For Immediate Release
Tibet’s Race for Rights reaches Victoria’s Mile Zero
(Victoria, Sunday, 24 August 2008) –Former Team Canada member and Pan American medallist David Kay’s Race for Rights journey reached Victoria’s Mile Zero marker at 4:10 pm today as Kay completed his 7,700 km bike ride across Canada, announced the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC).
Kay began his journey on July 13th at Mile Zero in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.
“David’s courage and commitment to human rights was saluted across Canada by citizens who came out to cheer David on as he crossed Canada and sent emails of support and donations for his mission in helping raise awareness of China’s human rights record during the Beijing Games,” said Canada Tibet Committee executive director Dermod Travis from Montreal.
Over the 43 day ride, David made stops to meet with Tibetans, supporters and human rights activists in St. John’s, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vernon, Vancouver and Victoria. In Ottawa, David spoke at the Human Rights Monument and in Winnipeg from the future site of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Numerous community leaders and politicians also showed their support for David while he crossed Canada, including former NDP leader and MP Alexa McDonough, Liberal MPs Irwin Cotler and Ken Boshcoff, NDP MP Peggy Nash, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, former MP David Kilgour and Olympian Jeff Powell.
Each provincial leg of Race for Rights was dedicated to a victim of China’s human rights policies and sections of the Canada Trail will be named in their honour this fall. A complete list of those David rode for is attached in the Backgrounder.
To help support the advancement of human rights in Tibet and China, and to learn more about David’s Race for Rights journey visit: www.tibet.ca/raceforrights
David is available on Monday, August 25th for interviews from Victoria.
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organisation of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, who are concerned about the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
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For more information or interviews with David Kay:
514.487.0665 / Cell: 514.927.3144
“Mankind is crying out for help. Ours is a desperate time.
Those who have something to offer should come forward. Now is the time.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Race for Rights Backgrounder
Race for Rights was a cross-Canada bike tour to raise public awareness of China’s human rights record in the days leading through the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
While crossing Canada, David rode for:
1. An unidentified Tibetan girl reportedly shot dead by China’s People's Armed Police in Lhasa around May 20;
2. Huang Qi, the founder of the human rights website 64Tianwang who was abducted by three unidentified men on June 10th;
3. Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia, 34, who was convicted this past April of "inciting subversion of state power and the socialist system";
4. Two monks at a monastery in Sichuan province who were killed in a clash with China’s paramilitary police on or about July 12th;
5. Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the two crimes of "separating China and ... organizing, leading and participating in terrorist groups, organizations";
6. He Depu who took part in the 1979 Democracy Wall movement and the 1989 pro-democracy movement, and was detained in 2002 after signing an open letter calling for political reform and was sentenced to eight years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power";
7. Tsering Tsomo a nun from SamtenLing Nunnery who was severely beaten and arrested by Chinese security forces following her peaceful solo protest in Drango County;
8. Yue Yao, a Falun Gong practitioner who is serving a 12-year sentence in a Chinese prison;
9. and Gedchun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama, who has celebrated 13 birthdays under “house arrest”, since his abduction by Chinese authorities in 1995 at the age of six.
During the bike ride, a number of Canadians came out to bike with David for part of the journey, including former Olympian Jeff Powell.
As a committed environmentalist, David chose to ride solo across Canada without a support vehicle. He also did the trip on a bike only secured in the week before the start of the Race after his own bike was stolen.
Thirty-five nights of the 43 day journey were spent camping. He had ten flat tires along the route and consumed an average 7,000 calories a day.
David biked up to 300 km per day.
David Kay is an avid cyclist and accomplished rower with a strong record in championing social and environmental justice. David has won medals in rowing at several international competitions as a member of Team Canada. In 2000, he made a round-trip cycle tour from Canada to Guatemala. At home in Kingston, David sits on various committees including the OPIRG Board of Directors and the Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum. David is also an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play.