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Taiwanese NGOs join global 'Xi Fails Tibet' campaign

2017/10/17 17:28:29

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Taiwanese activists on Tuesday joined a global campaign initiated by the International Tibet Network that calls for condemnation of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) over what the network said was China's continued repression of Tibet during the past five years under his leadership.

Xi will begin his second five-year term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) when it convenes its 19th Party Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 18.

As Xi looks set to further consolidate his power, the International Tibet Network has launched a series of global campaigns titled "Xi Fails Tibet," with the aim of bringing worldwide attention to what the network describes as a deteriorating situation in Tibet since 2012.

It said that in Tibet, dissent has been stifled, political prisoners are being tortured, and people are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

"With China's once-a-decade leadership change in 2012, we were hoping that Xi Jinping would have taken a new approach to Tibet," Tashi Tsering (札西慈仁), chairperson of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, said at a press conference.

"But the situation in Tibet over the past five years has not improved at all," Tashi Tsering said. "Since 2009, 150 Tibetans have committed self-immolation against Chinese rule, 80 of them since 2012."

As part of its "Xi Fails Tibet" campaign, the International Tibet Network published a report titled "Five Years of Failure in Tibet," in which it recommended that governments and international institutions strongly and publicly condemn what it called China's growing religious and cultural repression.

The network, made up of a coalition of Tibet-related organizations, also suggested in the report that governments and international institutions monitor the Tibet situation more closely.

At Tuesday's press conference at the Legislature, human rights activists from 17 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Taiwan joined Tashi Tsering in condemning China.

"As China seeks to extend its influence worldwide, it is trying to roll back democracy in other countries and is exporting anti-human rights values," said Lin Hsin-yi (林欣怡), executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty. "We find that unacceptable and we'll continue to speak out."

As part of the "Xi Fails Tibet" campaign, Taiwanese NGOs have come up with a plan to use social media to pressure China on its human rights record.

"Checking in at the Great Hall of the People on Facebook is one way to express our concerns about Tibet," said Lee Peng-hsuan (李芃萱), a member of the International Tibet Network. "We can also post messages telling Beijing that its encroachment on human rights has not gone unnoticed. We are watching."

The International Tibet Network said in its report that China has effectively silenced the international community, citing as an example Switzerland's ban on protests during Xi's visit there in January.

Yibee Huang (黃怡碧), chief executive officer of the group Covenants Watch, said Taiwan should step forward in the fight against such injustices because Taiwan would be the first to bear the brunt of the rise of an autocratic China.

By stepping forward, Taiwan would also gain stature in its pursuit of a place in the new international order, Huang said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)