News and Views on Tibet

Cross movement mass protest at San Francisco as Biden meets Xi

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SFT activist Tsela on a flagpole, unfurling Tibetan flag outside the hotel where Xi was scheduled to meet prominent US business leaders (Photo/Twitter)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, Nov 17: In a protest of solidarity and advocacy for human rights, activists representing Tibet, Uyghur, and Hong Kong jointly organised a mass protest on the day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is slated to attend. The demonstrators carried banners emblazoned with messages advocating for human rights and chanted slogans to raise their voices against alleged Chinese atrocities in their respective regions. 

A 20-year-old Tibetan activist, identified as Tsela, garnered significant attention outside the hotel where Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled to meet with prominent U.S. business leaders during the APEC summit. The youth activist of the Students for a Free Tibet, climbed a flagpole roughly 25 feet off the ground, unfurling a Tibetan flag while chanting “Free Tibet.” Despite the heightened security and the presence of law enforcement officials, she remained perched on the flagpole for over an hour.  

“Under Xi’s rule, we have witnessed the establishment of a residential school system that has ripped one million Tibetan children from their families, and the mass collection of DNA from Tibetan monks, nuns, and children. Xi Jinping now faces serious internal challenges to his power, that’s why our message is that Xi’s time as the dictator of China is up. It’s time for a new era of freedom for all people suffering under the CCP’s rule,” Tsela said. 

The joint demonstration organised by activists representing Tibet, Uyghur, and Hong Kong was a deliberate effort to bring global attention to the severe human rights violations faced by these regions under the rule of the Chinese government.

The meeting between President Biden and President Xi, which lasted for four hours, resulted in both American and Chinese accounts suggesting “scant progress” on the issues that have strained the relations between the two nations, the New York Times noted. 

According to the White House press release on Nov. 15, “ President Biden underscored the universality of human rights and the responsibility of all nations to respect their international human rights commitments. He raised concerns regarding PRC human rights abuses, including Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.” 

3 Responses

  1. William W. said, ” Work is thy duty. Result thou no concerned”. Hence, without action, there is nothing to gain or nothing to expect. If we sleep then we die forever. I salute to this young girl who did not bother consequence but showed her courage to inspire all young Tibetans and participants who protest against CCP violations of international law. She is now icon for all different ethnic groups that demand freedom from CCP.

  2. This retort to the comment below is intended more for educational purpose to the commenter (Jampa la) than as a response per se. House guest and host nation: The peaceful protesters from across all walks of life, especially the young Tibetan men and women are not “house guests” nor USA is their “host nation”. This is their house. They are proud citizens of this democratic country where freedom of expression is considered sacrosanct. It would benefit the commenter and folks with similar mindset to learn more about civil disobedience and other non-violent means of protests. If our activists are just hanging banners on iconic structures and disrupting traffic, then clearly we are not doing enough! Hats off to the organizers and cross-section of people, especially the younger generation who participated in the protests during Xi Jinping’s visit to San Francisco. I hope they double down on their passion by keeping themselves informed about the situation inside Tibet and continuing to pressure the Chinese government and the governments around the world to resolve the Tibetan issue. Bod Gyalo!

  3. I’ve participated in various protests in San Francisco, standing alongside fellow demonstrators in support of our cause. However, I’ve observed instances where one or two individuals engage in actions that are not permitted or are illegal. While I fully endorse the courage displayed in places like Tibet or China where such actions might be considered brave, I don’t condone these behaviors in the US.

    I believe we should be grateful to this country for providing Tibetans with the opportunity to voice our opinions through peaceful protests under the protection of the law. Nevertheless, when certain individuals partake in actions that are illegal, such as hanging banners on iconic structures or disrupting traffic, it undermines the integrity of our protest.

    It’s akin to a house guest overstepping boundaries in their host’s home. I’m concerned that such actions could potentially harm our cause rather than further it. Picture being stuck in traffic for hours due to protest blockades when you’re on your way to work or elsewhere. It’s not an ideal situation for anyone involved.

    To the Tibetan youth and organizations like SFT, I understand your passion and energy, but I urge you not to take actions that could have adverse repercussions for our cause. While we appreciate your dedication, it’s crucial to ensure that these activities don’t create further issues for our host nation.

    Let’s continue our advocacy for Tibet respectfully and responsibly, respecting the laws and values of the country that provides us the platform to speak out.

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