SPRING TWO THOUSAND SIX
BREAKING UP WITH GOOGLE Our hearts broke on January 25th when Google - the company with the motto “Don’t Be Evil” - announced a shocking new partnership with the Chinese government. The following day, Google.cn was launched. This custom-built search platform does Beijing’s dirty work by censoring and distorting the truth about topics like Tibet, Taiwan, human rights and even the word “censorship” itself! As if this wasn’t bad enough, Google framed their decision as an “all or nothing” scenario, saying Protesting Kaifu Lee, Google China’s President, at Stanford that it was a tough decision for them to censor information but that it was better to be operating in China than not at all. But this is a lie. Google was already operating in China and was considered the #1 most popular search-engine with Chinese users. What they didn’t have was the #1 market-share. And so, hoping that they would be #1 some day soon, Google decided to get in bed with the nasty authorities in Beijing. The good news is that we didn’t take this betrayal lying down. Lovers of freedom and human rights around the world jumped into action, demonstrating at Google HQ, trailing and protesting Google China’s President, Kaifu Lee, when he spoke at Stanford and Berkeley recruiting events, and signing people up to “Break up” with Google on Valentine’s Day. And so began the “NoLuv4Google” campaign. Google’s disgraceful actions – and similar moves by Yahoo, Microsoft, and Cisco – prompted the US Congress to hold hearings into how American Internet and technology companies do business inside of China. Lhadon Tethong, SFT’s Executive Director, met with Tom Lantos, Ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, and his staff to talk about Google’s involvement with China and to thank the Congressman for his leadership on this important issue. As of late February, we are waiting for legislation to be introduced by Representative Chris Smith that will effectively make Google’s censorship of the Internet in China illegal. Learn more online and break up with Google at www.NoLuv4Google.com Lhadon Tethong
Valentine’s Day of Action at Google HQ
Street Theater at Google’s Ofﬁce in New York City
Lhadon and Congressman Tom Lantos
FROM TURIN 2006 TO BEIJING 2008 WHAT WILL THE OLYMPICS IN CHINA LOOK LIKE? With the winter Olympics in Turin over now, all eyes turn towards the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. As we begin the ﬁnal countdown to the big day, the question on everyone’s mind seems to be: how open will China really be? With protests by human rights activists and any number of Chinese interest groups likely, the international media is already questioning Beijing’s ability to exercise restraint while maintaining calm and control. Their usual heavy handed-tactics won’t go over well with the whole world watching. There is even speculation Taiwan could use the Games as a cover to make moves towards independence. Recent government crackdowns on human rights in China suggest that prospects for openness are not looking good. In January, an extremely popular news supplement of the Communist Youth League was banned, sparking great internal protest and dissent in the Party. A large number of non-governmental organizations have been forced to close, reform-minded lawyers have been jailed, village protesters shot and killed and in Tibet, a return to “re-education” policies has led to unrest, imprisonments and renewed restrictions on the monasteries. Even an animal rights movement by Tibetans to burn illegal furs and skins from endangered wildlife - an act within the boundaries of Chinese law - has been met with detentions and tightened security. Throughout it all the International Olympic Committee has arrogantly maintained
2 Tashi Delek
6 Chapter Updates
that human rights in China and Tibet are not their concern. But there is evidence that they are feeling the heat. During the Games in Turin the IOC was compelled to send a representative to meet with three Tibetans on hunger strike outside the Olympic Village. They pleaded with the Tibetans, including the elderly monk and former political prisoner, Palden Gyatso, to end the strike and assured them they would raise the issue of human rights in Tibet during the ﬁnal IOC press conference. And while they stopped short of committing to pressure China directly, and refused to put anything in writing, their response shows the IOC wants the world to see them addressing some of these issues. The IOC is worried about what might happen in Beijing if they don’t. And so they should be. The Olympic Games in China offer all of us ﬁghting for freedom and human rights, whether Tibetan, Uighur, Falun Gong, or other, an unprecedented opportunity to expose the Chinese Communist Party’s brutality. The Chinese government has invited the whole world in to see what a modern and progressive nation they’ve become -it’s our job to expose this is a lie. For Tibetans, the Beijing 2008 Olympics are not the only battle we’ve got to ﬁght in our future but it will be a decisive one. The Chinese plan to use the Games to legitimize their rule in Tibet once and for all. It’s up to us to make sure they fail. And in doing so, we will make history. Lhadon Tethong
3 SFT India
4 Winter Leadership Training
Spanish Lawsuit Tenzin Delek
The SFT Blog Has Moved!
“It never rains, but it pours.” That’s the best way I can sum up life at SFT HQ and in the Tibet Movement these days. From the “fur burning” movement inside Tibet to Google actions, board meetings, leadership trainings, Olympic planning and preparation for our summer programs including Free Tibet! Action Camp, things have been rather hectic. But as always, the action has kept us on our toes and motivated us to work harder. Watching Tibetans inside Tibet respond to the Dalai Lama’s appeal to protect wildlife and stop wearing fur-lined clothing and skins from endangered species has been a moving experience (Read article on this page). The spontaneous public gatherings, mass burnings of these priceless furs and the speed at which the movement spread reminds us all that Tibetans inside Tibet are strong and leaves no question as to whom they remain loyal. Fifty years of occupation have not changed their hearts - from this we draw new strength and inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, some of us have had a little too much fun with the “NoLuv4Google” campaign (Read article on page 1). The Valentine’s “Breakup” theme provided a humorous outlet for many people to numb the pain of Google’s betrayal. It’s been fun watching the action spread around the globe and draw much-needed attention to this important issue. Many blogs and media outlets linked to SFT’s NoLuv4Google.com site and the actions of SFTers received unprecedented attention from the press. As I write this, the Winter Olympics in Turin are drawing to a close. All eyes now turn to the Summer Olympics in Beijing in August 2008. This is our chance to show the world, and the Chinese leadership, that Tibet belongs to Tibetans and nobody else. We’re ready for this battle and we hope you’re all planning to get involved and help us make history. As the Beijing Olympic Games draw closer we need to widen our circle of supporters in order to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. Each and every dollar makes a difference – allowing us to create more materials, organize more trainings and coordinate more actions. SFT has been given a matching grant by one of our best supporters. Every new dollar we raise this year will be matched up to $40,000! This means, if you’ve never donated before, your $50 donation will immediately turn into $100. If you have donated in the past year, any amount you give above your last gift will be matched. This means double the bang for your buck and it’s just what SFT needs right now to live up to our potential. We hope you will help. Bod rangzen. Free Tibet. Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director
FROM THE DESK OF HEAVY-METAL HAN (SFT’S FUNDRAISER!)
Tibet Will Be Free, the SFT HQ blog, has moved off of our Blogger site and is now located at http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org. Tibet Will Be Free is now based on WordPress, a great, free blog platform. Google owns Blogger and we didn’t want to give them our business. Tibet Will Be Free was a major tool in our campaign against Google for us to promote our analysis and criticisms of Google’s partnership with the Chinese government. Our work on Tibet Will Be Free was mentioned multiple times on Boing Boing, the most popular blog on the net. If you want to move your blog off of Blogger, visit http://wordpress.com to get started. Tenzin “Hollywood” Dorjee
Tibetan Monks Arrested, Monastery Closed After Rare Protest Chinese authorities in Tibet arrested ﬁve monks and closed off their monastery amid rare protests against an intensiﬁed campaign to crack down on followers of the Dalai Lama, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. Public Security Bureau (PSB) ofﬁcials took a senior monk, Khenpo Nawang Phelgyal, and four colleagues into custody on Nov. 23 at Drepung monastery in Lhasa, capital of the Chinese-run Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), sources inside China said. Chinese security ofﬁcials also secured the monastery, stopping all incoming and outgoing trafﬁc, sources told RFA’s Tibetan service on condition of anonymity. The move comes amid a renewed “patriotic education” campaign in recent months aimed at boosting support inside Tibetan Buddhist monasteries for the Chinese government—and at the expense of monks loyal to Tibet’s exiled leader, the Dalai Lama. “During the course of the patriotic education campaigns in Drepung monastery, the Chinese ofﬁcials insisted on the monks’ condemning the Dalai Lama and opposing separatists,” one source said. “But Khenpo Nawang Phelgyal and other monks in Drepung refused to comply.” Two days later, an unknown number of monks from Drepung monastery staged a rare protest in which they gathered at the monastery cathedral courtyard and sat in silence, sources said. PSB ofﬁcials threatened to remove them by force and sealed the monastery to prevent anyone entering or leaving, the sources said. “No devotees are allowed to go inside and no monks were allowed to move out of the monastery. There were several Chinese soldiers inside and around Drepung monastery,” said one source. “The patriotic re-education campaign is in full swing,” one source inside China said. “We are divided into small committees of 20 monks. Sometimes we are ordered to ﬁll out forms, and sometimes they give [us] questionnaires, and we have to ﬁll in the blanks. We have to study six books on patriotic re-education…” This article was excerpted from a story published by Radio Free Asia on November 29, 2005.
TIBETANS PROTEST TO SAVE ENDANGERED ANIMALS Nine people have been arrested for participating in a grassroots campaign spreading across Tibet to save endangered wildlife. Reports indicate the nine people were detained for “campaigning to destroy clothes made of fur under foreign inﬂuences”. The detentions occurred after they attended a public bonﬁre at the Kirti monastery in Amdo (northeast region of Tibet). Chinese authorities have cracked down on Tibetans for burning endangered animal skins and furs -- part of a widespread and growing campaign to promote wildlife protection and stop the illegal trade in endangered species. The public burnings of fox, otter, tiger and other skins and furs have largely taken place in Amdo, but have also been reported in Kham (southwest region of Tibet) and in Lhasa.
What a lovely challenge to have! As Lhadon mentions in her letter above, a couple who are dedicated SFT supporters, has given SFT a Challenge Grant of up to $40,000. This means every new*dollar we raise is matched dollar-for-dollar! $50 becomes $100. $100 becomes $200. $500 becomes $1000!
The campaign, which has been widely covered by international media, gained momentum in early February following an appeal from the Dalai Lama to stop wearing furs and clothing made from endangered animals. The appeal was made last month at the Kalachakra initiation in Southern India, a religious ceremony that was attended by an estimated 10,000 Tibetans from Tibet. On the last day of the religious ceremony, the Dalai Lama spoke directly to Tibetans, saying “When you go back to your respective places, remember what I had said earlier and never use, sell, or buy wild animals, their products or derivatives.”
*The challenge applies to new donations (from people supporting SFT for the ﬁrst time), increased donations (from current supporters who increase the amount of their gift over past donations to take advantage of this great challenge), and “lapsed donors” (supporters from years past who haven’t made a donation in a while - now is the time!).
According to TibetInfoNet, an independent information service on Tibet based in Germany, the appeal by the Dalai Lama prompted a grassroots education campaign on the issue. Following his statements, events organized jointly by environmental NGOs and a number of Tibetan associations recorded a large number of participants. Educational ﬁlm screenings in eastern Tibetan dialects had to be repeated up to ten times. During such a screening session, a businessman from Lhasa declared that he possessed otter skins worth 40,000 Yuan in Tibet and promised to burn these publicly. Around 3,000 Tibetans from Tibet signed a pledge saying they would not wear, buy or sell animal products, which was presented to the Dalai Lama.
This couple, who prefer to remain anonymous, really believe in SFT and want to see us have the ﬁnancial support and strength we’re going to need to step up our efforts as we continue to expand internationally and approach the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Many thanks to them and a big thank you in advance to all those supporters who are going to rise to the challenge.
The public burnings began in northeastern Amdo in a small town called Tsodruk where more than 250 fox skins were set ablaze. On February 9th, more than ten thousand Tibetans gathered at the Kirti Monastery in Amdo for a mass burning of giant piles of animal pelts and skins, and garments made from them. The enormous crowds that have gathered to take part in the public burnings have captured the attention of both the international community and the Chinese authorities in Tibet. Bans have been placed on public burnings and the local security presence has been increased.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or ideas about this excellent opportunity.
Take Action Now: visit http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/wildlifeprotection
Now, as Tibetans assert their unity, their devotion to the Dalai Lama, and their dramatic commitment to wildlife protection, it’s critical that the international community support their inspiring campaign.
SFT INDIA UPDATE Hello everyone,
In these past few months, we have been actively engaged in a plethora of activities and campaigns. August started with a visit by SFT’s Grassroots Coordinator, Tenzin Dorjee, who injected us with new ideas and support. He provided very valuable help in constructing SFT India’s vision and plan. In October, we organized a big rock concert in Dharamsala and Basement Blues from Delhi performed. We had around 50 volunteers including doctors, nurses, journalists, and also Indian student volunteers from lower Dharamsala. 2006 started with our presence at the Kalachakra teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Amravati in South India. We succeeded in out-reaching to a great number of devotees, both Tibetan and non-Tibetan, through an exhibition focused on SFT’s achievements, progress and present campaigns. About 5000 people visited our stall; among them were newly arrived pilgrims from Tibet, monks, lay people and local Indians. The most moving and heart-wrenching moments were at the times when pilgrims from Tibet sank into emotional break down and shed tears while we talked about our on-going struggle. Our presence at the Kalacharka infused conﬁdence in many southern Tibetans, especially youngsters from the settlements. SFT India now has full working chapters in Bangalore, Mumbai, up-coming new chapters from TCV Bylakuppe, Rajkot, Aligarh UP, Pune, Ladakh and Delhi. In February, we led a protest march against Google in Mcleod Ganj and Hydrabad. We received widespread media coverage from Tibetan and Indian outlets, as well as the international media. With all these activities and campaigns, SFT has evolved in India as a positive complement to organizations like Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Associations and many others. Our upcoming actions will continue to reﬂect our energy and creativity and we hope that SFT will continue to spread to new regions of India.
Tenzin Choeying, National Coordinator, SFT India
SFT CANADA UPDATE
SFT Canada’s on a roll! We now have 25 chapters from Vancouver to Prince Edward’s Island and our members are as active as ever. In October, we joined hands with other Tibet Support Groups to call on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to raise Tibet and human rights concerns during his government’s trade mission to China. November was a busy month, starting off with the International Day of Action against Bombardier. Our three SFT Montréal chapters teamed up and on November 3rd, took to the streets outside Bombardier’s headquarters. A mock train was set-up in front of the entrance and the conductor, Bombardier’s CEO Laurent Beaudoin, was confronted by Tibetans trying to stop Bombardier’s involvement in the railway. Protests were also held at Bombardier’s Aerospace and Capital ofﬁces in Toronto and Edmonton respectively. Several SFT chapters organized photo booths on their campuses and submitted dozens of protest photos to the BombardieroutofTibet.org website. Later in the month we held our second SFT Canada Board of Directors elections. Five new members joined our incredibly dynamic, experienced, and committed team of SFT alumni, activists and chapter leaders. Then, on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, SFT Vancouver members brought the reality of forced labor camps in Tibet and China to downtown Vancouver, setting up a mock sweat shop factory and appealing to shoppers to boycott Chinese goods and opt for more ethical gifts during the holiday season. At a Bombardier-sponsored luncheon featuring China’s Ambassador to Canada this past February, SFT Canada Board member Jessica Spanton brought the room to a stand still when she unfurled a Tibetan ﬂag and yelled, “Shame on Bombardier, Shame on China.” The room was full of over 500 Canadian businesspeople and media. The action received front-page coverage in the Montreal Gazette business section (see insert). The next week Montreal SFT was at it again, this time forcing Pierre Beaudoin, the CEO of Bombardier Aerospace, to answer tough questions about Bombardier’s unethical business practices in Tibet. And as part of the International Day of Action, SFT Toronto issued divorce certiﬁcates to devastated former lovers of Google on Valentine’s Day, while local and campus media covered the mass public breakup. We’re starting the countdown to SFT Canada’s annual conference in May. We’re expecting strong representation from our new chapters in Eastern Canada! To keep updated on SFT’s events and activities, visit SFT Canada’s website, www.studentsforafreetibet.org/canada Kate Woznow, National Coordinator, SFT Canada
SFT CANADA ANNUAL CONFERENCE MINI-ACTION CAMP: MAY 4-7, 2006 SFT Canada will hold our annual conference/mini-action camp this May 4-7th in Montréal. For the Canadians out there who’ve never been to an SFT conference or camp, this training is a must! Workshops will include: introduction to non-violent direct action, media and messaging, campaign strategy, grassroots organizing, fundraising, and much more. It’s a great opportunity to meet and strategize with fellow freedom ﬁghters from across Canada – and probably the most fun you’ll have all year! For you seasoned conference and camp goers, there will be a “Training-For-Trainers” track, which will include advanced workshops that will help you learn how to become an even more effective leader and activist. More details and conference applications will be available soon, so keep checking the SFT Canada website: www.studentsforafreetibet.org/canada. See you all in Montréal!
WINTER LEADER UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANT
North American Conference in Santa Barbara, California
MY SFT WINTER TRAINING EXPERIENCE
Looking back, I realize I never expected to laugh so much. I had never been to a conference like this before, and had only been involved in Students for a Free Tibet for several months. I anticipated a very intense, serious crowd talking about very intense, serious things, and I feared that my experiences with SFT would be terribly inadequate. But what I found in Santa Barbara, California, was a large group of warm, friendly, smiling people, full of passion and integrity. I still cannot decide which workshop was my favorite. Would it be…jumping all over the room with Sophia and Matt, trying to establish our limits? Watching a slideshow of gripping direct actions with Alma and Han? Or learning about media advocacy with that ball of energy known as Celia? In the evenings, we ate delicious home-cooked food by the glow of candlelight. There were great musical performances, a ﬁlm screening, and a lecture by Mikel Dunham. Time and again, I was inspired. I felt as though I was meeting a new and intriguing person at every meal and workshop. I learned a great deal about Tibet, about the struggle then and now, and how to plan for the future. One night after a party at a local pizza place, a Tibetan boy addressed me and a few other non-Tibetans by saying, ‘Thank you for being here. You don’t have to be here. We are Tibetans, so we have no choice. But you could be anywhere right now.’ Given that opportunity, how could I be anywhere else? Knowing what I know now about Tibet and its people, how could I not support this movement? The overwhelming message of that weekend I spent at the University of Santa Barbara was that as conscious human beings and citizens of this world, we have a responsibility to one another. Whatever we can do to help, it must be done. In a way, I feel I had to be there. I was happy to be there. I learned so much about Tibet, about my fellow SFT members, about activism, and about myself. It was an incredible journey, one that I hope to repeat one day in the near future. Melanie Parker is a ﬁrst year student at Hampshire College
THANK YOU! THUK JE CHE! SFT’s Winter Leadership Training, held at the University of California, Santa Barbara on January 12-15, 2006 attracted over 50 young people from across North America. The participants - almost half of whom were young Tibetans - represented a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds. We could not have turned this event into a roaring success without the ﬁnancial (and moral) support of the following organizations: Tibet Justice Center
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet (Kevin Young)
Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, NY/NJ
Tibetan Association of Chicago
San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress
International Campaign for Tibet
Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, NY/NJ
Tibetan Association of Boston
RSHIP TRAINING TA BARBARA, JANUARY 12 -15, 2006
CHAPTER UPDATES: NEWS FROM THE FIELD SFT UK Update SFT UK arranged a media training for UK Tibet groups to prepare for Hu Jintao’s visit. Linda Fairbrother, an ITV journalist, taught simple tricks and skills to get our message heard loud and clear. From basic messaging exercises, we identiﬁed our top three ‘must messages’, broke them down to catchy 10 second statements or 30 second answers, and practiced giving these messages to every bizarre question. During the visit, SFT UK’s Alice Speller gave interview after interview, keeping Hu Jintao’s past in the spotlight and declaring British students’ solidarity with the Tibetan people, Uighurs, and Chinese Democracy supporters. SFT UK also joined Tibetan Youth UK outside London’s biggest toyshop, Hamley’s, to sing carols with words altered to describe the situation in Tibet. Hundreds of ﬂiers reminded shoppers where toys come from and asked them not to support oppression in Tibet by buying ‘Made in China’ presents for their children. Tibetan Youth UK was formed in the buildup to Hu Jintao’s visit. This new campaigning group is organized and led by young Tibetans seeking freedom for Tibet. SFT UK and TYUK have been working together on joint actions and fundraisers. Check out their excellent website: tibetanyouthuk.blogspot.com and don’t miss our blog, which was recently covered in The Guardian: sftuk.blogspot.com. Fiona McConnell
London, United Kingdom
Charles D Owen H.S., Black Mountain, NC My chapter has continued international work through family and friends of our members in countries such as the U.K., South Korea, China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Vietnam. Our multilingual chapter translates important updates on the continuing situation in Tibet and posts them on foreign websites. We translate English announcements into Russian, Korean, and Simpliﬁed Chinese. We held a demonstration the day after Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. We had a surprising amount of local Chinese support. The Chinese supporters came from all over China. We sent our chapter leader, Charles Lee, to the speech by the Dalai Lama in Washington DC. He
brought back many pictures and quotes we used in ﬂiers and posters we put in our school and our community. We had a ﬂier, pamphlet, and bumper sticker distribution day recently. Charles Lee University of California, Santa Barbara UCSB SFT has always prided itself on engaging the local Santa Barbara community in creative and effective ways to highlight the atrocities going on inside Tibet. We decided to do a “Boycott Made in China” action in the downtown shopping area of SB. We did what we called “Guerilla Shopping”. We hit three major chain stores that not only sold merchandise made in China, but had horrible worker rights records. The plan of action went as such: Five “shoppers” would enter the store grabbing merchandise that was made in China and mill around until the sixth person (me) entered the store, grabbed merchandise and then proceeded to the cash register. Upon seeing the signal of me coming up to the cash register, all ﬁve would line up behind me with an armful of clothes and other products. I would purchase the items that I bought and then proceed to walk out of the store. Outside we would have two people ﬂiering, and immediately upon grabbing a ﬂier I would race back into the store, cutting in front of the line of “customers” and demand to have my money back. I would slam the ﬂier down onto the counter and loudly list all the reasons why I returned the items and why others should do the same. It went pretty smoothly for the ﬁrst two stores and the manager was apologetic and accommodating. Upon getting my refund all ﬁve “shoppers” would then proceed to drop all their merchandise on the counter, and announce loudly that they would not be a part of the oppression of the Tibetan people by the Chinese government. Our pitch was so successful that at our ﬁnal store a regular customer went up to the register after hearing my reasons for returning the merch and dropped all of her merchandise on the counter, quite irritably might I add. Needless to say, we were surprised. We didn’t think that anyone else would have done the same, but I guess there are decent, socially conscious folks out there. We learned that to have an effective action it has to be well planned, targets well chosen, and always “sexy”. Kalaya’an Mendoza New York Community SFT Volunteering at the SFT ofﬁce or during protest marches has always kept the spirit of activism strong in us. So in mid-December, my friend Tsomo decided to do something more for the Tibetan cause as money seemed to be one of the top concerns when it came to a non-proﬁt organization and started collecting donations. Her idea ignited a deep interest in Yanke and me, so together we decided to hold a party in our school, ‘The Renaissance Charter School’. Writing out a proposal to hold an event in school wasn’t an easy process but there’s always ﬁrst
time for everything and we enjoyed each moment of it. Then we took advantage of websites like www.Hi5.com and www.myspace.com to spread the news of the event. We received very good responses from NY area youngsters. The event, held on November 22nd, consisted of a small gathering of people, a dance, some snacks and of course a brief talk about SFT’s effectiveness worldwide. We were able to collect around $200. It was a very educational experience and we wish to do a lot more things. This is just the beginning. FREE TIBET! Tenzin Seldon SFT France The beginning of the scholar year was very busy. We organized an Action Weekend: two days of pure motivation, transmitting to the French members what we’ve learned in the Action Camp. In October and November, we held demonstrations supporting Tenzin Delek with other human rights and TSG organizations. On November 3rd, we participated in the International Day of Action at Bombardier’s ofﬁce in Crespin. In December, we organized a boycott Made in China action singing remixed Christmas songs with political lyrics near the big Disney store in the Champs Elysees. In January we participated in a demonstration denouncing the Drepung Monastery crackdown with the French Tibetan community. On Valentine’s Day we organized a phone-in to Google’s France ofﬁce. Now we’re planning March 10th demonstrations in the towns around France -- Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Rouen, and maybe more. The House of Ile de France (Region of Paris) will ﬂy the Tibetan ﬂag on March 10th for the ﬁrst time, and it’s make Chinese Embassy very unhappy! SFT France is continuing to grow. We’re always trying to recruit and keep new members, especially for the new branches. We’ve recently released a new version of our website www.tibetlibre.org.We also have two ofﬁcial blogs: http://rangzencaricatur.canalblog.com, which is focused on commentary and satirical cartoons and http://etl-in-action.over-blog.com, which is primarily about SFT France’s actions. Vive le Tibet libre! Alexis and SFT France
INTRODUCING...YINGSEL THE RANGZEN ANTELOPE!
China revealed ﬁve cartoon mascots named the “Friendlies” late last year. Among them is a Tibetan antelope they call Yingying. But that’s not her real name. She is, in fact, Yingsel and she’s not just any antelope --she’s Yingsel the Rangzen Antelope. As a young antelope growing up in Tibet, Yingsel was captured by the Chinese authorities, renamed “Yingying,” and forced to be one of the so-called “Friendlies.” But Yingsel is a ﬁghter and she’s got a secret plan we’ll learn about in the years to come... Go to the SFT blog now and check out Yingsel Escapes! the ﬁrst of a series of video games featuring Yingsel the Rangzen Antelope http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org. It’s a sureﬁre hit for lovers of Pac Man and Tibetan independence.
SPECIAL THANKS: To Harish Hathiwala, CPA for all his help and support since 1998 and also to Rumit Patel. Harish and Rumit have donated countless hours as SFT’s accountants. To the International Campaign for Tibet, Gere Foundation, Isdell Foundation, Grace Family Vineyards Foundation, Chodron Foundation, and Firedoll Foundation for providing SFT with critical funding over the past eleven years. 6
Remembering Lobsang Dhondup and Taking Action for Tenzin Delek – January 26th On January 26th, 2003 twenty-eight year old Lobsang Dhondup was executed by the Chinese government for crimes he did not commit and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death sentence was upheld. This was a tragic moment in the history of China’s brutal occupation of Tibet. Both men were wrongly arrested and convicted for their alleged involvement in a series of unsolved bombings in Eastern Tibet. It is widely known that Tenzin Delek, a revered Buddhist leader and teacher, was being targeted for his charismatic leadership and outspoken defense of Tibetan culture and the environment. Following an intense international campaign by Tibetans and their supporters, including a week of protests and direct actions at Chinese consulates and embassies, Tenzin Delek’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on January 26th, 2005.
BOMBARDIER: OUT OF TIBET Bombardier has been feeling the heat from Tibetans and their supporters worldwide since the company announced last April that it was building rail cars for China’s Tibet railway. Whether at their manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh, NY, their sales ofﬁce in Wroclaw, Poland or their headquarters in Montréal, Canada, we’ve confronted and shamed Bombardier for their participation in this disastrous project.
Yak Cartoon by Guillaume Guilpart
In mid October, SFT launched BombardieroutofTibet.org, an online forum where people could submit photos of themselves protesting Bombardier’s actions. Over 250 creative and moving photos have been posted as a powerful expression of the international opposition to this project. On November 4th, protests and demonstrations were organized at Bombardier’s ofﬁces in Austria, Canada, India, Australia, the US, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the UK as part of an SFT-led International Day of Action. In addition to street theatre and protests outside of the ofﬁces, thousands of faxes were sent to Bombardier’s headquarters in Montreal. In the lead up to November 4th, SFT obtained an internal Bombardier memo calling on all managers to prepare “for possible protest activity by Tibet support groups at Bombardier Transportation sites worldwide”. The memo advises staff, “not to speak with or accept leaﬂets from the protestors.” Despite this directive, Bombardier employees not only took our leaﬂets, but some even signed our petitions. Pressure on Bombardier has been coming from all sides. Even the Canadian government has been questioning their actions in Tibet. Just days before Bombardier was expected to testify before a Canadian parliamentary committee about its involvement in the railway, an election was called in Canada and all committee activity was suspended. Efforts are now underway to reschedule this hearing for the spring. SFT will continue to focus the global spotlight on Bombardier. With the ofﬁcial opening of the Tibet-China railway scheduled for July 1st, our efforts to bring critical global attention and scrutiny to this project and the implications it has for Tibet are more important than ever.
Spanish Lawsuit Charges China with Genocide in Tibet This January the Spanish High Court admitted the ﬁrst lawsuit to try Chinese ofﬁcials for crimes of genocide against the Tibetan people. In a landmark decision, the Spanish judges decided that the legal and moral arguments to prosecute Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, and ﬁve other Chinese ofﬁcials, for allegations of genocide were overwhelmingly clear. The case comes after ﬁfty-seven long years of international legal silence and has taken over eight years to prepare by Spanish legal expert Dr José Elías Esteve. In the coming months and years, Tibetan victims, witnesses and experts will testify before a panel of judges empowered to provide legal judgment and hand down prison sentences on these Chinese ofﬁcials. “The strength of the court’s statement implies an ofﬁcial recognition of the suffering of thousands of Tibetans,” says Dr José Elías Esteve. “Universal jurisdiction and international law is the best way of resolving international conﬂicts, beyond any political or economical concerns, and, lastly, shows that the globalization of law and human rights should go hand in hand with that of economics.” Alán Cantos, Director of Comite de Apoyo al Tibet, who lodged the lawsuit says, “Through universal jurisdiction, these atrocities are exposed to the scrutiny of the courts. When the evidence is there, it is not only a right enforced by democracy, to denounce the crimes in court, it is an obligation, both upon citizens and independent judiciaries in democratic countries. We encourage lawyers, jurists and students to consider ﬁling similar lawsuits in other countries.”
While stopping Tenzin Delek’s execution was an incredible victory, we must continue our efforts until this innocent man is released. On December 2nd 2005, the anniversary of his original sentencing, SFT members and supporters sent over 3,000 faxes and emails calling for Tenzin Delek’s release to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour. On January 26th 2005 candlelight vigils, demonstrations and informational events were held worldwide in memory of Lobsang Dhondup and to call for the immediate release of Tenzin Delek. From the Chinese visa ofﬁce in Edinburgh, to China’s Mission to the United Nations in New York, to the consulate in Vancouver, China’s representatives around the world heard the call for Tenzin Delek’s freedom. SFT will keep building the pressure for Tenzin Delek’s release. We’ve created a new postcard with the simple, yet clear, message: “Free Tenzin, Free Tibet!” Over the next several months we will be targeting China’s bilateral human rights delegation and its Western counterparts. If you would like to order postcards to distribute on your campus and in your community, please write to: email@example.com. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help Free Tenzin and Free Tibet!
Thubten Wangchen, Director of Casa Del Tibet and one of the plaintiffs who holds Spanish citizenship, believes that the legal action is essential for Tibetans and Chinese to accept past atrocities: “Everyone agrees that genocide must be prosecuted, but up until now, genocide continues to be committed and nobody has done anything about it.” His mother was disappeared in 1957, eight months pregnant, having been in forced labor throughout her pregnancy. Wangchen was a young boy at the time, and never saw her again. He visited Tibet as a tour guide for a Barcelona company in 1987 and was arrested by Chinese ofﬁcials, who threatened to kill him, removing his passport and belongings from his hotel. He was later framed as a foreign instigator of the 1987 uprisings. “Spain has become my adopted country and I am jubilant that the leading initiatives in seeking global justice come from here. This will mean so much to Tibetans and to supporters of peace and justice throughout the world.” Thirty-one Tibetan organizations and Tibet Support Groups, including Students for a Free Tibet, continue to support the legal action. SFT chapters in India and UK have organized discussions on the lawsuit with Jose Esteve and Alan Cantos amongst students, the academic community and the wider public. Emilie Hunter
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Dates to Remember February 28: Losar (Tibetan New Year) March 10: Tibetan National Uprising Day April 7: Commemoration of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s 2003 Detention April 25: Panchen Lama’s 17th Birthday May 4-7: SFT Canada National Conference Late June (Dates TBA): Free Tibet! Action Camp VII in Pauenhof, Germany SFT’s Merch is Cool! Be the hippest kid on the block with your new SFT gear. Visit http:studentsforafreetibet.org/store to get your ﬁx.
July 6: His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 71st Birthday & Work 4 Tibet Day
banned in tibet Editor: Matt Browner-Hamlin Design & Layout: Juice Design Staff: Lhadon Tethong Executive Director Han-shan Development Director Tenzin Dorjee Grassroots Coordinator Matt Browner-Hamlin Operations Director Kate Woznow Campaign Coordinator Board of Directors: Tenzin Bhagen, Sam Chapin, Sophia
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SFT's Spring 2006 newsletter.