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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibet protest monks receive hero’s welcome in Dharamsala

May 13, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
May 12, 2009

Dharamsala, May 11 -- Five Tibetan monks who
staged protests against Chinese rule last year in
Amdo Labrang and later managed to escape Tibet
arrived to a hero’s welcome in Dharamsala on Sunday.

Tibetan exiles, including representatives of
Tibetan organisations, bearing Tibetan National
Flag and Khata (ceremonial scarves) greeted the
monks as they arrived here early morning by bus from Delhi.

Of the five, two monks identified as Gedhun
Gyatso and Kelsang Jinpa were instrumental in
organizing a major peaceful protest in Labtrang
in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Gansu Province
on March 14 as parallel protests in Tibetan
capital Lhasa were being violently crushed down
by Chinese security forces on the same day.

The other three- Jamyang Jinpa, Lobsang Gyatso
and Jigme Gyatso were among a group of 15 monks
who disrupted a state-managed media tour of the
Labrang Monastery on April 9, 2008. (Watch video)

A press conference was held jointly for the newly
arrived monks yesterday by the Central Executive
Committee of Dhomey (Amdo Province)at the Lhakpa
Tsering Memorial Hall of the Department of the
Information and International Relations (DIIR) of
the Tibet’s Government-in-Exile

Gedhun Gyatso and Jamyang Jinpa spoke
respectively of the two separate protests in
Labrang in which monks from Labrang Tashikyil
Monastery played the leading roles.

"What has been happening in Tibet from last year
are spontaneous outcome of a deep rooted
resentment Tibetan people have had against the
Chinese government. No one was there to tell us
to protest. Situation alone compelled us to come
out on the streets against Chinese rule,” Gedhun Gyatso said.

"We couldn’t remain silent when peaceful Tibetan
protests in Lhasa and other places were being
brutally crushed down, and our fellow Tibetans
were being killed for holding peaceful demonstrations," Gyatso added.

"From a Radio Free Asia Amdo-dialect broadcast we
came to know that foreign and Chinese journalists
were visiting Labrang Monastery at the time. Some
of us felt it was a rare opportunity to tell the
world about Tibet's situation. We wanted to speak
out to correct the distorted information being
propagated by Chinese government on Tibet to the
outside world,” Jamyang Jinpa said.

"We simply shouted for the Dalai Lama’s return to
Tibet. We told visiting journalists that we there
was no respect for human rights and freedom in
Tibet under Chinese rule," Jinpa said.

At the end of yesterday's press conference the
monks were greeted with handshakes and thanks,
and were felicitated with Khata by well wishers
and representatives from different activist
groups who came to hear the monks speak.

"These are our true heroes. These are the people
who have taken extreme risks for the cause of
Tibet and its people," Mr Gonpo Dhondup, Vice
President of the Central Executive Committee of Dhomey, said of the monks.

"Our Tibetan brothers and sisters in Tibet are
source of hope and inspiration for those of us in
exile. Their fearless resistance despite imminent
threat to their lives has become the strength and
backbone of the Tibetan freedom struggle. Their
heroism and courage constantly dictates Tibetans
living in freedom in exile to keep the freedom struggle alive,” Dhondup said.

"What has been happening in Tibet from last year
is a spontaneous outcome of deep rooted
resentment Tibetan people have had against the
Chinese government. No one was there to tell us
to protest. Situation alone compelled us to come
out on the street,” Jinpa said.

Despite their escape, the monks feel, there was no sense of relief.

"Thinking of Tibet makes us feel worried. Our
greatest concern is for those who are still
suffering in Tibet. Many Tibetans are undergoing
torture in Chinese custody," Gyatso said.

"Our only good hope is to have a chance to see
His Holiness the Dalai Lama here," Jinpa said.

After taking part in protests, the five monks had
to be constantly on the run. Soon after the
protests, they escaped separately into the hills
near their monastery and kept moving from place
for more than a year to avoid arrests before finally escaping to Nepal.

Once in Nepal, their flight was not yet over.
Fearing possible deportation if apprehended by
Nepalese authorities, the monks could not spare
more than a week before fleeing for their final safety into India last week.
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