By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, Aug 8: Hundreds of Tibetans with visiting tourist supporters in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala staged a protest rally to mark International Day of Action for Tibet
. A candle light vigil will be held later in the evening here.
Under the banner “Bring Tibet to the 2008 Games”; Tibetans, led by four organizations, marched from the vastly Tibetan inhabited town of McLeod Ganj to the lower Dharamsala shouting slogans and waving Tibetan National Flags and wearing Team Tibet shirts.
Ven. Ngawang Woebar of Gu-Chu-Sum Movement called for active mass participation in a series of protest activities that would be organised in run-up to the 2008 Games in China/Phayul
The global campaign to bring Team Tibet in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was formally launched in the Indian capital earlier on August 4, 2007 under strict restriction from Indian authorities.
The action campaign highlighting the plight of the Tibetan people under Chinese occupation and, at the same time, demanding inclusion of Tibet’s own National Team in the 2008 Games would be carried out till the August 2008 Games.
As one year countdown to the 2008 Games began today, Tibetans and Tibet Support Groups worldwide have unleashed a series of action campaigns promoting and advocating for the recognition of Team Tibet for the Olympic Games.
Under the official logo bearing a “Snow Lion holding Tibetan National Flag”, Tibetans and their supporters around the world are seeking a place for Tibet in the Beijing Games.
Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile and residential home town of the exiled Tibetan leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Elsewhere around the world, Tibetans and Tibet Support Groups are expected to hold similarly significant protest activities aimed at exposing China’s real image.
The drive is a long planned strategic campaign by major Tibetan organizations and Tibet Support Groups worldwide which received general consensus during the 5th International Tibet Support Groups Conference held in Brussels, Belgium in May this year.
In India, Tibetan Women’s Association, Gu-Chu-Sum (Ex political Prisoners of Tibet) Movement of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet have called for a massive Tibetan People’s Movement beginning today as part of the action campaign.
Monk protesters in New Delhi today carry posters of Runkyi Adak, a nomad from Lithang in eastern Province of Tibet who recently staged a high profile protest against Chinese authorities in Tibet/Phayul
The organisers are of the opinion that if Tibetans fail to act before the Games in Beijing, the aftermath will turn bleak to the long waged Tibetan freedom struggle.
They believe that run-up to the 2008 Games in Beijing is the most practical chance in a long time to force China to bring about a meaningful change in Tibet.
Ven. Ngawang Woebar, President of GuCHu Sum, referring to one year left before the Games, said, “We must not fail to act from now.”
Addressing the large gathering here today, he said “This is the best opportunity we are having in all these years. If we want to make a difference and want to be united with our brothers and sisters in Tibet, this is the time to act”.
Relating the recent protest acts by Tibetans against Chinese authorities in Lithang, Kham province of Tibet, Ven Woebar said “Our Tibetan brothers in Tibet have also already sent us their signal to act”.
“From now, we must, in all our sense, be united in our struggle” he said and urged Tibetans and supporters to actively take part and support series of protest activities that will mark all along the one year countdown to the 2008 Games.
“We should now completely give up listening to hollow and unfulfilling promises being made by Beijing authorities to deceive us” Ven. Woebar said.
In this one year count down to the Beijing Games, Tibetans and their worldwide support groups are desperately seeking a change in the way China is ruling Tibet by highlighting its repressive human rights record.
PHOTO: Nyamchen Ngawang, a Tibetan Youth Congress activist attempted self-immolation by setting himself on fire during the rally against China in New Delhi. He suffered a 15-20% burn on his body./Phayul
Tibet activists have already started targeted-protest-actions inside China.
On Tuesday, six activists were detained by Chinese Police after they unfurled a free Tibet banner on the Great Wall of China.
Two more activists were arrested in Beijing today when they tried to meet International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials in the Chinese capital to raise the issue of Tibet and Human rights.
In New Delhi, the Indefinite Hunger Strike led by Tibetan Youth Congress is entering its day 32. An estimated 20,000 Tibetans have gathered in the Indian Capital for a massive protest rally to support Youth Congress activities.
An activist from the organisation has reportedly attempted self-immolation by setting himself on fire during the rally against China.
Nyamchen Ngawang from the Tibetan Settlement of Kollegal in Southern India is currently in a Delhi hospital reportedly with 15-20% burn on his body.