International Tibet Network Members’ Statement as Xi Jinping becomes China’s President
China’s new President faces the Tibet Challenge .
Global Tibet movement calls on China’s newly appointed President, Premier and State Council to acknowledge 60 years of policy failures and seek a resolution to the crisis in Tibet.
Xi Jinping – whose revolutionary hero father was close to the 10th Panchen Lama and knew the Dalai Lama – has today been confirmed as China’s State President, with Li Yuanchao in the largely symbolic role of Vice President. Li Keqiang is expected to be conferred as the new Premier of the State Council tomorrow .
China’s new government leaders are taking up their positions just days after the global Tibet movement rallied around the world in their thousands  to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising and raise awareness of the immolation crisis in Tibet, where the number of Tibetans who have protested China’s rule through self-immolation totals 107, of which at least 88 have died .
“China’s new President has a crisis on his hands, with Tibetans in Tibet denouncing China’s policy failures, calling for freedom and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama” said Tenzin Jigme of the International Tibet Network, a global coalition of almost 200 Tibet Groups . “Yet, far from seeking to address Tibetan grievances, China’s new leaders have overseen an escalating crackdown, with anti-Dalai Lama propaganda and the criminalization of Tibetan protests exacerbating tensions in occupied Tibet.”
Since Xi’s elevation to the top of China’s Communist Party in November 2012 China’s hardline response to the self-immolations has increased, with overt military presence , mass detentions and heavy sentences. On 31 January 2013 Lobsang Kunchok, a monk from Ngaba (Ch: Aba, Sichuan) received a suspended death sentence and his nephew, Lobsang Tsering, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment . During the National People’s Congress, officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region have stepped up their propaganda offensive with accusations “it was not convenient to disclose” that the Dalai Lama was directly involved in the self-immolations. Xi Jinping has met the Tibetan delegation at the NPC, with some news outlets reporting that Xi discussed political and administrative measures to end the self-immolations with delegates .
“Xi’s Tibet Challenge is to recognize the urgent need for a change of policy in Tibet,” said Alison Reynolds of the Tibet Network. “We put him on notice that Tibet will be a defining issue for his leadership of China, and we call on him to revoke 60 years of policy failures and address the Tibetans’ peaceful calls for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama,” she added.
Signed, Member Organisations of the International Tibet Network
1. Xi Jinping’s Tibet Challenge is a report that highlights China’s failed policies in Tibet and outlines the challenges he faces as China continues to occupy Tibet through Three Pillars of Coercive Control: Military Occupation, Colonial Rule, and Fear and Intimidation. Read and download from Issuu http://bit.ly/QXfT3V and/or Google Docs http://bit.ly/RDLYPO
2. For profiles of China’s new State leaders through a Tibet “lens”, see:Xi Jinping, State President, www.chinese-leaders.org/xi-jinping, Li Yuanchao, Vice President, http://chinese-leaders.org/li-yuanchao/, Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, www.chinese-leaders.org/li-keqiang. more positions here For a profile of Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, see www.chinese-leaders.org/xi-zhongxun
4. The first known self-immolation in Tibet took place in February 2009. This protest by Tapey, a monk from Kirti monastery, Ngaba in eastern Tibet, was emulated by Phuntsok in March 2011 and was followed in that year by 12 further self-immolations. There were 83 in 2012 and X to date in 2013. For a comprehensive list of all confirmed self-immolations in Tibet, see www.StandupforTibet.org/learn-more. There have also been six instances of self-immolation among exiled Tibetans.5. 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 campaigns for an end human rights violations in Tibet and restore the Tibetan people’s right under international law to determine their future political, economic, social, religious and Cultural status. See www.tibetnetwork.org.
8. See http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/uk-china-parliament-tibet-idUKBRE9270D620130308, also http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3710713.htm and http://www.indianexpress.com/news/xi-jinping-reviews-situation-in-tibet-amid-selfimmolation-protests/1085980/