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Tibetans refuse to call off UN hunger strike
IANS[Monday, May 03, 2004 05:10]
Dharamsala, May 2 - The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has refused to call off an hunger strike outside the UN office in New York in support of a free Tibet, despite an appeal by the Dalai Lama's office here.

Hours after one of the three Tibetan hunger strikers was hospitalised, the Tibetan government-in-exile in India urged TYC to end the protest but the group has responded with a polite 'no'.

"On Saturday we received a fax from the government-in-exile," said Tenzing Samphel, vice president of TYC here. "For the moment the strike will continue," he told IANS.

On Friday, one of the strikers, Dolma Choephel, was hospitalised in New York. The other two male Tibetans are continuing with the strike that began April 2 in support of five demands, including independence for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, is visiting Canada and is expected to return to India by May 5.

The Dalai Lama heads a government-in-exile that is not recognised by any country and is based in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India since 1959. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetan exiles.
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