NEW DELHI: Tibetan activists will hold rallies around the world this week to protest China’s occupation of Tibet, a group’s president said Tuesday.
Some 20,000 Tibetans are expected to take part in the rallies Wednesday in Nepal, Bhutan, the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Indian capital, New Delhi, said Kalasang Phuntsok Godrukpa, president of the India-based Tibetan Youth Congress. “The Tibetan people are restless and fed up with the Chinese attitude,” Godukpa told reporters at a news conference in New Delhi.
The rallies will highlight “China’s abuse of human rights in Tibet,” he said. China claims Tibet has been its territory for centuries, but many Tibetans say they were self-ruled for most of that period. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, fled the Himalayan region for India in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Fourteen Tibetan exiles have been on hunger strike for the past 31 days in New Delhi, demanding the Chinese leave Tibet. The hunger strikers, who have been drinking only water, are members of the Tibetan Youth Congress. Aside from Tibetan independence, the congress wants the Chinese government to produce concrete evidence that the Panchen Lama - Tibetan Buddhism’s highest figure after the Dalai Lama - is alive.
Tibetans are also concerned about the massive influx of Chinese to Tibet thanks to a new rail service linking Beijing to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, Godrupka said, warning that Chinese could outnumber Tibetans in the region in 10 years. Also China’s attempt to manipulate the centuries-old Tibetan practice of searching for reincarnations of holy monks is stoking anger in the Himalayan region, a member of Tibet’s parliament-in-exile said on Tuesday. China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs posted new regulations on its website last week banning reincarnations of “living Buddhas” that fail to seek government approval.
“It’s most silly and preposterous ... It will lead to friction and dismal failure,” Khedroob Thondup, a nephew of the Dalai Lama, told Reuters in an interview. He urged Chinese President Hu Jintao to break the ice and open dialogue with the Dalai Lama.