One of our major goals when we founded World Tibet Day was creating an event that would build much greater support and awareness for the Tibetan cause while at the same time celebrating Tibetan culture. And we wanted to make an occasion that would attract Tibetans, Tibet supporters and the general public – thereby hopefully widening the base of the Tibet movement.
One way we did that was by linking WTD events with observances honoring the birthday of the Dalai Lama. And with the approval and support of His Holiness, we’ve been holding WTD events on or near the same day that Tibetan communities are honoring the Dalai Lama’s birthday. In most cases, Tibetan communities hold private religious services in the morning, and then in the afternoon, they hold their traditional picnic while observing WTD at the same time.
We deliberately constructed World Tibet Day as a multi-faceted event – one that appeals to the public in a variety of ways. And for those of you who want to help organize a WTD observance in your area, there are some fairly easy steps to follow. First you need to contact the closest Tibetan Association that is putting on a WTD observance and offer your help. Secondly, you need to choose one of the many facets of WTD events that appeal to you – including the following:
- Raising awareness through the media
- Writing media releases about WTD and about the birthday of His Holiness, and everything he represents as a Nobel Laureate –
- Using your own releases or downloading the draft release and PSAs from the WTD website and sending these releases to newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and wire services
- Repeatedly telephoning reporters and assignment editors in advance of the event – both to publicize and promote WTD, while at the same time raising public awareness of Tibetan issues
- Celebrating Tibetan Culture by creating an afternoon or evening festival during WTD
- Contacting musicians, dancers and other artists to celebrate and showcase Tibetan culture
- Helping to organize musical performances and artistic presentations as part of WTD (including Thanka painting, and demonstrations of Tibetan calligraphy)
- Organizing speeches and presentations on Tibet issues
- Contacting informed celebrities and local politicians and inviting them to come to the event to speak about general issues of human rights and religious freedom and in particular about Tibet issues
- Helping to organize showings of a Tibetan film or even a small film festival, possibly charging a fee with proceeds going to the Tibetan Association and to Students for a Free Tibet
- Helping to set up an exhibition of Tibet photos
- Helping to organize a slide show and lecture about Tibet
- Setting up information tables
- Contacting Tibet Support Groups and Human Rights groups and inviting them to set up information tables at the event
- Showing films about His Holiness as part of WTD & celebrations honoring his birthday
- Talking about His Holiness’s life and emphasizing everything the Dalai Lama represents and symbolizes as a spiritual leader, as the exiled leader of Tibet working tirelessly for his people, and as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
- Interfaith outreach for Tibet
- Contacting religious and spiritual leaders, giving them materials from the Interfaith Call for Tibet website, and encouraging them to hold interfaith services linked with WTD advocating a restoration of religious freedom and human rights in Tibet
SCOPE OF WTD OBSERVANCES
Since it was founded in July of 1998, World Tibet Day has grown into one of the most important events on the Tibetan calendar.
And the growth has been meteoric. In its inaugural year, observances were held in 10 cities in 3 countries. In the few years since then, WTD has expanded so much that it’s now being observed in 57 cities.
For the future, in order to help the Tibetan people win back their freedom, we're going to host WTD events around the world as long as we need them. And after we succeed, we'll continue to hold these events - simply to celebrate.
ACTIONS & CAMPAIGNS TO HELP THE TIBETAN PEOPLE
(1) DISTRIBUTING THE WTD PETITION FOR TIBET AT WTD EVENTS
"On World Tibet Day, we who sign this petition express our heartfelt support for the restoration of religious, cultural and political freedoms to the Tibetan people. We strongly urge the People’s Republic of China to enter into negotiations without preconditions - with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile on the future of Tibet. Looking to our government for leadership, we implore the administration to help broker and facilitate these negotiations.
In addition, we demand the immediate release of all Tibetan political prisoners – including the teenage Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most important spiritual leader, who has been held for years, along with his family, not allowed any contact with the outside world. We also demand the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who recently escaped execution, but who still faces a life sentence on totally false charges."
||Click HERE for a Petition ready to print, already formatted with spaces for people to sign. After printing it and making copies, have it available at WTD events, and mail the signed copies to the Office of Tibet in NY and/or the office for the International Campaign for Tibet.
(2) OFFERING TO THOSE ATTENDING WTD EVENTS: THE PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT GOODS FROM MAINLAND CHINA UNTIL THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT ENDS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES TO THE TIBETAN PEOPLE IN OCCUPIED TIBET
"To protest China’s brutal occupation of and repression in Tibet, its many and increasing human rights violations, and its hostility to freedom, justice, democracy and religion, I hereby pledge not to buy any products manufactured in the People’s Republic of China."
|| We intend to provide information on the Boycott at WTD events.
For more information on the Boycott go to www.boycottmadeinchina.org
or go directly to the PLEDGE, which you can sign and submit online.
(3) ENCOURAGING THOSE ATTENDING WTD EVENTS TO JOIN THE CAMPAIGN CENTERED AROUND THE 2008 BEIJING OLYMPICS, USING THOSE GAMES AS A WAY TO HIGHLIGHT MASSIVE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT AGAINST BOTH THE TIBETAN PEOPLE AND CHINESE NATIONALS
"We at WTD wholeheartedly support this international campaign to use the 2008 Beijing Olympics to help the Tibetan people in occupied Tibet. Through the Olympic Games, we want to lobby the world’s news media to shine a spotlight on China's human rights abuses and on their repressive occupation of Tibet. The Chinese government hopes to use Beijing 2008 as a way to gain recognition and acceptance as a legitimate world power, on the same footing as other democratic countries that have hosted the Games. The Olympics form part of the increasingly sophisticated effort by the Chinese Government to obscure both its occupation of Tibet and its human rights record from international scrutiny. Through our campaign, we intend to shift the focus both of the world and of the Chinese government onto Tibet, calling on Beijing to free Tibet by 2008 or else face massive protests during the 2008 Games."
||As specific actions, we are encouraging attendees at WTD events to write a letter, formulated by Students For a Free Tibet, which tells the Chinese government to leave Tibet.
Write this letter to Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China. In your letter:
Send your letter to:
- Call on the Chinese government to end its occupation of Tibet by 2008.
- Request the release of all Tibetan political prisoners, including Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama.
- Notify him that until China leaves Tibet, Tibetans and supporters will use the Olympic Games as a means of drawing attention to China's occupation of Tibet and its deplorable human rights record.
- Request assurance that freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and other international human rights be respected during the course of the Games, and that the Olympic Games will not be used as an excuse for a crackdown on human rights.
President of the People's Republic of China
The State Council General Office - Yongneixijie
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Your Excellency
Send a copy to the president of the Beijing Organizing Committee:
Qi Liu, President
Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
24 Dong Si Shi Tiao
People's Republic of China
Fax: + 86 10 6528 2008
Salutation: Dear Mr. Qi