I am constantly moved by the incredible support that Tibetans receive from people of conscience all over the world. If it were up to the people, Tibet would have been freed a long time ago.
And, in times like these, when Tibetans inside Tibet are being so viciously terrorized by the Chinese authorities, global solidarity actions are like a light in the darkness – giving us all the morale boost we need to keep moving forward.
Already today, hundreds of people held an emotional rally at the Chinese embassy in Canberra while monks across Japan held prayer ceremonies and vigils for Tibetans suffering under Chinese rule. And Tibet Initiative Deutschland in Germany reported that 996 mayors will raise the Tibetan flag. They said last year the number was 922. This year, 11 dropped out due to Chinese government pressure but 85 new ones joined.
Taking Tibetan advocacy to a new level, Tibetans and supporters in many countries participated in the first-ever coordinated Tibet lobbying effort in their nations’ capitals. 150 Tibetans and supporters from across the U.S. had meetings with senators and congressional representatives from 24 states on Capitol Hill. And on Parliament Hill in Canada, around 60 Canadians met with members of parliament, senators and even officials in the Prime Minister’s office.
We understand that Chinese government officials have been hard at work behind the scenes trying to lobby government officials not to participate in these meetings or attend March 10th events.
In Washington, DC, a Member of Congress said that he’d been visited by Chinese officials and asked not to meet with his constituents about Tibet. And apparently Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has arrived in DC and will hold his own Tibet lobby day on March 11th.
In Australia, the Chinese Ambassador requested Michael Danby, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, not to attend the March 10th event in Canberra. Danby had this to say:
“I think the ambassador made a mistake. This is not exactly … diplomatic in an open society like Australia.”
And I’ve just read that Beijing has responded to a non-binding resolution proposed by the U.S. Congress to be passed on March 10th. AFP is reporting that foreign ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said this to reporters:
“We express serious concern over this… we believe the US Congress resolution proposed by a few anti-China representatives disregards the history and reality of Tibet…We request relevant US representatives to… stop pushing the Tibet bill.”
But luckily, it doesn’t work that way. China doesn’t get to tell the world what to do, especially not free and democratic societies where the government actually represents the people.