Congressman Jim McGovern speaking to the activists
DHARAMSHALA, JUNE 7: The 2nd Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Round Table conference concluded on Wednesday at George Washington University in Washington, DC. The conference brought together a select group of Tibetans, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese frontline leaders and activists, representing thirteen key movement-based organizations and networks from Taiwan, Hong Kong, London, Switzerland, Canada and different cities from the United States. The first conference took place last year in Taipei, Taiwan.
“The closed-door conference was a strategic meeting to address many problems and challenges faced as a result of the increased crackdowns against voices demanding freedom, democracy, and Human Rights not just in Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan but across China and its occupied territories,”a press state issued by the organizers said.
“Through this conference, we are sending a strong and clear message that Xi Jinping’s dictatorial rule is the biggest threat of this century towards democracy and rule of law,” said Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet. “But resistance against China’s totalitarian rule continues to grow, not only in Tibet but also across China and its occupied territories. A natural result of such systemic repression is the increasing solidarity amongst these grassroots movements, led by a new generation of organizers powered by a new hope and radically newer visions of their future. It is time for the world to stand up to China’s totalitarian regime before it’s too late.”
Participants engaged in discussion and strategic planning for more coordination, cross-movement campaigning, and actions that challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s mechanisms of oppression and ways to overcome them through strategic nonviolent actions.
“We are here to build a strategic alliance for the people’s movement for freedom, democracy, and the right to self-determination to develop a long-term vision for a coordinated effort to safeguard the right to freedom and democracy that is threatened by the CCP regime,” said Jeffrey Ngo, a member of Hong Kong Demosisto’s Standing Committee.
“As a nation successfully transitioned from authoritarian regime to democracy, Taiwan’s achievement result from efforts and sacrifices of Taiwanese people, and robust support from international community. Therefore, we believe that it’s important to stand with the Chinese civil society and their democratic movement. In a critical time as China continues suppression over its civil society, and expands its authoritarian rule over other peripheral regions, democratic movements around the world should stand in solidarity with each other to resist such suppressions,” said Fei-fan Lin, a former student leader of the 2014 Sunflower Movement in Taiwan. Lin also noted that “whether to support the democratic movement of China is definitely a touchstone for our belief in democracy; however, whether to stand with the right of self-determination of other nations is also a touchstone for the democratic belief of Chinese pro-democratic activists.”
Activists pose for a group picture with Congressman McGovern. June 6, 2018
Teng Biao, an academic lawyer and dissident from Mainland China who joined the conference to speak on Democracy Movement in China said, “As a human rights lawyer from mainland China, I support the cause of Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and their right to self-determination,” He added, “I think it is very important to have such solidarity between Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as Uyghurs Chinese people who aspire to democracy.”
The conference had speakers such as Congressman Jim McGovern, Human Rights Watch’s China Director Sophie Richardson, and National Endowment for Democracy (NED)’s Carl Gershman. The event concluded on Wednesday with a panel discussion at Freedom House, titled ‘Brief from the Field: Movement Leaders discuss advancing Freedom and Democracy against China’s increasingly authoritarian policies under Xi.’
The Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Round Table Conference for Freedom, Democracy, and the Right to Self Determination is an annual conference organized by Students for a Free Tibet, based in New York.