New report: 30th Anniversary of the Tibetan uprising of 1987 and the founding of Free Tibet

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Free Tibet media release

Report by Tibet Watch publishes new photographs from a series of protests in Tibet which occurred in the late-1980s and documents how the Tibetan resistance unfolded.

On the 30th anniversary of the first protest of the 1987 uprising, a new report from Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch publishes never before seen images from the Tibetan protests which kick-started the international Tibet movement and led to the founding of Free Tibet.

The photos, which were obtained from a relative of one of Tibet Watch’s researchers who had worked for the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) Department of Security, capture the strife of individual Tibetan protesters who were beaten and killed during the uprising.

With assistance from the CTA’s Department of Security and Gu Chu Sum Movement Association of Tibet, Tibet Watch has verified these images.  Along with interviews and archival research Tibet Watch has sought to share the experiences of the protesters in the photographs and place their experience into a wider narrative.

The report documents Beijing’s policy towards Tibet since the 1950s when Communist Party forces began their occupation of the country.  It also extensively covers the series of protests which occurred in Tibet from September 1987 to March 1989 using eye-witness testimonies.

Additionally, the report highlights the coverage of the protests in the international media and how Free Tibet was founded in response to the crackdown.

Free Tibet and Tibet Watch director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“Relatively little is known about the early protests in 1987 although they were the catalyst for the better documented protests of 1988 and 1989.  These images shine a light on all the key protests of this turbulent time and the brave Tibetans who were involved.  They expose the brutality of China’s occupation and show the extreme lengths the authorities were prepared to go to in their suppression of Tibetan resistance.  The report also highlights the legacy of those protests and China’s response.  The protests may have been crushed but they have an enduring legacy in the strength of the international Tibet movement that they inspired.  That inspiration remains at the heart of everything we do and will keep us going until the day Tibet is free.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Contact: Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, Director Free Tibet and Tibet Watch

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T: +44 (0)207 324 4605 (UK office hours)