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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan exiles set off from India on symbolic march home

March 10, 2008

Press Trust of India
10 Mar 2008

DHARAMSHALA: More than 100 Tibetan exiles in India were flagged off to
loud applause on Monday as they started a symbolic march home as part
of pro-independence protests ahead of the Beijing

Olympics.

Thousands lined the roads to cheer the marchers, mostly Buddhist monks
in red caps, who said they plan to make it over the Chinese border.

But as they walked from the Himalayan hill town of Dharamshala, seat
of the Tibetan government in exile, organisers refused to reveal where
any attempt would be made to cross the border.

They did say it could take up to six months but refused to name their
final destination.

"This march reflects the true aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet and
in exile," said Tsewang Rigzin, Tibetan Youth Congress president.

"With the Olympics in China, and the Chinese government using this
platform to legitimise its illegal occupation of Tibet, we are
demonstrating that Tibet belongs to Tibetans and we will never give up
until Tibet is independent."

Five Tibetan groups have organised the march, but they are
tight-lipped about the route because New Delhi prohibits Tibetan
exiles from using India as a springboard for anti-China political
campaigns.

Monday marked the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's escape from
Lhasa after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Tibetan activists are also planning a rival "Tibetan Olympics" here in May.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after Beijing sent in troops
to "liberate" the devoutly Buddhist region.
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