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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet Talk - Tibetan escapee recounts the horror of Chinese inhumanity

August 1, 2008

By Tenzin Sangmo
Phayul
July 30, 2008

New Delhi, July 30 -- Kunsang Sonam was in the middle of the Lhasa
uprising when it happened on March 10 this year. He managed to escape
over into Nepal and live to tell of the terror that had gripped his
homeland. A first person account of a protestor and eyewitness in
Lhasa was organized by the Friend's of Tibet on Tuesday at the India
International Centre, New Delhi. The talk was moderated by Tenzin
Tsundue, Tibetan activist and poet.

Hailing from a nomadic family in Kham, Kunsang Sonam made a living
selling Tibetan thankas and second hand clothes in Lhasa. He spoke of
the tension that was already in the air before March 10 which is
observed annually as the Tibetan Uprising Day. An usually large
number of policemen were patrolling the streets of Lhasa and this
left the Tibetans clueless aggravating the deep rooted psyche of the
past uprisings among them. Freedom of movement was already restricted
and monitored by authorities. The protest started from Drepung
Monastery and spread like wild fire in the region. In retaliation the
Chinese authorities came down hard on unarmed Tibetans with tear gas
and firearms.

"There were gun shots and mass chaos while the streets were filled
with smoke. I saw people around me fall down and my friend Nyima, was
shot in the chest. A nun died in front of my eyes as did six others
during the course of the demonstrations. The Army tanks were quick to
come and clear up those who were either wounded or dead to dispose of
any physical evidence."

Lhasa had come to a complete standstill affecting normal life. People
were ordered to stay indoors and random door to door checks were
carried out by the Army.

Kunsang Sonam said he managed to escape Lhasa in a vehicle on March
26 which took him to Nepal border. Two days later he crossed over
into Nepal and remained there for a month. He then made his way
towards Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile to
seek His Holiness's blessings.

"The Chinese raided our houses and confiscated our belongings. I had
some 30-40,000 Chinese Yuan from my small business which the
officials took away. My family in my native village later told me
they had confiscated our ancestral property after they learned I had
escaped into India," he further added.

Serta Tsultrim, Member of the TGIE and editor of Tibet Express also
spoke on the occassion saying that Lhasa was not the only place hit
by civilian unrest. There was massive participation from ethnic
Tibetans from the regions of Kham and Amdo as well.

"Chinese officials torture Tibetan prisoners and extract false
confessions out of them. They would only release Tibetans when there
is no hope of the victims surviving from the wounds inflicted on
them. Needless to say, they die in a day or two after being released
from Chinese prisons."

Tibetans inside Tibet demand that the Dalai Lama return to his
homeland and the freedom of religion, expression, education and
movement which they are denied of in their very own country.
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