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Tibetan exiles plan solidarity campaign ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary

June 2, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, June 1: Only three days remaining for the 20th anniversary of
the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre, exile Tibetans say they will
organise a number of solidarity campaigns to remember the tragic event and
to express support to pro-democracy movement in China.

“The series of events are being organised to express our deepest solidarity
for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre and to express our profound
and unwavering support for the Chinese democracy movement,” Tibetan
People’s Uprising Movement (TPUM), a coalition of four prominent NGOs in
the exile Tibetan community, said in a joint statement released here today.

In the statement, the groups condemned the “brutal manner with which the
heavily armed troops suppressed and killed the unarmed pro-democracy
protesters and bystanders” during the anti-government protest on June 4,
1989, in Beijing.

As part of the solidarity campaign, the groups said they would organise
signature campaign during the day and, hold candle light vigil and screen
the feature length documentary about the Tiananmen Square protests- “The
Gate of Heavenly Peace” in the evening on Wednesday, June 3.

On June 4, the group will observe “White China Day” to stand in solidarity
with an initiative call made by Wan Dan, a key figure in the 1989
pro-democracy protests in China who after serving long jail terms was later
exiled to the United States.

“We request Tibetans around the world to wear ‘white clothes’ on June 4
to pay our respect to the victims and heroes of the Tiananmen Square
massacre and to express our profound and unwavering support for the Chinese
democracy movement,” the joint statement says.

The groups said part of their campaign was to also join the voices of the
Tiananmen mothers in their call for the reassessment of June 4 incident by
the Chinese government.

The main goal of organising the solidarity campaigns, the groups said, was
to show their commitment to work together with Chinese community as an
“integral part of finding a lasting solution” for democracy and freedom in
China and in Tibet.

“While we remain firm in our struggle for freedom and rights in Tibet, we
must not sidestep our moral obligation to support Chinese people in their
struggle for democracy and better human rights condition in their own
country,” Ven. Ngawang Woebar, who heads the Tibetan Ex-political Prisoners
Association in Dharamsala, says.

Ngawang himself is a former political prisoner who took part in a major
anti-China movement in 1989 in Tibet.

“Our larger cause is different, but pushing China for democratic change is
a common aspiration we share with Chinese people,” Ngawang adds.

Chemi Youngdrung, President of the National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT)
says supporting pro-democracy movement in China will not undermine Tibetan
people’s freedom struggle, insisting there won’t be any compromise on

“The Chinese Communist government is a common challenge for Tibetan and
freedom loving Chinese people. While we keep our struggle alive, there are
specific areas where can agree to work together with Chinese people for our
common interest of bringing change in China,” Youngdrung adds.

In their joint statement, the groups demanded Chinese government to release
all the political prisoners linked to the Tiananmen protests and last year’
s unrest in Tibet. The statement further called on China to stop all
repressive practices, including arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and
executions, that include death sentences passed on Tibetan political
prisoners, in Tibet.

The statement said Chinese government’s bloody suppression of the 1989
pro-democracy movement in China was in no way different from the brutal
crackdown of Tibetan people’s “peaceful uprising" against its rule last
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