Dharamsala: His name is Tsetan Dorjee. He is 35 years old, and he has decided to stage a peace march in honor of the 53rd anniversary of the 10th of March uprising. Tsetan plans to march from Dharamsala to the Tibetan border, accompanied by his mother and sister.
They will bring with them five demands for the future of Tibet. Tsetan's determination to complete this journey is unwaivering, "I might be arrested, or go to jail, or even die-it doesn't matter, I will not stop until Tibet gets freedom or until the Chinese government accepts my demands".
Tsetan Dorjee was born in 1977 in Labrang, a town in the Amdo region of Tibet. In his youth, he studied for three years at primary school before becoming a monk in 1993 at the Labrang Tashi Kyil monastery.
Three years later he journeyed to Karnataka to join the Dripong Gomang monastery and in 1997 Tseten returned to Tibet. He returned again to India in 1998 and joined TTS, a school in the valley below Dharamsal. In 2008, Tsetan met and married an Israeli girl, Gangkar Lhatso, and they returned to Israel where they had two children. He has written four books in Tibetan.
Q: When you discussed your plans with your wife, did she support you?
A: "No, it was difficult for her at first because she has a country, she has a home and cannot completely understand the position of someone who has lost their country and their home. If we only think about our family situation then we cannot struggle for our country. Finally, she agreed with my struggle and took legal custody of our children so that I might pursue my cause".
Q: What is the meaning behind your demands to the Chinese government?
A: They are as follows:
1.) Without any conditions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama must be allowed to return to his homeland, Tibet.
2.) Without any conditions, the 11thPanchenRinpocheGedunChoekyiNyima and all the Tibetan political prisoners must be released.
3.) Without any conditions, Tibetans must be provided with the freedom to learn their own language in schools and monasteries.
4.) Tibetans in Tibet must be provided with the full freedom to preserve their culture and traditions.
5.) There must be an immediate withdrawal of all the soldiers from Tibet who are oppressing the Tibetans in Tibet at present.
Q: Who decided to join your march?
A: My mother, Dongpo Kyi, who is 54, and my sister, Lhamo Kyi, who is 18. Lhamo is currently studying at Bir Sujia School, 9th class.
Tsetan Dorje is sacrificing his family life and himself for the Tibetan cause. He has legally separated from his wife so that he may carry out his mission. He is supported by his wife and children and will be joined by his mother and sister in his journey back to his homeland, Tibet.
His hope is that China and the world will meet his demands and empathize with the plight of the Tibetan people.