New York — Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) says that President Xi Jinping is responsible for "the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and the ongoing crackdown in Tibet" and urges President Obama to raise Human Rights concerns during upcoming September Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States.
A special memorial and tribute for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was held in front of the "Triumph of the Human Spirit" monument in Foley Square, New York City, on Sunday [August 30] .
Titled "Tenzin Delek Lives," the event brought together 300 friends and supporters, along with speakers from numerous organizations, including Human Rights in China, National Endowment for Democracy and Committee to Protect Journalists, who spoke about Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's achievements as an educator, reformer, environmentalist and rights defender for the Tibetan people.
Geshe Nyima, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's cousin, who traveled all the way from Dharamshala, India set the tone for the evening with a powerful message:
"My cousin's death is not the end, but the beginning for all of us to finish his work. We will not stop working until there is freedom in Tibet, until people can live without fear of the Chinese government and His Holiness the Dalai Lama can return home."
"Geshe Nyima is right. Far from being the end, this will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the Tibetan freedom struggle," the SFT Asia Director Dorjee Tseten said, adding that "Tibetans and supporters everywhere will continue the work started by Tenzin Delek Rinpoche."
"In the coming days, I will be accompanying Geshe Nyima across the country – from New York to Boston to San Francisco to Minneapolis – on a speaking tour to mobilize people ahead of an opportunity we cannot miss: in a few weeks, China's president Xi Jinping is coming to Washington, DC for his first state visit to the US. "
Xi, whom the media has called a 21st-century Mao, is the most authoritarian Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. Over the two years that he has been president of China, his ruthless policies in Tibet have pushed the number of self-immolations to 149," Mr Dorjee said a statement.
"Even in China, he has overseen the arrest of hundreds of lawyers, rights advocates and civil society leaders this past summer," he added.
The SFT said that "there is no better time than now to hold Xi accountable for the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and the ongoing crackdown in Tibet. This will not be the end of Rinpoche's fight - he lives on within all of us and we will continue until justice is served. "
The organisation has urged Tibet supporters, saying "Call your Senators and Congressional Representatives and ask them to urge President Obama to publicly speak out on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's death and the ongoing repression in Tibet during Xi Jinping's visit."
He also urged the supporters to join SFT to mobilize a largest possible protests against the Chinese President during his trip to Washington, DC. "Join us in seizing this historic opportunity to confront Xi Jinping and let him know that Rinpoche's death is on his hands."
Xi is expected to spend about a week in the United States in the second half of September. He will hold talks with Obama in Washington and also attend the UN General Assembly.