Jun 03, 2009

Tibet: Exiles Plan Solidarity Campaign

Active ImageTibetans are planning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre with an organised solidarity campaign.
Below is an article published by Phayul:
Only three days remaining for the 20th anniversary of the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre, exile Tibetans say they will organise a number of solidarity campaigns to remember the tragic event and to express support to pro-democracy movement in China.

“The series of events are being organised to express our deepest solidarity for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre and to express our profound and unwavering support for the Chinese democracy movement,” Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement (TPUM), a coalition of four prominent NGOs in the exile Tibetan community, said in a joint statement released here today [1 June 2009].

In the statement, the groups condemned the “brutal manner with which the heavily armed troops suppressed and killed the unarmed pro-democracy protesters and bystanders” during the anti-government protest on June 4, 1989, in Beijing.

As part of the solidarity campaign, the groups said they would organise signature campaign during the day and, hold candle light vigil and screen the feature length documentary about the Tiananmen Square protests- “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” in the evening on Wednesday, June 3 [2009].

On June 4 [2009], the group will observe “White China Day” to stand in solidarity with an initiative call made by Wan Dan, a key figure in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in China who after serving long jail terms was later exiled to the United States.

“We request Tibetans around the world to wear ‘white clothes’ on June 4 [2009] to pay our respect to the victims and heroes of the Tiananmen Square massacre and to express our profound and unwavering support for the Chinese democracy movement,” the joint statement says.

The groups said part of their campaign was to also join the voices of the Tiananmen mothers in their call for the reassessment of June 4 [2009] incident by the Chinese government.

The main goal of organising the solidarity campaigns, the groups said, was to show their commitment to work together with Chinese community as an “integral part of finding a lasting solution” for democracy and freedom in China and in Tibet.

“While we remain firm in our struggle for freedom and rights in Tibet, we must not sidestep our moral obligation to support Chinese people in their struggle for democracy and better human rights condition in their own country,” Ven. Ngawang Woebar, who heads the Tibetan Ex-political Prisoners Association in Dharamsala, says.

Ngawang himself is a former political prisoner who took part in a major anti-China movement in 1989 in Tibet.

“Our larger cause is different, but pushing China for democratic change is a common aspiration we share with Chinese people,” Ngawang adds.

Chemi Youngdrung, President of the National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) says supporting pro-democracy movement in China will not undermine Tibetan people’s freedom struggle, insisting there will not be any compromise on that.

“The Chinese Communist government is a common challenge for Tibetan and freedom loving Chinese people. While we keep our struggle alive, there are specific areas where we can agree to work together with Chinese people for our common interest of bringing change in China,” Youngdrung adds.

In their joint statement, the groups demanded Chinese government to release all the political prisoners linked to the Tiananmen protests and last year’s unrest in Tibet. The statement further called on China to stop all repressive practices, including arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and executions, that include death sentences passed on Tibetan political prisoners, in Tibet.

The statement said Chinese government’s bloody suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in China was in no way different from the brutal crackdown of Tibetan people’s “peaceful uprising" against its rule last year [2008].