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[from Phayul]
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[Thursday, August 21, 2008 17:55]

By Maura Moynihan

The Beijing Summer Olympiad commenced with the Parade of Nations streaming through Bird’s Nest, dancers, canons, fireworks, with scores of diplomats, dignitaries and heads of state cheering from the stands. At 40 billion dollars and counting, one would expect a good show, and indeed it was.

In New Delhi, crowds gathered near Jantar Mantar for a different purpose. There are no fireworks, no corporate sponsors, no VIP lounge. Just a large tent under a neem tree, where the Tibetan Youth Congress has launched a counter Olympic tournament; “Indefinite Fast for Tibet – without food or water – to represent the plight of the six million Tibetans.”

The TYC statement reads; “We request responsible citizens and governments worldwide to stand up against China’s appalling human rights record in Tibet and not commit moral violence by remaining indifferent to the sufferings of the Tibetan people.”

Buddhist monks, refugees from Tibet lie on chairpois, day after day, without food or water in the monsoon heat. Lay Tibetans, and a beautiful wife and mother from Chennai, Asha Reddy, join the fast. You can see dehydration and exhaustion in their eyes and limbs, but their resolve transcends all pain. Their mission has summoned them to a feat of physical endurance to challenge every athlete in Beijing.

Reports from Tibet describe a chilling military crackdown. PLA soldiers stationed on every corner, in every temple. Every day, another soul and body broken by torture. Luractive payments for anyone willing to inform on friends and relatives. Above the TYC tent, banners show the faces of hundreds shot, tortured, killed by the PLA five months before the Olympics. Students and monks, carrying the Tibetan flag through the streets of Lhasa. An act of astonishing courage, a plea for justice, met with bullets, jail, death. No Olympic festivities for the citizens of Tibet.

Here in India the Tibetan flag flies, safely. Delhi’s official protest zone at Jantar Mantar is filled with citizens agitating for One Language One Law, Down with Dowry, Fair Representation for Cooch-Bihar, and The Tibetan People’s Mass Uprising. In the first week of the Beijing Games, a man from Southern China traveled to Beijing, to protest corruption by local Communist officials. He obtained a permit, entered the designated Olympic protest zone and was promptly arrested.

The Tibetan Youth Congress, founded in 1972, is committed to ahmisa and satyagraha, in the tradition of its model, the Indian Congress Party. The Chinese Communist Party has labeled the Tibetan Youth Congress a ‘terrorist organization”, as it launches vicious attacks on the TYC in the international press. Why is the mighty People’s Republic of China so petrified of an unarmed band of monks, students and housewives? Why is the Chinese Embassy sealed by armed commandoes? What do they so fear?

Monks on a hunger strike, in the monsoon heat. Banners with faces of the tortured and the dead. Citizens of the world calling for justice for Tibet. This is what the Chinese Communists Party fears. The truth.

Late into a rainy night, I bade farewell to the TYC volunteers and wandered into the Imperial Hotel, where a sumptuous lobby is filled with tales from the Raj. Redcoats in battle, the Sepoy Mutiny, Queen Victoria upon the throne, sultans, nawabs, maharajas on bended knee before their sovereign. Near the doorway, a small photo of Gandhi and Lord Mountbatten.

Around the corner, the people of Tibet surrender their bodies to the truth, as did the Mahatma to win India’s freedom struggle. 

Empires rise, and then they die.

Maura Moynihan first lived in India where her late father, Amb. Daniel Patrick Moynihan served as US Ambassador in New Delhi

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By Tenzin Sangmo

Dhondup Tsering, 63 years old. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)
New Delhi, August 16 – The Tibetan Youth Congress has today launched the third batch of hunger strikers with renewed vengeance. After the second volume of six men were forced to the hospital August 14, TYC President Tsewang Rinzin made the announcement at the camp site earlier today.

The third group of fasting Tibetans include Dhondup Tsering, 63, Camp No. 16, Bylakuppe who is the oldest among all eighteen participants, Tsering Tashi, 21, hails from Ladakh, Thupten Tsewang, 20, from Sera Jey was one of the marchers from TYC Independence March to Bodh Gaya in May, Jampa Kelsang, 33, Sera Jay, Nawang Samten, 26, Drepung Gomang, core marcher of Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement’s March to Tibet which began from Dharamsala and Tashi Gyamtso, 31 from Drepung Monastery in South India.

Dhondup Tsering, 63 told Phayul, “I am here to condemn China’s inhuman actions against peaceful demonstrators in our homeland. China’s highhandedness in all three provinces of Tibet has left thousands injured and dead since the March unrest.” He further added that though he realized he was the oldest among all the three batches who have participated in the indefinite fast so far, he was of sound health. His main motive was to share the pain of those suffering inside Tibet and he was determined to do just that.

The first batch of hunger strikers who were discharged from hospital a couple of days ago returned to Jantar Mantar yesterday and shared their experiences. They implored fellow Tibetans not to lose hope and said their struggle was worth every sacrifice in the world.

An Indo-Tibet flag flew high at Jantar Mantar with the words “Thank You India” written across it.

(Photo by Tenzin Sangmo/Phayul.com)

On the 61st anniversary of its Independence, TYC paid tribute to India thanking her for her generosity and hospitality. India is home to over 1,20,000 Tibetan refugees and according to TYC, “August 15th is a moment of joy, of happiness for Indians, a nation, a race that for the past 50 years have been providing us asylum, has given us a second life, “a home away from home”. The opportunities both commercial and educational, India has provided to the Tibetans is highly commendable as no nation would treat refugees as its own Citizens. Tibetans are truly grateful for the love and the affection being showered upon them by Indians. Hence, on this special day, the Tibetan Youth Congress would like to thank India wholeheartedly for everything that it has done for the Tibetans.” An Indo-Tibet flag flew high at Jantar Mantar with the words “Thank You India, Happy Independence Day” written across it.
Sunghyun Park, a Tibet supporter from South Korea who studies in Paris and a familiar face among pro-Tibet rallies in New Delhi said, “I was one of the protestors at the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay earlier this year. I think the unjust, repressive policies of China are thoroughly wrong. I totally support the hunger strikers and respect their effort and sacrifices for the Tibetan nation. Personally, I hope they won’t lose their health.”

New Delhi, August 11 – TYC General Secretary Tenzin Norsang led a resolute group of about 150 activists to obtain a response to their memorandum submitted July 29 at the United Nations Office in New Delhi. The group raised slogans requesting the UN to take a stronger stand against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet and to condemn the Chinese system of governance. They demanded that a representative come out and answer their questions. The activists pledged a 12 hour hunger strike without food and water until their pleas were heard.

Tenzin Norsang was escorted inside by police officers and after a brief communiqué with UN delegates he addressed the crowd.
“They assured me our memorandum has been forwarded to the head office and related human rights groups. The UN has also expressed further support and encouragement in light of the present crisis.” He further added it was not permissible for representatives to come out of the building and interact with the protesters for which they have expressed regret but nonetheless relayed that they stood behind the Tibetans in their quest for freedom and fundamental rights.

After requests from the Indian authorities to disperse the group boarded three buses chanting slogans and headed towards Jantar Mantar.

In a related incident, the second batch of hunger strikers who have entered Day 6 without food and water as part of the second phase of Tibetan People’s Mass Movement under the organization’s leadership are losing strength with visible changes in physical conditions.

Protestors are taken back to Jantar Mantar in police bus. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

According to Vice President Dhondup Dorjee, the six men have on an average lost 5-7 kilograms with fatigue and nausea setting in. He said the doctor advised medical treatment to four of the participants but they turned it down. Sonam Samdup was said to be doing poorly as was Lobsang Jorden. Tibetan nurses attend to the hunger strikers during the weekend to provide basic health care routine. Asha Reddy broke her fast yesterday morning after spending four days and nights at Jantar Mantar without food and water to display her support to the Tibetan race.

The first batch of hunger strikers who were taken to Ram Manohar Lohia on the 9th day of their indefinite fast were moved to Tirath Ram hospital August 9 by TYC.

The second batch of hunger strikers entered Day 6 without food and water. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

All except Jangchup Sangpo who suffered injuries at the hands of the Indian police the night they were forcibly taken to the hospital are said to be responding well to treatment.

TYC activists who were arrested for protesting outside the Chinese Embassy coinciding with the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Games August 8 were released from judicial custody the next day. Nine Tibetans who passed out during the scuffle were taken to the hospital and released after medical care.