Dozens of Tibetans and supporters of the Tibetan cause yesterday began a motorcycle ride across the nation, as part of a global campaign to raise public awareness of the Tibetan issue and to celebrate Tibetan Democracy Day.
After congregating in front of Longshan Temple in Taipei, dozens of Tibetans and their Taiwanese supporters marched from the temple along Tibet Road to Liberty Square, where the eight cross-island riders were given a freedom torch and khatas — traditional Tibetan scarves made of silk presented to show hospitality or respect — Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama chairman Dawa Tsering, who is the de facto ambassador of the Tibetan government-in-exile in to Taiwan.
“The action is aimed at raising international awareness about the ongoing tragedies in Tibet, and to urge the Chinese government to stop its repression of Tibetan people,” Dawa said before the march in front of Longshan Temple.
He said that following self-immolations by more than 50 Tibetans in protest against Chinese repression since March 2009, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile adopted a resolution earlier this year asking Tibetans around the world to take action to raise awareness of the Tibetans’ suffering under Chinese rule.
“Some marched, some had marathon runs and Tibetans in Taiwan chose to ride motorcycles around the island. Tibetan communities in different countries do it in different ways,” Dawa said.
“We choose to begin the action today because Sept. 2 is Tibetan Democracy Day, because the Tibetan parliament-in-exile was created on this date 52 years ago.”
In a statement, the Tibetans called on the international community — especially the UN — to show its concern over human rights violations inside Tibet, and asked the UN to organize a special investigation team to investigate human rights conditions in Tibet.
Decorating their motorcycles with Tibetan flags, the Tibetan riders plan to make overnight stops in Hualien, Taitung, Kaohsiung and Taichung, before returning to Taipei on Thursday afternoon.
Taiwanese Students for a Free Tibet convener Fong Jyun-shan (奉君山) said that the symbolism behind marching from Tibet Road to Liberty Square was meant to show that the parade is a march toward freedom for Tibetans.