Avaaz Petition Breaks 1 Million Signatories

1 Million Strong for Tibet

Avaaz.org’s petition to Chinese President Hu Jintao, asking him to stop the violent crackdown against pro-independence protests in Tibet, has crossed the 1,000,000 signatory mark in just seven days.  They have now adjusted their goal to 2 million co-sponsors, something that  while incredibly far off may actually be achievable based on the viral nature of this petition.

While I will state up front that it is not an apples to apples comparison for a number of reasons*, I think it’s interesting to place the viral growth of this petition next to the much-hyped Facebook group Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack). Created after Obama announced his candidacy in 2007, 1 Million Strong for Barack was considered the largest and fastest growing Facebook group. It attracted much media and blog attention and was a testament to the social organizing powers of Facebook. That said, it never reached 1,000,000 members and took well over a week for it to become viral.

The point I’m trying to make by putting this Facebook group in parallel to this petition by Avaaz is that there is tremendous sentiment for Tibet. It’s remarkable to me as someone who has been involved in the Tibetan independence movement for over eight years to see such a tremendous outpouring of support for Tibet around the world, just as it’s remarkable for me to the international press and world governments finally pay attention to the Tibet issue and China’s attitude towards basic human rights. This Avaaz petition is a clear quantification of the global resonance for Tibet. Tibetans inside Tibet and outside Tibet have stood up to demand their freedom and the world has responded by supporting them.

If you have not yet signed Avaaz.org’s petition to stop China’s violent crackdown against Tibetans, please do so today. If you have already signed the petition, click here to send an email to your friends asking them to join you.

* Facebook is much smaller than the whole internet. The Obama group was relevant only to the Facebook users who were engaged in American politics. Avaaz.org’s membership is international, as is the support for the Tibet issue, thus creating a larger natural constituency than the Obama group has recourse to. Avaaz is an existing organization with their own email list that helped seed the growth of this petition. My comparison is one of sentiment and viral political activity, not raw numbers or capacity for growth.

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