Tibetans march in NYC

From Phayul.com, March 11 (links added):

NEW YORK – As the Tibetans all over the world commemorate the 48th Tibetan National Uprising day hundreds of Tibetans walked with pro-independence banners, placards and Tibetan national flags in the heart of New York city. Students for a Free Tibet, regional Tibetan Youth Congress chapters of New York and New Jersey led the rally which began from Brooklyn this morning.

Today’s gathering, according to many, was the largest ever in recent years which seemed to have given a boost to the morale of the Tibetans here.

Passersby looked in awe to the marching Tibetans who shouted slogans in English and Tibetan through the busy streets of Manhattan.

The march stopped for its commemorative function near the UN building where a sea of Tibetan national flag was apparently formed as hundreds gathered to show their support for a free Tibet.

Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan Independence activist notorious among Indian police circle for breaking security cordons during Chinese leaders’ visits, spoke to the Tibetans in New York about the importance of the day and the need to fight for a free Tibet. Pointing to the UN building next to him, the Tibetan activist said, “I don’t trust this building, UN will not help Tibet get its independence, we must fight for our own rights.” The Tibetan activist from whom many among the youth draw their patriotic inspiration said that the case of Tibet stands as the last chance for the world to test the strength of non-violence against violence. He said that a failure of Tibet’s non-violent struggle will be looked upon as a failure of non-violence as a means to resolve conflict in the world.

Tsundue is here to participate in a series of panel discussions and symposiums on the invitation of various chapters of regional Tibetan Youth Congress in the US. RTYC New York and New Jersey had jointly invited Tsundue and Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa, the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, to join Gyalo Dhondup in their first symposium tomorrow titled ‘Future of Tibet’.

Speaking in front of the United Nations Plaza, Kalsang Phuntsok said that the struggle for Tibet’s independence is a struggle of generations and that it needs human resource now more than anything else. He also talked about the recent disappearance of 14 Tibetans allegedly framed in a scuffle by Chinese police in plain clothes outside the Jhokhang Temple.

The Tibetans marched from the UN Plaza to Union Square where a popular Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng spoke to the gathering. Wei advised the Tibetans that they are dealing with a bunch of ‘scoundrels’ referring to the leaders of China. Wei was one of the student leaders of the pro democracy protests at Tiananemen Sqaure.

Jamyang Norbu, a popular Tibetan author writing in English and a strong voice for Tibet’s independence in the English speaking world, said that the day was a beginning of an end, an end to China’s rule over Tibet. Norbu, who seemed impressed with the an unexpectedly huge turn out of people at this year’ March 10 commemoration, said that the spark to the flame of freedom must be ignited from exile. Norbu said that Tibetans must stand united like today during next year’s Olympics in China and the year later which is the 50th year of Tibet’s invasion by China. “We must keep this momentum going and Tibet will regain its independence, the day will come”, he said.

A Tibetan Buddhist scholar and a long time Tibet supporter Robert Thurman called the day “the Independence Day of Tibet” saying that uprising is when ‘someone is on top of you but Tibet never was under China’.

Lhadon Tethong of the Students for a Free Tibet talked about SFT’s campaigns for 2008 Beijing Olympics urging all Tibetans to join the force to unveil China of its deceitful face. She said the Olympics is a great opportunity for the Tibetans to highlight their plight as the eyes of the whole world will be focussed on China.

See our last posts on China and Tibet.