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12october20101Antwerpen: On Saturday 9th October the Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Society Europe (CTFSE) organized a debate evening in Antwerpen, Belgium, entitled "What about Tibet after 61 years of oppression?" It featured Tibetan speakers from all over Europe including Lobsang Nyima the Liaison Officer appointed for relations with Chinese people for the three Offices of Tibet in Europe (Geneva, London and Brussels/Paris). An additional speaker was Mona Zhimin Tang, originally from China now living in Belgium, who joined the student protests in Beijing in 1989.

The debate was multilingual, in Tibetan, Chinese and Dutch, and all the discussions were translated in the other languages. The main point of discussion was freedom and the vast reaction by the Chinese government and state media to the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, Mona stated "People get the wrong information and may not talk about things is a normal way. The Chinese people are hungry for democracy and more openness, but the news is blocked and censored."

Mona's speech was followed by a testimony of a Tibetan nun concerning her 12 years spent in a Chinese prison, Dennis Barbion, board member of CTFSE stated that it was "very touching and emotional". She concluded her speech by stating that "Right now, even this second, the political prisoners still experience the same terrible things that I had to undergo. Please let us not forget this and let's do something about this!"

Main speaker, Mr. Lobsang Nyima discussed the conduct of the Chinese leaders and government. He also talked about censorship which is rife in the media. "All the information is controlled by the Chinese authorities and they also give false information about the reality in China and Tibet to the outside world." "There is much more corruption in China as well, much more than in the past." "About 10-15% only of the people in China have sufficient finances, around 85% not. There is a lot of (semi-)poverty." Moreover he added that "The reality in China is not the image that China wants to show the outside world."

The successful debate lasted over two hours and was concluded by a Tibetan member of the audience stating that "A democratic movement is growing in China. Democracy and more freedom are most important for China and Tibet."

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