Sun, Sep 08, 2013 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Exile takes ‘Free Tibet’ bike tour to Taiwan

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

After biking through 44 states in the US, Rinpo felt he had to spread his message to more people, a need that was furthered by the sorrow he felt at the rise in Tibetan self-immolations in recent years.

With his kids all grown up, Rinpo sold his restaurants and his house, gave his furniture to charity and started his biking trip in Europe in March.

“In Europe, I would not only speak to the people, but would also just knock on doors of political leaders, such mayors, city councilors and parliamentarians, asking to meet them to discuss the Tibetan issue,” he said. “I’ve successfully met with 128 political leaders that way.”

He said he always carries two notebooks with the names of the 120 self-immolated Tibetans with him, to help him explain to each political leader he meets what happened to these people and why they did what they did. He also asks them to write messages in the notebooks.

“I carry these books with me all the time, feeling that they are with me always, and they give energy,” Rinpo said. “It may be cold, hot, windy, rainy along the way, and I would feel thirsty, hungry and sometimes slept on the street, it’s hard, but I’m happy, because compared to them, it’s not quite so hard.”

He said he also takes the books to holy places to pray for the Tibetans who sacrificed their lives.

“I will eventually take their names to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and ask His Holiness to pray for them,” Rinpo said.

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