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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."

Protesters mark 49th anniversary of Tibet uprising to end Chinese rule

March 13, 2008

Rally in Chicago marks the 49th anniversary of protest against China

Chicago Tribune
March, 11, 2008

CHICAGO - More than 100 people marched down Michigan Avenue on Monday
as part of a national effort to mark the 49th anniversary of a massive
and historic protest against China's rule of Tibet.

The two-block-long line of protesters made up of Tibetans and
supporters of the international movement to free Tibet of Chinese rule
held life-size puppets of the 10 people who led the 1959 protest
attended by about 300,000 people in Tibet against Chinese occupation.
They shouted "Free Tibet!" and "Shame on China!" as they made their
way to China's consulate in downtown Chicago.

Every year on March 10, the Tibetan Alliance of Chicago and other
groups across the nation unite to symbolize the plight of the original
10 protesters who marched from India to Tibet.

This year, protesters focused on the upcoming Summer Olympics in
Beijing as a chance to draw the public's attention to human-rights
violations and political and religious prisoners in Tibet, said Pema
Prinzin, president of the Tibetan Alliance of Chicago.

The protesters, some of whom came to Chicago from Wisconsin, Michigan
and Indiana, oppose what they say is China's use of the Olympics to
divert attention from its human-rights record in Tibet, said Jam Pel,
21, a student at Hamline University in Minnesota. "If we tried to do
this in Tibet, we would be arrested and tortured."

Karma Khorlatsang, 22, a student from Wisconsin, said he and the other
protesters are "the voice for the Tibetans that don't have a voice."

"They are ignored by the world," Khorlatsang said. Khorlatsang's
father left Tibet in 1949 and moved to India, but he has extended
family members who live in Tibet, she said. China has ruled Tibet
since 1951.

The protesters charged the Chinese government with trying to destroy
the unique culture of Tibet, and they urged Americans to boycott
products made in China. Larry Gerstein, president of the International
Tibet Independence Movement, acknowledged, however, that a complete
boycott of such products would be "nearly impossible."

"When we started years ago, before all of our manufacturing jobs moved
to China, maybe a boycott would have been effective," Gerstein said.
"Now, what isn't made in China? If we boycotted everything, we would
be hermits."

Gerstein said he hopes the annual marches will bring attention to the
issues facing Tibet and that the federal government will act soon to
preserve Tibetan culture.

The protest ended with Jimge Tendhar, 41, offering a prayer in front
of China's consulate in Chicago. Tendhar, a Buddhist monk, was born in
Tibet and spent six months in a prison there before being released and
escaping the country, he said.

Tendhar told of poor quality food, a lack of medical facilities and
being tortured in prison.

"They would beat me until I told them what they wanted to hear," he
said. "My biggest hope for today is to get freedom as soon as possible
for my country of Tibet."

Officials at China's consulate did not respond to calls for comment on
Monday. The Chinese government has long insisted that Tibet is an
integral part of China.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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