New Delhi, July 26: The 14 Tibetans in the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) led indefinite Hunger Strike, which began on 8th of this month, today is their 19th day without food under the extreme heat of Delhi weather.
Their demand this time is to seek accountability directly from China of its gross violations of basic rights and freedom of Tibetans inside Tibet.
Although supporters expressing solidarity are pouring in every now and then, including Human Rights Groups, journalists, documentary filmmakers and Government officials, the health of these brave Tibetans are failing everyday.
Under Delhi’s scorching heat and starved by daily hunger, one could only imagine the tumultuous suffering these 14 patriotic Tibetans are undergoing for the cause of Tibet and its suffering people.
The Deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile today paid a visit and said that the demands put forward by the hunger strike campaign are aspirations of Tibetans both in and outside Tibet. “I am grateful to all of you from the core of my heart for risking your lives for the just cause of Tibet,” she told the hunger strikers.
Mrs Gyari, however, said “Personally, I have no hope for response from the Chinese government. I don't think they would have pitied the condition in which you are.”
“The sincerity and dedication with which you are carrying on this struggle would have been ignored. But the Tibetans all over are supporting you,” Mrs Dolma told the hunger strikers added.
“When Pawo Thupten Ngodup sacrificed his life for the Tibetan cause during the Unto-death hunger strike, which was organised the last time, political prisoners back in occupied Tibet had given up their food as a mark of respect to him,” she said.
Responding to an interview by documentary film production team from France, TYC president Mr Kelsang Phuntsok said "The main purpose of the indefinite hunger strike is to seek a response from the Chinese authorities to the demands of hunger strikers.”
“On 8 August 2007, which is the first countdown day of a year for the Beijing Olympics to begin, thousands of Tibetans will gather to force Chinese authorities to respond to the demands of the hunger strikers, or to let the Tibetans go to Tibet and see for themselves the situation inside Tibet.” he told the film team.
“From the past experiences of organising hunger strikes in India and abroad, we have seen that the authorities tend to disrupt the hunger strike by force, especially when the health of the hunger strikers becomes critical. This time, to make the hunger strike proceed continually until China responds to our demands, we have appealed to Tibetans all over the world to come to Delhi on 8 August to take this movement to the highest level," the TYC president said.
“The coming 10 days are very crucial for the hunger strikers, for the Chinese authorities, and for the Tibetan Youth Congress and a very important time for the international community as well,” Mr Kelsang further added.
“At this stage, the international community can convince their legislatures and politicians to talk with the Chinese government to respond to the demands of the hunger strikers,” appeals Mr Kelsang.
A group from Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) also visited the site to express their solidarity with the hunger strikers. Mr. Anant Kumar Asthana, a human rights lawyer at HRLN, said “the human rights situation inside Tibet is known to everyone. If you go by the country index of human rights violations, prepared by the known human rights agencies, China tops it”.
“The demands put by the hunger strikers are the most reasonable and legitimate demands” Mr Kumar said.
“In the majority of the world, people have an opinion against China for its human rights record. The Chinese government is trying hard for the world to believe that it has a good record. Now, they should grab this opportunity to show the evidence” he argued.
“It is for China to save face. The ball is in China’s court” Mr Kumar said.
Britany Davis, a human rights activist from United States, said “It (the demands) is quite simple. Again as Chinese government is saying that we have done this or that, that he (Gendun Choekyi Nyima) is alive, or whether there was a fair trial, or that they provide human rights, it should not be a problem to provide proof or evidence. China should not neglect to provide these. It is so serious for the 14 Tibetans that they are willing to stake their life for it, so the Chinese government should take it very seriously. And again you are providing human rights, and right to life is a human right. They (China) should be willing to fulfill these demands, as right to life of the hunger strikers is a human right.”
Lynn Harnedy, a human rights activists from Ireland, said, “These demands are attainable. You are not asking for free Tibet. What you are asking for is small but substantial. I support all the people sitting on fast and hope that they will achieve something.”
A large group of people from the United States also visited the hunger strikers to express their support.
"We got to know about the hunger strikers and have come here to support them. The Chinese government is violating civil and human rights. And other governments support the Chinese and ignore the real issue," said Mr Cavin, who was a member of the group.
Applauding the determination with which the hunger strikers are carrying on, he said, "It is very heartbreaking to see them having put their lives at stake for the issue of human rights. At the same time, it is very uplifting to see this because it just takes one action to make a change forever. I hope these people are a part of the solution.”
“I think the international community needs to respond with their hearts and not with their pocket. They have to think about the love and compassion for all the people, not just the people who can portray a better picture of their economy. I want to ensure the hunger strikers here that they have our full support and that our hearts are with them," says Mr Cavin.
TYC says the Indefinite Hunger Strike is part of the Tibetan Youth Congress-led Mass People's Movement, pressing demands for accountability from China regarding the Tibet situation.