|By Phurbu Thinley
A candle flickers during the rally organized by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress in Dharamsala. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
Dharamsala, February 26: Hundreds of exiled Tibetans, including mostly monks and nuns held a candle light vigil here this evening expressing solidarity with the latest protest demonstrations staged by Tibetans against Chinese authorities inside Tibet.
Last weekend, some 200 Tibetans, mostly monks were arrested in Rebkong, in Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) Province of Tibet after a major clash between Chinese authorities and hundreds of Tibetans gathered for the Great Prayer Festival (Monlam Chenmo
During the clash and protests, Tibetans were said to have raised slogans for the independence of Tibet and prayed for the Long Life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The local government was, however, forced to release most of those arrested apparently under the pressure of massive demonstration by Tibetans. Of those released, many of them were known to have been seriously beaten and tortured during the detention.
Tibetan monks attend a ceremony at a monastery in Aba, in Sichuan province, February 20, 2008. Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims gather to celebrate Monlam, or Great Prayer Festival, one of the most important festivals in Tibetan Buddhism. (REUTERS/Reinhard Krause)
Critics of China’s Human rights record say freedom of religion, expression and association continue to be severely restricted in Tibet, and as result many are imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic human rights. Arbitrary detentions, unfair trials and torture and ill-treatment are still widely carried out by Chinese authorities both inside Tibet and in China at large.
A speaker from the Tibetan Youth Congress at the candle light vigil described 2008 as one of the best times to highlight the plight of Tibetan people as Beijing is busy preparing to host the Olympics in August this year.
The candle light vigil also protesting China’s rule over Tibet was organized by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Tibet. Several visiting tourists were also seen joining the peaceful rally.
The participants chanted Buddhist prayers and waved Tibetan national flag and raised Tibetan freedom slogans as the candle light vigil proceeded to finally culminate at the Main Tibetan Temple junction after making initial three rounds of the main McLeod Ganj town.
Speaking to the public during the candle light vigil, Dhondup Lhadar, General Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said, “The exiled Tibetans in free countries must be able express the suppressed voices of Tibetans inside Tibet to the outside world.”
“We must bear the responsibility on behalf of our Tibetan brothers and sisters who fearlessly show resistance to brutal Chinese Communist regime. We must speak on their behalf to the world of China’s wrongdoings and suppressions”, Mr Dhondup told the gathering.
“The fearless resistance shown by Tibetans inside Tibet against China’s rule, despite pertinent dangers to their lives, shows their uncompromising desire for freedom. Their undying devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama symbolizes their faith in His able leadership,” Mr Lhadar said.
Exiled Tibetans, mostly monks and nuns chanted Buddhist prayers during the candle light vigil organized by RTYC in Dharamsala in a show of solidarity with Tibetans who staged protest demonstrations against Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Rebkong area. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
“The Rebkong incident has once again reminded Chinese leaders of the deep reverence and faith Tibetan people have on His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their undisputed leader,” he added.
Similar tense situation also gripped Rebkong around the same time in 2006. Chinese authorities in Tibet then banned a public burning of a stockpile of wildlife skins after the exiled Tibetan leader spoke strongly against the shameful act of wearing skins and furs of endangered animals by Tibetans. The Chinese authorities perceived the public demonstration as being Tibetan people’s symbolic show of allegiance to their exiled leader.
During the candle light vigil, members of the Regional Tibetan Youth congress also appealed Tibetans to support the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement and take part in the “Return March to Tibet”, which is slated to begin on March 10 from Dharamshala.