Friday, March 23, 2007

Coverage of Chinese Officials' visit to Madison

Wisconsin Public Radio (March 22, 2007): Listen

Earlier this month, the Wisconsin legislature unanimously passed a resolution that declared March 10th as “Tibet Day”. The Chinese government has not taken the matter lightly, as Brian Bull reports:

State Representative Joe Parisi of Madison was the lead sponsor of Assembly Joint Resolution 22, which he drafted to honor the more than one million Tibetans who’ve died in their fight for independence from China. Human rights groups have accused the Chinese government of destroying Buddhist monasteries and brutalizing Tibetans, since Communist forces invaded and occupied Tibet. The country’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has lived in exile since 1959.

Parisi says on March 13th, two officials from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago dropped by his office, to criticize his resolution.

Parisi Speaking: “We had a frank exchange. We disagreed on a number of issues regarding Tibet. I let them know my concerns, they gave me their side of the story, and at the end of the conversation I just reiterated my main goal -- and that is to urge the Chinese government to engage in direct talks with the Dalai Lama.”

Calls to the Chinese Consulate officials were not returned in time for this story, but the Chinese government insists that Tibetans are happy.

Parisi says he’s never heard of the Chinese Consulate sending officials out to challenge previous resolutions or pro-Tibetan events before. He says China is likely more sensitive about its image as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing draw closer.

The Capital Times (March 24, 2007):


China muscles Parisi
By David Caleader and Judith Davidoff
The Capital Times
March 24, 2007

State lawmakers pass all manner of symbolic resolutions during the legislative session – calling on Congress to act or not act on certain issues, praising fallen soldiers and former public figures, congratulating sports teams on victories, and commemorating various historical events.

But a resolution passed earlier this month commemorating the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China prompted an unscheduled visit by authorities from the Chinese consulate in Chicago to the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Parisi, D-Madison.

Parisi said the two officials, who identified themselves as part of the consulate’s education and communications offices, “expressed their disappointment that I had authored the resolution.”

He said they sought to change his views on the ongoing occupation of Tibet by China.

Parisi said the session was different from a routine lobbying visit.

“It was much more firm than that,” he said. “They were here to tell me that I was wrong, that I had been misled by the Tibetans in this community, and that I needed to be set straight.”

China has consistently taken the position that Tibet was part of China and that the 1959 uprising was fueled by Western forces, including the CIA.

Many Tibetans, however, contend that the occupation is illegal and that the exiled Dalai Lama is the nation’s legitimate ruler.

Parisi said he urged the Chinese officials to open negotiations with the Dalai Lama and pressed for information about the recent murder of a teenage Buddhist nun who was reportedly shot by Chinese troops while trying to flee Tibet.

Parisi said the Chinese officials told him they were unfamiliar with the incident involving the nun and claimed that past efforts to meet with the Dalai Lama were unproductive.

Voice of America (in Tibetan) March 21, 2007: Listen

Monday, March 19, 2007

China Takes Notice of Wisconsin’s Tibet Day

China Takes Notice of Wisconsin’s Tibet Day
By Abigail Scott

Madison, WI - In a time when the efficacy of non-binding resolutions is being debated across the United States, a simple resolution declaring March 10, 2007 Tibet Day in Wisconsin brings response from halfway around the globe.

On Tuesday, March 13, two officials from the Chinese Consulate drove from Chicago to the State Capitol in Madison, WI. They wanted to know who was responsible for the unanimously passed Tibet Day resolution (Assembly Joint Resolution 22). In fact, they had it in their hands. They were directed to the office of the lead sponsor of the resolution, State Representative Joe Parisi (D-Madison).

Chinese officials told Parisi he has the wrong idea about Tibet, that it was liberated and the Tibetans are happy and prospering economically. “They came to show disapproval of my efforts,” Parisi said.

Parisi asked the officials why China will not meet with the Dalai Lama. They told him that China does not like the views of the Dalai Lama and that the Dalai Lama wants all of the Han Chinese to leave the Tibet Autonomous Region, which China considers impossible.

Parisi also asked the Chinese officials where the Panchen Lama is. The Panchen Lama, the lama responsible for selecting the next Dalai Lama, was recognized as a 6-year-old boy in 1995 by the current Dalai Lama. Immediately after he was recognized, the Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Chinese Government. In 2002, a Chinese official told the BBC that he was placed under house arrest and “very happy.”

At first, the two Chinese officials told Parisi the Panchen Lama is in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Parisi persisted and clarified, telling them that the Panchen Lama the Chinese Government selected was not the one he was referring to. The officials then told Parisi that the Panchen Lama is free and living in India. Finally, Parisi asked them about the Chinese Army’s shooting of Tibetan immigrants at the border of Nepal and Tibet, Nangpa-la Pass. Parisi specifically asked them about the 17 year old Buddhist nun who was shot and killed, Kelsang Namtso. The Chinese officials said they were not aware of the incident.

Parisi also said that the Chinese officials came to “lobby against the passage of the (Tibet Day) resolution, but it had already passed.” Wisconsin has unanimously passed a Tibet Day joint resolution for the past 3 years.

“China is worried about their image, especially with the Olympics coming up,” Parisi said.

Abigail Scott is a member of Students for a Free Tibet, an international, chapter-based network of young people and activists who campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom. She can be contacted at

Watch Representative Parisi's speech on the Tibet Day Resolution

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March 10th article in UW student newspaper, The Badger Herald

Madison rallies for 'Free Tibet'
by Peter Sielski
Monday, March 12, 2007

With chants of “China out of Tibet” and “No Olympics for China,” approximately 250 Free Tibet supporters rallied on State Street Saturday morning to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

The rally was part of globally recognized Tibetan Uprising Day, commemorating March 10, 1959, when more than 100,000 Tibetans gave their lives in a peaceful, non-violent uprising against China’s invasion of Tibet.

Rallies like the one in Madison occurred all over the world Saturday, according to Wisconsin Tibetan Association member Sherab Lhatsang.

Tom Boman, a member of Madison’s chapter of Students for a Free Tibet, said this year’s demonstration was two-fold.

“One, we are hoping to introduce the 2008 Olympics campaign in Beijing, where there will be a series of protests,” Boman said. “The other [aspect] is to revitalize the movement as people have gotten comfortable with themselves — so we are trying to get them active again.”

In addition to Madison’s SFT, members of WTA participated in the rally. Both groups said the rally was an effort to raise public awareness and push for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“We want to show that we will fight for our country to preserve our culture and preserve our traditions, which were destroyed by the Chinese,” WTA President Tenzing Lobsang said. “China is the worst country in the world regarding human rights, and all democratic, freedom-loving countries should boycott the Olympics given that.”

According to Asius Vangio, a member of Madison’s SFT, Saturday’s event was a success.

“With his Holiness the Dalai Lama coming here in May, I think that this is going to draw a lot of attention to SFT and the Tibetan community in Madison in general,” Vangio said.

After marching down State Street, the demonstrators went to the state Capitol to hear from a variety of speakers, including Madison Democratic state representatives Spencer Black and Joe Parisi — both of whom helped pass a resolution labeling March 10 as Wisconsin Tibet Day.

“We are looking for a free Tibet for Tibetan people to have the right to preserve their heritage and worship as they wish on their own land,” Parisi said.

Other speakers included two University of Wisconsin students — Tenzin Dhanze and Tenzin Woeser — as well as Vangio and longtime Tibetan supporter Chris Hall.

While he acknowledged a boycott of the Olympics in China is not likely, Dhanze said it would probably be more successful to get individual athletes to refuse to compete.

According to WTA Secretary Dechen Choedon, the protesters, more than 90 percent of whom were American citizens, chose to show their American pride by carrying a United States flag and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Now we are a part of the U.S.,” Choedon said. “It is our way of honoring and respecting the nation in our own way.”

Since March 10 landed on a Saturday, many younger supporters were able to attend, which WTA and SFT said was important and encouraging for their purpose.

“It gives us a lot of hope that the second generation is actually carrying our struggle,” Lhatsang said. “[The struggle] is not going to end — they are going to carry that forward as long as Tibet is not free, which is inspirational to us as well.”

According to Lhatsang, the main issues facing the Tibetan people include a lack of freedoms, a poor school system and brothels. Lhatsang added — with a large influx of Chinese people — Tibetans are slowly becoming a minority in their own land.

“[Tibetans] who try to bring their children into India to Tibetan schools can be prosecuted,” Lhatsang said. “Even if you have a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, you can be locked up for 10 to 20 years.”

Print Version of the Article

More Pictures from Rally

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pictures from Tibetan Uprising Day March 10, 2007 (Chicago)

At 11 am Tibetans and their supporters gathered at Water Tower Place (Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL)...

When the Rally started, we were hundreds...

Then Yeshi Tenzin Dremagang (Tibetan Alliance of Chicago President) and Hilary Edwards (SFT Midwest Regional Coordinator) began the rally with their impassioned speeches...

And the chanting began...

Then we marched the mile to the Chinese Consulate, passing many shoppers and sports fans (the Men's Big 10 Basketball Tournament was that day)...

Then we stood in front of the Chinese Consulate, at the corner of a busy intersection, and told the Chinese Government what we thought of their illegal occupation of Tibet.

Benjamin Cox, board member of the International Tibet Independence Movement, addressed the crowd.

No Olympics China 2008

All pictures courtesy of Heather Lindquist

Friday, March 9, 2007

March 10, 2007 declared TIBET DAY in Wisconsin

The Governor of the State of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle, issued a Proclamation recognizing The Wisconsin Tibetan community and their plea for justice on the 48th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day. The proclamation recognizes March 10th as Tibet Day in Wisconsin.

WHEREAS, the United States Congress has enacted legislation declaring Tibet an occupied country whose true representatives are the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations Human Rights Sub commission has passed a resolution concerning the present threat to the distinct cultural, religious, and national identity of the Tibetan people; and
WHEREAS, the suppression of human rights and freedom in Tibet must be the concern of all freedom-loving people everywhere; and

WHEREAS, on March 10, 2007, Tibetans throughout the world will gather in their host countries to commemorate the 48th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against the Chinese occupation of their country and honor more than a million Tibetans who have died in their struggle for the independence of Tibet; and WHEREAS, the Wisconsin Tibetan Association and the Wisconsin Chapter Of Students For Free Tibet will gather to commemorate this day at the Capitol of the State of Wisconsin; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting that we recognize Wisconsin's Tibetan community and their plea for justice on this 48th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day; NOW,

THEREFORE, I, Jim Doyle, Governor of the State of Wisconsin do hereby proclaim March 10, 2007 TIBET DAY in the State of Wisconsin, and I commend this observance to all citizens.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed. Done at the Capitol in the City of Madison this fifth day of March in the year two thousand seven.

JIM DOYLE Governor
DOUGLAS LA FOLLETTE Secretary of State

Thursday, March 8, 2007

John Negroponte and The Real China Threat

"After China's recent announcement of an 18 percent increase in its official military budget for 2007, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte requested that China be more transparent about its true levels of defense spending and its intentions...

There are reasons to worry about China's expanding role on the world stage, but they have less to do with military power than with China's economic influence and the regime's disdain for human rights -- both at home and abroad...

China, as a preeminent investor in Sudan's oil reserves, has been financing that regime's genocidal crimes in Darfur. Beijing also acts as the principal ally of Burma's military dictatorship and as a ruthless overlord in Tibet.

The world's free-market democracies appear indifferent to China's role as enabler to murderous regimes. So it is left to international civil society to challenge Beijing and teach China's leaders that there can be no path to peaceful development that does not lead to respect for human rights. That is the lesson to be taught by human rights groups that plan on branding the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as the Genocide Olympics."

From The Boston Globe
March 7, 2007

Read the entire article

Getting Ready for Tibetan Uprising Day!

Our chapter is so pumped for our March 10th demonstrations in Chicago and Madison! Yesterday at our weekly meeting we made signs, created chants (see list below), and made 2 commercials for our demonstration :) Asius worked quickly to get them up on YouTube in less than 4 hours, he rawks. So here they are:

The marching one:

The still one:

Chants for March 10th Demonstrations:

China (Out of Tibet)!

Long Live (the Dalai Lama)!

Stop the Killing (in Tibet)! Stop the Genocide (in Tibet)!

Hu Jintao (We want justice)! John Negroponte (We want justice)! Barak Obama (We want justice)!

Team (Tibet), Team (Tibet)! All: Where is Team Tibet?

One World, One Dream! (Free Tibet, Free Tibet)!

We Skip (for Tibet)! We Hop (for Tibet)! We Shout (FOR TIBET)!

Rise (Up)! Speak (Up)! All: Rise Up! Resist! Return!

Out of Exile! (Into the Streets)!

Who loves Tibet! (We love Tibet)!

Beijing 08! (It ain't great)!

Genocide is (NOT a game)!

Have an idea for a good chant? Let us know!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Our flyer for March 10 Demonstration in Chicago, IL! Distribute it like crazy!