Defiant Tibetan Protests Greet Xi Jinping’s First Presidential Visit to the US


For Immediate Release
June 7, 2013
***Photo Opportunity
Pema Yoko, Students for a Free Tibet, 646-266-0382
Tenzin Tselha, Students for a Free Tibet, 510-289-5691
Giovanni Vassallo, Bay Area Friends of Tibet, 415-264-3264
Dekyi Yangchen, San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, 510-566-8022

Tibetan-Americans Urge President Obama to Prioritize Freedom for their Homeland
Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs – Tibetans and supporters greeted Chinese President Xi Jinping with defiant protests today on his first presidential visit to the U.S. and called on President Obama to directly pressure China’s leadership on Tibet. The demonstration comes in the wake of 118 self-immolation protests by Tibetans against China’s policies in Tibet.
“While Xi Jinping is being wined and dined at this luxury resort, his security forces are brutalizing my people simply for calling out for freedom and an end to China’s military rule in Tibet,” said Tenzin Tselha, USA Grassroots Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet. “I’m here in memory of the 118 Tibetans – mothers, fathers, students, monks, nuns, and farmers – who have lit themselves on fire to protest China’s violent oppression in our country.”
Discussions between Obama and Xi are expected to focus on Syria, North Korea, cyber-espionage, and human rights issues, including the self-immolations in Tibet, 44 of which have taken place since Xi took office in November 2012.

“Wherever we look around the globe, China is abusing its power and enabling gross violations of human rights,” said Pema Yoko, International Grassroots Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “As the leader of the free world, President Obama must publicly and vigorously speak out for Tibet and basic human freedoms so that Xi Jinping understands he can’t get away with being a global bully.”
Tibet activists vowed to continue protesting Xi Jinping as he embarks on his global tour.
“Xi Jinping has been trying to spin his one-party rule as the ‘Chinese dream,’ but for Tibetans, Xi’s dream is a nightmare,” said Dekyi Yangchen of the San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress. “Tibetans have a dream of our own – one of freedom, liberty, dignity, and the ability to live in peace in our homeland – and we will not rest until it is realized.”
Americans across the country have urged President Obama to prioritize Tibet and to engage other world leaders in a multilateral effort to bring about an effective resolution to China’s occupation.
“Americans want to see action on Tibet during this Summit. President Obama must stand strong and make it clear to Xi Jinping that U.S. support for Tibet and human rights is unwavering,” said Giovanni Vassallo of the Bay Area Friends of Tibet.


Tibet Will Be Free

Pema Yoko
International Grassroots Director
Students for a Free Tibet | བོད་རང་བཙན་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཚོགས་པ།
602 East 14th St., 2 Fl, New York, NY 10009
Phone: (212) 358-0071 / Fax: (212) 358-1771

The International Tibet Network is a global coalition of Tibet-related non-governmental organisations. Its purpose is to maximise the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement, which is dedicated to ending human rights violations in Tibet and to working actively to restore the Tibetan people's right under international law to determine their future political, economic, social, religious and Cultural status.
The Network pursues its goals by working to increase the capacity of individual Member Organisations, through the coordination of strategic campaigns and by increased cooperation among organizations, thereby strengthening the Tibet movement as a whole. See for more information.