Minneapolis, Minn, February 28: Veteran Tibetan cyclist Rinpo Tenzin and a team of cyclists announced today that they will join forces with the San Francisco bay area coalition of Tibet Support Groups (SFTSG) to help make the April events a success.
San Francisco is the only city in North America the Beijing Olympic Torch will visit before it heads to China for the summer Olympics in August. While the Olympic Games are an exciting time and a wonderful opportunity for people all over the world to come together, Tibetans allege that the government of China is using the Games to legitimize its occupation of Tibet.
“It would be irresponsible to participate in the Beijing Olympics without recognizing the atrocities that occur in Tibet.” Tenzin says.
"In San Francisco, we plan to do our part to continue pressuring China to make measurable improvements on human rights in Tibet before the Olympics." said Rinpo Tenzin. "Tibetans from all over the country will unite in San Francisco this April. We will send a clear message to the Chinese government that no matter how bright the fireworks, and how grandiose the stadiums, the Olympic show will not be enough to cover up the human rights situation in Tibet,” he continued.
Rinpo Tenzin will lead an eleven-day Peace Ride for Human Rights in Tibet, beginning March 29th 2008. The team of volunteers will cycle through San Francisco bay area neighborhoods, cities, and college campuses talking to local San Franciscans and passing out literature. The cyclists hope to raise awareness of the Tibetan cause, and the events planned by the SFTSG coalition including the human rights demonstration and the human rights candle light vigil.
The Peace Ride for Human Rights in Tibet is open to people of all ages, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or otherwise.
For further information, contact: Rinpo Tenzin (612) 205-0026, Tibetanad@yahoo.com / Gyathon Gyaltso (310) 382-6069
Following is the full text of the 'Additional Background' information filed by the organisers of the Peace Ride:
The Panchen Lama, regarded as one of Tibet's most important religious figures, was abducted by the Chinese state in May 1995 at the age of six and became the world's youngest political prisoner. Despite their repeated attempts to gain access to the boy, no international agencies or human rights organizations, including the United Nations have been allowed to visit Nyima or his family, and their condition remains uncertain. Human rights conditions in Tibet remain dismal; under the Chinese occupation, the Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the rights of self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, and expression. Last year, Rungye Adak, a Tibetan nomad and 52 year old father of eleven children, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment simply calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.
China's consistent use of excessive military force to stifle dissent has resulted in widespread human rights abuses including multiple cases of arbitrary arrests, political imprisonment, torture and execution. Human rights groups have documented at least 60 deaths of peaceful demonstrators since 1987; the groups have also confirmed, by name, over 700 Tibetan political prisoners in Tibet, although there are likely to be hundreds more whose names are not confirmed. Many are detained without charge or trial for up to four years through administrative regulations entitled "re-education through labor".
In 2002, IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "if human rights are not acted upon by China to our satisfaction then we will act". Instead, we have seen the opposite: a hardening of China's position in Tibet, a sustained government-sponsored resettlement program of Tibetan nomads, increased social and economic marginalization of Tibetans following the launch of the China-Tibet railway, and the closing off of Tibet to Journalists and media scrutiny - with no response from the IOC. According to Human Rights Watch, "the Chinese government shows no substantive progress in addressing long-standing human rights concerns."