Raise a Flag for Tibet

Show your solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile throughout and fly a Tibetan flag in your home, school, car, at work, local parks or ask your local council to raise at Town Halls. Contact your local papers and tell them about your action and about Tibet. Let us know your stories and send up photos so we can post on www.flickr.com/tibetflag.


Join us in this simple but effective action
the more pictures we can post from all over the country, the more we can show our government the widespread and committed support that Tibet engenders. It is also motivating for both Tibetans inside Tibet and those in Exile to see the national flag of Tibet being flown all over the world.

“Tibet’s flag epitomizes the distinct culture of Tibet to the world. It also embodies the spirit of the Tibetan struggle for freedom and justice. Raising Tibet’s flag at this very critical time for Tibet will give a strong message of moral support for all Tibetans, both inside Tibet and in exile.” Phurbu Rinzin, Tibetan Community in Britain

Below is background information showing how Tibet supporters in other countries have made sure the Tibetan flag has been raised in local town halls and homes, how you can join in and tips on how to approach councils and local press.
 

 

To be sent an info pack call Tibet Society on 020 7272 1414, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or download the campaign info as pdfs:

 

Raise A Flag

Contacting Councils

Contacting Press

“The flag campaign is not a matter of human rights violations or of foreign policy – it is a matter of justice and injustice ... we welcome that an ever growing number of mayors adhere to our conviction” – Monika Deimann-Clemens, Tibet Support Group Germany 

 

Raise a flag for Tibet campaign

This year marks 50 years since the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959. This historic act or resistance against Chinese occupation resulted in the death of over 100,000 Tibetans and has been marked every year by exiled communities of Tibetans across the globe as well as Tibetan people inside Tibet. After five decades of repression, the Tibetan sense of identity is as strong now as it was then. The Tibetan national flag is a potent symbol for all Tibetans and Tibet Society would like to see the flag flying high around the UK and abroad to show support and solidarity both with Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile, as well as in remembrance for those who lost their lives standing up to their oppressors in 1959. 

On 10 March, 2008 the Tibetan flag flew high all around the world. In Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, Mayor Dave Norris resisted attempts from the Chinese embassy to call a halt to a planned flag raising and the flag flew proudly from Charlottesville City Hall.  

“The council was unanimous in our desire to express our symbolic solidarity with the people of Tibet,” Dave Norris, Charlottesville Mayor               

In the Czech Republic Environment Minister Martin Bursik and Green Party Deputy Chair Katerina Jacques flew the Tibetan flag from the Czech parliament declaring their solidarity with Tibetans alongside 348 flag raisings at town halls across the country. Tibetan flags are flown annually across Poland and Germany. In 2008 over 900 towns and cities raised the flag in Germany alone. Indeed the flag was bravely flown in Tibet itself, amidst the historic protests that spread across the region in March 2008. In 2009, upon the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, a year on from those courageous demonstrations, join Tibetans and their supporters across the globe and Raise a Flag for Tibet. 

Many of you will have shown your support for Tibet during the Olympics in 2008 by raising and displaying the Tibetan flag at your home, place of work, or around local and national landmarks. The response of supporters to our original campaign to raise the Tibetan flag over the course of the Olympics was inspiring - thank you so much!  

Now we’re asking you to engage your local councils, communities and media to raise not only the flag but awareness about Tibet as well. Let’s show Tibetans everywhere that we stand with them during this hugely significant year. 

There are many places where you can raise or display the Tibetan flag, here are just a few of the possibilities: Schools,  Village Halls, Offices, Local landmarks, Shops, Libraries, Pubs, Sports grounds, your home, your car ...  

Be creative! Let's fly the flag as widely as possible! 

”Let’s fly the flag and Keep Tibet Alive in the hearts of the world.” Caroline Scattergood, Tibet supporter (Click here for Caroline’s inspiring example of how she has flown the Tibetan flag over the Guildhall, Northampton for the last nine years) 

 

Let us know!

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and send in your stories and photos of your flag raising. We will post your pictures to our flickr page: www.flickr.com/tibetflag 

 

Further info below:

 

Contacting your council

Contacting local media

Press release
 

An inspirational supporter ...

For the past nine years dedicated Tibet supporter and Tibet Society member Caroline Scattergood has worked with Northampton Borough Council to raise the Tibetan flag over the Guildhall. Caroline’s devotion to the Tibetan cause has captured the imagination of the local press and people of Northampton, and provides a great example of how one person can inspire others about Tibet. 

We’re encouraging supporters to follow Caroline’s lead and to contact their local councils about raising the Tibetan flag on town halls, council buildings and local landmarks during 2009. 

Tibet Society caught up with Caroline Scattergood and asked her for her thoughts about Raising a Flag for Tibet. 

 

What prompted you to first approach Northampton Borough Council about raising the Tibetan flag?

“Having just read the life story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I realised I had never been aware of the horrific Human Rights injustice in Tibet. At that time I was friends with the then Mayor of Northampton so, I simply asked him if he would fly the flag on the Guildhall. He was all for it.” 

 

Why is it important for councils to raise the Tibetan flag in 2009?

“It’s so important to raise the Tibetan flag here because the Tibetan people cannot do it for themselves and could be tortured if they attempt such an act. 

 

How do you feel when you see the Tibetan flag flying?

“To me the Tibetan flag flying is a way to pay homage to the brave men, women and children of Tibet who have died for the cause of freedom. Anyone who has been touched by the Tibetans’ suffering cannot help but draw strength from them. Their compassion, patience and endurance over the last 50 years is a teaching for us all to learn from.”


Contacting Councils

A great way to support our Raise a Flag for Tibet campaign is to contact your local council and request that they fly the Tibetan flag on council buildings and town halls during 2009 as an act of remembrance for those Tibetans who lost their lives 50 years ago. 

The first point of contact should be the local councillor who serves your ward. To find out who this is you can easily search on the internet at www.writetothem.com by entering your postcode. The site includes broader information about who represents you at various levels of local, national and European government. Alternatively you can call your local council directly or ask at your local library for a copy of the Municipal Year Book, which contains information and contact details for councillors. 

You can also present your case to higher levels of your local council and contact the Council Leader or Executive Committee Chair.  

The main way of contacting councillors is by writing letters to them.  You can address letters to a councillor care of the council headquarters.  This will be forwarded to them at their home address.  

When writing to a councillor, remember to: 

● Either type the letter (preferably) or use blue or black ink on white paper.

●Give background information about the Tibetan National Uprising and why the 50th anniversary is so significant.

● Be brief.  Keep it to one (preferably) or two (at most) sides of A4 paper.  If you are enclosing any supplementary material about the situation in Tibet or the Tibetan National Uprising ensure it is concise as your councillor is unlikely to have time to read long texts.

● Be polite and fairly formal in tone. 

Flag fact: In 2008, over 900 towns and cities in Germany flew the Tibetan flag on 10 March 

It’s always most effective to write a letter to your councillor in your own words, however you could send the following sample letter in your name, or simply use it as a guide. 

Dear Councillor [NAME] 

I am writing to draw your attention to the fact that 2009 marks 50 years since the Tibetan national uprising of 1959 and an opportunity for [NAME] Council to mark the this anniversary with a gesture of goodwill toward the Tibetan people. 

On 10 March 1959 mass demonstrations by the Tibetan people calling for their freedom from Chinese rule were met with a brutal response from the Chinese military. It is estimated that at least 87,000 Tibetans were killed at the hands of the People’s Liberation Army of China as a result of the Uprising. This tragedy for the Tibetan people was compounded by the need of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to flee into exile seven days later. 

As a mark of respect for those who lost their lives and in remembrance of the tragic events of March 1959, I am requesting that [NAME] Council fly the Tibetan flag from council premises in a show of respect and good will towards the Tibetan people. Such a symbolic gesture has been carried out by Northampton Borough Council for the past nine years, as well as many councils spanning the UK, Europe and across the world. 

I would like to ask you to raise this matter with your fellow councillors and to encourage a decision to join with councils worldwide and raise the Tibetan flag over [NAME OF COUNCIL HEADQUARTERS] in 2009. 

Yours Sincerely, 

[YOUR NAME] 
 

Local Media

Getting your story into the local press is a great way of raising awareness about Tibet, the Tibetan National Uprising and the Raise a Flag for Tibet campaign. Local radio, television and newspapers are always on the lookout for stories, particularly local stories with an interesting twist. 

The link between the local area and Tibet could be your council (should they raise the Tibetan flag in support of the Tibetan people) or local residents such as yourself who wish to share their concern for Tibetans and raise the flag in your home town or village. The more local interest you can present the more likely it is that your story will be covered, so any endeavour to bring a local councillor, MP or popular figure on board will really help. It’s not essential though, and remember that Tibet Society will be available for comment to express our support and appreciation for your flag raising. 

It only takes a little background research before you’re ready to present your story to your local press. Firstly gather the following information for your local media: 

Editorial/news e-mail address:  e-mail is the preferred method of receiving news for most media outlets now.

Editorial/news phone & fax number.

Deadline: You’ll need to know when the deadline is for news stories so you can submit your press release in time.

Name of the appropriate correspondent: In the case of local press, it will usually be the news team. It’s also worth getting the details of the features editor to see if a longer feature on your story may be possible. 

Press release

The press release is the standard format you need to use to get your Raise a Flag for Tibet story in the local media, and the best way of getting all the information across. 

 

Content

Before you start writing your press release think about:

● What is the story? Why should the media cover this? What is your local or human angle or hook?

● Your message. What are the key points that you want to get across about your flag raising?

● Who are your audience? What style and tone would be best to make it appeal to them?

● How can you make it as concise and clear as possible?  

 

Format

To be effective, a press release needs a certain format. It should fit on one side of A4, be in a legible size and font and contain the following elements:

● Preferably on headed paper, make sure it says ‘Press Release’ at the top;

● Date it and give it a strong title. Ensure the title is clear, like a good newspaper headline;

● If you want photographers or camera crews to attend, mark it ‘Photo Opportunity - Crews welcome’;

● Make it clear when the story is for, usually: ‘For immediate release’. Generally it’s inadvisable to postdate the release as the media won’t always hold on a story;

● Use the first paragraph to outline the whole story in brief. This should explain the headline and the who, what, when, where, how and why. Expand in the second (and maybe a third) paragraph, with extra layers of information in decreasing order of importance. The body of the press release should be structured like a news story, so that it can be edited from the bottom always leaving the main story intact. Include a quote from yourself or another spokesperson and mark the release ‘ENDS’ after the final paragraph;

● Give contact details: the name of the person dealing with the media and a contact number;

● Finally, add ‘Notes for the editor’ if clarification or reference is needed from the body of text; 

It is good practice to proof read your release for any errors! Does it get your key messages across concisely? 

 

Sending it out

● Email or fax your press release, preferably a week in advance of your flag raising.

● Phone up after sending the press release to follow up. Check they received it and ask whether they need any further information.

● If the press don’t turn-up to your action, take some photos and press release it again afterwards.

● If the press do pick the story up, you could also end up being invited to give an interview, so bear in mind what you want your message to be. Concise and compelling answers are more likely to be used than longer answers with a lot of detail and information.