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taiwan-tibetTaipei: - The Free Tibet cultural festival in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, has been running since the end of February and is due to conclude on March 11, following an international day of protest about the Tibet situation on March 10.

The Tibet Post International's Editor, YC. Dhardhowa, interviewed four of the festival's organizer and Tibetan participants.

Chow Mei-li, Chair of Taiwan Friends of Tibet

"I'm Taiwanese. I've been working on Tibetan issues in Taiwan for four years. Taiwan Friends of Tibet was the first Tibet support group in Taiwan. Our members are all Taiwanese people who are concerned about the freedom and struggle of Tibet.

"The 2012 Free Tibet Festival was organized with Dark Eyes Performance Lab. My idea was to bring many different types of Tibetan culture to Taiwanese people at the same time. The festival started at the end of February and goes on till March 11, highlighting the March 10 rally.

"We intend to introduce more Taiwanese people to Tibetan culture, through films, dancing, performance, drama, singing and many different talks.

"The response from Taiwanese people has been quite good. Many Taiwanese friends came to our events frequently -like they became old friends and really showed interest and support. Hopefully we want to collect more people for the March 10 rally this year.

"This is the first time we have invited so many people from the exile community in India. It's really a tough job for us and very difficult to arrange so many things, especially at the same time. Even when we were applying for the visas, there were so many difficulties but we are glad that we conquered all the problems, went through all the obstacles and difficulties, and the event was presented to Taiwanese people well.

"The concert, more than 500 people attended. They were all enjoying the show. For many, it was their first time to hear Tibetan songs. We were quite happy with the result.

"We are very happy because the festival was designed to reach out to many different audiences - people who love music, people who love dancing, people who love reading - whatever. I think this is a good way to present the Tibet issue.

"Before, we always collected people who were more politically oriented - Taiwanese advocates who are also concerned about human rights in Tibet. At this event, we tried to reach out to different kinds of people, though many different forms of culture. That was one of the most important successes. "

Dorje Tseten, President of All-India Students for a Free Tibet

"I met Taiwanese students here and other members of the younger generation. We talked about the responsibilities of the Tibet struggle for Tibetans all over the world. I visited three Taiwanese universities and plan to visit some more.

"Three or four days ago, we met seven Taiwanese members of parliament. They were very concerned about the Tibet issue and we talked about the recent self-immolations. We displayed the Tibetan flag in the Taiwanese parliament. Tomorrow, March 10, we plan to stage a big demonstration in Taipei.

"We are particularly concerned to explain the Tibet situation to Taiwanese university students and to build ongoing relationships with them."

Ngawang Wober, Ex-president Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet

"I came to discuss environmental issues in Tibet. On March 8, we presented a drama. We also met the nominated chair of the Taiwan Democratic Progressive party and discussed the 26 Tibetan people who have self-immolated, and the many Tibetans who are being held in Chinese prisons. Tomorrow, March 10, I will be joining the demonstration in Taipei.

"A member of Taiwan's Green Party attended my talk on Tibet's environment. He said that responsibility for Tibet's environmental problems should be taken by the whole world, and that he will attend the International Environment Conference 2012 and raise these issues.

"He asked me to provide documentation, so I gave him information on the melting of the glaciers and on mining."

Gang Lhamo, General Secretary of Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet

"I have visited four universities, including two visits each to the two most famous universities in Taiwan. When I spoke on the Tibet issue, most students didn't show much concern because they had not received much information about it."

On Saturday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang atrongly urged Taiwan congress members to join her in the parade to show support for Tibetans' struggle for freedom.  DPP and TSU lawmakers also condemned Taiwanese goverment for not wanting to take part in Sunday's parade and for not making an official statement condemning human rights violations committed by the Chinese government in Tibet.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com