New Delhi, 12th September, 2012–Wednesday, as per the Tibetan patriotic belief, is observed as the Lhakar day, a grassroot movement which started in Tibet to oppose the Chinese government’s constant effort to destroy and bring about the deterioration of the Tibetan culture, custom, tradition and identity. Hence all activists present at the hunger strike site wore traditional attires and giving center space to the portrait of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Prayers were recited and traditional rites were maintained.
The main event of TYC’s 10th day of Indefinite Hunger Strike was the Tibetan traditional prostration campaign to appeal for immediate UN intervention to pressure the Chinese government to stop the undeclared martial law situation inside Tibet. The campaign’s aim was to submit memorandums addressed to the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay. Scores of young Tibetan students studying in various universities in Delhi led by TYC Finance Secretary, Konchok Yangphel, started prostrating and chanting prayers heading towards the UN Information Centre. Prostration is a part of the Tibetan buddhist tradition and it is only performed to pay homage to our gods and deities in a monastery or in the vicinity of it. But today, since TYC and the activists follow the peaceful and non-violent path to get freedom and justice, they are doing this to appeal to the UN to hear them, all the millions of Tibetans, who are suffering back in Tibet. They covered about 500 meters to reach the gate of the UN office. Flag bearers and banners of the three hunger strikers kept going with them, chanting and with the media members, who took innumerable photos of the brave and struggling activists and interviewed TYC’s President, Mr. Tsewang Rigzin.
At the gate of the UN office, where police barricades were set up, and policemen and women keeping guard, all the TYC activists sat down and Tsewang Rigzin addressed the gathering, including the media. He spoke about the critical situation inside Tibet under Chinese occupation and its repressive policies resulting in ‘hell on earth’ situation inside Tibet. He said, “UN promised during the New York Indefinite Hunger strike in March 2012 that they will directly engage with the Chinese government to send UN representatives to Tibet. Thus, trusting the UN to keep their promises that Hunger strike was called off indefinitely. It has been 6 months since then and no UN delegation has visited Tibet so far and the situation inside Tibet is worsening by the day, TYC is forced to resume its hunger strike. Tsewang declared, ” We are holding UN responsible for whatever happens to the three hunger strikers. We are appealing and will continue on until concrete actions have been taken by the UN.”
After addressing the media and the supporters, TYC President, Tsewang Rigzin and Joint-Secretary, Tenzing Norsang escorted by police officials and UN security guards approached the UN visitor’s gate. They were told by the head of the security guards that an official will come to meet them outside the gate. After a while, an official did appear outside the gate and informed the TYC representatives that “they will not be allowed inside as the rules have changed and even the Speaker of the Tibetan parliament in exile and delegation weren’t allowed inside recently”. TYC representatives then strongly urged the official to let them in to discuss the crisis inside Tibet and to hand over the memorandums addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay. The official sensing the gravity of the situation and hearing in depth the recent interactions of TYC President and UN officials in New York, went inside to discuss again with high level officials. After returning, he finally took in TYC representatives inside the UN building to meet with UN officials Ritch Miller and others. UN officials were briefed in depth about the dire situation inside Tibet and appealed for immediate UN’s intervention to hold China accountable for its continuing gross human rights violations inside occupied Tibet. UN officials assured that the memorandums will be immediately sent to the Secretary General and High Commissioner and it will be looked into by them.
The three hunger strikers were briefed about today’s campaign at the UN and even though their body weights have drastically reduced and movement are weaker, their determination is ever stronger to highlight the plight of the Tibetans inside Tibet.