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The Desire of Millions of Tibetans for Freedom Can Never Be Extinguished

Silvia Sarasua of Friends of Tibet, addresses the Miami HRTR event

By Silvia Sarasua
May 21, 2008

Silvia Sarasua of Friends of Tibet calls upon the crowd to ask their legislators to pressure China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. (Qingsheng Yue/The Epoch Times)
Silvia Sarasua of Friends of Tibet calls upon the crowd to ask their legislators to pressure China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. (Qingsheng Yue/The Epoch Times)

Good afternoon. I would like to thank first of all the global Human Rights Torch Relay and the Falun Gong community all over the world, especially the Falun Gong people in China that are suffering with their own flesh, the persecution, abuse, torture and killing by their own government, the government of the People's Republic of China.

I am part of an international movement called "Friends of Tibet" and what I want to say is what everybody already knows: that Tibet has been under Chinese occupation since 1959; the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader, and the political leader of Tibet, had to flee to India in order to save his life.

One hundred thousand Tibetans followed him, but over one million Tibetans in Tibet died due to the repression in Tibet. Some were killed; others committed suicide; others died of starvation.

That was almost fifty years ago, but today Tibet suffers under the same conditions or worse.

Tibetan women suffer forced abortion and sterilization, while China has brought a massive influx of Han Chinese into Tibet. The Tibetan community in Tibet, in their own country, are a minority. It is just as it was in South Africa, they are second-class citizens; they don't have the same privileges that the Chinese have, in their own country.

They cannot speak their own language; they cannot practice their religion.

Tibet supporters turned out at the Miami HRTR event. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)
Tibet supporters turned out at the Miami HRTR event. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

They cannot have peaceful protests. Any protests by the Tibetan people in Tibet encounter brutal crackdowns in which thousands of monks have lost their lives.

And still today there are hundreds of Tibetans in prison, many find their lives in danger; and still the Chinese government, even under pressure from the European Union and the United States government, and many other governments, will not give way and hold serious and meaningful negotiations with the Dalai Lama and his people.

The representatives of the Dalai Lama were in Tibet a few days ago, the next day Chinese communist leader Hu Jintao went to Japan. To underscore the importance of that meeting: Nothing happened, like always.

I urge you to please write to President Bush and to your Congresspersons and your Senators and tell them to put pressure on China, to have the highest hierarchy of the Chinese communist government to sit seriously with the Dalai Lama to resolve the issue of Tibet once and for all. (1:01:40)

Another thing that I want to mention is that just two days ago the Olympic Torch was taken to Mount Everest.

I want to read briefly what Sonam Wangdu, Chairman of the U.S. Tibet Committee, said about it.

"Never before has the mountaineering term 'assault' been used more appropriately than when Chinese authorities use it to describe taking the Olympic torch up Tibet's Mount Everest,"

"China's 'assault' on Everest and its planned relay through Tibet in June is in fact an assault on Tibet's religion, culture, and people."

"Tibetans in Tibet are being subjected to daily intimidation, harassment, and harsh suppression of religious and other freedoms, as Chinese authorities carry out house-to-house searches, detentions, 'patriotic education' and force Tibetans to engage in other displays of 'patriotism.'

"Tibetans and their supporters are concerned that the planned relay of the Olympic Torch through Tibet in June is encouraging Chinese authorities to escalate repression in order to ensure a successful propaganda exercise during its so-called 'journey of harmony.'

"The U.S. Tibet Committee, along with 153 Tibet organizations worldwide, is calling on the International Olympic Committee to prevent further suffering in Tibet by immediately withdrawing its authorization for the Olympic Torch to be carried through Tibet in June."

Let me also quote U.S. Tibet Committee National Coordinator Wangchuk Shakabpa:

"The Chinese government has finally staged a protest-free stunt with the Olympic torch, at the cost of the freedom of thousands of Tibetans. But its propaganda victory on Everest is as hollow as its rule in Tibet, which depends on brutal repression of millions of Tibetans whose desire for freedom can never be extinguished."
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