By Phurbu ThinleyTibetan Youth Congress readies to launch its second phase of the Tibetan People’s Mass Movement ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and vows series of protests before and during the Games and reiterated its call on International community to “Boycott Beijing 2008 Olympics”, saying “No Olympics in China until Tibet is Independent”
Dharamsala, July 21: With 2008 Summer Olympics due to begin in Beijing in less than three weeks, Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) today announced it would launch the second phase of its “Tibetan People’s Mass Movement” ahead of the Games to highlight the issue of Tibet and its people’s plight.
The Tibetan youth body, which struggles for the restoration of Tibet’s independence and decisively opposes Beijing’s right to host the prestigious international sporting event because of its “appalling Human rights record” and its ongoing oppression on Tibetan people in their homeland, also vowed to stage series of protests worldwide before and during the Beijing Games.
“We have consistently stood by ‘No Olympics in China until Tibet is Free’ right from the start when China was given the right to host the Games in 2001,” TYC president Mr Tsewang Rigzin said during a press conference at the organisation’s head office here.
The organisation, which claims over 30,000 members worldwide, plans to first launch an “Indefinite Fast for Tibet – without Food and Water” on July 28 in New Delhi before formally launching the second phase of the “Tibetan People’s Mass Movement” on August 7, on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“To protest against the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the continuing colonial occupation of Tibet by China, Tibetan Youth Congress will launch and “Indefinite Fast for Tibet – without Food and Water” on 28th July, 2008 at New Delhi as part of the Tibetan People’s Mass Movement”, Mr Rigzin said.
The youth congress leader, however, insisted that his organisation’s activities would be based on the “principles of nonviolence and Gandhi’s tradition of ‘satyagraha’ (Insistence on Truth)”.
“TYC will begin Tibetan People’s Mass Demonstration on 7 August, 2008 based on the principles of nonviolence and Gandhi’s tradition of ‘satyagraha’ (Insistence on Truth)” Mr Tsewang said, however, declining to give specific details of the number of participants and the exact venue for the entire protests. He said the details would be revealed later at an “appropriate time” for specific campaigns.
“TYC will also organise many other campaigns throughout the Olympics”, Rigzin said, adding “With the start of ‘Indefinite Fast for Tibet – without Food and Water’ in New Delhi, all regional chapters of TYC will organize campaign against Beijing Olympics in their respective regions throughout the world”.
According to Rigzin, TYC’s decision to carry out the second Phase of the movement before the Beijing Olympic Games was made according to the resolutions passed during the organisation’s General Body Meeting held in September 2007 at Dharamsala and the Annual Working Committee Meeting in July 2008 at Manali.
TYC’s first Tibetan People’s Mass Movement
against China was launched in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on August 8 last year to mark a one-year countdown to the Beijing Olympics. Over 25,000 Tibetans from India, Nepal and other countries are said to have taken part in it. The movement somehow turned out to be the single biggest protest gathering of Tibetans in exile and largest since the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital city, in 1959.
The first phase of the Movement, marked by a day-long peaceful demonstration, was disrupted, however, with the then TYC president calling on Tibetan demonstrators for its immediate end. With it an indefinite hunger strike by 14 Tibetans that began earlier on July 8 and continuing on its 33rd day was also ended.
The then TYC leaders described the People's Mass Movement as an "effort to bring about a renewed vigour and vitality in the Tibetan movement” and called it a “departure from the traditional approach of appealing to the international community for support” by “putting direct pressure on the Government of People's Republic of China (PRC) by creating a situation where they have no choice but to respond” to their stated demands. The organisation’s executive members also vowed to resume the mass movement’s second phase at a later appropriate time.
Reacting to China’s allegations calling TYC a Terrorist organisation engaged in violent activities, Mr Rigizn said the accusations are baseless devoid of any evidence. “In our almost 40 years of struggle for Tibet’s independence since TYC was formed in 1970, we have always adopted peaceful and non-violent strategic methods to achieve our goal,” he said.
“The Chinese people deserve to host the Olympic Games but what the Tibetans and the Chinese people deserve more now is freedom; freedom of speech, of religion, of association, of equal opportunity, or electing their own government, of feeling safe in their own homes,” Mr Tsewang said of the Beijing’s right to host the games.
“The day might not be far when Tibet will again be an independent nation and the Chinese people would be free from the inhuman communist regime, only then it will be the right time for Beijing to host the prestigious Olympic Games. But not now,” he said. “Not while the butchers of 1.2 million Tibetans remain in power. Not while the communist butchers of 70 million Chinese remain in power,” Tsewang added.
For him Olympics are a “symbol of freedom and peace, an international event where friendship and brotherhood are celebrated” through sport. He accused the International Olympic Committee of breaching the ideals of the Olympics by honouring China with the right to host the games.
Tibetan Youth Congress is the largest Tibetan non-governmental organisation outside Tibet and seeks to restore Tibet’s independence, a stand opposed to the “middle-way approach” seeking “real and meaningful autonomy” for Tibet as advocated by the exiled Tibetan Leader the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile.CLICK HERE
for the full text of TYC's Press Statement