Another Tibetan rally in Sydney condemns Chinese crackdown and dam construction in Tibet

Tibetan rally in solidarity Martin Place in Sydney, Australia, on March 23, 2024, condemning recent crackdowns in eastern Tibet. Photo: TPI

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Yet another peaceful protest, attended by about a hundred Tibetans, was held on March 23, 2024, at Martin Place in the Sydney metropolitan area, to condemn the severe crackdown by the Chinese government on Tibetans in Derge, Kham Province of Tibet.

The demonstration aimed to protest against Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived, hid, and departed without addressing human rights violations, leaving the crowd apprehensive. The protest was organised by Dokham Chushi Gangdrug Australia, strongly advocating for the attention of the international community and peace-loving governments worldwide.

Over 1,000 Tibetans, including monks, participated in peaceful protests against the construction of a dam on the Drichu River in Dege County, eastern Tibet, and were subsequently arrested by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the severe crackdown. The protest also called for the retraction of this unjust law, as the dam project threatens to displace Tibetan families and violate the sanctity of Buddhist monasteries, contravening both the Chinese constitution and international laws.

'In diplomatic engagements of Chinese leaders across various nations or in meetings with global counterparts, there persists a noticeable tendency to evade inquiries concerning Tibet-related issues,' remarked Jigme Dorjee, President of the organization. Jigme told the gathering that 'Chinese leaders, such as Wang Yi, consistently hide or shy away from addressing such concerns, particularly the widespread violations of human rights within the region'. He said, 'We, the people of Tibet, will never give up our fight for the freedom of Tibet and will never shy away from telling the truth about what is happening in Tibet.'

The focal point of the demonstration revolves around the contentious construction of a hydroelectric dam in Kham Dege Tibet, spearheading a broader call for attention to the plight of the Tibetan people. "Today, we are gathered here in Martin Place, organised by Dokham Chushi Gangdrug in Australia, to protest the ongoing challenges and fight for peace and justice in Tibet, specifically addressing the current issue of the hydroelectric dam construction in Kham Dege Tibet," expressed Yeshi Tsomo, a representative from the organising and standing committee.

"Tibet's tumultuous history under Chinese rule, spanning over six decades, has inflicted profound suffering and oppression upon its people, eroding their cultural heritage, religious liberties, and basic human rights," the statement said, adding: "Over 160 Tibetans, encompassing monks, nuns, and youths, have resorted to self-immolation as a poignant form of resistance against the Chinese Communist Party's regime."

"For 65 years, Tibet has been under Chinese occupation, resulting in extensive suffering and oppression for the Tibetan people. Our cultural heritage, religious freedoms, and fundamental human rights have been disregarded and violated. We have seen over 160 Tibetans, including monks, nuns, and young individuals, choose to sacrifice their lives through self-immolation as a powerful act of protest against the Chinese Communist Party," articulated a protester.

The narrative of Tibetan struggle, however, extends beyond the visible acts of defiance, encompassing the silenced voices and untold stories suppressed by the Chinese government's propaganda machinery. Despite Beijing's attempts to veil the realities in Tibet under a facade of normalcy, the truth remains steadfast and indomitable. "But we must also remember the many people who have been silenced by the Chinese government and whose deaths and stories have been ignored. The Chinese government is trying to hide the truth and make it seem like everything is fine in Tibet, but their lies won't fool us," emphasised the group in the rally.

The ongoing struggles faced by the Tibetan people, especially in the Dege region of Tibet, are deeply concerning, with the construction of a Chinese hydroelectric dam posing a significant threat to numerous Tibetan villages and monasteries. "We have seen heartbreaking images of Tibetan people begging Chinese officials to stop the construction, cease the relocation, and halt the demonization of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Dege Region," the statement issued for today's rally reads, adding: "But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears."

The construction of the dam in Dege is just one example of the larger issue of the Chinese government's disregard for the well-being and cultural heritage of the Tibetan people. "It's important for us to stand in solidarity with the Tibetans inside Tibet and raise awareness about these injustices," emphasised the group.

"Tibet is not part of China. Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people, and we will keep fighting until our land is free," asserted the statement. "Today, as we raise our voices, let us remember those who have sacrificed everything for the cause of Tibetan freedom."

This ongoing injustice in Tibet must be brought to the attention of the world. Despite repression imposed by the CCP, Tibetans vow to continue reminding the world that Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people. "Today, let us stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tibet," urged the organisation. "As long as we remain united, we have the power to overcome even the greatest of obstacles."