Worried about the indifference of Taiwanese toward the ongoing repression of Tibetans by the Chinese government and self-immolations by Tibetans, Tibet activists yesterday called on the public to join a march to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising in Taipei on Sunday.
“If a group of people stand idly by and watch while another group of people are being beaten on the street, then I would call that society cold-blooded and fallen,” former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), a lifelong volunteer at the Deng Liberty Foundation, said at a press conference in Taipei. “Sadly, this is what I am seeing in Taiwan — the majority of the people in Taiwan are indifferent, while Tibetans use their own bodies to protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.”
“We should stand with Tibetans, because the goals that the they are trying to achieve — freedom of expression, freedom of religion, preservation of their own culture and living with dignity on their own land — are also our values,” Yeh said.
As the widow of the late democracy activist Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), who self-immolated in 1989 to protest a lack of freedom of speech in Taiwan, Yeh said that she could feel the pain of the families of self-immolated Tibetans.
“Therefore, I think I should stand up to give them my support,” Yeh said.
Meanwhile, the rapper DogG (大支) said he felt ashamed about the indifference showed by mainstream Taiwanese society toward the sufferings of Tibetans and the government’s refusal to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama.
“The rally on March 10 is a good opportunity for us to raise public awareness about the issue and to tell the government that we Taiwanese will always stand with Tibetans in their struggle,” he said.
Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Taiwan chairman Tenzin Chompel said that through actions worldwide, Tibetans want to tell China and the world that they will not give up on independence for Tibet.
“With more than 6 million Tibetans under Chinese repression and with 150,000 living in exile as refugees, we will not give up our Buddhist culture and we will not forget that we are Tibetan, not Chinese. We insist that only when we regain independence can our freedom be guaranteed,” he said.
“I also want to say that it’s no use compromising with China, because treaties and negotiations with China are just lies — we hope that Taiwan will not fall like a next Tibet,” he added.
Marchers are scheduled to assemble at 1pm at Exit 2 of Zhong-xiao Fuxing MRT station on Sunday, while the march is to start at 2pm.