By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, March 7: To commemorate the Tibetan Uprising Day, over 200 people from more than 20 civic rights groups and lawmakers took to the streets of downtown Taipei on Sunday calling for ‘Free Tibet’. The protesters carried banners that read ‘Up hold human rights’ and 'Long Live the Dalai Lama'.
The march participated by members of all the major Tibet support groups and Human rights groups carried a large portrait of the Dalai Lama with scores of Tibetans waving the Tibetan national flag.
The protesters sang the Tibetan national anthem, while Tibetan monks prayed for long life of the Dalai Lama.
The march ended at the Kelti Building, which houses all the important Chinese offices and in the absence of a formal representative office, it represents the Chinese government’s presence in Taiwan. The protesters with Free Tibet banners, shouted slogans such as “Free Tibet” and “Long Live the Dalai Lama.”
The group formed a ‘die-in’ protest in front of the Building in solidarity with the teen Tibetan monk, Kalsang Wangdu, who resorted to self-immolation as a form of protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Yi-yu warned that Tibet should be a ‘warning’ of what might happen to Taiwan and urged the Executive Yuan’s Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission to be shelved to express solidarity with the Tibetan cause.
“The function of the commission is not clear and it looks like a deformity even when run by the Republic of China, because Mongolia does not belong to China anymore. That we still use the ‘Republic of China’ framework to lay claim to Tibet is at odds with their struggle for human rights and freedom,” Tsai Yi-yu said.
The legislator also spoke of proposing a refugee act to allow Tibetans to be granted asylum in Taiwan.
Expressing their solidarity with the Tibetan cause, Freddy Lim, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator urged the outgoing Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and the President-elect Tsai lng-wen to allow the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan.
The Dalai Lama’s last Taiwan visit was in 2009. Last month, Chinese Nationalist Party Legislator Apollo Chen also urged President Ma to issue visa to the Dalai Lama so that he could visit before his term ends in May.