Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT) yesterday launched a campaign to bombard the Presidential Office with e-mails, reminding President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of his promise to show concern for human rights conditions amid rising number of Tibetan self-immolations.
“We started this campaign because we want to remind the president about the promise he made in 2008 while running for his first term as president,” TFOT vice-president Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮) said.
“As many world leaders have spoken about the increasing number of self-immolations by Tibetans, we want to remind the president that it’s time for him to show his concern — as he promised in 2008 — about human rights conditions in Tibet,” Yiong added.
On March 18, 2008, just a few days before the voting day for the presidential election on March 22, Ma, as a candidate, condemned China’s violent crackdown on the Tibetans and promised that he would continue to show his concern.
He called the crackdowns “cruel and foolish,” and asked the Chinese government to immediately stop, adding that he would not rule out boycotting the Beijing Olympics if the crackdowns continued after his election.
While Ma used strong words in condemning human rights violations in Tibet, “he has never spoken a word about them since he was elected president,” Yiong said.
Since March last year, about 100 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese repressive policies in Tibet, and called for freedom of religion, the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and Tibetan independence.
“Under pressure from China, Ma has not only been silent on human rights conditions in Tibet, he has also stopped talking about human rights violations in China in general,” Yiong said.
“This is not right. As Taiwan tries to enhance cross-strait exchanges, we should not give up on our stance on human rights. This is an issue that should be brought about during cross-strait talks, like many other countries have done when interacting with China,” he added.
He said he hopes to put pressure on the Presidential Office by sending many e-mails to the Presidential Office’s mailbox.
“At the moment, the objective is to gather 10,000 people to send e-mails,” Yiong added.
Hours after the event was launched, more than 170 people have joined as of press time.
Those who are interested may do so by filling in their names and addresses online at goo.gl/5mRY6, and an automatically generated e-mail would be delivered to the Presidential Office’s mailbox after hitting the “sign” button.