FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 13 November 2021
***Interviews with activists currently outside White House available upon request.
Jacob Kessler | +1 516-776-6472 | Jacob@studentsforafreetibet.org (WhatsApp or Signal only)
Tenzin Kunchok | +1 952-210-8868 | Kunch006@umm.edu (Tibetan and English)
Anna Kwok | +1 929-293-6278 | email@example.com (Chinese and English)
AHEAD BIDEN-XI SUMMIT, ACTIVISTS CALL ON BIDEN TO SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
HAPPENING NOW: WASHINGTON, DC—Today at 2:30pm EST, Tibetan, Hongkonger, and Uyghur youth activists began a continuous vigil at Lafayette Square outside the White House ahead of President Biden’s virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Calling on the US President to prioritize the human rights of their communities in his talks with Xi, the activists plan to stay outside of the White House until the end of the summit on Monday. The activists read the following list of five demands for President Biden:
- Refuse any invitation from Xi Jinping to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and announce a US diplomatic boycott of the games.
- Demand an end to the assault on Tibetan identity, including language, religion, culture and nomadic way of life, and allow unrestricted access to Tibet by the international community, including the media, international observers and Tibetans living in exile.
- Press for the release of all political prisoners being held in violation of their basic civil and political rights and seek urgent information about the health and wellbeing of Hong Kong activists Ma Chun-Man and Tong Ying-kit, Tibetan nomad and environmental activist, A-Nya Sengdra, and Uyghur economist and scholar Ilham Tohti.
- Urge President Xi Jinping to repeal the National Security Law in Hong Kong and release all those convicted under it.
- Call for unfettered access for American companies to factories and fields in their supply chains so that they are able to make accurate assessments of the conditions at these facilities to ensure that they are not procuring products from companies using forced labor, especially as it relates to proven cases of Uyghur forced labor in what China calls the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
- Demand the release of family members of U.S. citizens and residents being unjustly held by Chinese authorities in all areas under the Chinese government’s control.
Pema Doma, Campaigns Director at Students for a Free Tibet, said:
“President Biden must put human rights at the forefront of his Summit with Xi Jinping as these talks will set the tone for US-China relations for years to come. If human rights are not at the top of President Biden’s agenda, it will set a dangerous precedent that genocide, occupation, and crimes against humanity really don’t matter to the United States in its dealings with Chinese leaders. President Biden must keep the lives of millions of people oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the forefront of his mind – and speak out emphatically in support of their basic rights – at Monday’s summit.”
Chris Choi, Director of Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston, said:
“I am participating in today’s action because as a Hongkonger, the pain of seeing the world turn a blind eye to China’s brutal oppression against my people, and my Tibetan and Uyghur friends is so deep and personal. Enough is enough. The international community needs to stop legitimizing and endorsing Xi Jinping’s crimes against humanity and do whatever it takes to hold the CCP accountable. I urge the Biden administration to lead by example and work closely with like-minded partners to defend our shared beliefs of freedom and democracy against the CCP with strong multilateral actions.”
Tenzin Kunchok, Students for a Free Tibet youth activist, is currently at the vigil:
“I am participating in this vigil because I want the Biden administration to acknowledge and take action towards eliminating the atrocious human rights issues that are still taking place under Xi Jinping. President Biden and his administration need to show the world that they care more about human rights and human lives than diplomacy. It’s incredibly disheartening to see the United States ignore our cry for help.”