"China Go For Gold! Give Human Rights in Beijing A Chance!" – Peaceful Demonstration in Amsterdam
Below is an article published by UNPO:
On 8 August 2008, parallel to the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing the Dam Square in Amsterdam was filled with a few hundred Tibetans, Uyghurs, Burmese and Western sympathizers. The air was enriched with traditional tunes and Tibetan and East Turkestan flags waving in the wind. People inscribed their wishes on a petition wall and informed themselves at the stands of the various groups about the situation of Tibetans and Uyghurs in China as well as of the Burmese.
- East Turkestan is a western territory in China inhabited by an ethnically Uyghur majority, who have been faced with arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions. The PRC government has abused anti-terrorism policies to suppress all forms of Uyghur protest, no matter how peaceful.
- The Government of Tibet in Exile, headed by the Dalai Lama has described itself as the rightful and legitimate government of Tibet. They characterize the current control of Tibet by the PRC as an illegitimate military occupation. The PRC government still exercises strong control of religious and political practices.
- The Burmese struggle against military dictatorship in order to realize the democratic rights and human rights of the masses of people and the rights of equality and self-determination for ethnic nationalities.
These groups are joined together in UNPO, and are united by democratic and nonviolent principles. Our common objective is to protect and promote their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and find nonviolent solutions to conflicts which affect them.
Simultaneously to the beginning of the Opening Ceremony in Beijing, activists started their run from the Amsterdam Olympic station to the Dam square. Once the group arrived, Mrs. Tsering Jampa, the leader of the International Campaign for Tibet in the Netherlands and honorary president of UNPO, delivered her opening speech calling upon all listeners to continue their support also after the Olympics. Among the following speakers was the Uyghur group leader Abdougheni Tochniyaz who encouraged the people to follow Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize and the “mother of the Uyghurs” in her struggle for human and political rights for her people. Further, Chinese dissidents gave personal account of the repression by the Chinese government that they had suffered.
The hosting groups used the remaining time to enchant the listeners with traditional Tibetan, Uyghur and Burmese singing and music.
For the concluding moment the Tibetans assembled on the stage praying for peace and justice for all people in China and singing their national anthem, conveying their passion for freedom to the protesters on Dam Square.