Berkeley and San Francisco
For Immediate Release, March 7, 2014 *Photo Opportunity*
(San Francisco) Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world  are this week taking to the streets and organizing events to mark the 55th anniversary of the 1959 uprising in Tibet - a time when hundreds of thousands of Tibetans protested China’s illegal invasion and occupation of their country  - and the fifth anniversary of Tibetan self-immolation protests in Tibet. It is a particularly critical time in Tibet where, in the past 5 years, the situation has caused at least 127 Tibetans across the plateau, young and old, to set light to their own bodies in protest against China’s rule.  More than four out of five Tibetans who have chosen to burn themselves have died as a result, whilst the whereabouts of most of the survivors is unknown.
“Five years on from the first self-immolation protest in Tibet by Tapey this is an extreme situation in Tibet,” said Tenzing Tsephel, president of the San Francisco Tibetan Youth Congress “The international community cannot expect Tibetans to live under such political and religious repression which affects their everyday lives. We pay tribute to the extraordinary courage of Tibetans resisting in Tibet, and urge citizens around the world to join us in calling for an end to China’s crackdown.”
Since Xi Jinping became China’s President one year ago in March 2013, China’s grip on Tibet has tightened. The renewed clampdown includes mass detentions, violent military responses to peaceful protests, increased use of “patriotic re-education” campaigns and the criminalization of family members of those who have protested by burning their bodies. Several relatives have received severe prison sentences, and Dolma Kyab has been sentenced to death for the “murder” of his wife, who is believed to have self-immolated. 
As these anniversaries are marked, China’s policies in Tibet are facing scrutiny from a number of quarters. On 19 March China will respond to its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council; there are already indications that Tibet-related recommendations will be rejected.  Later in March China’s President Xi Jinping will tour four European countries,  whose leaders are being urged by Tibet Groups to raise Tibet. Meanwhile, Spanish judges have issued a series of questions about China’s policies in Tibet to former President Hu Jintao, as part of the Tibet lawsuit China has been bullying Spain to shut down. Spanish politicians are currently working to eviscerate Spain’s laws in order to appease Beijing. 
“It remains a critical time, which is why Tibetans in exile and Tibet activists around the world are intensifying efforts to urge world governments to unite to build pressure on China to end the severe repression in Tibet” said Giovanni Vassallo, president of the Bay Area Friends of Tibet. “By working in unison, governments can pressure China more strongly to end its dangerously provocative policies in Tibet, and send the signal that China’s bullying of individual nations that support Tibet is unacceptable.’
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s field representative Sinead Doherty will be present to read the Congresswoman’s statement at 11:30 AM at San Francisco’s City Hall. Other elected officials such as San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos are scheduled to speak.
8:00 AM Tibetan Flag-Raising Ceremony at Berkeley City Hall
10:00 AM Opening ceremony guest speakers at SF City Hall
12:00 PM March to Chinese Consulate, via Van Ness Ave & Geary Blvd
1:00 PM Rally & Demonstration at Chinese Consulate, 1450 Laguna St., SF
2:30 PM March from Consulate to SF Downtown, to Embarcadero
5:00 PM Candlelight Vigil, Speeches, Performances Closing Ceremony
8 AM Berkeley City Hall, 2180 Milvia St., Berkeley
10 AM San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton Goodlett Place, SF
1 PM Consulate of the PRC, 1450 Laguna St. @ Geary Blvd., SF
5 PM Justin Herman Plaza, near Embarcadero, downtown, SF.
2. 10 March 2014 is the 55th anniversary of one of the most momentous days in Tibetan history; on this day in 1959 thousands of Tibetans in Tibet took to the streets of Lhasa to protest against Chinese rule and protect their leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As China shelled Lhasa, the Dalai Lama was forced to escape from Tibet. In 2008, 10 March was the beginning of the most widespread opposition to China’s occupation of Tibet as protests swept the Tibetan plateau.
3. See a short summary report of the five years of self-immolations in Tibet http://issuu.com/internationaltibetnetwork/docs/flames_in_tibet_five_years_of_resis or http://standupfortibet.org/learn-more/
5. See the Universal Periodic Review’s Working Group report online at http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/a_hrc_wg.6_17_l.3_china.pdf
6. See http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/22/us-china-eu-idUSBREA0L1S520140122. Tibet Groups in Europe are shortly sending joint letters to Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo of Belgium, President Francois Hollande of France and the Presidents of the European Council, Parliament and Commission; Herman Van Rompuy, Michael Schulz and José Manuel Barroso.
SAN FRANCISCO TEAM TIBET consists of Tibetan Association of Northern California (www.tanc.org), San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (www.sfrtyc.org) Students for a Free Tibet (www.studentsforafreetibet.org) Bay Area Friends of Tibet (www.friends-of-tibet.org). For more information about global protests visit http://standupfortibet.org/global-action/10-march-uprising-2014/.