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Tibetan exiles protest "Chinese oppression" in Tibet

March 29, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
March 28, 2009

Dharamsala, March 28 -- Hundreds of Tibetans and
their supporters Saturday staged a protest rally
to highlight what they describe as "50 years of Chinese oppression in Tibet."

The protesters marched through the streets of
Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibet’s
Government-in-exile in northern India, carrying
Tibetan flags and wearing “Free Tibet” headbands,
and shouting “Stop 50 years of torture."

The protest came as Beijing celebrated the newly
created "Serf Emancipation Day" on Saturday. The
enforced celebration, the organizers of today’s
protest, however, say, is taking place at a “time
of high tension in Tibet when the entire region
remains under de facto martial law.”

The Tibetan Government-in-exile on Friday dubbed
the newly created holiday as a "massive
propaganda" by Beijing to hide its “ongoing repression in Tibet.”

China vowed on Saturday to "severely crack down
on any separatist activities" in Tibet as it launched the new national holiday.

On March 28, 1959, China forcefully dissolved the
Tibetan Government in Lhasa after crushing down a
massive uprising by Tibetans against a decade
long Chinese presence in their homeland. The
ensuing events forced the Tibetan leader the
Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans to flee
their homeland into exile for the first time in Tibet’s history.

Beijing sent military troops to occupy Tibet in
late 1949. China contends that old Tibet was
feudal and repressive and claims that its
military occupation of the Himalayan region has “liberated’ Tibetans.

Tibetan Government-in-exile says over 1.2 million
Tibetans died and more than 6,000 monasteries
were razed to the ground as a direct result of
Chinese communist rule over the years.

"Today, it is hard to come across a Tibetan
family that has not had at least one member
imprisoned or killed by the Chinese regime,” the
exile government said in a press release yesterday.

Five prominent Tibetan groups - Tibetan Women's
Assocation, GuChuSum Movement of Tibet, National
Democratic Party of Tibet, Students for a Free
Tibet (India) and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress
(Dharamsala) organised today’s anti-China protest here.

"Serf Emancipation Day" is a blatant propaganda
ploy by the Chinese government to convince the
world that Tibetans are happy under Chinese rule
but no amount of propaganda can hide the truth of
what has actually been 50 years of Tibet’s
enslavement, the groups said in a joint press statement.

Protestors also performed a short skit showing
Chinese police beating up and torturing Tibetan
demonstrators in Tibet this morning before taking
to the streets. The organizers have also planned
a candle light vigil later in the evening and
will screen a rare video footage showing China’s
brutal treatment of Tibetans in the aftermath of the March 2008 unrest.

The video, recently smuggled out of Tibet, was
released by the Tibetan Government-in-exile last week.

"Despite the fierce clampdown of the Tibetan
Uprising in 2008, Tibetans inside Tibet have
continued to show their resentment against
China's Oppression.” said Ngawang Woebar, a
former political prisoner and the president of GuChuSum Movement of Tibet.

"China is claiming that everything is normal
inside Tibet and that the Tibetans are happy, but
the irony is, they are banning foreign media from
witnessing the reality of the situation within Tibet,” Woebar said.

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