A STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY FROM A TIBETAN, UYGHUR, SOUTHERN MONGOLIAN,
HUMAN RIGHTS 365 = HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL
10 December 2014
A STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY FROM A TIBETAN, UYGHUR, SOUTHERN MONGOLIAN, AND CHINESE ACTIVIST
As 2014’s Human Rights Day comes to pass, we are reminded of the great sacrifices that people have made this year to obtain fundamental freedoms and human rights across the world. This year’s theme, ‘Human Rights 365’, is particularly apt for the human rights heroes who live daily under the Chinese government’s brutal repression.
As Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians, Chinese we join together in solidarity to honor the bravery and spirit of our brothers and sisters who have dedicated their lives to the restoration of basic rights and freedoms. We are proud to call them our people, and inspired by their refusal not to be silenced despite the extraordinary circumstances under which they live.
During the past 12 months the Chinese government, led by Xi Jinping, has been increasingly hostile towards human rights defenders, unleashing a harsh crackdown on civil society, most poignantly against students in Hong Kong but also through new punitive “collective punishment” laws in Tibet and East Turkestan, and other measures in mainland China. But these attacks have not dampened the spirit of people striving for truth and justice, and the world has borne witness to an extraordinary groundswell of resistance.
Unless the rulers of the Chinese Communist Party are prepared to reform and recognize the inherent rights of all people, the Party is living on borrowed time. Our peoples’ desire for freedom cannot be suppressed and the resistance we see today will continue to grow until our collective struggles are won.
In today’s global community there is no room for bystanders, especially governments with strong economic and diplomatic relations with China. We know the Chinese Communist system all too well and assure you that standing up to echo our calls for human rights will not fall on deaf ears. We ask you to stand on the right side of history by publicly supporting the Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians, Chinese and people of Hong Kong who are putting their lives on the line daily to defend human right, principles recognized by all nations. As tensions rise in Hong Kong and across many occupied territories and regions governed by the CCP, governments must not remain silent but must champion the bravery of the oppressed, not just with lip-service.
Also on this day we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and we pay special tribute today to China’s jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo; Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, whose health is reportedly deteriorating after a decade in prison; Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti, who received a life sentence in September this year; Southern Mongolian activist Hada, who remains incarcerated in a black jail 19 years after his detention; and of course the youth leaders of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement, including Joshua Wong, who appeared in court with 31 others in late November charged with obstruction. Meanwhile we commend those Nobel Laureates who stood up for their principles in determining that their annual summit should be moved from South Africa – which had under Chinese pressure denied a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama – to Rome. We wish them a successful meeting and that Liu Xiaobo will be able to join them one day soon.
As the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner says, “human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.” Our collective message on this Human Rights Day to China’s rulers and to global change-makers is that no amount of oppression will extinguish the aspirations of our people – Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers and Southern Mongolians – to in future years celebrate this day in freedom.
Yang Jianli, Initiatives for China
Teng Biao, Gongmeng/Open Constitution Initiative (OCI)
Tenzin Dorjee, Tibet Action Institute
Rebiya Kadeer, World Uyghur Congress
Enghebatu Togochog, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC)
Mr. Yang Jianli is a leader of China’s democracy movement and President of Initiatives for China. He has been involved in the pro-democracy movement in China since the 1980s and was forced to flee China in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre. He spent 5 years in a Chinese prison between 2002 and 2007 after travelling to China on a friend’s passport to investigate labour unrest. He has met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on many occasions.
Mr. Teng Biao is a Chinese human rights activist and lawyer, and the co-founder of Gongmeng/Open Constitution Initiative. He has been a vocal supporter of human rights activists such as Chen Guangcheng and Hu Jia and was arrested in March 2008 and again in February 2011. He is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and President of China Against the Death Penalty.
Mr. Tenzin Dorjee (Tendor) is a Tibetan writer, activist and musician, and Researcher and Strategic Advisor for Tibet Action Institute. He is the former Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. He was arrested and briefly detained in Tibet in 2007 after protesting against the Beijing Olympics at Everest Base Camp.
Ms. Rebiya Kadeer is the leader of the Uyghur Democracy Movement and President of the World Uyghur Congress. An activist and businesswoman, she was imprisoned from 2000 – 2005 for her relentless political and human rights activism and now lives in exile in the United States. She’s been awarded the Rafto Prize for Human Rights and in 2012 was included in the list of ‘500 Most Influential Muslims’.
Mr. Enghebatu Togochog is the Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), a New York based human rights organization dedicated to to protection and promotion of the rights of Mongolian people in Southern Mongolia.
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