By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 4 September 2013
As world leaders converge on St Petersburg in Russia for a G20 summit meant to tackle global economic uncertainty, exile Tibetans called on world leaders to intervene on the worsening human rights situation in Tibet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will preside over the meeting of nations, to be held on Thursday and Friday in the gilded splendour of the Tsarist Peterhof palace in St Petersburg.
The G20 economies account for 90 percent of global output, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.
Issues on the agenda include fostering freer trade, creating stronger financial regulations, and creating jobs. The meeting is likely to be overshadowed by the situation in Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians.
Tibetans say that 60 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet have left Tibetans bereft of basic human rights and have marginalised Tibetans within their own homeland.
Five major Tibetan organisations: Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party for Tibet, Gu Chu Sum Movement for Tibet, and Students for a Free Tibet, India, called on world leaders to “unite for Tibet” and engage with Chinese president Xi Jinping to address the crisis in Tibet.
More than 120 Tibetans self-immolated in the last few years calling for China to grant more freedom in Tibet and to let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet. Most of the immolators died in their fiery protests.
“China needs the world as much as the world needs China,” said Ms Tsewang Dolma, Information and International Relations Secretary of Tibetan Youth Congress in a statement.
“While we understand the need to further strengthen economic ties, we must remember that principles and values that sustain human rights, respect and dignity should be treated with equal importance.”
Tibetan Youth Congress believes that in order for there to be genuine progress in either economic or political fields, G20 members must respect the rights of people to have freedom, and hold accountable those nations who deprive people of basic human rights.
Tashi Dolma, President of Tibetan Women’s Association, said, “China’s priorities of economic growth and political stability are implemented through hard-line policies inside Tibet and the exploitation of its fragile environment, without respect for human lives or human rights.”
“The recent instances of Chinese security forces opening fire on Tibetans celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday in Tawu [in eastern Tibet] and beating crowds of Tibetans protesting illegal diamond mining in Gedrong Zatoe are examples of the intensified crackdown.”
“The worsening situation in Tibet, where there have now been more than 120 self-immolations, warrants urgent attention from world governments. We call on G20 leaders to devise a new robust mechanism that has the potential to bring about genuine progress on the 60-year occupation of Tibet, whilst safeguarding each other’s diplomatic relationships with China,” said Gelek Jamyang, President, National Democratic Party of Tibet.
“Since Xi Jinping came to power, nations occupied by China such as Tibet, East Turkistan, and the Chinese Mainland Democracy activists, have come to fear what Xi terms the ‘Chinese dream’. G20 leaders have to be fully aware of (and accept) the fact that the power and pride that the Chinese government is currently parading is built on the blood and destruction of fundamental human ethics and values,” said Lukar Sham, Acting President of Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet.
“Tibetans are crying out for freedom and human rights and China is bullying world leaders to stay silent on Tibet. People worldwide are calling for action and I urge the Indian government to take multilateral action for Tibet!” said Rashi Jauhri, Deputy Programme Director, Students for a Free Tibet, India.