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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."

Melbourne Protestor Says Tibet Crisis Drastic

May 21, 2008

By Emma Hall
The Epoch Times, Melbourne staff (Australia)
May 20, 2008

Kesang Wangmo sits in silent meditation with a handful of others
every Sunday, chanting Tibetan prayers while holding her prayer
beads. She's been protesting at the Chinese Consulate in Melbourne
since the Lunar New Year and has vowed to come to the Consulate until
the Olympics. The aim is to bring Tibetan issues into Melbourne's
consciousness.

Marita Joyce has been with her since the protest began three months
ago. "Actually, I met Kesang late last year and we were talking about
ways to focus on these issues to help people understand more about
it. And she just said to me she'd been thinking about coming to do
this vigil because it's a really Tibetan thing to do with mantras and
meditating," she told The Epoch Times. "It's very brave of her and
her husband to be here. It's all very public…It's a good Tibetan way
of focusing on the issues."

Marita has practised Tibetan Buddhism for six and a half years, but
says not everyone who goes to the protest is a Tibetan Buddhist. She
says her protest is still supportive of the 2008 Olympics, but at the
moment, Tibetans can't go to the Olympics. "Most Tibetans in the
regions they live in China aren't allowed to travel…and they
certainly can't go to the Olympics."

Many Tibetans living in Melbourne have family back in Tibet, so it
can be intimidating for them to join protests. One woman suspects her
son has been killed in Tibet, but is fearful to speak to the media in
case of retaliation from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Marita speaks in admiration of the Tibetans who come out to protest.
"Most of the Tibetans are incredibly brave. There are some who have
to be very careful…I was up in Canberra. There were a lot of Chinese
trying to get their names and take photos, and that's really
dangerous…because their family is back in China, Tibet [and] they
would be persecuted. So it's a very real issue."

But for Kesang Wangmo, who comes with her husband to protest every
week, she has no family left in Tibet now, so she feels she can speak
more freely. Kesang's parents and extended family disappeared or died
from hunger or imprisonment in Tibet. Now, she lives only with her
husband and children in Melbourne. Yet Kesang gains strength from the loss.

"If I let my suffering control me, then I'm also letting the Chinese
[Communist Party] have power over me, even though I'm living here in
a free country," she quietly says with tolerance and measure in her voice.

Kesang fears that if the Dalai Lama should die without Tibet gaining
more freedom, most Tibetans will then take a much more extreme stance
on their repression. At the moment, the Dalai Lama travels the world
promoting "The Middle Way" which calls for Tibet's autonomy instead
of being an independent country from China.

"The situation in Tibet is getting so bad. Even as we speak, hundreds
of Han Chinese are now going [into] Tibet. And Tibetans, as a race,
is now coming to an end…As we know ourselves, through violence you
cannot gain power over people. It's only through love, through
understanding, through dialogue it's possible. So the Tibetan issue
is not going to go away…and we will never give up and we will fight,"
Kesang said.

Marita says that as far as religion goes, the persecution of Tibetans
is severe. "Certainly religion-wise personally nobody's allowed to
mention the Dalai Lama. I personally met a person, just for carrying
a picture of the Dalai Lama, they're put in prison for 15 years and
tortured. There's no religious freedom. They're not really supposed
to be living their own culture," she says. "Many of the monasteries
and nunneries in Tibet have been closed down. Since the uprising,
there are so many thousands of people missing it's just ridiculous. A
lot of monasteries have been closed off so they couldn't get food and
water. It's really drastic. I don't think most Australians would know
how bad it is."

After huge world criticism on the Chinese Communist Party's
persecution of Tibetan protesters in Tibet, it was announced that
dialogues would be held with the Dalai Lama's representatives. The
dialogues, however, seem to have been a game to get the world off China's back.

Kesang Wangmo says: "Tibet still, as you have heard, the Chinese have
given impression they will have a dialogue, but still the suffering
in Tibet is still the same…Just yesterday, I was talking with my
friends…just now they've let people open the shops, but people are
still fearful and one of our friends said it's still very dangerous,
and some of their friends have disappeared. At night time, still they
fear because at night time they [CCP] take people and once they're
taken, they disappear."
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