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G20 leaders urged to ‘Unite for Tibet’ PDF Print E-mail
[4 September 2013] Press release from Tibet Society and International Tibet Network

G20 leaders urged to ‘Unite for Tibet’

World leaders called upon to challenge Xi Jinping over China’s failed policies in Tibet

[4 September 2013, London] On the eve of President Xi Jinping’s first major summit, the G20 Summit in St Petersburg on 5 and 6 September, Tibet campaigners from around the world are delivering the message “Unite for Tibet” [1], a call to world leaders to take multilateral diplomatic action over the Chinese Communist Party’s 60-year occupation of Tibet and China’s appalling human rights record.

G20 Summit 2013 logoCopies of the report “Unite for Tibet” have been delivered to governments by Tibet support groups ahead of the G20 Summit. Coordinated by the International Tibet Network, the report clearly illustrates the abject failure of the current policy to address China’s occupation of Tibet through bilateral approaches. It questions why governments bow to China’s blatant bullying tactics whenever governments and leaders decide to meet Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and challenges the widely-held view that angering China over Tibet will lead to onerous economic and diplomatic penalties, contending that most of China’s punitive reactions are more hot air than genuinely damaging in the long-term.

“Although the focus of the G20 is economic, upholding human rights is a core part of what makes nations able to flourish,”
said Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society. “By uniting for Tibet, G20 nations can send a clear message to China that its bullying tactics are unacceptable as is its flagrant disregard for human rights. Nations should remember that China needs the world as much as the world needs China. The situation in Tibet is critical; the time for multilateral diplomatic action is now.”

The “Unite for Tibet” report demonstrates that governments that have angered China over Tibet have, nonetheless, seen their exports to China at the very least hold up, if not increase in the aftermath [2]. Tibet campaigners argue that high level bilateral visits ultimately deliver only a small proportion of the trade deals trumpeted in the press, and express the view that proactive concessions to China rarely buy much in the way of long-term goodwill [3].

“The majority of G20 governments have repeatedly expressed concerns over China’s extreme repression in Tibet – it's high time for like-minded leaders to develop common approaches and policies that Beijing cannot ignore,” said Kyinzom Dhongdue, Australia Tibet Council. “The combined voices the world’s most prominent leaders can save Tibetan lives and secure greater concessions from China; paving the road for a peaceful resolution to one of the world’s most long-standing injustices.”

With Tibetans increasingly demonstrating their resistance to China’s rule through protests, cultural resistance and the drastic act of self-immolation, the need for governments to stand together in addressing the crisis in Tibet is ever more urgent. More than 120 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet [4], the latest such instance being an 18 year-old monk named Kunchok Sonam, who died following his protest on 20 July 2013 in Ngaba, eastern Tibet.

“As Xi Jinping prepares to take the stage at his first G20 summit, alongside leaders representing the largest and most influential democracies in the world, Tibetans are literally dying for freedom,” said Tenzin Jigme, International Tibet Network. “It’s time for G20 leaders to jointly hold Xi Jinping accountable for his failed policies in Tibet. After almost a year at the helm of China’s Communist Party, Xi has overseen a worsening crackdown in Tibet. A new global approach is needed with like-minded governments standing together for Tibet.”

China’s crackdown in Tibet has intensified in recent months, including a sweeping campaign to criminalise relatives and friends of those self-immolating, and the use of brutal force against peaceful gatherings of Tibetans. On 6 July 2013, at least ten Tibetans were injured - three critically - in Tawu, eastern Tibet, after Chinese security forces opened fire on crowds that had gathered to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday [5].

“The more China tightens its grip in Tibet with brutal military and judicial crackdowns the stronger the resolve becomes of Tibetans to preserve and express their own identity and culture,” concluded Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society.

Contact in the UK:
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society 020 7272 1414, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Spokespeople from G20 countries:
Argentina: Alcira Calascibetta, Fundación Pro Tíbet [English, Spanish] +54 11 48327411
Australia: Kyinzom Dhongdue, Australia Tibet Council [English, Tibetan] +61 416 695 590
Brazil: Cerys Tramontini, Tibet Culture Centre: [English, Portuguese] +55 4891 299 66
Canada: Kate Woznow, Students for a Free Tibet [English] + 1 917 601 0069 or Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute [English] +91 9882770392
EU: Alison Reynolds, International Tibet Network [English] + 44 7711 843884
France: Tenzin Namgyal, Students for a Free Tibet [English, Tibetan, French] +33 6 33 69 90 99
Germany: Nadine Baumann, Tibet Initiative Deutschland [English, German] + 49 1779 315 616
India: Tashi Dolma, Tibetan Women’s Association [English, Tibetan] + 91 9459 553 953
Italy: Gunther Gologna, Associazione Italia Tibet [English, Italian] +39 339 100 5571
Japan: Tsering Dorjee, Students for a Free Tibet [Tibetan, Japanese] +81 080 6952 6611
Mexico: Francisco Fuentes Tapia, Pensando en Tíbet [English, Spanish] +52 1 55 5408 4158
Russia: Natasha Inozemtseva, Save Tibet Foundation [English, Russian] +7 903 764 53 15
South Africa: Elizabeth Gaywood, Tibet Society of South Africa [English] +27 083 551 3709
UK: Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society [English] + 44 20 7272 1414
USA: Tenzin Jigme, International Tibet Network [English, Tibetan] + 1 703 424 0015 or Wangchuk Shakabpa, US Tibet Committee [English, Tibetan] + 1 201 253 0205

[1] Download the report “Unite for Tibet; A New Global Approach” at Or read the report online at:

The report was co-authored and updated by the Secretariat of the International Tibet Network,, a global coalition of more than 180 Tibet Groups, with Member Groups Australia Tibet Council, US Tibet Committee,, Students for a Free Tibet, and Tibetan Women’s Association,

[2] For example, in 2012, UK exports to China rose 7.5% according to China Daily, despite the fact that David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in May of that year. Even Norway, not a G20 nation but incurring China’s wrath through its Nobel Peace prize award in 2010 to Chinese dissident and Tibet supporter Liu Xiaobo, saw a 14% rise in exports to China during 2011.

[3] A diplomatic spat between China and the UK over David Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2012 prompted a spate of articles by journalists and academics that came out in support of a unified common position on issues such as Tibet. See for example: ‘Does upsetting China matter?’, Kerry Brown, CNN, 14 May 2013 and “The Tibetan Test”, Edward Lucas, European Voice, 16 May 2013 or (reproduced with permission).

[4] For details of all self-immolation cases in Tibet see

[5] Police open fire on Tibetans celebrating Dalai Lama's birthday,

Tibet Society, the world’s first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership £24; Family £36; Life £500).
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