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.
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
A student at a Taichung high school who committed suicide in February last year was bullied by school officials, the school said on Saturday, reversing its previous findings after the student’s father asked that the case be reinvestigated. In a statement, Feng Yuan Senior High School said its latest investigation found that four staff members — the director of student affairs, the chief military instructor and two safety instructors — bullied the student, who killed himself on Feb. 18 last year. That contradicted its previous conclusions that the staff’s actions had not amounted to bullying. The student’s father said his son was subjected