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Global Pledges For Free Tibet?
Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 38.
FIVE TIBETAN HUNGER STRIKERS in New Delhi, India, broke their 18-day fast on May 15th as several countries promised to take up the cause of Tibet's independence.
The five had sworn to fast unto death following the immolation of 50- year-old Thupten Ngodup who set fire to himself at the end of April after police broke up a marathon 49-day hunger strike by six other Tibetans. This shocking incident occurred as the Chinese army chief Fu Quanyou began a five day visit. Ngodup's slippers and blood spots had been left untouched at the site where he set himself alight.
The hunger strikers, who are among the 100,000 Tibetans in exile in India, began their fast on the 30th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day, March 10th. They demanded that the United Nations reopen the debate on Tibet, appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate the situation of human rights in Chinese-occupied Tibet, and appoint a Special Envoy to promote a peaceful settlement.
Tibetan Youth Congress official Tsetsen Norbu said the protest had been ended because "countries which have supported us have said they need a certain time to carry forward their commitment."
Norbu said Bill Clinton had pledged to take up the issue with his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin during his visit to Beijing. In addition Poland, Norway, Costa Rica, Hungary and the European Union also agreed to take up the demand for Tibet's independence from China.
China's occupation of Tibet has resulted in the death of over 1.2 million Tibetan people and the destruction of more than 6,000 monasteries and temples.
During the hunger strike Samdhong Rinpoche, the speaker of the Tibetan parliament in exile, said: 'The fact is that the situation in Tibet is not static. It is deteriorating day by day, hour by hour." He stressed that immediate action is required.
As the protest was shelved Norbu warned that the action would be resumed if there were no "concrete, substantial and tangible results from these commitments."
Contact: Free Tibet Campaign,
9 Islington Green, London N1 2XH.
Tel: 0171 359 7573.