News and Views on Tibet

In hospital, Tibetan hunger striker continues fast

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By Tendar Tsering

DHARAMSHALA, March 22: Into his second day in hospital, Dorjee Gyalpo, one of the three Tibetan hunger strikers, is continuing his fast demanding United Nations intervention in the ongoing crisis inside Tibet.

“The doctors advised him (Dorjee Gyalpo) again this morning to eat considering his grave health but he refused,” Tsewang Rigzin, the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress said.

“He even refused the doctor to contact his family to update on his health saying ‘I have already told my family that whatever happens to me is something they should be proud of’”, Tsewang said. “He asked the doctor to contact the UN instead and tell them to respond to the 5-point appeals of the hunger strikers.”

Dorjee Gyalpo, 59, the eldest of the three Tibetans on hunger strike in front of the UN headquarters in New York was forcibly removed from the fast venue and hospitalised against his will by New York Police Department on Monday.

Gyalpo “pleaded and begged” not to be removed but staff from the Emergency Medical Services assisted by NYPD lifted him on a stretcher to an ambulance on standby and took him to the Bellevue hospital.

The three hunger strikers, Shingza Rinpoche, Dorjee Gyalpo, and Yeshi Tenzing are now into their 30th day of fast and are reportedly in critical condition.

Dorjee Gyalpo told reporters that Tibetans will continue to defy China’s rule and never give up on their struggle.

“China wants to wipe out the whole Tibetan nation and the Tibetan people. But they will never succeed. It is like a tree. China has been cutting branches, but they can never destroy the roots, so the Tibetan people will never give up,” Dorjee Gyalpo told US based news service VoA.

Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary General had expressed his “deep concerns” at the health of the hunger strikers on March 19, and said that he will “directly contact” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Human Rights Commissioner Navannethem Pillay regarding their demands.

Simonovic also invited Tsewang Rigzin, the main organiser of the indefinite fast, for a formal meeting in his office to discuss the situation inside Tibet and the ongoing hunger strike.

During the meeting, Rigzin had “strongly reiterated” the worsening situation inside Tibet under the prevalent “undeclared martial law” and called for an immediate UN intervention to stop further loss of lives.

“The three hunger strikers are willing to wait until their last breath to hear from the UN Secretary General on their five appeals to the UN,” Rigzin had told the Assistant Secretary General.

“When the Tibetans in Tibet make the ultimate sacrifice, their hope is the United Nations and the international community to be their voice,” he added.

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