master campaigner! Free Tibet! Action Camp was an amazing event. It was truly international, with fellow activists hailing from all over Europe, North America and even Tibet (via India)! Meeting such dedicated people from such a wide array of backgrounds was very inspiring. Action Camp allowed real partnerships to develop between campaigners the world over, and encouraged all participants to (at least) double their efforts to help free Tibet! It was a great privilege to be part of such a fantastic event. I’ll never forget the experience I had, and would strongly urge anyone who has the chance to go on future action camps to do so. You’ll learn some great skills and meet some amazing people. Free Tibet! Action Camp rules! Robert Slinn, United Kingdom
TION CAMP VII
My interest on Tibet and Tibetan culture started in the year 1989 when the Dalai Lama got the Nobel Peace Prize. In this year I was a young schoolboy and writing my first article on the Tibetan issue for the student magazine. My interest was always both cultural and political. Since this time Iâ€™ve supported the cause of a free and independent Tibet, because it is my belief that human rights and the protection of the Tibetan people, culture and nature is only possible in a Tibet free from Chinese oppression. At Action Camp I saw the tools of activism for Tibet come alive in perfectly organized workshops. I got to meet so many of the hardcore SFT activists Iâ€™d seen on the website and in news reports - real people with real ambitions for Tibet independence. The camp and the people were much more exciting then I dared to expect. It was a perfect mixture of learning, fun and the Tibetan spirit. I learned how to use media skills, the way grassroots organizations run and the rules of fundraising. There was a lot of space to practice direct action and for intellectual exchanges with people from all over the world. I remember a week without internet, without Pepsi and one week of delicious vegetarian food. I remember climbing and listening to Techung and his great music. I remember the smiling of the nuns... Action speaks louder than words and this is true. Thank you for the memories! Jonas Hiermer, Germany
CHAPTER UPDATES: NEWS FROM THE FIELD Brooklyn Free School The SFT Brooklyn Free School Chapter’s biggest undertaking this year was education and community outreach. Through these activities we were able to collect over 400 hundred signatures of people calling for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and the Panchen Lama. It was extremely fulfilling to see hundreds of people actively calling for Tibet’s independence. Working intimately with the SFT staff in New York we were able to plan a small protest at the Chinese mission to the United Nations. Because we didn’t look like a big group of angry protesters, rather much more like a couple of dedicated high school SFTers, a Chinese mission official came out to hustle us away. This is when one of our chapter members seized the opportunity to engage the official in a quick dialogue. The official left frustrated and defeated. We got our point across face to face with a mission official. We learned that grassroots youth action can be an incredibly powerful force of protest.
University of Hawaii We started the school year off with an SFT planning meeting. We are having a garage sale to raise money for the club in about two weeks. I was also thinking that if we made enough money we would have a raffle and someone in the club would win a trip to go see the Dalai Lama speak. We were going to make the trip to Vancouver in September to see him, but we heard he will be in Maui in April so we will definitely go see him then. Since March we have done many things. We have had Tibetan Movie night at the University. We have silk screened Free Tibet t-shirts to sell. We had a dinner for the Tibetan girls who are living here in Hawaii, and have done other small events. Thanks to all activists doing work for SFT around the world and take care. Love Chance
After the protest we realized that though well supplied and assisted by the SFT office, we had not raised a penny for SFT all year! So we spent the rest of the year fundraising. It was during the summer that we saw how useful our donations were when put in action – through Action Camp in Europe to the international Day of Action against Bombardier. Nick Gulotta
SFT France relaxes during their latest Action Camp
Charles D. Owen High School Our Chapter here in Western North Carolina has continued in educating people around the world about the situation in Tibet. Our multilingual chapter spreads information to people through the internet in countries such as South Korea, Germany, Taiwan, and now the Phillipines. We have members who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, German, spanish, French, and now Tagalog (thanks to our newest member). Chuck Lee
SFT CANADA UPDATE
SFT Canada members have been busier than ever this past five months. We kicked off the summer with SFT Canada’s 4th Annual National Conference, which took place in Montreal in early May. This was also the first year that many of SFT Canada’s board members and active volunteers helped to co-facilitate conference workshops, giving them the experience needed to run similar training sessions in their local schools, colleges, and universities. With the completion of the China-Tibet railway and its impending launch, we were at Bombardier’s annual shareholders meeting in Montreal to remind their executives and investors that Tibetans and Canadians will continue to hold the company accountable for its actions in Tibet. When a resolution to adopt a human rights policy was defeated, two SFT members disrupted the meeting, unfurling a Tibetan flag and denouncing Bombardier’s unethical business practices. The Canadian Institute of Mining held its Annual Mining Exhibition and Conference in Vancouver and SFTers disrupted a presentation by Hunter Dickinson/Continental Minerals, a Canadian SFT Canada national conference company currently drilling in central Tibet, calling on the company to withdraw from Tibet. In June we also attended Continental’s Annual General Meeting and actually outnumbered the shareholders! Outside the meeting, we visibly displayed our message, “Continental Minerals: Hands off Tibet,” which garnered local and international media attention. During His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Vancouver, the Canadian government conferred honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama, making him only the third person in history, after Raoul Wallenberg and Nelson Mandela, to receive this honor. It was a proud moment for Tibetans and Tibet supporters. Reflecting on the past four months and looking forward to the year ahead, SFT Canada is raring to go. In the past two years, our organization has not only grown but also matured and we’re excited to now take SFT Canada to the next level and focus our work on the Beijing Olympic Games! Kate Woznow, SFT Canada National Coordinator
SFT INDIA UPDATE
As SFT India jumps into its second year of operation we are incredibly excited to announce our launch of the campaign leading up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Many in the Free Tibet movement, including SFT India, see the next two years as a crucial point in time for Tibet. The Chinese Government has invited the whole world to see how developed and progressive China has become therefore it is our job to expose China’s brutal truth and continue the fight for Tibet’s independence. Here in Dharamsala we have constructed a count down clock that will be situated in the center of Mcleod Ganj Dharamsala marking off the time until the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. We hope the clock will continue to fuel the buildup to the Olympics and in turn spread awareness about the upcoming Games in China. As we begin to spearhead this new campaign, we would like to encourage you to get involve and take action by doing various activities in your own area. By simply showing a film on Tibet, or hosting small discussions in your schools, universities and community, so that you can also build a mini Free Tibet movement on your campus.
SFT India’s Countdown to the Olymics
We are excited to be organizing Free Tibet! Action Camp VIII, which for the first time took place in India. The camp was held from October 10th – 16th here in Garoh Village, Dharamsala, HP India. India being strategically vital to our freedom struggle, we have found the need to empower ourselves as leaders and activists in this global movement for justice. By hosting this international Action Camp we hope to inspire Tibetan, Indian, and Burmese youth by providing them with the right tools, resources, and confidence to take strategic direct and effective action in their respective communities. Tenzin Choeying, SFT India National Coordinator 6
Recent wave of Arrests Reported in Tibet; Young Writer Handed 10-year Prison Sentence Over the past months, reports from inside Tibet have confirmed China’s arrest of a number of Tibetans for political activities. According to Radio Free Asia, authorities have detained eight monks in the past year alone from the southeastern Tibetan region. Lobsang Palden, a twenty-two year old monk from Karze monestary, was arrested on August 15th after Chinese authorities stormed his dormitory and reportedly found photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has consequently been charged with inciting separatist activities. Khenpo Jinpa, the abbot of a major Tibetan monastery located in the same region, was arrested on August 23rd, possibly in connection with independence leaflets that were being displayed at the monastery one year previously. In a similar but isolated incident that took place in June, Yiwang, a 16-year-old girl, was arrested in the same region in connection with a crackdown on pro-independence leafleting. Yiwang, a student at Karze Middle School, is suspected of writing material in the leaflets and despite her young age, Chinese authorities appear to be proceeding with her trial. In a more recent incident reported by the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a 23-year-old monk demosntrated in Lhasa on September 3rd before being whisked away by Public Security Bureau officials. While the identity of the monk could not be confirmed, he is from Nechung Village, Toelung Dechen County, in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. With the Beijing Olympics less than two years away, these arrests have come at a time when the Chinese government is supposed to be living up to its promise of human rights reform. However, the evidence so far points to the contrary: China’s leadership appears to be hardening its position on dissent. The case of Dolma Kyab, a 29-year-old writer from Lhasa sentenced to ten years in prison for expressing his views about Tibet, is a stark example of Beijing’s apparent shift. In March 2005, Dolma Kyab was arrested in Lhasa at the high school where he was a history teacher and detained on what are believed to have been charges of ‘endangering state security.’ This charge can apply to a host of accusations, including spreading ‘state secrets,’ which, under Chinese rule, includes referring to Tibet’s history as an independent state. He was subsequently convicted in a closed trial on September 16, 2005 and is now serving a 10-year prison term. At the time of his arrest, Kyab had been working on a book manuscript entitled The Restless Himalayas, in which he writes about Tibet’s geography, history, and religion. His family filed an appeal on his behalf last November, which was rejected despite reports that he was in poor medical condition after having contracted tuberculosis in prison. SFT is currently campaigning for Dolma Kyab’s release. Take action for Dolma Kyab and the innocent Tibetans recently arrested in Tibet at http://actionnetwork. org/campaign/Tibet_arrests/
SFT’S FEATURED SPEAKERS: SCHOOL YEAR 06-07 The following scholars, artists and leaders have been selected to represent SFT during this school year. These resource persons are uniquely accomplished in their field of expertise or widely known for their outstanding contribution to the Tibetan cause. We encourage our chapters to enrich their campuses and communities by inviting these experts to give a presentation, tell their heartbreaking story, show a film, or spend an evening with the students. To book any of the following speakers, please contact SFT’s Grassroots Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 358-0071.
1000TH DAY IN DRAPCHI SOLITARY CONFINEMENT by Bhuchung D. Sonam
If you only drag me out I’ll accept all your accusations And sign the confession documents. NO. I don’t need to be forced I’m physically a broken man. But of course you can practice Your new round-kicks on me I am a lifeless mass. I feel hot in this cold cell I hear voices in the silence. My ruptured life is Bombarded by fragmented images My bleeding nose smells Aroma of incense long burnt out Curling blue smoke lingers In my hazy mind. I am addicted to shock-waves Please prod me with your electric-baton. Why is there no sting in your voice today Clear your vocal chords, redden your face Show veins on your neck, gnarl your nose I like to hear a real shout.
Geshe Lobsang Tenpa A Tibetan Buddhist monk, received his geshe degree from Drepung Monastery. He is a student and longtime friend of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a widely respected teacher in eastern Tibet now serving a life sentence as a prisoner of conscience under Chinese rule. Geshe Tenpa has traveled across Europe and America, introducing audiences to the truth about Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. In his talk “Sentenced to Death,” Geshe Tenpa will tell the story of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s life, his contributions to Tibetan society, and his ongoing struggle as an innocent man serving a life sentence.
Hit harder on my belly
Ngawang Sangdrol The youngest of the Drapchi-14 political prisoners, spent 11 years in prison for chanting Tibetan independence slogans in Lhasa. Ngawang was only 13 years old when she was first imprisoned by the Chinese authorities. Later, when she and a group of nuns in prison recorded freedom songs and smuggled out the tapes, her sentence was extended to 21 years. A symbol of resistance to Tibetans, she continues to inspire people.
I can see Buddha more clearly.
Han Shan Han was born and raised in Baltimore. After serving as the WTO Action Coordinator in the lead-up to the historic demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, he became Program Director of the Ruckus Society. The Washington Post called Han “one of the most visible figures of the protests” against the WTO, World Bank and IMF. He served on SFT’s Board of Directors for three years before serving as SFT’s Development Director for another three years.
Upon the high windy pass.
Thupten Tsering A Tibetan filmmaker living in California, grew up in Nepal and India and attended the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharamsala. After co-directing the award-winning feature film “Windhorse,” he began working for SFT in 1999 as the Grassroots Coordinator. He left the staff in 2001, but still spends countless hours organizing and fundraising for SFT in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his talk, “The Discontents of Tibetan Youth,” Thupten will address the challenges, frustrations and temptations facing Tibetan youth.
Hang me upside down It drives me high that way It helps me focus my mind
Red star on your shoulder is fading Snow lions are wriggling hard
Are these illusions or imaginations? Drag me out of this darkness And I will sign the confession. There is nothing left of me Except the truth languishing in my mind. From Conflict of Duality, Published 2006
Continued from cover. SFT is intensifying its efforts to force Canadian mining companies to withdraw from current exploratory drilling and mining operations in Tibet. Foreign companies have no business partnering with the Chinese government in occupied Tibet and we need your help to stop them in their tracks. We recently launched a website about this issue, StopMiningTibet.com, to raise public awareness and support for the campaign. Each of the companies’ logos is prominently displayed and visitors to the site are encouraged to voice their opposition by sending faxes and letters to the company executives. Already, more than 1,500 faxes have been sent the CEO of Continental Minerals, a subsidiary of Hunter Dickinson Inc! SFT has been victorious in thwarting the Chinese government’s plans to profit from its occupation of Tibet in the past. As was the case with the World Bank, BP Amoco, and Bombardier campaigns, mining companies will face embarrassing public scrutiny, rowdy protests, and hard-hitting actions if they continue their involvement in Tibet. Tibet’s resources belong to Tibetans and until local communities are freely able to determine the use of their natural resources, the Chinese government and foreign owned companies must keep out! Check StopMiningTibet.com for ways you can get involved in the campaign.
If undeliverable please return to: Students for a Free Tibet 602 East 14th Street, 2nd Floor NY, NY 10009 USA
Dates to Remember October 10-16: Free Tibet! Action Camp VIII in Dharamsala, India December 2: Commemoration of the sentencing of Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup December 10: International Human Rights Day & Anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s
Nobel Peace Prize January 4-10: Free Tibet! Action Camp IX in Madre Grande, California February 18: Losar Black armbands to protest the China-Tibet railway launch
banned in tibet
March 10: Tibetan National Uprising Day April 25: Panchen Lama’s Birthday
Editor: Matt Browner-Hamlin Design & Layout: Juice Design SFT HQ: Lhadon Tethong Executive Director Tenzin Dorjee Deputy Director Tenzin Chokey Development Director Matt Browner-Hamlin Operations Director Kate Woznow Campaign Coordinator Kalaya’an Mendoza Grassroots Coordinator SFT India: Tenzin Choeying National Coordinator Tenzin Choeden Program Director Board of Directors: Heidi Basch, Bianca Bockman, Sam Chapin, Paul Donowitz Secretary, Nathan Freitas Chair, Jonathan Hulland, Tsering Lama, Kurt Langer, Tenzin Nyesang, Tenzin Palkyi, Michelle Ridlen Treasurer, Rick Roth, Emily Sachs, Nima Taylor, Shana Warshawsky, Tenzin Wangyal Banned in Tibet is a semi-annual newsletter published by Students for a Free Tibet. SFT works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. As a chapter-based network of young people and activists in 35 countries around the world, we use education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action to campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom. Students for a Free Tibet International Headquarters 602 East 14th Street, 2nd Floor NY, NY 10009 USA 212.358.0071 Fax: 212.358.1771 www.studentsforafreetibet.org blog.studentsforafreetibet.org
JOIN STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET Name: Address: Phone: Email: School: $20 Individual Student Membership I have also enclosed a donation of:
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Please make your check payable to Students for a Free Tibet and send to: Students for a Free Tibet, 602 East 14th St, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10009 USA. Credit card donations can be made at: www.studentsforafreetibet.org Students for a Free Tibet is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.
SFT's Fall 2006 newsletter