2014: a hard year for Tibet

24th December 2014

Repression and resistance in Tibet; challenges and victories outside Tibet

2014 has seen little respite from China's clampdown on Tibet. Dhondup Wangchen were able to receive him home after he was released on 5 June 2014. He had served six years for making a have been released during the year but the news has not always been good: Goshul Lobsang and Tenzin Choedak both died within days of release as a result of years of torture in prison. This year also saw the arrest and sentencing of Khenpo Kartse, a highly respected monk and community activist. After a global campaign, the Khenpo was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in August. While his imprisonment is completely unjustified, the sentence was far shorter than Driru County faced continued repression in 2014. China was determined that resistance in the county should not be allowed to spread to other areas. At least two members of the community have been killed by security forces this year. In July, a protest against mining was halted with Derge County, southern Tibet, security forces opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in August, killing at least three Tibetans. All were members of the same family who had been participating in a large protest for the release of a village leader after a dispute with the authorities. Eleven self-immolation protests have taken place in Tibet this year - there were 27 in 2013.


Outside Tibet

China has dedicated itself this year to stifling support for Tibet on the international stage and spreading its own propaganda. While President Obama met the Dalai Lama at the start of the year, China's threats of economic retaliation have deterred other world leaders. China also brought pressure on the Spanish government to end a groundbreaking legal case that could have seen former Chinese leaders brought to trial for crimes in Tibet. The Spanish government forced the case to be dropped. Meanwhile, China has been working hard to spread its propaganda on Tibet across the world. It has used fake social media accounts, highly-controlled media visits to Tibet and unwary western political figures to spread its message that Tibet is harmonious and prosperous under Chinese rule.

Free Tibet

Free Tibet scored a major victory earlier this year when we exposed China's use of bogus YouTube and Twitter accounts to spread propaganda using fake Western identities. Following a flood of emails and Tweets from Free Tibet supporters, both companies removed the accounts. After we lobbied the UK government earlier this year, it took up the case of Khenpo Kartse with China and the UN intervened over jailed singers after we contacted them. Free Tibet helped to lead protests against Chinese Prime Minister Tibetans inside Tibet, whose peaceful struggle for freedom is the inspiration for all we do.