Tag Archives: Students For a Free Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet nominated for the 16th Annual J.S. Woodsworth Award

J.S. Woodsworth Award Nomination, signed by Andrea Horwath, Ontario New Democratic Party Leader.

Last week, on the 21st of March, the Annual J.S. Woodsworth Awards Ceremony took place on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at St. Lawrence Lounge. M.P.P. Cheri DiNovo nominated Students for a Free Tibet during this event for our work, and in her words:

“This phenomenal group of young people from all nationalities… have helped make a movement for Tibetan freedom a worldwide cause and have helped organize many demonstrations at Queen’s Park and Ottawa.”

Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrew Horwath speaking at the J.S. Woodsworth Awards Ceremony

Tenzin Lobsang Wangkhang, the former National Director of SFT Canada, attended this event and accepted the nomination on behalf of SFT Canada. She, as the others before her, had put in tremendous hard work and effort in the past two years advocating, campaigning and leading the Student organization in our work for Tibet. Although SFT Canada didn’t win, we are honoured to have been nominated by M.P.P. Cheri DiNovo at this amazing Awards Ceremony that recognizes individuals and organizations that stand for truth, justice and freedom for all people regardless of their backgrounds, upbringing, culture or race.

Former National Director Tenzin Lobsang, and SFT members Tsering Dolma and Youdon Khangsar accept the award on behalf of SFT Canada

To read a personal account by Tenzin Lobsang Wangkhang, please read her Lhakar Diaries entry.

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Art For Tibet Canada: Call for Submissions

We invite you to be part of the first ever ART FOR TIBET (A4T) show in Canada. Honouring the Tibetan people’s unwavering commitment to nonviolence, a group of committed activists and artists are organizing a group art sale to raise money for Students for a Free Tibet Canada (SFT): a non-profit global grassroots network that campaigns for Tibetan freedom and human rights and trains young Tibetan and non-Tibetan students worldwide in strategic nonviolent action.

Art plays a vital role in Tibetan culture, and has long been a profound tool for social and political change. This event will showcase work from a diverse pool of artists and allow patrons to purchase reasonably priced original pieces, while raising money for an important cause.

We would be honoured if you would join us in helping Tibet by submitting a piece of your work or a piece you own and would like to donate to the event.

Two years ago, SFT’s inaugural ART FOR TIBET in New York City: 50X50 was a phenomenal success. It brought together and showcased established and new artists from all over the world – including a growing number of outstanding contemporary Tibetan artists. ART FOR TIBET: 50X50 garnered significant New York and art world press and brought in hundreds of New Yorkers. Now we hope to bring this event to Toronto and make ART FOR TIBET Canada into a major art show in its own right.

In addition to the Toronto gallery show, we will be featuring all participating artists and artwork on our site to expand our reach.  This website will include an online auction of pieces included in the show.

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To Ottawa! (March 20, 2008)

This is a call to all freedom fighters and humanitarians to gather in front of the Parliament Hill on Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 9 AM. The international spotlight is now focused squarely on the happenings inside Tibet. This is our moment to link arms with our brothers and sisters back in Tibet and turn that spotlight into a worldwide pressure.

Tibetan Monk

How long can China continue to cover up their violent and brutal suppression of millions of Tibetans inside Tibet? How much lower can they sink without drowning in their own lies and filth? Is the IOC really willing to cover up their bloody hands for the sake of greed?

We can change that outcome. And we can do that right up to the face of the monster.

What: Ottawa Tibetan Rally
When: Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 9 AM
Where: The Parliament Hill & the Chinese Embassy.

See you on the streets!

For Tibet! For Tibetans!

Tremendous Turnout and a Spontaneous Act of Rebellion Spark one of the Most Successful Mar 10 Demo in T.O.

Around a thousand Tibetans and Tibetan supporters braved the winter chill of Ontario, Canada and descended on the streets of downtown Toronto to voice their opposition and remember the fallen ones on the forty-ninth anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day. Barely a day removed from the record-setting snowstorm that blanketed much of Ontario under 50 cm or more snow for the weekend, the sky was thankfully clear of any ominous clouds, and the sun warmed the afternoon considerably over the course of the rally.

Young and old, children and parents, high school students of all grades enjoying their first day of March break, chanted emotional slogans and walked a considerably long circuit around the downtown core; stopping first at the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) office building of Toronto and then gathering at the Chinese Consulate building. Some of the marchers were visibly tired after the long walk and constant chanting, but their voices never faltered and their spirits never wavered throughout the course of the day.

Tram and Protesters

Tsering Lama, the National Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet Canada, and TWA Vice President Kesang Chodon approached the office of Chris Rudge, Chief Executive Officer of COC, to hand in a letter of reprimand on behalf of the Joint Action Committee of Toronto, a group formed of SFT Canada, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Dokham Chushi Gangdruk and Canada Tibet Committee. The committee was formed in preparation for the historic Beijing Olympic games which will be held in the August of this year.

Protesters Toronto

The letter states the deleterious human rights records of China which is in direct contradiction with the values and ethics that the Olympics committee supposedly holds up in its ethos. It voiced the concern of the further disintegration of basic human rights in Tibet and the importance of reminding China and the International Olympic Committee to uphold the values that are universally declared as unconditional rights for everyone around the world. Although Mr. Rudge wasn’t personally available to receive the letter, his assistant received it on his behalf. While the letter was being delivered, the marchers gathered in front of the building outside and chanted slogans and jeers to all of those affiliated with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

After the meeting at the COC building, the marchers headed down to the Chinese Consulate building. As the mass of people swelled in front of the street that was cordoned off for the rally, various demonstrators waved the colourful Tibetan flags and placards in direct view of the many consulate employees and officials who were working inside. The importance of marching on a week day was not lost on the protesters, as they picked up their chants and furiously called out the Chinese government to “Free Tibet!”, “Release the Panchen Lama”, “Release Rongye Adak”, among many others.

This year’s March 10 protest was markedly different from the rallies of past. The number of participants were much higher than before, and it was even more impressive considering that it was on the start of a weekday. The passion and the sense of urgency by which the protesters carried the day signified the rise of momentum in the lead-up to the historic summer games in Beijing. Local representatives from both the Provincial and the Federal governments pledged their support for Tibet’s sovereign recognition and lambasted the Chinese Communist Party for their constant abuses against human rights in Tibet, and elsewhere in China. Peggy Nash, MP, voiced her support on the loudspeaker over the telephone from Ottawa; while Cheri Dinovo, MPP, showed up twice on the day to rally the crowd and chastise the much-scorned building behind her. Michael Craig, head of China Rights Network, also showed up to remind the people gathered about the atrocities that were constantly being carried out in Tibet under the guise of peace and security.

Protesters Toronto 1

Various members of the Joint Action Committee also joined the charge in boosting the energy and the moral outrage of marchers. Tsering Lama, National Director, SFT Canada, called out the Tibetans in the rally to further lend to the cause for the freedom of Tibet, and reminded everyone gathered about the upcoming Olympics Torch rally in San Francisco. She urged her fellow Tibetans to denounce this illegal charade of harmony and modernization, a farce on the “top of our Mt. Everest” while millions of Tibetans in Tibet languish under the peril of the Chinese Communist Party. She also implored everyone to donate whatever they can to the 2-week, 24-hour Tibetan festival in Canada that will occur simultaneously with the Olympics games.

Towards the middle of the protest in front of the Chinese Consulate Building, a couple of youth snuck behind the walls and managed to get to the rooftop of the building. The boys, one of them of minor age, then proceeded to bring the flag of China down from the pole, and hang the Tibetan flag in its place. This spontaneous action further fueled the energy of the protesters below, as they cheered and applauded the youth for symbolically undermining China’s authority over its own building, and in effect, over Tibet. The boys didn’t manage to completely raise the Tibetan flag, but their inspiring and courageous act of dissent enraptured the emotions of the protesters, many of whom held their breath when the two youth were eventually detained by the Consulate officials. No visible damage of property was inflicted on the building, save for a roughed up Chinese flag, and the youth were compliant with the Chinese consulate officials who stopped the action and detained the two.

The protesters were very worried about the welfare of the two youth and demanded that they be released from the Chinese Consulate building. Some of the marchers who were close to the youth were visibly agitated and were told to calm down by the organizers lest they jeopardize the situation of the two detained. Eventually, the police in the area informed the organizers that the boys wouldn’t be released unless the protesters disbanded and vacated the street and surrounding area. At the urge of the various organizers, the marchers began to stow away the flags and placards and call it a day. At the conclusion of the rally, when most of the protesters had left, the police informed the waiting organizers that the two youth will have to be investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) because “the two had violated the laws on international soil, and hence, the Toronto police had no authority on the matter, and it will be left up to the RCMP to investigate and carry out further actions.” At the time of this reporting, the boys are still under investigation by the RCMP, and are being charged, the details of which are not available at the moment.

Raising the Tibetan Flag - 1 Raising the Tibetan Flag - 2 Raising the Tibetan Flag - 3 height=Raising the Tibetan Flag - 4 height= Raising the Tibetan Flag - 5 height= Raising the Tibetan Flag - 6 height=

The various turn of events at the rally and the impressive turnout of Tibetans and Tibetan supporters made this year’s March 10 uprising one of the most memorable in Toronto. All of the gathered participants were emboldened by the need to contribute for the sake of a free Tibet, and the various organizers of the event beamed at the success and timing of the event. We are all permanently pressed to the phone in finding out the latest details from the two detained youth, and will keep you updated on the changes as they occur. For now, the rally, covered heavily by local and national media, will feature prominently in the discussions of every Tibetan household, and will no doubt, create a new sense of momentum and hope for those that still dream of a free Tibet and a return to their homeland.