"In Solidarity: Remember Tiananmen"
"What is Tiananmen?" An old Tibetan amala threw a question in a crowd of bystanders watching a function progress. "China's slaughtering ground" pat came the reply from a youth who was also standing in the ground. Dharamshala was witnessing its first solidarity meet commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Fourteen years back on its very night China ordered its People's Liberation army on thousands of students demonstrating at the Tiananmen Square demanding for freedom and democracy.
Hundreds were killed. The arrests and imprisonment and torture that followed were worse. This perhaps smothered the first attempt by the youth in China to bring in changes: free and democratic China. Chai Ling the student leader said "Tiananmen must be washed by the blood of China's youth, only then the people of China will realise what they were demanding for."
The event organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA) on June 4, 2003 was supported by enthusiastic Tibetan youngsters living in Dharamshala. Standing in front of a huge banner which read "In Solidarity: Remember Tiananmen" Lhasang Tsering, former president of Tibetan Youth Congress said "..like ours the Chinese struggled for truth and freedom, we are common victims of this tyrannous and communist regime."
The gathering that began with ten boys sitting in front of the banner wondering what to expect had grown to about 200 people listening with rapt attention to the former Tibetan guerilla. Lhasang Tsering was narrating an incident of meeting some Chinese students after the Tiananmen Massacre, they said if our government can do this to us in front of the world media, what other things they could have done to the Tibetans in Tibet". He called the Tiananmen event "bridge" between the Tibetans and the Chinese as common victims of the Chinese government.
Lhasang Tsering called on the Chinese leaders to face the truth of the heartfelt desires of the people and relinquish their colonial rule on Tibet, Xianjiang, Southern Mangolia and Manchuria, and also the oppressive rule over their own people.
Phuntsok Wangchuk, 28 limping in one leg, recuperating from the torture he suffered at the hands of the Chinese police while in prison in Tibet, spoke on the freedom movement of Tibet. "In Tibet, I used to think Independence as something very near, because there were suffering in every corner of our life" said the former political prisoner, who later escaped to India two years back.
During the public meet, the organisers campaigned for the boycott of 'Made In China' products asking people to "withdraw their cooperation from this corrupt and colonial regime." A middle aged man got up and made an impromptu speech "please understand that your money spent on buying Made In China products is strengthening the power of the Chinese army, and when they kill Tibetans in Tibet, we cry."
The gathering which had swelled to about 300 people, sat through the night, watching the film "Gate of Heavenly Peace". The film detailed the student movement from its early protest days in April 1989 to its harsh end on June 4.
'In Solidarity: Remember Tiananmen' was organised by the Friends of Tibet (INDIA) at the TCV Day School, Dharamshala on June 4, 2003