For Immediate Release: November 14, 2021
Jacob Kessler | Students for a Free Tibet | +1 516-776-6472 | Jacob@studentsforafreetibet.org (English and Tibetan)
Anna Kwok | Hong Kong Democracy Council | +1 929-293-6278 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Chinese and English)
Irade Kashgary | Uyghur American Association | +1 571-291-1215 | Irade@uyghuraa.org (Uyghur)
CROSS-MOVEMENT RALLY FOLLOWS CONTINUOUS VIGIL OF YOUTH ACTIVISTS OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON DC, November 14th—Today, around 100 people gathered outside the White House to call on President Biden to prioritize human rights at his upcoming virtual summit with Xi Jinping. With less than 24 hours left until the summit will commence, those from communities impacted by Chinese Communist Party violence are pleading with President Biden to remember their struggles. At today’s rally, protesters chanted “Biden, stand up for human rights” and “human rights matter.” Present at the rally were young Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Kong activists who have been in front of the White House for more than 24 hours and plan on remaining until the end of Biden’s summit with Xi. At the beginning of the rally, Students for a Free Tibet’s Lobsang Tseten read a list of 6 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.
The rally was followed by a press conference featuring activists, survivors of Chinese government atrocities, and human rights experts.
Tenzin Yangzom, Grassroots Director at Students for a Free Tibet, said:
“President Biden: Please hear the voices of the Tibetan-Americans and all who are most deeply impacted by the escalating oppression of the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping. We know the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party, and we know the only way to effectively engage with China is to confront these issues head on and push openly for accountability. Human rights matter not just for us, but they crucially impact every other aspect of the US-China relationship.”
Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch, said:
“It simply isn’t enough for President Biden to raise horrific human rights violations against Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong people, or human rights defenders across China….President Biden should announce that the US is mapping out with allies pathways to investigations and prosecutions. It’s what the US has done in the face of other such crimes, and the Chinese government should be no different.”
Brian Leung, Executive Director at Hong Kong Democracy Council, said:
“We stand here, in solidarity, to send a clear message to President Biden – Live up to your promise to assert leadership among democracies globally and speak out against China’s egregious human rights violations when meeting Xi Jinping in tomorrow’s virtual summit.”
Jewher Ilham, Uyghur Author and Human Rights Activist, addressed the 5th demand for President Biden regarding forced labor:
“We want to see the end of American businesses being complicit in forced labor. I’m sure consumers in the US and around the world don’t want to unknowingly buy products or wear clothing made in conditions of forced labor by my fellow Uyghur brothers and sisters. I don’t know the answer to many questions in this world, but I am sure of this. I have confidence in people and in humanity.”