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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China meddles in Portland's proclamation of March 10 as Tibet Awareness day

March 11, 2010

By Kalsang Rinchen
March 9, 2010

Dharamsala, March 9 -- Tibetans in the American
city of Portland gathered outside the City Hall
yesterday to protest officials from the Chinese
Consulate in San Francisco who had come to ask
the City administration to rescind a proclamation
to observe March 10 as the “Tibet Awareness Day”.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard told The
Oregonian that the Chinese consulate in San
Francisco is fuming over the city's proclamation
to declare March 10 as Tibet Awareness Day.
Leonard writes on his blog that the proclamation
passed on March 3 is a tribute to "the 1.2
million Tibetans who died in their struggle to establish independence."

Fearing a confrontation with Tibetan
demonstrators at City Hall, the consulate asked
to meet Leonard at the University Club.

The Chinese delegation which met Leonard and
Mayor Sam Adams asked that the city to rescind
the proclamation, order a new proclamation in
support of China, and deny Tibetans a planned
celebration at City Hall on Wednesday. Leonard
said no to all three requests; adding he expected the mayor to do the same.

Roy Kaufmann, spokesman for Mayor Sam Adams, said
the mayor also declined the requests from Chinese
government, despite the importance of trade
relations between Portland and China, reported
The Oregonian. As for stopping Wednesday’s
celebration, Kaufmann said, “This is a publicly owned building.”

The Chinese government reaction, Leonard noted,
is "completely out of proportion" to the city's
gesture on behalf of its Tibetan community.

An estimated 450 to 500 Tibetans live in Portland and in Southwest Washington.

"We are here to say thank you" to the council,
said Namgyal Gyalnub, a Tibetan resident of
Portland. And she wanted to send the message to
visiting delegates that in the United States,
there is freedom of speech and religion.

"The Chinese consulate asked each one of us to
rescind the proclamation," Leonard said Monday.
Members of the Chinese business community met
Leonard and told him he would not be welcome on a
trip that he had scheduled to Suzhou, Portland’s sister city in China.

"We want to respect the City of Portland to have
the guts and gumption to recognize us," Jampa
Lhatsang, a volunteer for the Northwest Tibetan
Cultural Association told Williamete Week.
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