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Communist Party Congress: Tibetans Retaliate

By Mary Trewartha  /  November 1, 2017;

NGOs Issue Statement
In the run-up to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)National Congress in Beijing–the five-yearly meeting that decides the Party leaders and policies for the next five years–a coalition of Tibetan non-government organisations (NGOs) sent out a joint statement to express their concerns.

On the day before the start of the Congress–October 17–the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Tibetan Women’s Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) spoke to the press in Dharamshala saying, “Based on the past five years of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s failed policies in Tibet and increasing crackdown on Tibetans, we have no positive expectation and hope from Xi’s dictatorship.”

Representatives of Tibetan NGOs
at the press conference
Photo: TPI

The statement continued, “When Xi was appointed as the President of the Communist Party of China, many around the world hoped for positive change and the relaxation of the harsh policies in Tibet. However, Xi has failed to live up to those expectations and hopes…Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption in the government and party in his first five-year tenure has been seen as an internal power struggle. In Tibet, instead of dealing with problems, the CCP pushed an anti-Dalai Lama campaign and escalated its crackdown.”

The press release detailed the ways in which Chinese rule is repressing Tibetans living in Tibet and furthering the interests of China to the detriment of the Tibetans who live there.

The coalition said that Tibetans and civil society stakeholders should step up their efforts in further condemning the Chinese leadership and their failed policies in Tibet; they also vowed to continue their “freedom struggle until justice is served for Tibet.”
The press conference was followed with an event in the main square in McLeod Ganj, organised by SFT who staged a graphic set, depicting Xi’s five-year rule and showing its suffocation of dissent, political detentions, religious persecution and his attempts to silence the international community.

Also on October 17, the Tibetan Youth Congress stated in a press release that they would be organising protests globally to call on Xi Jinping to end the illegal occupation of Tibet and heed the voices of Tibetans inside Tibet who are calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Protests and Arrests

TYC members protest at Delhi

The Tibetan Youth Congress stormed the heavily guarded Chinese Embassy in the Indian capital, Delhi, in protest against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rule in Tibet, on the first day of the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress being held in Beijing on October 18.
Around 50 activists, mainly members of the TYC – the largest exile Tibetan pro-independence pressure group – staged the protest and all were arrested and held at Chanakyapuri Police Station, including TYC President Tenzing Jigme, Vice President Tamding Hrichoe, General Secretary Ngawang Lobsang, Cultural Secretary Tashi Dhundup, and Social Service Secretary Tashi Targyal.

Tenzin Jigme said in a press statement that under Chinese President Xi’s rule hundreds of human rights lawyers have been arrested or disappeared, Larung Gar (one of the foremost and largest Buddhist Academies in the world, in Tibet) destroyed, self-immolations increased, revered Tibetan monk and leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was killed in Chinese prison, and the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo died after spending years in prison.

Jigme’s statement continued, “Xi has failed Tibet…We take the 19th Party Congress as an opportunity to highlight Xi’s dictatorship and failed leadership and we urge world governments into action. We remind world leaders that he is not the solution and the communist party is not the answer.”

All fifty activists were later released.

TYC protestors after their release
Photo: TYC Facebook

TYC’s protests hit the global media, with the British Daily Mail quoting TYC President Tenzing Jigme’s statement that Tibet had nothing to celebrate as Buddhist monasteries have been destroyed and young Tibetans have self-immolated in frustration. Pictures of the protest appeared alongside much of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the first day of the Congress.

Similarly, the Washington Post included coverage of the protests in their reports of the Congress’s opening under the heading “The Latest on the ruling Communist Party’s congress meeting in Beijing: 3 pm : Members of the Tibetan Youth Congress have protested at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi as China’s ruling Communists opened their national congress” together with pictures and details of the protest.

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