The Tibetan Youth Congress resolved during its 43rd Working Committee Meeting to launch an indefinite hunger strike on 3 September 2012 in New Delhi to highlight the unprecedented scale of self-immolations by Tibetans for the cause of Tibet.The hunger strikers are three Central Executive members of TYC;the Vice President, Dhondup Lhadar, Organizational Secretary, Penpa Tsering and Cultural Secretary, Jigme Sholpa.In April 2011, TYC launched a similar action in New Delhi in which three Central executive members participated. At that time, one monk inside Tibet had committed the selfless act of self-immolation. On the 25th day of the campaign, TYC secured promises in a letter from members of the European Parliament committing to “support the ongoing peaceful struggle against the oppression of the Chinese government and to keep the issue of Tibet high on our agenda”. The letter also reiterated the EP’s belief in the vital importance of sending “an EU delegation as well as support independent journalists to enter the region”. This communication requested TYC to call off the strike.
In February 2012, TYC launched another indefinite hunger strike in New York, specifically targeting the United Nations to take action. By this time, the number of self-immolations inside Tibet had risen to 23 since 2009.
On the 30th day of the campaign, Mr. Parfait Onanga, representative of the UN Secretary-General, and Mr. Richard Bennett, representative of UN Human Rights, visited the hunger strikers with their UN assistants to hand over a letter on behalf of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and signed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay.
The letter, while acknowledging the petition submitted by Tibetan Youth Congress at the beginning of the campaign, stated that, “Some Special Procedures Mandate Holders have also sent requests to visit China, and these are pending a response from the Government”. She added that she had written to the Government of China to express not only her concern over the situation but would continue to engage with them.The High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the hunger strikers to conclude the hunger strike.
Since early 2012, the number of self-immolations has spiraled to a horrific 50 since 2009, including one that took place in New Delhi in March this year. China’s inhuman response has been to intensify oppression and carry out severe reprisals, especially against relatives, friends and those who have shared information about the self-immolations. This includes long-term prison sentences, detentions, abuse and intimidation.
Beijing’s response to these self-immolations is an official stance of indifference to what is happening inside Tibet. In view of the promises made by both the European Parliament and the United Nations during previous hunger strikes, the Tibetan Youth Congress has resolved to resume its hunger strike in New Delhi.It calls upon both the International Community and the People’s Republic of China to take action and initiates the following demands and appeal.
The European Union, The United Nations, governments and non-governmental organizations having supported the demands of the two hunger strikes earlier organized by TYC, thank them, and ask them to immediately fulfill the promises made by them through a multilateral approach.
The Government of China
Tibet continues to reel under the exploitative policies through which China imposes its occupation of Tibet.Any dissent is brutally crushed utilizing the most sophisticated mechanisms of control.To learn about the true conditions within Tibet- and to understand the aspiration of Tibetans inside Tibet -governments,International organizations and the media should be granted immediate access to travel in Tibet. Release Tibetan prisoners of conscience including The Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and Tulku Tenzin Delek, and stop the witch hunts in Tibet that that have been targeting public intellectuals, religious leaders, poets, musicians and singers and artists.
TYC condemns the government of China for maligning and misrepresenting the actions of the brave self-immolators. TYC deems their sacrifices as the ultimate form of nonviolent action. It demands that the government of China immediately stops making denigrating statements about the self-immolators. We appeal to Governments around the Free World, and members of the International Community, to recognize the true historical and legal status of Tibet as an Independent Nation.