Tibetans in India protest Chinese government
With the Beijing Olympics around the corner, thousands of Tibetans gathered in New Delhi on Wednesday to show support for 14 Tibetans on hunger strike against Chinese occupation and to demand to know the status of the missing 11th reincarnation of the Bud
The Tibetan protesters - estimated between 10,000 to 15,000, including those living in United States, Britain, Switzerland and Belgium, Nepal and Bhutan - held a massive gathering to demand that China allow all the Tibetans gathered to go to Tibet and witness its current state.
"This is our first demonstration targeting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We have one year and if they fail to recognize (the protest) we will think of another strategy towards a workable solution," Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), told news agency IANS.
"TYC had initiated a hunger strike last month and now we will begin a campaign for Tibetan participation based on Gandhi's tradition of satyagraha ('non-violent protest')," said Godrukpa.
"Until there is a satisfactory response from the People's Republic of China (PRC), the movement will continue and the PRC will be held responsible for any eventual consequences resulting from the movement," Godrukpa added.
However, the Dalai Lama has urged the 14 Tibetans to end their fast.
"I trust that you will give this request of mine serious consideration. Instead of sacrificing precious human lives in this way, it would be of greater benefit and service to our cause by striving to continuously carry out this spirit of unyielding courage and determination from generation to generation," the Dalai Lama had said on Tuesday.
The protestors also demanded evidence from China that Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, a Buddhist spiritual leader and reincarnation, was alive.
The Panchen Lama, who is chosen by state-approved religious leaders and a group loyal to the Dalai Lama, has been missing since 1995 and the Chinese government has stated that he is alive and safe.
Nyima, now 18, was chosen by Dalai Lama's supporters and has been reportedly under house arrest in China since he was six years old, prompting Tibetan activists to label him the world's youngest political prisoner.
The protestors sought evidence from China that the Qinghai-Lhasa rail-link would benefit Tibet economically. They also demanded the release of Tibetans who have been allegedly arrested by China for engaging in political activities.
The Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled to India from his homeland in 1959 when Chinese communist troops cracked down on a Tibetan uprising against its occupation.
The 72-year-old leader has lived in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala with his government-in-exile ever since.
More than 70,000 Tibetan refugees are estimated to be living in India.
DPA Last Mod: 09 Ağustos 2007, 00:39