Amnesty International, the human rights advocacy group, is launching a campaign in May to bring greater attention to the atrocities cited by Tibetan prisoners of conscience. Amnesty has evidence of over one hundred prisoners of conscience in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, including Buddhist monks and nuns incarcerated for peacefully advocating Tibet’s independence from The People’s Republic of China. Many prisoners have been held without a trial in labor camps and jails. Reports of brutal beatings, repeated electric shocks, and prolonged solitary confinement carried out by Chinese officials spurred immediate action.

The country-action campaign was prompted after these reports had been verified by Amnesty. This campaign comes in a year when Amnesty is looking more closely at the violation of indigenous peoples’ ethnic rights as an abuse of human rights and personal dignity. A spokesperson said that Amnesty‘s campaign increases pressure on the Chinese embassy, and encourages supporters to write letters demanding an end to the repression, torture, and unjust imprisonment.


Tintin and Captain Haddock puzzled by Tibetan customs.

In 1929 the Belgian cartoonist/author Hergé created The Adventures of Tintin with the hopes of having the wily reporter (Tintin) span the globe while expanding the horizons of young readers. The intrepid journalist was depicted as the paradigm of British imperialism dressed in knickers and maintaining a stiff posture of social decorum; yet he always showed deference to the Tintin and Captain Haddock puzzled by Tibetan customs many cultures he found himself in. Tintin has since sold over 115 million copies and is translated into 40 languages (including Esperanto). Ann Quark, marketing manager and resident Tintin expert at Little, Brown & Company says of the 24 titles available to readers, the one entitled Tintin in Tibet (created in the sixties) is the most popular and was Hergé’s favorite. In the book, Tintin finds himself in the Land of the Snow Lion coming into contact with a Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas while searching for his lost friend Chang. Home Box Office started an animated version of the Adventures of Tintin last fall and they too have found a very receptive audience for the travelling reporter. In April, HBO decided to inaugurate a new “live game” where young viewers can help Tintin find his dog Snowy and learn geography at the same time. Kids who watch the 4-minute segment at the end of each episode can phone in their answers with the hopes of ultimately winning various prizes. Tibet is bound to show up as an answer. Keep your knickers up, count your breaths, and have your phone nearby.

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