Free Tibet Concert

Students for a Free Tibet

Students For a Free Tibet is a non-profit student-led organization which uses education, advocacy, and nonviolent direct action with the goal of achieving Tibetan independence. SFT advocates making Tibet a separate country from China because of China's treatment of Tibetans and what they call Tibet's historical independence.


Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) was founded in 1994 by Tibetans, supporters, and students in New York City to use the influence of young people in order to press for human rights and independence in Tibet. Initially, SFT's activities were focused on raising awareness amongst fellow students and young people on campuses and at events such as the 1994 Lollapalooza music tour. Students for a Free Tibet's profile and membership grew with the advent of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, which provided a vehicle for youth involvement in the Tibetan independence movement.

Currently, SFT is an international network of more than 650 chapters at universities, colleges, high schools and communities in over 100 countries. SFT's International Headquarters remains in New York City. There are also a few satellite offices and organizing hubs; SFT Canada has an office in Vancouver, British Columbia , SFT India has an office in Dharamsala , India and SFT UK has an office in London


Students for a Free Tibet defines its core programs in two parts: "Campaigns" and "Leadership Training."

SFT's campaigns focus on three areas: political, economic, and human rights. SFT's political campaigns are focused on generally advocating for Tibetan independence by pressuring both Chinese officials as well as SFT members' government representatives. SFT is well known for high profile protests against Chinese dignitaries when they visit foreign countries. SFT's economic campaigns focus on attempting to prevent foreign corporations and other institutions from assisting China's occupation of Tibet. These efforts have included boycotting Chinese-made goods as well as successfully pressuring the World Bank to cancel a loan for a controversial project involving moving Chinese settlers into a Tibetan area. SFT's human rights campaigns are focused on improving the situation for Tibetans in Tibet by advocating for increased freedoms and rights, and for the release of political prisoners and dissidents.

Students for a Free Tibet is perhaps best known for its high profile actions on Mount Everest, the Great Wall of China, and the Golden Gate Bridge. In March and April 2008, the group's participation in organizing protests and disrupting the Olympic torch relay was criticized by many Chinese nationals.

Students for a Free Tibet's "Leadership Training" is focused on developing representatives for the Tibetan independence movement. Part of this is the annual "Free Tibet! Action Camp" at which dozens of young people gather for a week-long activism training session. The Action Camp is based on a model developed by The Ruckus Society, an Oakland, California-based direct action training organization that earned notoriety for its involvement in the 1999 Seattle WTO Demonstrations.


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