Silver Chips Online

Darfur activist students rally in front of the Chinese Embassy

Amnesty International tries to convince China to pressure Sudanese Government

By David Jia, Online Blair Connections Editor
April 1, 2007
As a culmination of the National Week of Student Action on Darfur, students in the Washington, D.C. area rallied in front of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China on March 30 to seek China's help in protecting the civilians of Darfur, West Sudan. The rally took place from 3 to 5 p.m.

According to Amnesty International, who organized the rally, China is in a unique position to influence the Darfur situation. China trades Sudan armaments for oil, but much the equipment that China gives ends up in operations in Darfur.

What made this rally different from a normal Darfur protest was that "it [was] very focused on a concrete goal," said Anne Manuel, Blair's Amnesty International sponsor, "[The rally was] to get China to put pressure on the government of Sudan."

Although only around thirty students, including just a couple from Blair, attended the rally according to freshman Jeremy Fallick he believes that the spirit and enthusiasm made up for the low turn out. "Everyone was very into what they were doing."

Students waved signs saying "China: Actions speak louder than words" and "Send peacekeepers not weapons." Loud speakers were also set up for the protest.

Fallick is now trying to book a speaker from Sudan for Blair in the coming weeks. Although this rally was the first Darfur-related event this year for Amnesty International, students in the group have worked with Students for Global Responsibility (SGR), which recently organized a petition against Darfur. Because of their similar human activist positions, the two groups often cosponsor each other's events, according to Fallick.

Manuel, though excited that students are taking action, concedes that "it's going to take a lot of work to get any change in Darfur."