Mon, Mar 15, 2010 - Page 3 News List

FEATURE: Parade honors memory of Tibetans 1959 uprising

‘NUTS’The parade route took in the Taipei 101 mall complex, which many Chinese tourists visit. Some Chinese took pictures, while others called them ‘nuts’


A participant at a pro-Tibet demonstration organized by Taiwan Friends of Tibet wears a face mask with Tibet-related images in Taipei yesterday.


More than 1,000 people — Taiwanese, Tibetans, Chinese, Americans, Europeans and Latin Americans — took to the streets of Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Holding banners and signs with slogans like “self-determination for Tibet,” “stop cultural genocide in Tibet” and “Stop killing in Tibet,” the crowd departed from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station in Taipei and marched to Taipei 101.

“We’re here to remember March 10, 1959, on which more than 100,000 Tibetans took to the streets in Lhasa to protest Chinese occupation of their country and were violently suppressed,” said Chow Mei-li (周美里), chairwoman of Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT), which organized the parade. “We want the Tibetans inside and outside Tibet who are still struggling for their freedom to know that they have the support of the Taiwanese people.”

Chow said that yesterday’s date, March 14, also coincided with the latest uprising in Tibet and other Tibetan regions against Chinese rule that began two years ago, as well as the date on which Beijing adopted its “Anti-Ssuccession” Law threatening to invade Taiwan if it “breaks away from the motherland.”

She said the parade route was chosen because it passes through Taipei’s busiest shopping districts and it’s a way to let more Taiwanese know that, as they enjoy their Sunday afternoon shopping or doing whatever they like, there are other people out there without the freedom to do so.

“The parade ends in front of Taipei 101, which most Chinese tourists visit, and we also would like them to hear some different voices from what their government allows them to hear,” Chow said.

As the parade passed, many people stopped, watched and took pictures, while some even waved at the marchers.

Most Chinese tourists seemed quite interested, with many taking pictures or filming the parade, but most declined to comment.

However, one elderly female Chinese tourist called the demonstrators “nuts,” while another middle-aged Chinese man said the demonstrators were too young to know what really happened in Tibet.

Many marchers also voiced concern at the accelerating pace of cross-strait agreements, especially the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).

“Tibetans believed the Chinese and believed in the 17-point agreement they signed with China in the 1950s, but the Chinese broke their promises and imposed harsh measures on freedom and religion in Tibet,” TFOT vice-chairman Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮) said.

Some demonstrators brought placards that read “human rights before ECFA.”

Lobsang, a Tibetan living in Taiwan who was born in exile in Nepal, said he was touched that so many Taiwanese came out to support the Tibetan cause and that he appreciated the support.

Celine van der Cam, a 22-year-old Belgian in the parade, said she joined because she believed the Tibetans’ call to be just.

“The Chinese say they’re doing a lot to modernize Tibet. Well, if the Tibetans don’t want it, they should be left alone,” she said.

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