This is our current newsletter, except that Urgent Actions have been removed since they are not public domain. If you would like a copy of our newsletter (either electronically or via snail-mail) please contact us.
* Coordinator's Corner * Tibet comes to Pasadena! Buddhist monks painstakingly create an elaborate and beautiful geometric diagram, a mandala, from grains of colored sand, a process taking hours, days to complete, finally to be swept away so that all the sands become one color and are taken to be dispersed at a nearby body of water... A huge stroke of luck for the launch of our campaign to free Ngawang Pekar! The Dalai Lama is headed for Pasadena later this month and associated events to promote awareness of Tibetan culture will give us the perfect launch for our campaign to free Tibetan monk Ngawang Pekar. Revae has provided details elsewhere in this newsletter of the events scheduled for Pasadena, including the rare opportunity to witness the creation of a sand mandala. We will be taking advantage of the opportunity to promote our case and I encourage everyone to take time to enjoy the scheduled cultural events as well. This month at our regular monthly meeting we will be focusing on the details of our participation in the August 4 Festival of Tibet at City Hall in Pasadena, and finish our long term planning goals for our Tibetan prisoner, Ngawang Pekar. Finally, the China Reading List I promised in my last column should be included in this newsletter. I've already started reading some books on Tibet so you can look forward to new reading assignments in a few months perhaps. See you there! Martha Ter Maat Group Coordinator 818-281-4039 firstname.lastname@example.org Letter Tally - June-July China Campaign 20 Tibet 7 Turkey 5 Other 14 Upcoming Events Thursday, July 25, 7:30 Caltech Y Lounge Monthly Meeting: Tibet Planning Sunday, August 4, 12:00 noon - 5:00 PM Festival of Tibet, Pasadena City Hall Wednesday, August 14, 7:30 PM Rathskellar Letter-writing Tuesday, August 20, 7:30 PM Catalina Rec Room 1 Video/Discussion night Summer Fun Feature! "Brother from Another Planet" The Web-tips of the month. July Amnesty at the Olympics http://www.amnesty-olympic.org/index.htm Amnesty has scheduled major death penalty actions, focusing on the use of the death penalty in the state of Georgia during the time that world attention will be focused on Atlanta for the Olympics. Pierre Sane, Secretary General of Amnesty International will visit Atlanta as part of this campaign to lend weight to the message that the death penalty is the most serious of human rights violations. One way you can participate in the action is to sign the cyber-petition at the above web-site. You can also attach the logo provided there to your own web page to help promote awareness of the petition and the cause. Tibetan Mandalas http://www.webart.com/asianart/mandtext.htm Check out these beautiful works of art and get additional background information on mandalas and their meanings. Then be sure to visit the Pacific Asia Museum and their Mandala exhibit! AIUSA: Revised Olympics press conference * Amnesty International holds press conference in Atlanta, during the 1996 olympic games, to release report exposing the racist application of the death penalty in Georgia. Secretary General of Amnesty International, Pierre Sane, to present report and a half-million signatures protesting the death penalty. Atlanta, July 9 - Amnesty International (AI) will hold a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m. to release its report, The Death Penalty in Georgia: Racist, Arbitrary and Unfair. In tribute to the unwavering commitment to civil and human rights demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his lifetime, the press conference will be held at the historic Paschal Center located at 830 M.L. King Jr. Drive in Atlanta. Georgia officials, in their bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games, stated that the City of Atlanta, embodies the values of human liberty and equality as well as any city on earth. As the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, and for many the modern capital for human rights, Atlanta reflects the high ideals of Olympism. Amnesty International believes these claims are contradicted by Georgias violation of basic human rights, the use of the death penalty. In addition to the release of the report, the following are highlights of the Amnesty International Actions Against the Death Penalty during the 1996 Olympic Games: - An educational and organizing tour of AI anti-death penalty activists. The tour will visit cities and towns in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Tour participants will include representatives from nine European AI Sections and Mexico as well as family members of murder victims and those on death row. - A letter campaign from mayors of former Olympic Games cities protesting the ongoing use of the death penalty in Georgia. - A petition campaign, numbering close to 500,000 signatures from concerned people around the world calling on Georgias governor to declare a moratorium on all pending executions and to take steps to commute all death sentences in the State of Georgia. - A series of meetings between AI Secretary General Pierre Sane and civil rights, business and community leaders in Atlanta to discuss the death penalty as an important human rights concern. Summer Reading China Campaign Book List Here are Martha's personal picksdue to an inexplicable editorial error this list was left out of the previous newsletter, your editor apologizes. for any of you looking for a little China campaign summer reading. This is pretty much dictated by what I happen to own and my personal tastes. There are too many accounts of surviving the Cultural Revolution to list here with the exception of Harry Wu and Carolyn Wakeman's "Bitter Winds". Wu's story is of course still relevant due to his continuing role as a human rights activist investigating conditions in the Chinese "laogai" or "reform through labor" camps. One other possible exception is reporter Fox Butterfield's "Alive in the Bitter Sea", only because yours truly played the part of a Romanian diplomat in the Taiwan television mini-series based on the book. (No kidding!). "Seeds of Fire: Chinese Vocies of Conscience", edited by Geremie Barme and John Minford contains far-ranging documentation from the Democracy Wall era and it's aftermath, ranging from essays, poetry, and excerpts from novels and television scripts to cartoons, and artwork. "New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices" edited by Barme and Linda Jaivin picks up where Seeds left off with voices from Tiananmen and it's aftermath. Both collections are excellent ways to sample the range of creativity which motivated the political movements. Also in the primary source category is Fang Lizhi's "Bringing Down the Great Wall: Writings on Science, Culture, and Democracy in China" the collection of the physicist's writings used for our group discussion. There are two excellent books reviewing the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations. "Black Hands of Peking: Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy Movement" by George Black and Robin Munro focuses on the lives of three key activists who, while not in the Western media limelight, were subsequently labelled as the "black hands" behind the demonstration and sentenced to longer prison terms than the student activists who were better known in the West. This approach has the effect of personalizing the story and making it read more like a thriller. While Black Hands is perhaps better at documenting the events and strategizing leading up to the demonstrations, Orville Schell's "Mandate of Heaven " covers much the same ground but gives more extensive coverage to the aftermath of Tiananmen. Schell is a name worth noting as he is a frequent contributor to the LA Times Editorial pages and his opinion pieces on China consistently contain a human rights perspective. If you can only read one book for the campaign, or are looking for the most appropriate entry point, this is it. His other books about China are equally recommended. A third book, Richard Madsen's "China and the American Dream: A Moral Inquiry" is less a review of the events than an extended essay on the question of Americans' fascination with China and Tiananmen in particular and asks probing questions about Chinese and American perceptions of each other. The book is a bit academic and in any case should be read only if you have read "Black Hands" or "Mandate". If the China campaign awakens in you a desire to learn more about Chinese history (just what is this whole China-Taiwan thing about anyway?) the best place to start is with historian Jonathan Spence. His "The Search for Modern China "and "The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution, 1895-1980" are traditional history which may help clarify the events of the last decade by providing you with a firmer footing on 20th century Chinese history, but his other works, while not immediately relevant to the campaign, are written in a unique style which produces understanding of history through vignettes of both ordinary and unusual people: "Daughter of Han, Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of Kang-Hsi. The Question of Hu" a slim volume reconstructing the life of John Hu, a Chinese man who went to France in 1722 and perhaps Spence's most praised work,"The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" about the efforts of the famous Jesuit missionary to bring both Western science and religion to China, are examples of a theme Spence consistently explores: China's material and philosophical encounters with the West and the degree and manner in which China does or does not absorb Western ideas, which means that his books often tell us as much about ourselves as they do about China."To Change China: Western Advisers in China 1620-1960 " and his newest book "God's Rebellious Son" also deal with aspects of this theme. For those who are curious about the history of science in China, one of my favorite books is Robert Temple's "The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery and Invention ." Based on the voluminous scholarship of historian Joseph Needham, this popularization of his work illustrates the many contributions of Chinese scientists and engineers over the centuries and should explode many preconceptions about the pre-eminence of Western science and the orgin of many of it's most basic concepts. Group 22's New Prisoner of Conscience As you have probably heard, we have a new prisoner case. Our prisoner is a prioner of conscience (POC) named Ngawang Pekar (pronounced naw-wan Pee-kar). He is a Tibetan monk from the Drepung Loseling Monastery. He was arrested in 1989 for participating in a (peaceful) demonstration and putting up posters promoting independence for Tibet. He was sentenced by the Chinese government to 8 years in prison. He was 29 years old at the time of his arrest and was planning to flee to India as other monks did. According to the AI file, shortly after he was imprisoned, Ngawang made an impassioned plea to the Chinese authorities, at great personal risk, to obtain medical treatment for a fellow prisoner who had become very ill. The Chinese authorities eventually took the prisoner to the hospital but he was so ill by then that he died. We are concerned that Ngawang Pekar is in prison for the peaceful exercise of hs right to freedom of conscience and expression. We are also concerned about his state of health as he has been denied medical treatment while in prison. Please write to the Chinese authorities and help us get Ngawang released!!! This month, we are targeting the following official: Li Peng Zongli, Premier Address letters as: Your Excellency State Council Guowuyuan 9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie Beijingshi 100032 People's Republic of China Please write to him at the address above, stating our concerns. You may mentio that you are a member of Amnesty International or not, as you wish. If you refer to Tibet, please refer to it the 1st time as the Tibet (or Xizang) Autonomous Region before using a shortened name such as Tibet. (Remember that AI takes no position on the independence of Tibet from China, it simply calls for the release of political prisoners.) Your letters should mention the prisoner by name (underline it for emphasis). PARTICIPATE IN THE TIBETAN FESTIVAL IN PASADENA!! SUNDAY, AUGUST 4th We are fortunate to have the perfect vehicle for publicizing our new prisoner o conscience (POC) case - a visit to Pasadena by the Dalai Lama! For those of you who don't know, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, winner of the Nobel Prize, is the religious leader of the Tibetan Buddhists and is believed by Tibetans to be an incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion. He will be in Pasadena from July 3-1 to August 2 and will provide 21 hours of religious teachings over the three d-ys at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in order to raise funds for education for t-e Tibetan refugees in India. (Tickets for the three days of instruction are 1-0 and 200. Contact The Compassion and Wisdom Buddhist Assoc., (818) 445-2508 fo- more info.) In conjunction with his visit, ten monks from the same monastery as our POC, th- Drepung Loseling Monastery (Hermitage of the Radiant Mind), will visit Pasaden- the last week of July and first week of August. This is a rare opportunity fo- us to meet with them and discuss our prisoner with them (some of them may know-him personally or at least be familiar with his case). We can also discuss our-tentative strategies for getting him released from prison with the monks. The monks will be participating in several events around the Pasadena area, inc-uding a Tibetan Festival at the Pasadena City Hall Rotunda from Noon to 5 pm on-Sunday, August 4th. Our group will have a table there to publicize information-on our POC, Nyawang Pekar; provide information on Amnesty's China campaign; and-RECRUIT NEW MEMBERS FOR OUR GROUP! There will be music, food, Tibetan masked/ -ostumed dances, handicrafts, children's activities, films, a video, and talks a-d blessings by the monks. If you haven't signed up already to help with the ta-ling or other duties at this event, please call Revae at (818) 249-1419 or send-an e-mail message to email@example.com . On Saturday evening, August 3, the monks will perform sacred Tibetan temple mus-c, chants, and masked dances at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium from 8 to 10:30 p-. For tickets, contact the auditorium box office at (818) 229-7360. The monks-will also be creating a rare 3-dimensional sand mandala from July 28 to August - in honor of the Dalai Lama's visit at the Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Roble- Ave. To view construction of the mandala, please call the museum at (818) 449-2742 for information and tickets. All proceeds will benefit the Tibetan refuge-s in southern India. The China Campaign * The Trial of a Political Prisoner They put on a majestic mask. Their bodies are steeped in fear, Like a kind of frozen salted fish They send forth a stale odor. Sitting in-the judge's chair They represent unreasoning force That puts truth on trial. Sure, you don't have to answer. All defense is futile In this hypocritical trial with No jury nor lawyer With no judge nor ever law. This is violence demonstrating its strength; It is power at play All this hypocrisy Has been for too long our reality Even today, this farce Still absurdly carries on. But it is already drawing to an close The burlesque has to stop Because the journey of dark night Has already reached its end. Peom by Lin Muchen, 12-9-94 * Editor's last words. Write for the newsletter! Commentaries, suggestions are always welcomed. You can also read the newsletter on line at: http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ aigp22/home.html Check out the web-tips links. Roberto (818)796-0876 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ rzenit/rzenit.html Amnesty International works impartially to free prisoners of conscience-individuals jailed solely for their beliefs, ethnic origin, language, or sexual orientation, provided they have not used or advocated violence-to ensure fair trials for all political prisoners, and to abolish torture and executions worldwide. It is funded by members and supporters around the world.