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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."

Under the Knife: Proactive, dedicated Geneseo students for a Free Tibet

April 11, 2010

Megan McCormick
The Lamron  4/8/10

The Geneseo chapter of Students for a Free Tibet is taking the necessary
strides to bring the despair in Tibet to the forefront of knowledge that the
students here contain.

The inception of the group came about this semester after junior Sean
Gunderman told sophomore Orsolina de Michiel of the injustice currently
taking place in Tibet.

"It's a pretty big inspiration to fight oppression anywhere in the world,"
de Michiel said.

Until the college officially recognizes them, the group is primarily
focusing on fundraising and raising awareness for Tibet. Gunderman said the
group's activities range from selling Tibetan crafts, prayer flags,
T-shirts, tabling in the Union lobby, making poster boards and getting
signatures to release Tibetan political figures that are held captive in

Once the club is officially recognized, the members said they would like to
increase membership and take a trip to Ithaca where the Namgyal Monastery,
the institute of Buddhist studies, is located.

"We would also like to hand out pamphlets and set up movie nights where we
can watch informational and educational documentaries," Gunderman said.

According to the Students for a Free Tibet Web site, the group works in
solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and
independence. Through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent
direct action, the group campaigns for Tibetans' fundamental right to
political freedom. Their role is to empower and train youth as leaders in
the worldwide movement for social justice.

The situation in Tibet is unbeknownst to many students. According to
Gunderman, Tibet was its own independent country in the '50s but was invaded
by China, who took away the independence that Tibet had possessed since
1901. A peace treaty between England, Tibet and China ensued and China now
claims that it is helping Tibet.

"China just built a railroad to take all of the resources and materials out
of Tibet, to China," Gunderman said. "[The railroad] will increase Chinese
migration to the [Tibetan] area. Tibetans are now the minority in Tibet."

"Education-wise, Tibetans are at a disadvantage," Gunderman continued.
"Their literacy rate is less than 50 percent." He went on to add that "lots
of political prisoners are being tortured," explaining, "When he was six,
the next Dalai Lama was arrested and has been gone for 15 years. No one
knows where he is."

Meetings for Students for a Free Tibet are held Thursdays at 6 p.m.,
upstairs in the College Union lounge by the student activities hall.

"[Oppression is] really everywhere," de Michiel said. "Everybody should be
free, all living things, that's the main thing."
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