April 9, 2008

The Return March to Tibet in New Delhi

The “Return March to Tibet” reached New Delhi today. Yeah, it’s the long trek—started out in Dharamsala on March 10—from which, in a way, the longest and most sustained challenge to China's 57-year rule in Tibet originated. The march was suspended soon after it started because Indian police arrested marchers in Jwalaji, Kangra district. Now the number of the marchers has increased to 200 (from 100) and includes 147 monks, 9 nuns and 16 foreign supporters.

From AsiaNews.it (an article/interview with Tenzin Choeying, the national director of Students for Free Tibet):

Tenzin Choeying [...] was released only on 27 March. Speaking to Asia News, he said that “we went on a hunger strike for protest” after their arrest. “But the time we spent in prison is nothing compared to the situation in Tibet,” where “anyone who is arrested is subjected to torture and humiliations.”
He expects that “more than a thousand Tibetans and activists will be waiting for the Olympic torch when it lands in new Delhi on 17 April,” he said. “India, the world’s largest democracy, will allow our peaceful demonstration even though we know the Indian government wants to maintain good relations with China.”
“We don’t want to storm the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. We want to take the world’s conscience by storm so that it can put pressure on China, demanding for instance that it let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet, that it release the Panchen Lama (the Dalai Lama’s heir who disappeared in 1995 at the age of six) and that it free all political prisoners.”
“Protests in Lhasa and Tibet have attracted worldwide attention and set off international protest. For years China lied and suppressed all information about the real situation in Tibet. It described it as a fast developing region where religious freedom prevailed both within and outside monasteries,” he explained. “Now the world has become aware of the tragedy of Tibetans in their own homeland. We are happy that the incidents involving the Olympic torch in London and Paris have highlighted the Tibetan Question. We hope that China will respond constructively.”

Tenzin ChoeyingTenzin Choeying expects that more than a thousand Tibetans and activists will be waiting for the Olympic torch when it lands in new Delhi on April 17.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actor Richard Gere (the chairperson of International Campaign for Tibet) joined thousands at a pro-Tibet vigil in San Francisco. Speaking at a news conference held before the protest rally at the UN Plaza, Tutu said he is not calling for a boycott of the games, “because the athletes have spent a lot of time preparing,” but he is “certainly calling on heads of state not to attend the opening ceremony, to register their disapproval, their disgust really.”

Last but not least, here is a great news from the US Congress:

The House has just overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the Chinese government to end its crackdown in Tibet and to enter into a substantive dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, H.Res. 1077. House Resolution 1077 was introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the bipartisan Congressional Delegation that met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in India. Speaker Pelosi, along with Reps. Rush Holt, Jay Inslee, and Hilda Solis traveled with the Congressional Delegation and spoke in favor of the resolution during debate last night, as did Chairman Howard Berman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Read the rest here.