As President Bush prepares to leave for his first ever official state visit in Beijing, Tibetans and their supporters will hold daily rallies and engage in civil disobedience at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. in order to draw attention to China’s occupation of Tibet. This week of events, called the “Mobilization for Tibet,” will culminate with a march through the streets of the U.S. capitol and a mass rally at the Chinese Embassy. Thousands of supporters around the world are adding their voice to the Mobilization with faxes, calls, emails and letters calling for freedom for Tibet.
“We are calling on President Bush to hold the Chinese government accountable for their brutal treatment of the Tibetan people,” said John Hocevar, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “While the U.S. engages in the War on Terrorism, it is essential that it also shows its support for nonviolent freedom struggles. The Tibetans have suffered under Chinese occupation for more than 50 years and we believe it is high time the U.S. government does what is necessary to get Beijing to meet with the Tibetan Government in Exile to negotiate China’s withdrawal from Tibet.”
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States the Chinese government has arrested and detained hundreds of Tibetans under the guise of “fighting terrorism.” China labels Tibetans who support the Dalai Lama or those who work for Tibetan freedom “splittists” and has singled them out in a ruthless anti-crime campaign.
“Busloads of students and Tibetans are coming to Washington from across the United States to join the Mobilization for Tibet,” said Lhadon Tethong, Tibetan organizer for SFT. “Many of these people are planning to engage in civil disobedience in order to demonstrate their commitment to the cause of Tibetan freedom. While the Bush administration has been receptive to our concerns and is meeting with us to discuss them, the Chinese government remains steadfast in their refusal to dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile.
Events at the Chinese Embassy are scheduled every day at 12:00pm from February 11 – 15. The Chinese Embassy is located at 2300 Connecticut Avenue.