08 August 2007

The (Female) RMS of Tibet?

As a big fan of both freedom and Tibet, it seems only right that I should point to the Students for a Free Tibet site. Against a background of increasing repression and cultural genocide by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, it will be interesting to see what happens during the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and the games themselves. On the one hand, China would clearly love to portray itself as one big happy multi-ethnic family; on the other, it is unlikely to brook public reminders about its shameful invasion and occupation of Tibet.

I can only admire those Tibetans who speak up about this, and even daring to challenge, publicly, the Chinese authorities, even within China itself. One of the highest-profile - and hence most courageous - of these is Lhadon Tethong:

A Tibetan woman born and raised in Canada, Lhadon Tethong has traveled the world, working to build a powerful youth movement for Tibetan independence. She has spoken to countless groups about the situation in Tibet, most notably to a crowd of 66,000 at the 1998 Tibetan Freedom Concert in Washington, D.C. She first became involved with Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) in 1996, when she founded a chapter at University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Since then, Lhadon has been a leading force in many strategic campaigns, including the unprecedented victory against China’s World Bank project in 2000.

Lhadon is a frequent spokesperson for the Tibetan independence movement, and serves as co-chair of the Olympics Campaign Working Group of the International Tibet Support Network. She has worked for SFT since March 1999 and currently serves as the Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet International.

She has a blog, called Beijing Wide Open, stuffed full of Tibetan Web 2.0 goodness. I'm sure RMS would approve. (Via Boing Boing.)

Update: Sigh: bad news already....


Anonymous said...

I am one of Lhadon's geek advisors so seeing your post made me proud of her. She is truly brilliant in many ways, including her ability pick up geekery.

She is carrying on her person a wifi skype phone, wifi-enabled digital camera, and a blackberry pearl with world data service, not to mention her laptop outfitted with obvious tools like Flickr Uploader and Pando.

Finally, the latest word is that it looks like she is coming home: CTV article from Beijing

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the update.

Good news that she's OK, bad news that she's being booted out.

Good, too, to hear of geekery in a good cause - do send my best wishes to her.

bobby fletcher said...

Why don't we righteous Americans set a good example for the Chinese by reliniquishing our established statehood towards Native American Independence?

Of cours not, we are hypocrits. We want to keep our stolen land and demand China decimate their established statehood for Tibet Independence.

Proverb goes "people living in glass house should not throw stones."

Glyn Moody said...

Well, you're right there's plenty of hypocrisy around, and I'm all in favour of making reparations to original inhabitants of places like America, Canada, Australia etc.

But I don't think that's a reason not to raise our voices against what's happening in Tibet. After all, Tibet was invaded, not hundreds of years ago, but sixty or so. The Tibetans are actively repressed today, with imprisonment and torture routine. Tibetan culture is being destroyed, as well as the Tibetan ecosystem.

Moreover, the 2008 Olympics provide a real opportunity to exert pressure - moral, rather military - on China. Call me a naive optimist, but I really believe that spreading the word about efforts to improve the condition of Tibetans can have an impact: after all, the Chinese are acutely concerned about "face", and opinions in the blogosphere can exploit this fact.

bobby fletcher said...

GM, not sure if you are aware of the fact Students for a free Tibet is conntected with the Canadian government thru PM Harper's advisor Tenzin Khangsar:


Glyn Moody said...

I didn't: do you think it makes a difference to their aims/actions?

I can't really tell from the Web sites the Google search brings up what the implications are.....