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01november20101Dharamshala: A candlelight vigil was observed by over 350 hundred Tibetans and Tibet supporters yesterday, in the exile capital, Dharamshala to demonstrate their solidarity with the current protests occurring inside Tibet over the ‘genocide of language' by the Chinese government.

The event was organized by Student for a Free Tibet and was led by 30 Tibetan students who recently escaped from Tibet, carrying banners in support of Tibetan language rights and each student displaying a letter of the Tibetan alphabet. The rally started at the main square in McLeod Ganj where a petition for freedom of language for all Tibetans was signed by many of the supporters to be sent to China's Ambassador to India, Mr. Zhang Yan. Afterwards the crowd marched peacefully to Tsuglagkhang - the Dalai Lama's Temple complex - where pictures and videos of the recent protests inside Tibet were screened and many of the Students for a Free Tibet Directors spoke to the assembled crowd about the current crisis inside Tibet.

"Language is the foundation of Tibetan culture and this recent attack on our language reveals the Chinese governments' sinister attempt to assimilate Tibetans into Chinese society," said Tenzin Choedon, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet India.

"It is the inalienable right of every Tibetan to learn in their own language. We call on governments around the world to press the Chinese government to respect Tibetan language rights," said Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet.

"If Tibetans inside Tibet have to study in Chinese, spending all day listening, learning and speaking in Chinese, they are in danger of losing our language and losing our culture. Ultimately with this will go our nation," warned Lhadon Tethong, recent outgoing Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet.

Yesterday's demonstration is another in an increasing number of protests inside and outside Tibet over the educational reforms in Amdho by the Chinese government, which will see all classes in schools taught in Mandarin instead of the native Tibetan language.

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