By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 25: Activists from the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) on Thursday interrupted the official program of the Europa Forum Lucerne that had invited Chinese professor Keyu Jin to talk about China’s perspective on business between Switzerland and China. The four activists, Jigme Adotsang, Sangmo Tsering, Thinle Shitsetsang and Tselha Büchli, called out the human rights abuses by the Chinese government and said that human rights organizations were not represented at the forum. “Through this action, we want to remind the organizers and the participants of the forum that human rights are one of the fundamental values of Switzerland. Human rights are not negotiable,” TYAE President Tashi Shitsetsang said in a statement.
A video procured by Phayul from TYAE showed two Tibetans standing on their chairs and chanting slogans against China including ‘No Human Rights, No Business’, ‘Boycott Beijing 2022’ and ‘Free Tibet’. One of the activists, Jigme Adotsang, former TYAE president, was given the chance to tell the participants why they had come out to protest the forum’s topic of discussion on business.
“It is morally not justifiable to do business with a country like China, where Tibetans are tortured and systematically suppressed, millions of Uyghurs are put into concentration camps or protests in Hong Kong are brutally cracked down. Human rights must be demanded in talks with China!” he told the audience when the organizers asked them about their intention.
The TYAE statement on their social media handles stated that although the human rights were not a focus at this forum, they managed to raise their concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet and made clear that “political and economic decision-makers must defend human rights in their dealings with the People’s Republic of China at all levels and in all matters.”
The four young Tibetans had gone to the event to highlight the importance of human rights in the political discourse when “leaders from politics and economy are discussing the future relationship with China. “A day prior to the protest, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) with organizations led by Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Konger and Taiwanese communities published a manifesto titled, “Lucerne Manifesto on the People’s Republic of China” urging the “political and economic decision-makers to demand human rights in their dealings with the PRC at all levels and in all matters.”