Taipei, Taiwan — Cyclists flying the national flags of Tibet, made a tour of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan as part of efforts to awareness and support for the Tibetan freedom struggle, ahead of the annual March to commemorate the Tibetan National Uprising Day next month.
Nearly 30 Tibetans and Taiwanese supporters Wednesday morning gathered outside National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall's Liberty Square, shouting for a "Free Tibet" and the "return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet", as part of efforts to raised awareness ahead of the annual March to commemorate the Tibetan National Uprising Day next month," according to a report by Office of Tibet in Taiwan.
Aimed to generate momentum for greater awareness and The protesters plan to continue weekly Wednesday cycling runs until Tibetan Uprising Day on March 10.
Shouting for a Free Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, the group of Tibetan and Taiwanese cyclists gathered at the 228 Memorial Park and set off on a route which took them by the Legislative Yuan building, the offices of the Cross-Strait Economic and Cultural Interchange Association and Taipei 101, where they planned to hand out tracts and deliver speeches to Chinese tourists.
When the cyclists reached the Liberty Square, legislator Freddy Lim, the president of the Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet, addressed the press by saying that Taiwan is a democratic country and at a time when the entire world is paying attention to the plight of refugees, we must all join hands in helping others.
The cycling campaign was organized by the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan with the active participation of Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Taiwan Human Rights Association, Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association and the regional chapter of Tibetan Youth Congress.
The cyclists concluded their ride at Taipei 101, where they distributed fliers and delivered speeches addressed to the Chinese tourists.
The first round of the campaign coincided with Freddy Lim's birthday. Tsering gave his blessings and prepared for Freddy a khata, a traditional scarf in Tibetan Buddhism. "I did not think of my birthday. On the way here, the blessings from the initiator came as a surprise to me because I take part in campaigns supporting Tibet every year," NPP legislator Freddy Lim cycled with a group of activists who support freedom in Tibet.
Tibetans have long been under oppression from the CCP. Therefore, Freddy hopes exiled Tibetans are able to go back to Tibet with Dalai Lama in the future.
Tashi Tsering, the founder of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, who is also the president of the Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association, has been quoted as saying that "We hope Chinese can come to understand the true situation in Tibet. Because there is no way to protest like this in China, we want to represent Tibetans with our cycling."
He further said that "as a build up to the commemoration of the Tibetan Uprising Day, we are going to organize a cycling tour every Wednesday, the day of Lhakar, to spread awareness about Tibet."
"In the past, the world's high esteem for the Dalai Lama has helped Tibet's plight gain substantial attention, but there is now a danger that the cause will be silenced by China's rise," Covenants Watch chief executive officer Huang Yi-bee said. "At this difficult time, it is important that we stand up and say no to worldwide backtracking on democracy and human rights." She called for Taipei to show official concern for Tibetan human rights and to assist Tibetans who wish to study or work in Taiwan.
Wednesdays are observed by Tibetans worldwide as Lhakar, the "soul day" of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Advocates also plan to hold a candlelight vigil on March 10, with the annual March for a Free Tibet scheduled for Sunday, March 5.
Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed and acts of murder, rape, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet. Beijing continues to call this a "peaceful liberation".