San Francisco, CA, Feb 26 – Tibetans and supporters alike gathered yesterday morning to cancel the usual festive celebrations of th
e Tibetan New Year (Losar) and instead led a ‘Peace March’ on the memorable Golden Gate Bridge followed by a protest at the Chinese Consulate and a candle light vigil in Union Square in San Francisco.
“China has flooded Tibet with troops and barred all foreigners, actions clearly meant to intimidate and suppress any further expressions of dissent during the New Year and in the lead up to March 10, which will mark 50 years of Tibetan resistance to Chinese occupation,” said Dechen Tsering, president of the Tibetan Association of Northern California. “We fear Chinese authorities are preparing for a renewed assault against Tibetans who dare to speak out for their basic rights.”
According to S.F Team Tibet, the ‘Peace March’ was held to stand in solidarity with the Tibetans inside Tibet in their determination to mourn the millions of Tibetan deaths caused under the brutal Chinese military forces in the past 50 years, with the hundreds that died during the daring Tibetan Uprising of last year during the Olympics.
Tsering Khankyi of San Francisco Tibetan Youth Congress said “The Chinese government through their state media claims that this year’s ‘No Losar’ campaign is something planned by HH the Dalai Lama and his government in exile. But, let me make this clear to everyone here that it is the people of Tibet who have spontaneously stood up in defiance and mourning to not celebrate this year’s Losar, and we are here standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tibet.”
The New York Times reported that last year’s March 10th marked one of the largest Tibetan uprisings carried by Tibetan monks, nuns and laymen who took over the streets of Lhasa with what started as a peaceful protest to express distress over the ‘the domination of the region by the ethnic Han Chinese’ forcing Tibetans to be minorities in their own land, but ended in violence due to the malicious actions of the Chinese military.
Government leaders across the world expressed concerns over China’s violent response to the protest leading many campaigns calling on their governments and leaders to take further action with almost 200 Tibet organizations signing letters to world leaders.
Yesterday the U.S released its annual report on human rights signed by Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, stating that Beijing’s rights record “remained poor and worsened in some areas”.
Giovanni Vassallo, President of the Bay Area Friends of Tibet says “Security in Tibet remains high following last year’s protests and, with another March 10th fast approaching, China has instituted new measures to intimidate Tibetans and denigrate their cultural and religious identity”.
The Economist reported today that China has blocked Tibet to foreigners until late March.
SF TEAM TIBET is a coalition of five different organizations working towards one goal; human rights in Tibet!