By Tenzin Dharpo
The Tibetan national flag. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 10: The Tibetan national flag was removed from display at a global diversity event at an English University after Chinese students objected that it offended their sentiments.
University of East Anglia student union apologized and removed the Tibetan flag from display after Chinese students threatened to report the same to their consulate. Chinese students complained that both the Tibetan and Taiwanese flags were undermining China’s sovereignty.
Although the Tibetan flag was removed, the Taiwanese flag was not as Taiwanese students lobbied for its place in the event. Malaika Jaovisidha, the union’s international officer, told The Times
, UK, that the symbol of Tibetan independence was removed because there was no Tibetan students’ group at the university.
The complaint about the Tibetan flag was made by a Chinese student from Shanghai. Kai Wang wrote in his Facebook page, “I am so angry with this. Tibet is a part of China and it’s not a special administrative region like Hong Kong. This flag is a sign of secessionism. You call this democracy? I call it ignorance.”
The University’s stand has been lambasted by netizens. “This is quite joyous. Kai Wang - inadvertently I'm sure - has shown the University of East Anglia student union to be utterly devoid of a rational decision. Well done Kai Wang. Well done University of East Anglia student union,” wrote a user named Oyibo.
Another netizen wrote, “I'd imagine universities which have no Palestinian students wouldn't consider that grounds for removal of the flag, less so the potential offence of Israelis. Really for any of this to make any sense you'd need to ban all flags. In fact I'm not sure what councils fly outside their offices these days other than their own emblems. Perhaps a rare display of common sense by local authorities.”
In a similar development earlier last week, University of Massachusetts Amherst, US, decided not to allow the Tibetan national flag from the official procession of Flag Bearers at the university’s Commencement saying ‘Tibet is not recognized as a county according to the US Department of State’.
Tibet was militarily occupied by Chinese communist forces in the 1950’s resulting in the death of thousands and the mass exile of Tibetans into India and neighboring countries along with the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.