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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetans Protest in Japan

March 10, 2009

by John Wood
SFT Japan
March 8, 2009

Tokyo, March 7th - Several hundred protesters along with Tibetan support groups including Students for a Free Tibet Japan, Amnesty International, TSNJ, and others joined the Tibetan Community in Japan to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. Starting with an 11AM non-violent protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, Tsering Dorjee of SFT Japan delivered an official letter of protest while protesters shouted slogans like, "Free Tibet!" and "Tibet for the Tibetans!"

Later, at 1PM, the protesters converged at a park in nearby Roppongi for a peaceful protest march through central Tokyo. After short speeches by members of the Tibetan Community in Japan, a prayer from a Tibetan Buddhist monk and the singing of the Tibetan national anthem, the some 300 strong group marched through Tokyo waving Tibetan flags, carrying or wearing placards, and shouting pro-Tibet slogans.

In the evening, starting at 7PM, Students for a Free Tibet Japan hosted an event at the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center near Shinjyuku. The program screened Channel 4's documentary "Undercover in Tibet" with Japanese subtitles. The event started with a minute of silence to remember all of those lost over the last 50 years, and in the wake of the riots in 2008. Later talks were given by several prominent Tibetan supporters.

Seishu Makino, a politician and founder of the Japan Parliamentarian Group for Tibet, discussed working for Tibet at a governmental level and past interactions with political figures such as the Clintons. Next, Lhakpa Tsoko, the representative of the Liaison Office of H.H. The Dalai Lama for Japan and East-Asia, discussed the history of Tibet and the responsibility he feels for preserving the Tibetan culture and language in the face of adversity. He reminded the Japanese public of Japan's strong influence in Asia and asked that the Tibet issue be made a priority via this. Kelsang Dhondup, the representative of the Tibetan Community in Japan, talked about his crossing of the Himalayas into exile as a child and thanked everyone for their support of the Tibetans.

A video message from Tenzin Dorjee (deputy director of SFT) was shown and the event closed with a short message from Tsering Dorjee, who thanked those involved and asking for continued support Tibet, especially this year.
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