Tashi Delek -

We’ve been running Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao ragged all over New York (reports and photos to come) for the past two days, and now we’re chasing him down to Washington DC. From there, Hu will be heading to San Francisco, where he’ll have to face even more Tibet protests before he heads back home.

Hu is meeting with top US government officials in DC today and tomorrow, and we want to make sure they raise Tibet in their meetings with Hu. If US leaders here from enough of us, I know we can make that happen! See the sample address below, and email or fax it to Vice President Cheney – and be sure to copy it to Bush, Hastert, Powell, and Daschle. And don't worry if you aren't an American citizen, these people are making decisions that effect everyone so they need to hear from all of us.

Thanks for showing Hu that Tibet is going to haunt him until China leaves Tibet!

Freya, Dahlia, Mike, Thupten, John, Alma, and the SFT Office Crew

To: vice.president@whitehouse.gov CC: president@whitehouse.gov, dhastert@mail.house.gov, secretary@state.gov, tom_daschle@daschle.senate.gov

Additional contact info:

Whitehouse Comment Line: 202 456-1111
Fax: 202 456-2461
Dear Vice President Cheney,

I am writing in regards to your meeting tomorrow with Hu Jintao, the Vice President of China. We hope that you will raise the issue of Tibet in your meeting with Vice President Hu; simply mentioning the issue could have a tremendous impact.

>From 1988-1992, when he was party secretary for Tibet, Hu oversaw a series of massive crackdowns on dissent, following the imposition of martial law in 1989. Under Hu's command, thousands of Tibetans were arrested and tortured for political offenses. Video images of monks being clubbed in Tibet's holiest temple, smuggled out by foreign tourists, still haunt those who lived through the crackdowns.

In Tibet, the frontal assault on Tibetan culture continues. This week, the authorities in Lhasa have begun to demolish a building complex under UNESCO protection in the traditional Tibetan area close to the Jokhang Temple, the historic center of the city. Two-thirds of the old buildings of Lhasa have already been destroyed, with demolition peaking in the mid-1990s.

A deliberate assault on the cultural heritage of minorities is often a sign that a government is capable of truly obscene acts. The Taliban’s destruction of ancient Buddha statutes at Bamiyan should have been a warning signal to the world, because a government that destroys precious relics rarely stops there. As the United States continues to battle the remaining pockets of Taliban resistance in Afghanistan, we must be very cautious in aligning ourselves with governments that show the same dangerous tendencies.

We hope that you will mention the demolitions in Lhasa in your meeting with Vice President Hu. The Chinese government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is sensitive to international pressure on issues like these, and we believe your raising the issue could potentially halt the destruction of several irreplaceable landmarks.

Another simple way to make a difference for human rights in Tibet is to mention the fourteen nuns who are being held in Lhasa’s most notorious prison, Drapchi. These nuns are being held for peacefully protesting Chinese rule in Tibet. At least one of the nuns, Ngawang Sangdrol, is still in prison from the crackdowns ordered by Hu in the late 1980s.

The nuns are imprisoned simply because they, along with their Tibetan countrymen and women, have never accepted Chinese rule over Tibet as legitimate. As we press forward with the war on terror, it is essential that we pursue a strategy of conflict avoidance in unstable areas like Tibet. In the case of Tibet, this means encouraging the Chinese government to enter into good-faith negotiations with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile on the future status of the occupied territories.
To discourage terrorism, we must prove that nonviolent means are a more effective way of commanding the world’s attention. This means giving our full support to nonviolent movements with legitimate aims, and after 50 years of brutal occupation, no people deserves US support more than the Tibetans.

You have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference for the people of Tibet by raising these issues with Vice President Hu. We hope that you will not let it go by.

Cc: President George Bush
Secretary of State Colin Powell
House Speaker Dennis Hastert
Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle

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