A dark curtain is being pulled across Tibet — foreign media detained and expelled, armed troops patrolling the streets, the coordinated arrests of monks. Now the Chinese government has even cut phone networks to prevent communication between Tibetans, closing off vital information channels to the outside world. As the Chinese government hardens its line for the 50-year anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, this blackout threatens to deepen the repression of Tibetan culture and society.
It is vital that we keep a multi-channel communication highway open — allowing Tibetans to broadcast reports of arrests, rights violations and protests, and providing vital information to Tibetans about their community and the world. For example grassroots organizations like Voice of Tibet, the only daily service which broadcasts vital and timely news and information into Tibet and China is regularly jammed with abstract noise and deafening music. Click below to watch the urgent video just received about the communication crackdown: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/tibetan_blackout_video/
Only freedom of information and dialogue can lead to the awareness that Tibetans, Chinese people and the world need to reach a lasting and peaceful solution to the Tibetan problem. As Avaaz members, who experience the power of technology daily, we have the understanding and the power to help draw the curtain on the blackout. With new technologies, governments cannot forever control the flows of information, but if we don’t act quickly, Tibetan isolation will continue, their plight increasingly forgotten behind an impenetrable firewall. Radio stations, bridge bloggers, anti-censorship technologies are like fog-lights out of the dark – and vital to the survival of the Tibetan people. Here is what the Dalai Lama says about Voice of Tibet, which your donation would go towards supporting: “This is the only radio service in [the] Tibetan language with a Tibetan editorial board in charge allowing us [Tibetans] to comment on events of Tibetan interest from our perspective…. I would appreciate […] if sympathetic organizations and individuals could help Voice of Tibet continue functioning for many more years to come.”
But with shrinking funds, even this station is considering cutting programs for the year. Freedom of information is important to the survival of Tibetan culture, vital to prevent further human rights abuses and a key ingredient in securing Tibetan autonomy. It is also a key way to reach out to progressive Chinese in China, many of whom are looking for alternative perspectives and information. As a global community, we can help ensure access to reliable information for Tibetans, Chinese and those of us who are in the world beyond the veil.
With hope, Brett, Ricken, Alice, Paul, Graziela, Ben, Paula, Luis, Pascal, Veronique, Iain, Milena and the rest of the Avaaz team