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An Epic Walk Home through Himalayas for Exiled Tibetan Poet

March 1, 2008

Radio Free Asia
February 28, 2008
By Gao Shan

A group of Tibetan refugees, living in exile in India, plan to walk
back to Tibet this spring. One initiator and participant will be the
general secretary of the Friends of Tibet Organization, poet Mr Tenzin

The walkers will leave India in early March and trek through the
Himalayas, reaching Tibet during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in
August. According to Bhuchung K. Tsering with the Washington-based
International Campaign for Tibet, the homecoming is inspired by
Ghandi's non-violent civil disobedience. "This homecoming was
initiated by several organizations, and Tenzin Tsundue is one of the

The Journey

International Campaign for Tibet, the homecoming is inspired by
Ghandi's non-violent civil disobedience. More and more people are
joining. The walk will start on March 10, commencing in north-western
India, where the Tibetan government resides in exile. The walkers will
first head for New Delhi, joining up with people from several
non-governmental organizations to form different groups. They plan to
arrive during the Beijing Olympics.

Poet Tsundue told media that the border between India and China is
more than 2,500 miles long.

Beijing-based Tibetan writer Ms Woeser said that in 1997, Tsundue
walked alone from India through the Himalayas into Tibet. Once there,
he was arrested by Chinese authorities and deported 3 months later.

Ms Woeser said, "I have read some of his poetry, and written about
life in exile. Some has been translated into Chinese and published
online. I've also read some of his poems in books. His award-winning
essay ['My Kind of Exile'] has been translated into Chinese as well.
I've also posted his essays and photo on my blog. I have some
knowledge of him." His essay titled "My Kind of Exile" was the winner
of India's Outlook/Picador Non-Fiction Competition.

The Elderly Want to See Their Families

She said that for many exiled Tibetans, their greatest wish is to
return to their homeland and reunite with their families. "I
personally don't think a homecoming through a non-violent walk should
be obstructed by the authorities. It should be permitted and even
treated with sympathy by the international community, including China
and the governments of jurisdictions along the way. That would be the
best outcome. I don't know what will actually happen."

Ms. Woeser also said that many of the Tibetans who fled China with the
Dalai Lama in 1959 are now quite old. She called on the Chinese
government to allow them to return to visit their families.
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