Swiss local government gives in to pressures from Chinese ambassador about Tibet-related anniversary
Ten municipalities in Vaud, Switzerland were asked not to participate in Tibetan Uprising Day, an event organized by Swiss Tibetan Friendship Society (GSTF) on March 10th every year. The event commemorates a Tibetan popular uprising in 1959 in which tens of thousands of Tibetans were killed. Swiss municipalities have commemorated the event yearly by raising the Tibetan flag. However, in 2020, the Vaud authorities sent a letter to ten municipalities requesting that they not participate in the demonstration because it violates Switzerland’s One China Policy. In fact, the Chinese ambassador had written to the Vaud government and asked them to stop the demonstration. The GSTF president, Thomas Büchli, stated that such an action from Chinese officials was not unusual, but the response of the Swiss government was. Ralph Weber, an expert in Chinese intervention, stated that this move was common in United Front work. China uses “United Front” work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)—the agency responsible for coordinating these kinds of influence operations—mostly focuses on the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission.

About This Incident

Threat Actors: China
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Incident Metadata

Date: 3/9/2020
Country: Switzerland