‘Tibetans To Boycott Chinese Goods’
by Express News Service
(Indian Express. January 10, 2003)
After using innovative means ranging from candle-light marches to
beauty contests in Dharamsala, Tibetan groups have now hit upon a new
strategy to raise awareness about Tibet's occupation by China —
a boycott of Chinese goods flooding Indian markets.
Mumbai-based Friends of Tibet formally launched a public campaign
to boycott Chinese goods from January 1. Using its network of
supporters and Tibetan students, the campaign will also involve
burning Chinese goods in public.
As part of the campaign, volunteers of Friends of Tibet will
distribute leaflets explaining 'why it is immoral to buy and sell
Chinese goods.' They will interact with lay persons and retail
shop-keepers, spreading their message in six cities including New
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad.
"We started the campaign from the new year, and plan to run it
for six months. In north-eastern states especially, we found the
markets flooded with Chinese goods," said Sethu Das, co-ordinator
of Friends of Tibet.
The group plans to target daily use items like locks, pens,
toys, torches, and sundry electronic goods with 'made in china'
labels. "The strategy is still being worked out, on whether we
should start at the retailer level or directly interact with
wholesalers and importers. So far, more than 1,400 members of the
Friends of Tibet have taken a pledge not to sell, buy or use any
'made in china' products and we expect a large number of people to
join in," a spokesperson said.
The Friends of Tibet has also formed an advisory committee to guide
the campaign comprising Ela Gandhi, Rajiv Vora of the Gandhi Peace
Foundation and Lhasang Tsering, Former President of the Tibetan
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had first talked about
such a boycott in 1993 when China was yet to become a member of
the World Trade Organisation.
"The oppression of people must stop and as China is now beginning
to negotiate a peaceful settlement, we support the move whole
heartedly. However should these delicate negotiations fail, we from
the multi-lateral forces outside China and Tibet have to ensure
that the talks continue and that a peaceful solution is found. We
therefore believe that a boycott of Chinese products will help us
develop," Ela Gandhi said in a statement.