Tibet Will Be Free (the SFT Blog!)

WELCOME TO THE STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET BLOG--------> This is the weblog of the SFT Headquarters. Here you can peek into the minds (not to mention actions, events, trainings, brainstorms, parties...) of the SFT staff, board members, volunteers, friends and fellow activists. Tibet will be free.

We've Moved:

Tibet Will Be Free has moved off of this site because Blogger is owned by Google. Visit the new TIBET WILL BE FREE at blog.studentsforafreetibet.org

Monday, June 27, 2005

Action Camp photos

Here's an online photo gallery. Check it out...

so sad it's all over...

...for now. I felt like crying (not so surprising for me, I know) as we watched the 2pm shuttle take off for the airport and train station. The van was packed full of some of the most wonderful people in this world heading back to their respective homes in Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, England and Scotland and for a second, I wished we could just keep them all here with us forever. But, we've got work to do and that's what it's all about. This past week was so inspiring, exhausting, maddening, crazy, humbling and completely energizing all at the same time. Participants, trainers, staff and volunteers alike plugged away each and every day to strengthen the effectiveness of our action for a free and independent Tibet. We partied like rockstars last night to celebrate eachother, our hard work and our future success. Watch out Mr. Hu Jintao, we're Lhasa bound!

from a beautiful place called Pauenhof, Germany

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pumped Up at Pauenhof

We're heading into dinner on the fourth night of camp and I'm feeling incredibly pumped about it. The participants represent the strongest, most active leaders for Tibet that Europe has to offer. As I write this, our activists are networking together and making plans on how to work coherently to produce stronger actions. Armed with new skills in direct action planning, climbing, political theatre, non-violent resistance, and grassroots organizing, I think the prospects for the Tibetan cause in Europe look great.

I helped facilitate a workshop yesterday on Direct Action Planning and Strategy with Han and I walked away anxious to get back to the real world and do some direct action! Fortunately I think all of our participants are feeling this way. Hu Jintao is coming to the US in September and Bush is going to China...and the tiny hamster on the treadmill of ideas is spinning away in our collective minds. This camp is all about how Students for a Free Tibet makes a difference and when we leave here on Monday night, we'll have thirty more kick-ass action organizers ready to take their efforts for Tibetan independence to a whole new level.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Drapchi 14 nuns arrive at camp...

Wow. How does one begin to explain what it is like to hear a freedom song being sung by one of the women who wrote the lyrics herself...in prison? Thupten and I were in the office at camp doing some prep for a workshop while Gyaltsen Dolkar and Namdrol Lhamo were moving into their room next door and that's when we heard the song. We're thinking Tendor must have asked if they would sing tonight during the evening presentation on Tibetan music and politics. This is Tendor's first time running the show as it's usually Techung or Danny (we miss you guys!) The nuns arrived just a couple of hours ago on the train from Belgium (Alma, Dechen Pemba and I picked them up in Dusseldorf with their friend Lhamo) . They escaped Tibet only last year and were able to make it to Europe just a couple of months ago. We're really touched that they agreed to come and join us here. Tonight is going to be something else!

Much love to you all from a farm somewhere near Dusseldorf,
Lhadon & Thupten

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Action Camp Volunteers

A good crew on the ground... some of the folks who flew in from the States:
pin bill leslie kathy
from L to R: Pin (San Jose, CA) and Bill & Leslie (Minneapolis, MN) will be in the kitchen feeding the freedom fighters-in-training and Kathy (Santa Fe, NM) will be gettin' them up on ropes, challenging what they think is possible.

Monday, June 20, 2005

On the ground in Germany for camp!

Well, I'm excited about this Action camp... hard to believe it's the 6th one. Well, we should do more of these so we won't have to do them at all anymore! The plane ride this way from New York is brutal - flew over with climb trainer David Murphy and neither of us slept much. Then, we had to hit the ground running... suddenly it's morning here and there's so much to do. This camp is going to be great although a big challenge for Matt and Tendor... it's the first camp for both of them as staff.

We're doing this one at a Buddhist retreat center called Pauenhof near Dusseldorf. It's really beautiful here - this is my 6th SFT camp and maybe 20th action camp in general and this is one of the best sites yet. I have my camera and I'm excited to document this event though getting lots of photos up online might be tough - internet looks sketchy. I'm going to try and make this post as a sort of test and we'll see... Buddha next to garden
This is a very big marble (!) Buddha statue just inside the front entrance of Pauenhof - pretty much the first thing participants will see when they arrive for camp.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Microsoft and China

Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors. Users of the joint-venture portal, formally launched last month, have been blocked from using a range of potentially sensitive words to label personal websites they create using its free online blog service, MSN Spaces.

Attempts to input words in Chinese such as "democracy" prompted an error message from the site: "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item." Other phrases banned included the Chinese for "demonstration", "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence".

More At the Financial Times

Tuesday, June 07, 2005



Montreal – As Bombardier executives and shareholders left their annual general meeting at the Sheraton today, a student hung a Tibetan flag off the hotel as protesters below demanded: “Bombardier: hors du Tibet / out of Tibet”. The action was intended to draw attention to a campaign against Bombardier for its involvement in a highly contentious railway being built through Tibet . Slated to begin test runs in 2006, the railway will facilitate an influx of Chinese settlers and migrants to Tibet , threatening the survival of Tibetan culture.

“The Chinese government is building this railway to strengthen its grip on Tibet , and Bombardier is supplying them with vital components,” said Mike Hudema, the climber and a student from the University of Alberta . “By entering into this contract, Bombardier is helping the Chinese government erase Tibet ’s borders and Tibetans’ identity as a distinct people. It is appalling that a Canadian company is participating in this project and I hope what I’ve done today will help prompt Bombardier to withdraw.”

Bombardier announced in February that it would head a consortium with Power Corporation of Canada and China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation to build 361 cars for the railway. Tibetans fear that the rail line will accelerate the movement of ethnic Chinese into Tibet , as well as facilitate the exploitation of Tibet 's natural resources, enable increased militarization of the Tibetan plateau and cause extensive environmental damage, including pollution in the watersheds of three of Asia ’s largest rivers.

Bombardier exhibits a shameless lack of social responsibility in this project,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet . “They take no responsibility for whether or how Tibetans have been consulted or impacted. By proceeding in these circumstances, Bombardier has made itself a partner in China ’s colonization of Tibet .”

Since Bombardier’s announcement, an international coalition of organizations has been appealing to the company to withdraw. The campaign has mobilized opposition to Bombardier’s involvement within the Canadian Parliament and from citizens worldwide. In the past few weeks, more than three thousand faxes to CEO Laurent Beaudoin have flooded into the company’s Montreal headquarters from across Canada and around the world.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Getting ready for Bombardier's AGM

A great team of SFTers including Freya (SFT Campaign Director), Kate (SFT CanadaNational Coordinator) and others from across Canada are in Montreal getting ready to tell Bombardier to cancel their involvement in the China-Tibet railway at their shareholders meeting tomorrow. We'll be holding a demonstration at the Sheraton Hotel in the morning and a number of us will be going inside to question Bombardier's Senior management face to face! Wish us luck. More soon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Illusion of Managing China

Check out this Washington Post article by Robert Kagan questioning the miguided and paternalistic western notion that being nice to China will keep 'em peaceful. Kagan points out that that it might actually be "the existing international system that the Chinese find provocative."