Despite stormy weather conditions in Taipei yesterday, 49 people —Tibetans and Taiwanese alike — staged a bicycle rally in the city to commemorate Tibetan monks who set themselves alight to protest China’s rule of Tibet.
“Tibet belongs to Tibetans!” “China, get out of Tibet!” were among the slogans shouted by the 49 cyclists, who attracted the attention of passers-by and drivers as they cycled through the streets.
On each bicycle was a Tibetan flag, while each biker carried signs calling for freedom for Tibet.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“It’s the responsibility of each Tibetan to defend our freedom, especially the freedom of religion, since religion is at the root of our culture,” Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Taiwan president Tenzin Chompel told the crowd before the fleet of bicycles departed from a park across the street from Taipei 101. “When I said it’s our responsibility, I mean that we will defend our freedom even if that means scarifying our lives.”
“We gather here to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the Tibetan cause and we call on all freedom lovers to join us,” Tenzin said. “Let’s fight for freedom for Tibet! Let’s fight for the independence of Tibet!”
Tenzin’s comments referred to previous incidents in which Tibetans took their own lives in political protest. Following an uprising in Lhasa in March 2008, seven people — mostly monks — committed suicide to protest against Chinese rule.
Since 2009, five Tibetan monks have expressed their discontent with Chinese occupation of Tibet through self-immolation — four of which were suicides that took place this year.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) Taiwan president Fong Jyun-shan (奉君山) pointed out that when SFT Taiwan planned the event, it wanted to remember Tsewang Norbu, the Tibetan monk who self himself on fire on Aug. 15, on the 49th day after his death.
Buddhists believe one’s spirit knows whether it will be reincarnated, or enter hell or heaven, by the 49th day of one’s death.
“However, [during the preparation for the event] under the repression of the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party regime, two more monks committed suicide through self-immolation. So many suicide cases mean that the 2008 uprising in Lhasa never ended and China has never ceased its repression of Tibetans,” Fong said as he cried. “We have to think about what’s pushing the Tibetans to hurt themselves as an act of protest and we have to do something about it.”
Fong also called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to uphold his campaign promises in 2008 to support Tibetans’ struggle for freedom, as well as supporting the Dalai Lama.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,