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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."

Tenzin Tsundue delivers informal discourse on World Tibet Day

July 9, 2008

By Tenzin Sangmo
Phayul
July 7, 2008

New Delhi, July 7 -- July 6 marked the 73rd birth anniversary of the
Dalai Lama, what it is also significant for is the international
observance of World Tibet Day. The World Tibet Day dates back to 1997
in Chicago where the Dalai Lama's younger brother Tenzin Choegyal and
Richard Rosenkranz, a Pulitzer Prize nominated author and former
correspondent of the US Senate started the idea of an "annual
worldwide event designed to help Tibetan people regain essential
freedom." The Day was to be held in July coinciding with His
Holiness's birthday.

The Indian chapter of Friends of Tibet observed the WTD in Mumbai,
New Delhi and Kochi respectively yesterday. Tibetan activist and
General Secretary of the organization, Tenzin Tsundue who gained
notoriety in January 2002 after scaling the 14th floor of Oberoi
Towers Hotel to unfurl a Tibetan National Flag and a banner reading
'Free Tibet' while the then Premier of China Zhu Rongji addressed a
business conference inside was the key speaker at yesterday's
discussion at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Having recently returned from the March to Tibet where marchers
walked for 110 days and reached up to the entrance of Dharchula, the
remote town before the Indo-Tibet border where they faced resistance
from Indian authorities, Tenzin Tsundue spoke at length about his
experiences and the challenges the novice marchers faced during its
course. He said as the march made progress the gravity and intensity
of something they saw all along as their right to enter their
homeland weighed heavy on them. The Indian Government had initially
viewed their action as just another campaign which will dissolve
after a little pressure and intimidation from the authorities.
Notwithstanding any form of coercion the marchers had pushed forth in
their quest for realizing a vision and a romantic dream they had
believed in all the while. Tsundue also said that the 300 odd
marchers had created a flurry of activities behind the Chinese line
of control, which resulted in China transporting heavy artillery and
stationing a large number of officers at their side of the fence.
Dharchula is the last civilian town after which lies a military
ground close to the border. A few 30-40 kilometers shy of the border
saw the end of a dream and a stronger understanding of the political
truth and factual limitations which dawned on the remaining 50
marchers when they were hurled into police vans and taken away. Thus
the image of snow capped mountains and their will to feel the Tibetan
soil under their feet came to an abrupt end.

He further discussed the March peaceful protests in Lhasa earlier
this year and China's interpretation of it as violent and how
carefully they manipulated the issue of Tibetan independence
digressing from the root cause labeling monks as violent and a threat
to society. The question of the Olympics which China is politicizing
and using as a means to showcase that Tibet is a part of China and
how happy they are under the present colonial governance was covered
as well. He said participating state nations have a responsibility to
speak against injustice and about what really is happening in the run
up to the Games and all through.

He reiterated the disappointment of the Tibet-China talks and how the
latest dialogue saw no concrete results wherein the Tibetan envoys
found China's attitude difficult and unyielding even in face of the
current crisis. On asked whether Tibetans should be satisfied by the
extent of development China brought into Tibet, he replied saying no
amount of development or modernization justifies the invasion,
occupation and colonialism of a nation.
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