27 May 2006

 

This blog is dead!

This blog is dead - long live the new blog! As a result of the launch of the self-censored Google.cn this blog has moved. Read more about this and keep up to date with SFT UK news, views and action at the new blog - freetibet.blog.co.uk

See you there!

16 May 2006

 

40 Years Since the Cultural Revolution Began

May 16th 1966 marked the start of the Cultural Revolution, what would become one of the darkest and most destructive periods in the history of China and Tibet.

It began as a purge of Chinese Communist Party leaders by Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, but it quickly spiraled out of control into a mass denunciation of many of China’s leaders and academics and the rejection of everything associated with the past. Chinese youths in particular, under the guise of the Red Guard, took it upon themselves to punish officials and intellectuals they deemed to be opposed to the work of Mao and to physically destroy most of China’s historical and religious buildings.

In Tibet, the Cultural Revolution had appaling consequences. Across the country hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks were forced to disrobe or were killed and more than 6000 monasteries were destroyed. Religious statues were melted down and the gold shipped to China for government use and sacred texts were burned or used as toilet paper. In a country where religion, culture and politics are intertwined, the loss of the monasteries also meant the loss of libraries that held centuries of learning, philosophy, poetry and art and it meant a loss of cultural centres and the focal point of communities across Tibet. The loss of human life during that period is unimagineable.

What little has been done to undo the damage of the Cultural Revlution in Tibet is mainly through the work of Tibetans themselves. To this day the Chinese government remains unaccountable for the killing and destruction that happened in the decade following 1966, their paltry attempts to restore Tibetan culture have mainly been gaudy stereotypes for the benefit of tourists. Even now public debate on the Cultural Revolution is banned, the government satisfied to just sweep it under the carpet.

But sadly, the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution are not confined to the past. Today Tibetans are still being arrested and tortured for practicing their culture and beliefs or for speaking out against the occupation. So today we remember those who suffered during the Cultural Revolution and those who suffer still.

15 May 2006

 

Last Chance to go to Action Camp!

There's only a couple of days left to apply for the best SFT event of the summer, Free Tibet Action Camp!

Action Camp is your chance to receive training on everything from fundraising, grassroots campaigning, climbing, media advocacy, teaching Tibet, non-violent direct action skills and more from some of the most experienced activists in the world, as well as have a great time with other young people who are passionate about Tibet.

It's happening at the beautiful Pauenhof Retreat Centre near Dusseldorf, Germany from the 20th-26th of June and costs just €75 (about £50), which covers all your food, training and your transport from Dusseldorf airport (DUS or NRN) or Duisburg railway station.

But time is running out, so if you want to have the time of your life at Action Camp this summer, fill in an application form here and send it to tendor@studentsforafreetibet.org by May 17th.

For more information visit www.studentsforafreetibet.org/actioncamp or send an email to tendor@studentsforafreetibet.org

 

Life Sentence for Choeying Khedrub

It has recently been confirmed that Tibetan political prisoner Choeying Khedrub has been sentenced to life in prison for "inciting splittism".

According to official information passed on to the Dui Hua Foundation, Choeying Khedrub, a senior monk, was accused of printing and distributing leaflets calling for Tibetan independence, along with 3 other monks and 2 lay people. For the "crime" of endangering state security and "supporting splittist activities of the Dalai clique" (a Chinese name often used for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile), he was sentenced to life in prison on January 29th 2001 and was sent to Drapchi Prison, although he is now believed to be in Qushui Prison. The other men recieved sentences of between 3 and 15 years.

Until now little has been known about the case of Choeying Khedrub, but you can read the full report by the International Campaign for Tibet here.

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