Avaaz: An Appeal For Accuracy On Tibet

Open Statement To Avaaz.org

We are contacting you in the sincere hope you may kindly reconsider the current wording featured upon your very welcome and important ‘Save Tibet’ petition. As a network (founded originally in 1989) our volunteers and subscribers have been actively researching, lobbying, campaigning, and publishing in support of Tibet’s people, and their struggle for independence, while exposing the harrowing range of human rights violations suffered by Tibetans.

One of the areas of action we are involved with is to ensure that the political actions and objectives of Tibetans in occupied Tibet is heard by people around the world, to work towards enabling Tibet’s true cause, and demands of the selfless actions of Tibetans, reaches as many as possible.

As you may be aware the central demand of Tibetan protests has been, and remains two-fold: Tibet’s independence and the return of the Dalai Lama, there is a wealth of documented information, eyewitness accounts and testimony confirming that these are the objectives of Tibetans. Perhaps you recall the national uprising of 2008 which erupted across Tibet, during which time-after-time Tibetans demanded their nation’s independence and raised their banned national flag, itself a cherished symbol of Tibet’s national identity.

More recently, and this brings us to your important supportive action, a number of Tibetans have chosen to self-immolate, an action which has understandably gripped the attention of people worldwide and caused shock and sadness to many. It is of course an entirely understandable to read of such acts from afar and conclude that these were the actions of a desperate people, driven by the grim excesses of China’s oppression to take their own lives, in a tragic bid to end what your site describes as a “crackdown”.

However, if you look carefully at the reported details of these individual events you soon recognize that they share common objectives, not to end a current regime of repression at a particular monastery or within a specified area, but to demand Tibet’s freedom, independence and call for the return of the Dalai Lama. Moreover, far from the image of crazed desperation, with its association of failure and hopelessness, the sacrifices made by these Tibetans, if anything, was about determination, courage and a singular decision to protest to the world what Tibetans are seeking.

We are concerned that these remarkable actions and their political objectives are being somewhat misunderstood and not reported accurately by statements featured on your ‘Save Tibet’ page. The impression given is that Tibetans are acting in desperation and that what they seek is an end to a crackdown of course the implied conclusion to that is, should China’s current repression against religious practice cease, Tibetans would somehow be content and not protest.  This misses entirely the very nature of Tibetan resistance in Tibet, which as revealed by countless examples is a cause for national liberation, not simply a desperate sporadic reaction to the repression of Buddhism.

This where we feel that the incredible bravery, spirit and cause of Tibetans is being unwittingly misrepresented by the wording featured upon your site, since it creates a flawed impression, one, due to the global membership of your organization, that’s being repeated on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Reinforcing the erroneous portrait of desperation and failing to mention what Tibetan’s are actually fighting for. We hope you will wish to correct that misconception, which we gather those who sign your petition, automatically trigger a tweet;  Tibet threads on Twitter are effectively being flooded/spammed with this distorted understanding.

Like many we have great respect for the tremendous work Avaaz does and admire the values you represent, given the international standing you have you carry much responsibility and are a force of important communication, please, in helping Tibet we appeal that you do not misreport Tibet’s struggle or the determination and political demands of those who protest.

Online Action

Our colleagues at @tibettruth have produced a flyer on the issue which can be downloaded HERE

meanwhile if you wish to appeal to Avaaz on this subject express your concerns here HERE


  1. Thanks for this appeal. As someone just trying to get to grips with the situation of the Tibetan people dialogue such as this is very useful in working through reality and discephering fact from fabrication. It is very easy to resort to stereotypes, ie. if behaviour occurs it must mean there is a certain type of suffering going on, and without websites like this actually rationally uncovering and stripping away fabrication, we would be forced to see such situations through Hollywood eyes. Thanks!


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