PEOPLE POWER

History shows that when enough people come together and challenge hierarchical power with strategic planning, unity of purpose, and nonviolent discipline, people power can win.

Campaigns

Closing Confucius Institutes

Tibet Action is a leading force in the coalition effort to shut down Chinese government-backed Confucius Institutes (CIs) at universities and schools in the United States and around the globe. Since launching a campaign in the Boston area in late 2017, two of three schools targeted – University of Massachusetts-Boston and Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School – have closed their Confucius Institute programs as a direct result of the campaign. The one remaining – Tufts University – is in the midst of a comprehensive review process with a decision expected any day. High-profile media stories on the Boston campaign include the cover story in the Boston Globe and a mention in a short documentary “China: Spies, Lies and Blackmailby Al Jazeera’s 101 East program.

The campaign also helped secure statements and letters of opposition from influential Boston-area Members of Congress Seth Moulton and Mike Capuano. CIs provide a platform for Chinese government propaganda on topics such as Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen, while forbidding open discussion on the same topics. They are part of a larger effort by the Chinese government to increase its soft power globally while exerting influence to change norms around basic rights like freedom of expression.

The move to shutter Confucius Institutes is gaining momentum. At least 10 American universities have taken steps to close CIs in the past year, and the Canadian province of New Brunswick plans to pull CIs from 28 schools in which it currently operates.

Stop Google Censorship: Drop Dragonfly

Tibet Action is working with a diverse group of international allies, including Uyghurs, Chinese rights advocates, and consumer advocacy groups, to pressure Google to cancel Project Dragonfly, a censored search app for the Chinese market that the company has been secretly developing for the past year.

The campaign was formally launched with two online media briefings on International Human Rights Day on December 10th, 2018. It challenges Beijing’s efforts to shift global norms around free expression and information sharing and inserts Tibet into the center of this important story.

Resources

Below is a library of information on how communities have won through strategic nonviolent action. Prepare to be inspired!

POLITICAL RIGHTS

POLITICAL RIGHTS

Authoritarian regimes can often seem too difficult to topple. But history shows that when mass numbers of people unite, they can achieve political rights even in the most brutal political systems. Learn how!

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LANGUAGE RIGHTS

LANGUAGE RIGHTS

Language is critical to maintaining culture and identity for people around the world. In Tibet, despite China’s systematic attempt to stamp out the Tibetan language, Tibetans continue to press for their rights.

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ECONOMIC JUSTICE

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

Tibet is resource rich, exploited by China’s occupation. Like other communities, Tibetans are fighting practices that largely benefit outside interests, asserting their right to control their economies.

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CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS RIGHTS

CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS RIGHTS

Religion and culture form the very fabric of Tibetan society. Through cultural expressions like dance, dress, and ceremonies, Tibetans are asserting their identity as Tibetan, including their right to religious freedom.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Environmental protection is a pressing global issue of our time. In Tibet, as around the world, countless inspiring people and communities are stopping mining, protecting endangered species, starting eco-tourism projects, and more.

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Trainings

Lhakar Academy – Tibetan School for Leadership & Change

The Lhakar Academy is an intensive training program launched in 2011 to equip talented and experienced young Tibetan leaders with the knowledge and skills to develop and implement sophisticated, effective strategies and tactics, strengthening the Tibet movement’s ability to achieve human rights and democracy in Tibet.

Modeled on programs used to train and inspire activists and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the Indian independence movement and the American Civil Rights movement, this three to four week training aims to provide an in-depth understanding of Tibet and China in the context of contemporary global politics and history; through knowledge of strategy, strategic nonviolent action, and tactics of resistance; and secure communications technology and media skills.

As of Spring 2019, 124 exceptional Tibetan youth leaders have graduated from the month-long Lhakar Academy – Tibetan School for Leadership and Change program and the Lhakar Academy Local – a condensed week-long version of the full training. Collectively, these leaders are a decisive force in the Tibetan freedom movement – strategic planners, campaigners, spokespeople, and skill-sharers.

The Lhakar Academy curriculum includes modules such as:
  • Tibetan Identity and Resistance
  • Nonviolent Resistance: Power, Strategy & Tactics
  • Knowing China
  • Personal Leadership
  • Messaging and Working with the Media
  • Communication, Technology, and Security

Learn more about strategic nonviolence here:

The Success of Nonviolent Civil Resistance: Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder

Civil Resistance: A First Look

Strategy and Tactics by Tenzin Dorjee

Mechanisms of Change by Tenzin Dorjee

Freedom from Corruption

Creative Low-Risk Tactics

Why Strategic Nonviolent Action?

The concept of nonviolence can evoke many responses. There are some traits that nonviolence is and is not, though, that can help determine why we might choose strategic nonviolence in our movements.

STRATEGIC NONVIOLENCE IS...

  • Proactively using psychological, social, economic, and/or political methods

  • Able to engage widespread participation

  • Based on the ability and strength to disobey

  • Identified by the actions people take, not by what they believe

STRATEGIC NONVIOLENCE IS NOT...

  • A submissive/passive stance

  • Loving one’s enemy

  • A path cowards choose

  • Based only on verbal methods

  • Assuming people are inherently “good”

Under repressive regimes, nonviolence is often strategically chosen because it has been proven to be twice as successful—and growing—than violent campaigns. This is true with the sustained and active participation of just 3.5% to 5% of the affected population!

For decades, Tibetans have used nonviolent action as the primary method of resistance, keeping Tibet a thorn in the side of China’s government. We at Tibet Action are convinced through our years of activism that strategic nonviolence is the most resilient, results-oriented path to freedom in Tibet.

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