'100-m Black Flag Unfurls For Tibet'
(by D Chaudhuri | The Asian Age | March 10, 2003)

100-Metre Long Banner at the Marine Drive, Bombay
A Long Call For A Free Tibet:
100-Metre Long Banner at the Marine Drive, Bombay

As the 100 meter-long black banner of protest unfurled along Marine Drive, Bombay the undying efforts and dedication for a 'Free Tibet', from the clutches of the People's Republic of China.

Celebrated as Tibetan National Uprising Day world-wide, March 10 is remembered in memory of the massacre of 10,000 Tibetans by the Chinese Army at Lhasa in 1959. The banner which took six men and three days to paint was to mark 44 years of this struggle. Organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA), fifteen Tibetans from different parts of India, all in their mid-twenties, the Tibetans were in the city to strengthen the link that was formed years ago, with the arrival of the Dalai Lama at the small Himachal Pradesh town of Dharamshala.

Speaking to The Asian Age, Friends of Tibet (INDIA) General Secretary Tenzin Tsundue said, no efforts by the Chinese government will stop them from trying to free Tibet. "My words are that of thousands of Tibetans, both in and out of our homeland. Free Tibet is not just a dream or a conviction. We are confident that we'll live to see Tibet free from the Chinese atrocities -- a Tibet where we all will be able to follow Buddhism without being punished."

"The political atmosphere in Tibet is all set to explode. Besides the seething tension between the minority Tibetan population and the Chinese community communal violence is commonplace. These problems can only be solved by giving back Tibet to us," Mr Tenzin Tsundue said.

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Strength of Patience (Photo: Indian Express)
Strength of Patience (Photo: Indian Express)

'To The Point'
(The Afternoon | March 10, 2003)

Prachi Karnik interviews Tenzin Tsundue, poet and General Secretary of Friends of Tibet (INDIA)

Q: What is the Tibetan National Uprising Day all about?
A: In 1959 when China invaded Tibet, the Chinese consolidated the occupation of Tibet. People from all over Tibet thronged into the streets of Lhasa in a spontaneous demonstration when the Chinese military sprayed bullets into the crowds and massacred 10,000 Tibetans in front of the Potala Palace, the Capital building. This uprising of the people is commemorated world-wide by Tibetans and their supporters as the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

Q: What programmes are lined up for today?
A: Friends of Tibet (INDIA) and the Tibetans of Mumbai has organised an exhibition of rare photographs of the destruction of Tibet by the Chinese, at Churchgate Station from 7am to 10pm. Besides, the Tibetan students and Indian supporters will be holding a rally opposite the Hindu Gymkhana and unfurl banner for protest nearly 100 metres long along the seafront at the Marine Drive.

Q: How will your actions here give momentum for the struggle for a Free Tibet?
A: Around 1,20,000 Tibetans in India and a few thousand worldwide cannot go to Tibet for the cause. Unfortunately we Tibetans are not allowed to step into the country. What we are doing is creating awareness among the people throughout the world of what exactly is happening in Tibet, the continuous atrocities faced by the Tibetans in their own land and also educate them and generate support from people.

Q: What are your expectations from the Indian government?
A: We want Indians to recognise us as Tibetans from the land of Tibet and not as a part of China. This is the only grudge we hold against the Indian government as they consider us as Chinese. We are not Chinese. We have our own identity. In 1914, the British India and Independent Tibet had negotiated over the McMahon Line during the 'Simla Conference'. However, today the Indian government is negotiating with China over the Sino-Indian border. The Indian government should realise this and change their policies accordingly.

Lest We Forget was organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA) at the Churchgate Station, Bombay on March 10, 2003

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