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Tibetan Olympic torch, sign of freedom and justice

August 6, 2008

Tibetan Olympic torch, sign of freedom and justice
by Nirmala Carvalho
Asia News (Italy)
August 4, 2008

In imitation of the Olympic torch, it has crossed five continents to
recall the Tibetan question and Chinese repression against rights in
the country, and call for Tibet's freedom. Meanwhile, yesterday in
Nepal 253 pro-Tibet demonstrators were arrested.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Tibet Freedom Torch (TFT) arrived in
Dharamsala yesterday, after departing from Olympia (Greece) on March
10, traveling around the world and across the whole of India,
bringing a message of truth and justice for Tibet. Meanwhile,
yesterday Nepalese police arrested at least 253 demonstrators, many
of them Tibetan monks and nuns, who'd tried to carry out a silent
protest march in front of the Chinese visa office in Kathmandu, with
flags and banners reading "Free Tibet" and "We want religious freedom."

On its arrival, the torch was welcomed by hundreds of Tibetans, to
the singing of "Bhod Gyalo" ("victory for Tibet").

Tsering Choedup, coordinator for the International Tibet Support
Network, explains to AsiaNews that "we were denied permission to
light the torch from exactly the same spot as the officially Beijing
torch, but we managed to light the TFT very close by. This TFT stands
for the human rights and the freedom of all peoples all over the
world, and especially in Tibet. Freedom of every kind is being
denied, and this TFT symbolises hope. For us too, it may seem
demoralizing that the Beijing Olympics are going on as scheduled with
the world leaders attending the opening ceremony, but this TFT has
come to strengthen us, and we appeal to the world leaders who will
attend the Beijing Olympics, to use this opportunity to speak to the
Chinese authorities to resolve the Tibetan issue and call for a
meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama".

The TFT passed through more than 50 cities throughout the world, in
imitation of the Olympic torch, before reaching India on July 9. It
then departed from New Delhi on July 10, and, after traveling through
28 cities, welcomed by pro-Tibet supporters, it will arive in Ladakh
on August 8.

Chime Youngdung, president of the National Democratic Party of Tibet,
says "the Chinese government has and is still trying to fool the
world using the Beijing Olympics to cover its atrocities in Tibet and
its abysmal human rights record in China and abroad". After the
repression in March, with more than 200 Tibetans killed and thousands
arrested, a campaign of "patriotic reeducation" has been underway in
the region, forcing Tibetans to demonstrate fidelity to the communist
party and to disown the Dalai Lama.

B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women's Association, also says
that "the presence of the international community [in Dharamsala
yesterday] is very encouraging, even though the Beijing Olympics are
scheduled to begin on Friday. The Tibetan Freedom Torch represents
the hope and aspirations of the Tibetan people for freedom and
justice. Hope never fades, and global society empathises with the
Tibetan cause. Thousands of children - all born in exile - were present".
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