Groups advocate for Tibet ahead of march

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Mar 08, 2019 - Page 3

Tibetan rights advocates and politicians across party lines yesterday called for an end to China’s oppression of Tibet, ahead of a march on Sunday to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan Uprising.

The march, organized by more than 20 civic groups, is to mark the 60th anniversary of the uprising, Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan board member Lin Hsin-yi (林欣怡) told a news conference outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Civic groups have invited politicians from all parties to join the march, she said.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), New Power Party (NPP), Social Democratic Party and Green Party have agreed to participate, but the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not said whether it would attend, she added.

Since the such march was held 16 years ago, the annual event has received growing support from the public, as well as politicians, said NPP Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who is also head of the Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet.

“I hope the Dalai Lama can soon visit Taiwan, whether to promote Buddhism and Tibetan culture, or simply to be with his supporters,” he said.

Taiwanese should support Tibetans, because “democracy and human rights are universal values,” DPP Secretary-General Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) said.

“If we want the international community to support Taiwan against China, how can we not support Tibet?” he added.

Asked whether the DPP would support a visit by the Dalai Lama, Luo said that the party’s stance on the issue has never changed.

“The Dalai Lama is welcome to visit Taiwan. He has the right and freedom to visit anywhere he wants, including his hometown,” he said.

Network president Tashi Tsering, a Tibetan born in India, expressed gratitude for supporters of the march, saying that Tibet’s experience is highly relevant to Taiwan.

“The Taiwanese government must be very careful when negotiating with Beijing. It must not forget what happened in nearby Tibet and Hong Kong,” he said.

Although China promised to respect Tibetans’ freedom of religion and culture in the 1959 Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, authorities began cracking down on their rights less than a decade after its signing, forcing the Dalai Lama and 80,000 Tibetans to flee to India, he said.

“Now a Taiwanese citizen, I do not wish to become a refugee again,” he added.

The march is to depart at 2pm from the National Taiwan Museum and proceed to Taipei Railway Station and the Ximending (西門町) area, before concluding at Nishi Honggan-ji Temple (西本願寺) on Zhonghua Road.