A group of Tibetans and South Korean activists marched to the Chinese embassy in Seoul on Tuesday to protest China’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Tibet.
About 30 protesters, shouting “Don’t kill” and “Free Tibet” in the Tibetan language, called for South Korea to support the ongoing Tibetan uprising, as pro-Tibet protests were taking place at Chinese embassies in other parts of the world.
“We don’t know how many people are being killed in Tibet,” a Tibetan man who came to South Korea as a migrant worker said.
“What is portrayed in the international media are only Chinese materials being destroyed. A lot more people than reported by the Chinese authorities are being killed.”
Another Tibetan protester claimed that his nephew has been arrested by the Chinese forces and said China’s suppression of human rights in Tibet is the reason for the uprising.
China has exercised power over Tibet since 1950 when its troops invaded the region. China claims Tibet had been part of its territory for a long time before the invasion.
Chinese officials put the official death toll at 16 as of Tuesday, but pro-Tibet protesters say as many as 80 people were killed in the capital, Lhasa, last week.
Less than 20 Tibetans reside in South Korea, mostly on work visas, according to Jeon Yong-ju, a Korean activist. Leaving Tibet is strictly limited due to tough immigration laws, he said. The Tibetans were interviewed on the condition of anonymity.
A group of human rights organizations in Seoul, such as the Center for South Korea-Tibet Community and the Korean House for International Solidarity, called on China to come clean on its human rights record before it hosts the Olympics in August.
“Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government should present to the international community what its human rights policy is,” they said in a joint statement.
The rally at the Chinese embassy ended peacefully, without clashes with police. (Yonhap)