Prayer Flag Project
of the Drepung Printing
The Drepung Printing
and the Universal Declaration of Human
Fifteen years ago, several monks at Drepung monastery near Lhasa formed the Drepung printing group. The group secretly produced literature criticizing the Chinese occupation of Tibet and were discovered by the Chinese authorities in April 1989. Their first publication was a Tibetan translation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). They also produced
leaflets which were designed to be stuck on
walls in Lhasa. The
most important document produced by the
group is the first Tibetan
political manifesto calling for a
democratic system based on
Buddhist tradition. These monks were
arrested and given harsh
prison sentences, as long as nineteen
years, for their activities.
(See the attached action for Ngawang Gyaltsen)
The Drepung Printing Group can't get the word out about human rights and the Universal Declaration but you can speak for them! Use the accompanying action for Ngawang Gyaltsen and let people know about the UDHR through prayer flags made in their honor.
WHAT ARE PRAYER
Tibetan prayer flags are colorful
squares of fabric with
Buddhist symbols and sutras printed on
them. These are strung
together and hung outside temples and
On this page we've included some of the
prayer flags made by children in Pasadena.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR
string, tape or
stapler, markers, crayons or paints. Optional:
materials such as old magazines or newspapers, campaign
actions, other old AI materials.
pieces of paper. Decorate. Leave a small margin
at the top and
you can fold it over a piece of twine or string
and tape or
staple to form your string of flags, or use a paper
string your twine through. Below are some suggestions
decorating your flags.
more ambitious and longer lasting flags,
you can make them from
scraps of cloth and use fabric paints
UDHR FLAGS: Assign
participants an article from the plain
language version of the Universal Declaration and ask them
to illustrate it with stick figures. You can preprint the simplified
article on the flags to speed things up.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS FLAGS: Visit the Just Earth! section of Amnesty-USA's website and learn about environmentalists underfire for speaking out about in defense of the earth. Decorate flags illustrating environmental and human rights concerns around the globe.
DREPUNG FLAGS: Like the Defenders Flags but incorporate the action materials about Drepung monks like Ngawang Gyaltsen or other Tibetan prisoners of conscience.
LITERARY FLAGS: Ask
bring a favorite quote or poem to a meeting.
into your chain of flags.
CHILDREN'S FLAGS: For
intersperse the children's pictures with a simplified
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. (See "Human
Rights for Children" Hatch, et al).
FLAGS: Group 22 made prayer
flags for it's Tibetan POC
action file. Besides "Free
Ngawang Pekar" the flags
included other human rights
slogans and symbols as well as Tibetan
cultural motifs. Your
action file doesn't have to be Tibetan
to do this!
PRAYER PRAYER FLAGS: If you are doing outreach to a religious organization,
ask participants to write real prayers for their human rights
concerns here and abroad on the flags
COMMUNITY FESTIVAL FLAGS: At a community gathering match the UDHR article
on the flag to the concerns of a particular community group.
MIX AND MATCH: Use
assortment of all of the above ideas.
The more flags the better!
Display your flags at your school or community
event. Use the Drepung actions and explain that you created the
flags in their honor. This is also a great workshop activity
and it works with all ages.
To celebrate, our group took all the colorful
flags and hung them up in the local library for all to see....
Feedback: Take pictures of your event and share with us - tell us how this worked for you. For more information, to request petitions or postcards for Ngawang Gyaltsen please contact:
to AI Group 22 home page
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