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Dalai Lama's Special Envoy calls on Tibetans to record their suffering

April 5, 2009

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
April 1, 2009

Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, has issued a call for Tibetans, in
Tibet and around the world to record their
experiences of suffering over the past 50 years.
"It is vitally important, especially as a
testament to those Tibetans no longer here, that
we record our personal experiences of suffering.
We should do this, not to fuel resentments but to
help the Chinese people understand our true
history and to know that we are justified in our hopes for a future Tibet."

Speaking at the March 31 opening of an exhibit on
prison labor camps in Tibet, Lodi Gyari praised
the work of Harry Wu, the founder and Executive
Director of the Laogai Research Foundation, in
documenting the vast network of labor camps in
China and Tibet. "Harry Wu's work at the Laogai
Museum is done for the same reasons that the
Holocaust Museum was founded: to remember and to
expose these ugly truths so that such things will
never happen again," Gyari said. "The Tibetan
people can learn to forgive, but we must not forget."

Lodi Gyari urged Tibetan youth in particular to
learn about their family experiences from their
parents and relatives. "This is a part of the
legacy our Tibetan children have inherited, and
it is the moral responsibility of every Tibetan
family to know their history and to collect
evidence of the events that have shaped their lives."

The exhibit at the Laogai Museum opened exactly
50 years to the day that His Holiness the Dalai
Lama crossed the Tibetan border into India,
having departed Lhasa in the dark of night on
March 17, to seek asylum from the Indian
government and, as he has written, "to devote
myself to keeping hope alive for my people everywhere."

Harry Wu recalled in his remarks at the opening
of the exhibit that, as a young man in Beijing in
1959, he went to an exhibition which purported to
show atrocities in Tibet prior to its so called "peaceful liberation."

In reality, as soon as the People's Liberation
Army had assumed full control of Tibet, an
enormous program of labor camp construction got
underway for the incarceration of the thousands
of Tibetans who actively opposed or who were
suspected of opposing China's invasion of Tibet.

"What has happened over 50 years in Tibet?" Wu
asked. "One, temples and monasteries were
destroyed. Two, labor camps were built. This
exhibit is here to portray that suffering," Wu concluded.

The exhibit, "Laogai in Tibet" has been produced
in collaboration with the International Campaign
for Tibet and will run until May 30 at the Laogai
Museum located at 1109 M Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

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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