RTYC-Minnesota To Launch Solidarity Hunger Strike

STATEMENT from Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Minnesota

24 Hours Hunger Strike and Lobbying by Board Members of the Regional
Tibetan Youth Congress of Minnesota on February 22, 2012. The first
day of Tibetan Losar (New Year).

13 Tibetans in Tibet have self-immolated since February 27th, 2009. These self-immolations are the direct results of violent, repressive policies in Tibet by the Chinese government. These acts of self-immolation are a continuing form of non-violent, political resistance. They are clearly aimed to remind the world, and the Chinese government that is illegally occupying Tibet, that the Tibetan people demand their rightful independence.

In 2008, monks, nuns and ordinary Tibetan citizens had led unprecedented protests across Tibet to mark the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising against the illegal Chinese regime. Hundreds of Tibetans were killed, thousands arrested and a large number remained unaccounted for.

The Chinese government has declared most of Tibet under martial law, imposed a complete lockdown on its border and closed Tibet to visitors and international media. Besides this, the Chinese government also intensified its “Patriotic Education Campaign” and forced monks and nuns to denounce the Dalai Lama and declare their loyalty to Beijing. Apart from that, the “Strike Hard Campaign”, that is aimed at intimidating and eliminating those supporting Tibetan independence and human rights activities in Tibet, is launched. This campaign saw increased detention through arbitrary arrests, interrogation and restriction on freedom of movement.

Thousands of Chinese soldiers armed with tanks and cannons have locked down the towns of Ngaba, Tawu, Kardze and the Chamdo regions of Tibet and over 400 monks from Kirti Monastery were forcefully removed to unknown locations for patriotic education. The monastery had endured brutal security raids, increased surveillance and permanent police presence inside the monastery monitoring religious activities and restricted visits from locals.

Although, Nepal is home to the second largest community of exiled Tibetans, after India, and has long provided security to Tibetans seeking refuge from religious, political and cultural persecution in Tibet, the government of Nepal, under pressure from China, continues to arbitrarily arrest hundreds of Tibetans and restricted the rights of the Tibetan people to demonstrate. Human Rights Watch had announced that Nepal’s police used unnecessary and excessive force to carry out the arrests of Tibetan people. They have also documented the ill-treatment of Tibetans in detention to include beatings, repeated denial of access to medical care, threats of violence, sexual intimidation and deportation to China.

The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC-MN) stands incomplete solidarity with all our sisters and brothers in Tibet and Nepal, who continually suffer directly and indirectly under the draconian policies imposed by the Chinese regime. Thus, the RTYC-MN board members will launch a 24 hour hunger strike and intense lobbying at the St Paul State Capitol, Minnesota, on February 22, 2012, to urge US lawmakers and world leaders to demand that:

1) The Chinese government remove all security personnel from the
Ngaba, Kardze, Tawu and Chamdo regions of Tibet and allow all monks
and nuns to return unconditionally to their respective monasteries

2) The Chinese government end the implementation of the Patriotic
Education and Strike Hard Campaigns permanently, and allow foreign
diplomats and independent, foreign media unfettered access to all
Tibetan areas.

3) The Chinese government immediately and unconditionally release all
Tibetans detained for peacefully protesting for their rights, and
account for all those who have been killed, injured, are missing or
are detained. All charges against them should be dropped, and
information about their identities and whereabouts released.

4) Call on the Nepalese government to adhere to Nepal’s “Gentleman’s
Agreement” with the UNHCR on the safe transit of Tibetans going
through Nepal to India, and be vigilant against possible violations of
this agreement at or near the Tibetan border, and fully protect
Tibetan refugees under the international principles of”Non-refoulement”, which forbids the expulsion of refugees into an area whereby they might be subjected to persecution. Last by not least, to guarantee the freedom of assembly for Tibetan residents in Nepal.

The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Minnesota is a local chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Tibetan non-governmental organization in the world. (www.rtycminnesota.org)

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