Beastie Boy Adam Yauch will join a group of world-renowned speakers and human rights activists at a rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (Oct. 29) opposing China's on-going human rights abuses against the people and culture of Tibet.
The rally, expected to draw thousands to the nation's capital, was organized to coincide with the first official U.S. visit by Chinese president Jiang Zemin. Also scheduled to speak at the event are U.S Rep. Nancy Pelosi, co-chair of the Congressional Working Group on China, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, actor Richard Gere, Tiananmen Square activist Li Lu and Lodi Gyari, president of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), the event's organizer.
"I think it always helps to have artists speaking on behalf of issues," said Bain Ennis, a spokesperson for ICT. "They have such an influence on a large amount of people and if someone like Richard Gere or Adam stand up and speak, it's more likely to get the message across than if a Joe Smith tries to get people to listen."
The latest protest, entitled "Let Freedom Ring!: A Protest of Human Rights Abuses in China & Tibet," will take place at noon in D.C.'s Lafayette Park.
The three-CD set Tibetan Freedom Concert album, commemorating the two Tibetan Freedom concerts organized by Yauch and the Milarepa organization over the past two summers, will be released next Tuesday. The album features performances from Sonic Youth, the Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Pavement, as well as enhanced CD historical footage and clips from the concerts.
Zemin's U.S. visit will be closely-shadowed by a network of protesters, who will show up at various stops the prime minister is making during his visit, Ennis said "We've already had protest in Honolulu (Oct. 27) and Williamsburg (Oct. 28)," he said, adding that future protests will take place at stops in Philadelphia at the Liberty Bell on Thursday, New York at the Stock Exchange on Friday, Cambridge, Mass. at Harvard on Saturday and Los Angeles on Sunday.
Through its efforts, ICT said it hopes to "heighten public awareness of Chinese repression of Tibet and compel President Clinton to honor a commitment he made to the exiled Tibetan leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to press the Tibetan cause during his meetings with Jiang and demand that the Chinese government agree to negotiations with the Dalai Lama for a peaceful solution to the Tibetan conflict." -- Gil Kaufman [Tues., Oct. 28, 1997, 6 p.m. PDT]