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taiwan-Tibet-2012.jpgTaipei: - Tibetans and supporters in Taiwanese capital Taipei Monday (September 3, 2012) began a motorcycle ride across Taiwan, as part of a global campaign to raise public awareness on the current tense situation in Tibet and to celebrate the 52nd Tibetan Democracy Day.

After congregating in front of Longshan Temple in Taipei, dozens of Tibetans and their Taiwanese supporters marched from the temple along Tibet Road to Liberty Square, where the eight cross-island riders were given a 'Flame of Truth' torch and khatas - traditional Tibetan scarves made of silk presented to show hospitality or respect.

The second leg of the "Flame of Truth" global torch relay was started Sep 2, which is also observed as Tibetan democracy day, in five continents - North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia - to highlight the critical situation prevailing in Tibet. In its first leg, the freedom torch relay travelled to 48 regions in India covering more than 12 states.

Taipei Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama chairman, Mr Dawa Tsering, who is the head of the Central Tibetan Administration in to Taiwan urged Taiwanese people to express their strong concern over the current tragic situation inside Tibet.

"The action is aimed at raising international awareness about the ongoing tragedies in Tibet, and to urge the Chinese government to stop its repression of Tibetan people," Dawa said before the march in front of Longshan Temple.

He said that following self-immolations by more than 50 Tibetans in protest against Chinese repression since March 2009, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile adopted a resolution earlier this year asking Tibetans around the world to take action to raise awareness of the Tibetans' suffering under Chinese rule.
"Some marched, some had marathon runs and Tibetans in Taiwan chose to ride motorcycles around the island. Tibetan communities in different countries do it in different ways," Dawa said.

"We choose to begin the action today because Sept. 2 is Tibetan Democracy Day, because the Tibetan parliament-in-exile was created on this date 52 years ago."

In a statement, the Tibetans called on the international community - especially the UN - to show its concern over human rights violations inside Tibet, and asked the UN to organize a special investigation team to investigate human rights conditions in Tibet.

Decorating their motorcycles with Tibetan flags, the Tibetan riders plan to make overnight stops in Hualien, Taitung, Kaohsiung and Taichung, before returning to Taipei on Thursday afternoon.

Taiwanese Students for a Free Tibet convener Fong Jyun-shan told Taipei Times that the symbolism behind marching from Tibet Road to Liberty Square was meant to show that the parade is a march toward freedom for Tibetans.

Over 50 Tibetans have reportedly set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese repressive policies since 2009 and they called for the return of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet, before setting themselves alight.

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