31 January 2012
RECOGNITION OF THE BERKELEY TIBETAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND THAT ACTS OF SELF-IMMOLATION REFLECT IMMEASUREABLE SACRIFICE IN REACTION TO THE EXTREME REPRESSIVE CONDITIONS OF THE TIBETAN PEOPLE AND NATION BY CHINA
WHEREAS, the Peace and Justice Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice (Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 3.68.070); and
WHEREAS, since March 16 2011, eleven self-immolations by monastic Tibetans have taken place in Ngaba and Kardze counties of China’s Sichuan province (one nun and eight monks at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba County, and one nun and two monks in Kardze County)i; and
WHEREAS, community groups in Berkeley have been actively engaged in the struggle for Tibetan self-determination and have engaged in protest in solidarity with the self- immolations by Tibetans in Sichuan province; and
WHEREAS, a recent report by Human Rights Watch finds that, following the first immolation incident in March, armed personnel surrounded Kirti Monastery and cut off
access to food and water for several days, while more than 1,000 Tibetans engaged in peaceful protests. Chinese police and paramilitary officers were subsequently dispatched to the monastery to carry out a compulsory “patriotic education” campaign. On April 21, more than 300 monks were removed from Kirti Monastery and detained in unspecified locations to undergo several weeks of “legal education.” As of October 12, there are approximately 2,000 fewer monks living at Kirti Monastery, compared to the total number in March; and
WHEREAS, findings in a recent assessment by Human Rights Watch suggest a causal relationship between the self-immolations and sharp increases in public security spending for Ngaba and Kardze counties and the resulting security crackdowns in Tibetan-inhabited regions; and
WHEREAS, published Chinese government spending for public security includes expenditures for paramilitary units known as the People’s Armed Police, security raids, arbitrary detentions, permanent police presence and increased surveillance within monasteries, and other police-state infrastructurev; and
WHEREAS, government security measures have subjected monastic and lay Tibetans to collective punishment, and monks are being charged with intentional homicide, a capital offence, for allegedly assisting self-immolations; and
WHEREAS, self-immolation has presented a critical means of political expression in atmospheres of severe political and social repression; and
WHEREAS, a single act of self-immolation, by Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, impacted the speed and breadth of the so-called “Arab Spring”; and
WHEREAS, beginning with Thích Qu ngc, Vietnamese monks utilized self-immolation as protest during the Vietnam War, contributing to the fall of South Vietnam’s Diem regime in the same year (1963).
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Berkeley, that the City Council in affirmation of the shared belief in protest and civic engagement of the people of the City of Berkeley, and in recognition of the Berkeley Tibetan-American community, recognizes these acts of self-immolation as a reflection of the extremely repressive conditions to which the Tibetan people are subjected, and the crushing of peaceful means of resistance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the residents of Berkeley have continually demonstrated their concern for peace and justice based on equality among all peoples, and the City Council hereby recognizes the immeasurable sacrifice of the following protesters:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Berkeley strongly urges the Obama Administration to call upon China to reject the use of misleading and culpability-evading language such as “terrorism in disguise” to describe the immolations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that that the City of Berkeley urges the Obama Administration to insist that China allow members of the media and international independent fact-finding delegations to visit Ngaba and Kardze counties.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Berkeley urges the Obama Administration to insist that China immediately end excessive security measures on Tibetan monasteries and lay communities in the region and work towards a resolution that will affirm the right of its minority populations to social equality and freedoms of speech, assembly, and demonstration, as well as freedom of religious practice, as outlined in the Preamble and Articles 4, 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to the Chinese Consulate; Office of the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile; Representative Barbara Lee; Senator Dianne Feinstein; Senator Barbara Boxer; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Maria Otero, Undersecretary and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues; Gary Locke, United States Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Lobsang Nyandak, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s Representative to North America; Tibetan Association of Northern California; and UC Berkeley Students for a Free Tibet. A record copy of said Resolution to be on file in the Office of the City Clerk.