In the last minute the mexican TSG and learned that China would be ending its cultural events on Sunday the 5th of august, we decided that since diplomats and Chinese organizers from the embassy would be there, it would be more effective for us to have our protest on Sunday instead of Wednesday. The chinese embassy in Mexico organized a round of cultural events to celebrate the 35 years of diplomatic relations with China. The last the event, the one we attended to was called “traditional customes from the Ethnic minorities in China” , it was to take place in the Zocalo, the main and biggest sqaure of Mexico City.
We entered the square wearing shirts that read "free Tibet" "China kills Tibetans", "the game is over, free tibet" etc. we also wore the black armband to show our solidarity with the hunger strike in India, and we also stuck to our shirts the Team Tibet badge.
At the moment we entered the suqare holding our bannes everyone looked at us. Some Chinese were frozen! I could see them thinking "What on earth, is going on????" they had no idea where we came from or any idea who we were, all the CHinese organizers and the crew from the show were simply shocked. We stayed there handing in the team Tibet fliers and showing the banners for over two ours until the Chinese event was finished.
We placed ourselves right in front of the scenario where all the Chinese could see us. At some point I took my "Free Tibet" sign in mandarin and went all the way to the front where the public and the Chinese people alike could see me. I went as close as I could and they simply didn't want to look at me. Some of them turned their head to the opposite side, others looked and turned away, others started telling every one about the sign. Slowly all chinese organizers and people from the embassy knew I was there in front of their faces holding a "free Tibet" sign. I could see all these Chinese reading my banner and being shocked, one chinese lady yelled at me "What the hell are you doing here"? I yelled back "helping Tibetans free their country" she started telling her colleagues that I was there and they all kept staring at me.
At some point one of the chinese from the embassy pocked my shoulder and told me "Get out of here, get out of here" I said "no, this is my country and this is my right" he kept pushing me harder and harder telling me to get out of there. I stayed, he left when one of the TSG members followed him with her camera asking him what his name was. He kept moving his hands towards us as a sing of rejection.
Then I had this other big, tall chinese guy telling me at any chance he could "you look stupid, you don't know anything" every time he passed in front of me he would say something... he said we were ignorant and that we didn't know anything, he didn't leave us alone the whole time we were there. I wasn’t the only one he kept saying things at, the group memebers were also told a couple of things such as “you don’t know anything, go home!?
Also one chinese from the staff approached me and asked me "so tell me if you know it all, how large is Tibet's territory" he said we should "inform ourselves before going there to hold those banners" he looked at me and left whispering as he was leaving "bunch of ignorants"
the whole group were all over there place handing in the info and fliers and explaining to people why we were there, all mexicans' reaction was pretty good, they kept saying they had no idea and that it was good we were there.
We stood there holding our banners in front of the stage for over two hours, in the end when the show was over we moved to the front where all chinese media, staff, embassy people, and dancers gathered in a big group and we started chanting "free Tibet" , they looked at us and turned away. They did their best to ignore us but that was pretty hard. We knew they knew. Some people from the public showed their support to us and started chanting with us.
I can only say one thing, the Chinese were PISSED, shocked and didn't know what to do. I did my best to put my "free tibet" sign on their way wherever and whenever the Chinese media were taking pictures of the public, I know they got me in some of their shots. We had a journalist from the biggest and main radio stations asking for interview, so I spoke to them and hopefully they will air it.
I can only say the TSG was very happy because we all saw the frozen, shocked Chinese faces and also we managed to inform more mexicans, whose reaction was overall good. The TSG memebers did an amazing job and I am proud of them because never did they reacted to the Chinese insults. They were simply wonderful!
The embassy knows about what we did now, because every chinese person saw us, and I know they DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL. Overall the impact of our action was great, China now knows Free Tibet supporters are in Mexico, and they won't be happy when we bombard the embassy this wednesday with faxes and calls.
Mexico is officially part of the movement!
Pensando en Tibet, TSG in Mexico and Exa Mendez, ITSN latin America Coordinator.