Statement of Appeal by the Kashag on the re-launch of “Strike Hard” campaign in Tibet

Subsequent to the very repressive and continued policies adopted by the PRC to suppress the protest by Tibetans in all the Tibetan regions last year, we are very disturbed to learn that beginning 18 January 2009, the Chinese authorities in Lhasa have launched a 42-day winter “Strike Hard” campaign in an effort to step up vigilance against eruption of political protests and to maintain stability in the politically restive region of Tibet.

Credible news sources have reported about officially sanctioned raids of Tibetan homes
and hotels in Lhasa by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) which has rounded “5,766 suspects” for questioning. There is also report of firing incidence at Dege Monastery on midnight of 27th January. This campaign has taken on a political angle particularly after the March 2008 widespread uprising in Tibet and is being used as a tool to eliminate any political dissents.

We are dismayed to learn from a recent news report that as a result of the Chinese authorities’ severe beatings and torture, Pema Tsepak, a young Tibetan boy died on 23rd January in Chamdo area. On 20th January, he took part in a non-violent protest along with two other young Tibetan boys, whose fate is not yet known.

There are further reports of increasing pressure on the Tibetans in Tibet to celebrate upcoming Tibetan New Year (tib:/losar/) despite their reluctance to celebrate as mark of mourning for the fellow Tibetans who have died in the March 2008 protests. In areas of Ngaba “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” and Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”, in Sichuan, the Chinese authorities even promise financial incentives of 500 Yuan for each family and free crackers in a drive to celebrate Tibetan Losar.

The re-launch of the “Strike Hard” campaign and intensification of other PRC’s hard-line policies will cause much more violation of fundamental rights and freedom of the Tibetan people. There is heightened sense of fear and intimidation in Lhasa and in other regions of Tibet. We are very doubtful of the PRC’s intention behind re-launching of these campaigns, including patriotic education, which will only create atmosphere of further political unrest and, therefore, justify the use of more repressive measures.

We ask the PRC authorities to call-off the “Strike Hard” campaign and put an end to their hard-line policies in Tibet, immediately. We urge and appeal to the Parliaments, Governments and Individuals around the world to actively intervene so that unfortunate incidences of March 2008 may not be repeated again.

We also appeal to the Tibetans in Tibet to understand that despite the strict restriction and harsh repression, we should maintain our calm and draw on our non-violence perseverance in the long-term interest of our struggle. We strictly urge the Tibetans in Tibet not to engage in violence and to avoid any activities that will risk unnecessary imprisonment, detention and endangering your lives. We further urge you to do your all in preventing any animosity and clashes with Chinese people.

The Kashag
29th January 2009