FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 23 June 2021
***Photo and video footage of the protest and meeting can be accessed here.
Pema Doma | +1-617-792-3606 | PemaDoma@studentsforafreetibet.org
ACTIVISTS READ PETITION TO MARS EMPLOYEES CALLING ON THE COMPANY TO END THEIR SPONSORSHIP OF THE BEIJING 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS
NEW JERSEY, JUNE 23rd—Today, Tibetan activists from the tristate area performed a die-in protest in front of the Mars, Incorporated Headquarters in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Mars communications officials met activists outside their building where protesters were chanting and holding signs. A newly launched petition, from a Tibetan and Uyghur survivor of CCP atrocities, calling on the company to cancel their sponsorship of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games was delivered to Mars. One of the authors of the petition, Ngawang Sangdrol, is a former Tibetan nun, who served 11 years in prison from the age of 13.
On behalf of Ngawang Sangdrol, Tibetan activist, Tsela Zoksang, read the petition statement out loud to the Mars representatives, one of whom was visibly moved hearing the atrocities that Ms. Ngawang had suffered at the hands of Chinese authorities. Part of this petition read:
“By sponsoring the CCP-hosted Beijing Olympics, Mars is directly playing a role in legitimizing the authoritarian regime which has committed countless acts of gender-based violence, genocide, and rape. It is extremely disappointing that a company that prides itself on respecting human rights and women’s empowerment is actively sponsoring the Beijing Olympics, even though the CCP has raped and tortured millions of women, including the two of us that are writing this letter to you today.”
Tsela Zoksang, Students for a Free Tibet Activist, said:
“Today’s meeting with Mars officials is welcomed as it comes after we have repeatedly requested a time to raise our concerns about the sponsorship of Beijing 2022. Mars prides itself as a company that values women’s empowerment and human rights, yet by sponsoring Beijing 2022 – the Genocide Games – the company is acting in contrary to its purported values. Our petition demonstrates that any corporation that collaborates with the Chinese government is complicit in systematic rape and genocide. While Mars sending out communications representatives to talk with us today is a welcome first step, this must be followed up by sincere effort at dialogue.”
Mars is one of only two non-Chinese companies to strike direct sponsorship deals with the Beijing 2022 Olympics hosts. The deal is specifically with the brand SNICKERS, which is the official chocolate of the Games. Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other groups oppressed by the Chinese government, are calling for a boycott of the Games due to China’s genocide of the Uyghurs, brutal occupation of Tibet, and other widespread abuses.
Today’s action came as part of the Global Day of Action against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, a coordinated day of protests, events, and demonstrations to deliver the joint message that China must not be allowed to use Beijing 2022 to ‘sport-wash’ their crimes.