Thousands join Tibetan Uprising day protest in New York

Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress New York/New Jersey carry a portrait of the Dalai Lama.

Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress New York/New Jersey carry a portrait of the Dalai Lama during a protest march in New York to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising against the Chinese invasion, on 10 March 2014. RTYC/NYNJ

By Ngawang Palden | RTYC/NYNJ

NEW YORK, US, 11 March 2014

Carrying colourful Tibetan flags, Tibetans and their supporters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to the United Nations this morning to mark the 55th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day and the fifth anniversary of Tibetan self-immolation protests in Tibet. It is a critical time in Tibet, where in the past five years at least 126 Tibetans across the plateau, young and old, have set light to their own bodies for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Tibetans, Chinese democracy activists, and supporters demanded that world governments unite for Tibet, to press China to end its crackdown in Tibet, and to come to a dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to resolve the issue of Tibet.

Among the speakers at Dag Hammarskjold, a plaza in front of the United Nations’ headquarters in New York were Mr Kaydor Aukatsang, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas; Mr Tsewang Phuntso, Liaison Officer for Latin America; Mr Tenzing Jigme, President of the Tibetan Youth Congress; and Mr Chen Guangcheng, a prominent Chinese civil rights activist.

Mr Guangcheng’s speech in Chinese was interpreted by Mr Kunga Tashi from the Office of Tibet, New York. While showing his strong support for the Tibetan movement, Mr Guangcheng expressed his hope and belief on His Holiness’ Middle-Way Approach in resolving the issue of Tibet through peaceful dialogue with China. The official ceremony at the Plaza concluded with the vote of thanks from Mr Ngawang Palden and Mr Kunga Thinley, presidents of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey, and the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey, respectively.

The Tibetan Youth Congress submitted a memorandum at the office of Mr Mauricio Paiz-Merino, Human Rights Officer of the New York Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), concerning TYC’s Peace March which started from Dharamshala on 8 February and concluded in Delhi, India on 10 March. Mr Tenzing Jigme, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, briefed Mr Paiz-Merino regarding the dire situation in Tibet and appealed for United Nations’ intervention in Tibet. Members from the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress accompanied Mr Tenzing Jigme for this closed-door meeting with Mr Paiz-Merino where he explained UNHCR’s work for Tibet. Mr Paiz-Merino also said that UN is well aware of the critical situation in Tibet and reassured the group of future plans to do more.

The rally then marched through the crowded streets of New York towards the Chinese Consulate, going through the popular Times Square area. Mr Yan Jianli, a Chinese dissident and Tiannamen Square activist in 1989, spoke at the Chinese Consulate and expressed his support for the Tibetan movement. The rally concluded with the singing of Mimang Lang-lu (the Tibetan National Uprising song) and the recitation of Dentshik Monlam (the prayer of truth composed by the HH the Dalai Lama).

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