(From left to right): Tenzin Yangzom, TYC Information Secretary, Simon Sharpe, Second Secretary, Political Affairs, British High Commission and Tsewang Rigzin, TYC President. (Photo/TYC).
DHARAMSHALA, December 11:Representatives of some of the world’s most powerful countries have assured Tibetans that they will continue to engage the Chinese government to try and visit Tibet.
Diplomats at various embassies in New Delhi told a delegation of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, that their Ambassadors in Beijing will continue with their efforts in gaining access to Tibetan areas.
Only two ambassadors, the Indian and the US, have been allowed to visit parts of Tibet following the escalation in the self-immolation protests in Tibet. Beijing unceremoniously turned down a request from Australia to visit Tibetan areas.
Coinciding with December 10 International Human Rights Day, TYC president Tsewang Rigzin and Information Secretary Tenzin Yangzom met with officials from the Delegation of the European Union, United States Embassy and British High Commission to “update on the escalating self-immolations inside Tibet and to lobby for immediate international intervention.” The TYC delegation also met with embassy officials of Germany, Canada and others late last week.
The Tibetan delegation submitted letters addressed to the heads of the respective countries and to the Presidents of the European Commission, European Council, and European Parliament, the joint winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. DVDs containing pictures and videos of the self-immolation protests were also submitted.
In the letter, TYC appealed world leaders to stand with the Tibetan people and put pressure on the Chinese government to “immediately allow an international fact finding delegation in Tibet and dismantle the undeclared martial law situation inside Tibet.”
Speaking to Phayul, Rigzin said the delegation “strongly appealed” for concrete support and expressed disappointment at the seeming indifference of the world towards the unprecedented increase in the Tibet self-immolation protests.
The delegation stressed that such attitude sends a “wrong message not just to the Tibetan people but to the world about non-violent struggle.”
Since 2009, the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests in Tibet has witnessed 95 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. With the recent escalation in protests, as many as 33 Tibetans have self-immolated in the last 40 days alone. Despite strict orders by the Chinese authorities, thousands of Tibetans, including school students have carried out mass demonstrations against China’s rule on a regular basis.
Rigzin told Phayul that the TYC delegation was assured by the officials that their respective Ambassadors in Beijing will engage with the Chinese government to visit Tibet and that the letters will be sent to their respective leaders and also to their embassies in Beijing.
“The officials also expressed their strong concerns over the dire situation inside Tibet and said that their governments will continue to press China in all their meetings,” Rigzin added.