From Dharamshala to Bern, Tibet activists intensify campaign

Posted on November 17, 2012


DHARAMSHALA, November 16: With the alarming escalation in the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests inside Tibet, Tibetans and supporters in various parts of the world have intensified their campaigns, bringing the Tibet crisis to the doors of Chinese embassies and UN offices.

Tibetan protesters gather for a function at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala after carrying out a long protest march on November 16, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)

In the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala, a large number of Tibetans today carried out a long protest march, from the Norbulingka Institute to the Tsug-la Khang in solidarity with “Tibetan martyrs who sacrificed their lives for freedom and peace.”

The march organisers in a release said that despite China’s repressive measures in Tibet, resistance against its rule is “stronger and more diverse than ever.”

The marchers asserted that China’s new leadership under the helm of Xi Jinping will face a “storm of protests” around the world if it fails to resolve the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.

“We strongly call on the newly selected leaders of the Chinese Communist Party to acknowledge its policy failures in Tibet and seek resolution to the crisis in Tibet by starting unconditional negotiation with Tibetan representatives,” one of the march organisers said.

In Bern, the capital of Switzerland, Tibet activists occupied the entrance of the Chinese embassy in a major protest yesterday, calling for an immediate and drastic change in China’s Tibet policy.

Tibet activists in Bern, Switzerland protesting outside the Chinese Embassy on November 15, 2012.

Around 20 Tibetans and supporters blocked the gate of the Chinese embassy and demanded an official statement from the Chinese ambassador to Swiss, Wu Ken.

Organisers of the protest said Tibetans will never give up the fight until the demands of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return and freedom for Tibet are met.

“I wonder how many self-immolations it will take until the Chinese leadership realises that their policies have failed,” Tenzin Kelden, president of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe and protest organiser said. “The change of power calls for a radical reorientation and a thorough reflection of the previous course.”

The Tibet activists were later forcibly removed by the police as the Chinese ambassador declined from talking to them.

On November 14, four Tibetans began a three-day ‘kneel down’ protest in front of the UN building in Geneva, urging the global body to revive discussions and implement its earlier resolutions on Tibet passed in the years 1959, 1961, and 1965.

Tibetans in Geneva carrying out a ‘kneel down’ campaign in front of the United Nations office.

In a petition addressed to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Tibetans called upon the right chief to send a fact finding delegation to Tibet and put pressure on China to open Tibet to foreign media. They also urged the Pillay to create a conducive environment for dialogues to take place between the Chinese government and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people.

The four Tibetans expressed their hopes that the UN will pay heed to their requests and not go on to ignore the crisis inside Tibet, which they said increases the possibility of a repetition of Tibet’s self-immolation protests in front of the UN office.