FREE TIBET: An Open Letter To Hu Jintao


[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

Here’s the deal: We have it on good authority that just one or two more signatures (one million so far!) on this petition will totally push this thing over, China will free Tibet and everyone will live happily ever after! But, no pressure. It’s up to you.

tibet2.jpg After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China’s leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China. We can affect this historic choice — China does care about its international reputation. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get the government’s attention. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world’s people to support him. Sign the petition — and spread the word.

Petition to Chinese President Hu Jintao:

As citizens around the world, we call on you to show restraint and respect for human rights in your response to the protests in Tibet, and to address the concerns of all Tibetans by opening meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Only dialogue and reform will bring lasting stability. China’s brightest future, and its most positive relationship with the world, lies in harmonious development, dialogue and respect.

Cara Anna/Associated Press | Defying a Chinese government directive not to gather in groups, monks at Tongren in Qinghai Province burned incense on Sunday to protest a crackdown against demonstrations in Tibet.


tibet-claims.jpg WIKIPEDIA: Tibet is a plateau region in Central Asia and the home to the indigenous Tibetan people. With an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), it is the highest region on Earth and is commonly referred to as the “Roof of the World.” The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims Tibet as a part of China (with a small part, depending on definitions, controlled by India). In the Tibetan sovereignty debate, the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Tibet in Exile disagree over when, or if, Tibet became a part of China, and whether this incorporation into China is legitimate according to international law. Although Tibet proclaimed its independence from China in 1911, no country has ever recognized it as a sovereign nation. “Indeed, at no time did any western power come out in favor of its independence or grant it diplomatic recognition.”[1]

In 1751, the Manchurian (Qing) government, which ruled China from 1644 to 1912, established the Dalai Lama asmiss_tibet_2004_tysized.jpg both the spiritual leader and political leader of Tibet who lead a government (Kashag) with four Kalöns in it.[4] Between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lama and his regents were the predominant political power administering religious and administrative authority[3] over large parts of Tibet from the traditional capital Lhasa. In the battle for supremacy in central Asia between Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia, a British force under soldier Francis Younghusband eventually invaded Tibet, cut down its warriors with the Maxim gun and occupied Lhasa in 1904. [5] [6] The invasion led to a peace treaty between Britain and Tibet, a document that some Tibetan historians see as recognition of their remote mountain home as an independent entity. Imperial China was outraged by the invasion but could do nothing to stop it and waged a diplomatic battle to protect its own claims over Tibet.[6]

potala_palace_tibet_province_china.jpgIn 1949-1950, soon after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Zedong ordered the ‘liberation’ of Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army. Many Tibetan nobles and working people co-operated with the PRC government.[6] However clashes broke out over land reform and the Buddhist religion. In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India. The CIA funded a secret guerrilla war until President Richard Nixon decided to reconcile with Mao in 1969. Famines, followed by Chinese violence during the cultural revolution, intensified resistance to no avail.[6] The Dalai Lama himself has long since abandoned calls for independence and now seeks genuine autonomy and respect for Tibetan’s human rights. [6][7] The move was seen to be unpopular with the Tibetan government in exile.[7] MORE

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