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ISSUE 121 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/21/2008

Tibetans suppressed

By Tsetan Lobsang
Contributing Writer
and Tendor Norbu
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hundreds of Tibetans around the globe have been protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet and ongoing human rights violations occurring there. Last week, a non-violent protest initiated by a group of monks in Lhasa, Tibet on March 10 resulted in brutal oppression by the military of the People's Republic of China: burning cars, violence acts, dead protesters and thousands of Chinese troops pouring into the streets.

Therefore, China has received increased attention as the 2008 Beijing Olympics near, and the issue of Tibet and human rights abuse has finally come to the world's attention.

Team Tibet is working to inform the St. Olaf campus about the current situation inside Tibet. Our organization strives to spread awareness about Tibetan cultural, political and social issues. Recently, we were bombarded with news articles related to the killings in Tibet. It is our duty to speak out on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are risking their lives to promote human rights in Tibet.

The shocking confrontation between the Chinese authorities and protestors in Tibet (both in Lhasa, which is located in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Labrang, Qinghai) is an expression of resentment by Tibetans for the oppression that they have suffered for the last six decades under Chinese rule.

Tibetans have been under the brutal occupation and authority of the People's Republic of China since 1959, marking this past March 10 the 49th anniversary of the invasion.

On March 10, 2008, 100 Tibetan monks demonstrated a non-violent protest through the streets of Lhasa, Tibet. It caused mixed emotion among the Chinese and Tibetan bystanders.

The non-violence approach erupted into a huge riot when the Chinese authority started using violent force to stop the uprising protest. At this point, according to the information given by the Chinese media, a dozen protesters have been killed. According to Tibetan non-governmental organizations in exile, more than 100 Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese military.

Recent reports from Chinese government officials have accused His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for leading the recent protest in Tibet. This is not the first time that the Chinese government has labeled the Dalai Lama as a separatist. To the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is a prominent figure in the Tibetan community that advises us to always practice nonviolence and compassion.

However, it is necessary for Tibetans inside Tibet, as well as those in exile, to voice their opinions and to expose China's human rights violations -- especially now that China is under the attention of world media before the Olympics.

As Tibetans living in a nation where we have freedom of speech, we believe that Tibetans in Tibet have made a great sacrifice in exposing the truth about China's brutal oppression.

It is our responsibility as a country, and a college that believes in human rights to pressure the Chinese government through various means to abide by international human rights standards.

To bring this issue to the St. Olaf campus, our Team Tibet organization would like to hold a candle-light vigil in respect of our fellow Tibetans. They gave their souls to the fight for human rights. We ask for your hand in support during this horrific time in history to help make human rights in Tibet a reality. This is a time when the St. Olaf Community is being challenged to bring our "ideals to action" for human rights.

Tsetan Lobsang '10 is from Fridley, Minn. She majors in biology.

Tendor Norbu '08 is from St. Paul, Minn. He majors in ARMS with a concentration in biomedical studies.

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