Washington DC: The Office of Tibet, Washington DC in collaboration with the Democracy Salon, a Chinese youth initiative in New York, hosted a film discussion as part of Sino-Tibet Youth Interaction event at the Tibet House on 26 August 2023. Around 50 youths from the Tibetan community and Chinese community in New York and nearby areas attended the event. Participants watched a screening of Tharlo, a film directed by renowned Tibetan filmmaker late Pema Tsetan. Organisers from the Democracy Salon are driven with the spirit of White Paper Revolution and suggested the idea of film discussion on Tibet.
In his welcome remark, Office of Tibet’s Chinese liaison officer Tsultrim Gyatso expressed appreciation towards the participants for attending the Sino-Tibet Youth Interaction through film discussion. Tsultrim emphasised the legacy of late Pema Tsetan and his pioneering contribution through filmmaking to capture the everyday experiences and struggles of the contemporary Tibetan world inside Tibet. He also reminded and highlighted the fact that many struggles and problems are not mentioned directly in the movies that require approval from the Chinese authorities. Tsultrim gave a brief update on Tibet’s current situation including the vision of His Holiness the Dalai lama and His four principal commitments, over 160 cases of self immolations inside Tibet since 2009, and around one million Tibetan children forced to attend boarding schools as part of Beijing’s latest sinicization campaign.
After watching the film, the participants were divided into three groups to discuss on the topics of Culture Representation, Identity and Belonging, Empathy and Understanding. Participants took turns to discuss all topics during the discussion. Most of the Chinese youth participants came from mainland China and they shared their thoughts on the film. Many of them also shared their experiences during their trips to different parts of Tibet. Tibetan participants were also sharing their thoughts on hidden messages from the film and introducing the situation of Tibet under Chinese coercive policies. A lively discussion with exchanging thoughts and experiences were carried on during the discussion and commitment for future collaboration were strongly suggested.
-Report filed by OoT Washington DC