Washington, DC – Tibet Action Institute has been selected as a recipient of the 2019 Democracy Award (1) from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The award, given this year in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising and massacre, will be jointly presented to Tibet Action Institute, the World Uyghur Congress and China Aid on June 4th, 2019 in recognition of their work.
“As we honor the courageous Tiananmen protesters and the sacrifices they made for the cause of freedom and democracy 30 years ago, I and all of us at Tibet Action Institute are grateful for the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Uyghur and Chinese allies and to work together to bring an end to the repression in Tibet, East Turkestan and China,” said Lhadon Tethong, Director of Tibet Action Institute.
She added, “For too long, governments in the free world have allowed the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs and countless others to be swept under the carpet. It has never been more clear that this approach will not work with China, and it has never been more critical for like-minded governments to unite in bold action in solidarity with Tibetans and all others fighting for their rights and freedom. It is time to right the wrongs of the past and to pick up from that moment in Tiananmen Square, 30 years ago, that was alive with hope and possibility.”
NED has been a steadfast supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people’s nonviolent political struggle for many years, providing both moral and material support to Tibet Action Institute and many other Tibet groups and civil society initiatives.
(2) Tibet Action’s work over the past decade includes:
- Defending Tibetans against countless online attacks from Beijing and helping to transform the digital security landscape of the Tibetan freedom movement through broad-scale public awareness campaigns and targeted trainings
- Increasing the strategic capacity of the movement by training 124 exceptional young Tibetan leaders in advanced theories of nonviolent action, movement leadership, and the Chinese political environment
- Creating unique, innovative education and training programs that make abstract concepts of digital security and strategic nonviolence relevant and accessible to a wide audience and the people and communities who need them most
- Trained more than 2,000 frontline defenders in strategic nonviolence and/or digital security
- Created more than 200 materials in Tibetan language about how strategic community organizing can and has worked in extremely repressive contexts, accessed hundreds of thousands of times
- 18 digital security public awareness videos viewed over 200,000 times
- Reaching over 200 activists and journalists from Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, West Papua, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, East Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Mexico with digital security training and support
- Pioneering efforts in the use of encrypted, private and censorship-resistant mobile communications for human rights trainings, organizing and data gathering
- Launching TibCERT, the first-ever CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) for Tibetans (CERTs are a standard protocol of sovereign nations who assemble a group of experts from government, industry and academia who respond to cybersecurity incidents. These teams deal with the evolution of malware, viruses and other cyberattacks). TibCERT will:
- Provide a platform for long term collaboration between stakeholders in the Tibetan community on digital security issues and needs
- Deepen connections and develop a formal process for collaboration between Tibetans and global malware and cybersecurity researchers to ensure mutually beneficial sharing
- Increase the resources available to Tibetans to defend against and mitigate online attacks by regularly publicizing information and recommendations on threats facing the community
- Help Tibetans in Tibet circumvent censorship and surveillance by providing regular, detailed information and analysis, as well as potential solutions.