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14.5.07

Free Tibet: Faith in Exile ][ China must leave Tibet now!

"In many ways the country that has benefited most from 9-11 is China. The attacks on New York and Washington had an enormous, positive effect for it. They moved the country off Washington's enemies list." -- Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

September 11th was a tragedy for the American people, but it was a boon for totalitarian regimes around the world. In the pursuit of its so-called "war on terror," the United States has forged military alliances and inked trade deals with some of the world's most repressive regimes. On September 13, 2001 China was quietly admitted to the World Trade Organization, and given Most Favored Nation status by U.S., despite the fact the country is one of the world's worst human rights abusers.

With its economy booming, China has become desperate to exploit Tibet's vast mineral and fuel reserves -- and that has meant keeping a tight grip on any moves towards Tibetan autonomy. Arrests, torture and destruction of local culture continue despite the tireless work of Tibetan exiles and their high-profile western allies. Yet unlike an increasing number of indigenous liberation movements, Tibetans have not resorted to violence to achieve their goals.

Background

The Chinese have long claimed Tibet to be part of greater China. Shortly after the communists took power in 1950, 40,000 Chinese troops invaded Tibet, occupying the vast, arid land known for its rich history of Buddhism. Ten years later, Tibetans rose up and fought back. Tibetan exiles claim that 430,000 Tibetans died during the uprising and the subsequent fifteen years of guerrilla warfare. Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India, where he has lived ever since. According to Tibetan activists, 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed in the years since.

In exile, the Dalai Lama has led one of the world's most well-known non-violent resistance movements against a foreign occupier in history.

Yet despite the tireless work of pro-Tibetan activists around the world, the Chinese government continues maintain its tight grip on Tibetan, with no let up in sight.

As China's economy continues to rapidly expand, it desperately needs Tibet's vast natural resources. Estimates of deforestation vary, but many experts believe as much as half of Tibet's natural forest cover has been destroyed since the Chinese occupation. Rich in oil, China has been pumping Tibetan oil out of Tibet with little or no of the wealth flowing back into Tibet. China has even admitted to dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau.
Detentions, kidnappings, torture and the destruction of Tibetan Buddhist heritage continue to this day.

Faith in exile

Featuring activists, archival footage, and interviews with Tibetan and environmental activists, Faith in Exile offers a powerful lesson for troubled times. Faith in Exile features the dramatic story of Palden Gayatso, a Tibetan monk imprisoned and tortured for 35 years in a Chinese jail. His courage and spirit in the face of overwhelming cruelty is a lesson in how only love can overcome hate.

Credits
Directed by: Anthony Lappé
Produced by: Josh Shore
Edited by: Meghan Eckman

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