CANBERRA: Local Tibetan community members and Tibet supporters gathered in various cities across Australia and New Zealand on 10 March to commemorate the 56th National Tibetan Uprising Day.
In Canberra, the capital city of Australia, local Tibetan community members along with Australian Tibet supporters and friends came together to demonstrate their solidarity with fellow Tibetans worldwide.
Yeshi Choedon, President of the local Tibetan community, and Shenphen Rinpotsang, Secretary, gave moving speeches at the demonstration, emphasising the self-immolations that took place in side Tibet. Ms. Yangchen Tsokho, a local member, read out the statement of the Kashag. The head of the Tibetan Women’s Association in Canberra, Tendol Dagpo also spoke about the dire situation of the Tibetans inside Tibet and outlined the many human rights abuses that are being perpetrated by the Chinese Government.
Similarly, the Tibetan Youth Congress in Sydney organised a gathering on March 10 in Martin Place, the heart of Sydney. The party consisted of members of the local Tibetan community, Australian supporters and Chinese friends with a total of over 200 people. The President of the Local Youth Congress Miss Lhamo spoke about the some of the major issues highlighting restriction on freedom of speech, religion, destruction of the environment, persecution and discrimination faced by Tibetans in Tibet. The Executive Officer Paul Bourke, representing the Australian Tibetan Council also voiced his opinions on these issues and expressed the need to raise awareness of the Tibetan cause. Members of the Youth Congress staged a play depicting the ongoing persecution and reality of the Tibetan people at the hands of the Chinese Communist Government. During the evening, the local Tibetan community of Sydney organised prayers as a tribute for the many people who had self-immolated themselves in an attempt to bring the world’s attention to the Tibetan people’s plight. They presented local politicians with a letter urging the Australian Government to speak out against the injustice facing Tibetans and to promote genuine dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government.
In Melbourne, the local Tibetan community organised a demonstration consisting of 100 people including members of the community in addition to Australian, Chinese and Vietnamese supporters. President Nawang Choden gave a brief introduction about the significance of the day and spoke of the importance of continuing this tradition. Guest speakers consisted of Austin from Chinese Democratic Party and the Vice President of Vietnamese Community of Australia Mr Phong, both speaking openly about the need for change in the Chinese Government and of their support for Tibet. (Watch the speech and the demonstrations here)
In Perth, the Tibet Action Group of Western Australia (TAGWA) arranged a gathering composed of local community members, supporters, former members of parliament and representatives from various Buddhist centres. They spoke strongly about the human rights abuses and gave tribute to the many self-immolations that have taken place in Tibet.
The city of Brisbane also organised an assembly consisting of local Tibetan community members, Australian supporters and Chinese Student supporters on March 8. They voiced their disapproval of the methods employed by the Chinese Government in dealing with the Tibet issue. Similarly Newcastle, Tasmania and other states also took part in commemorating the 56th anniversary of the 10 March Tibetan National Uprising Day.
In New Zealand, the Tibetan community members from Auckland and Wellington took to the streets to campaign for Tibet. Australian Tibet supporters and friends from various other cultural backgrounds joined them.
Report filed by: Office of Tibet, Australia