Toronto, March 10, 2000: Canadian-Tibetans and supporters will be holding rallies and demonstrations across the country and around the world to commemorate the Tibetan uprising in 1959 against China's invasion and the growing repression in Tibet.
In Toronto, approximately 500 people will gather at Queen's Park for speeches which will begin at 12:00 noon, followed by a march along Yonge Street to the Chinese Consulate (240 St. George St.).
From approximately 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., a candle light vigil will be held in front of the consulate for the 1.2 million Tibetans who died as a direct result of the invasion and for those who gave their lives fighting for a free Tibet.
Prayers will also be said for justice for Tibetans who have made claims to be convention refugees in Canada. We are asking for justice for Tibetan refugee claimants as it would appear that officials from Canada Immigration are unfairly targeting them. China has oppressed the Tibetans and violated their rights for over forty years. Canada, in its application of its refugee determination policy, should not do the same.
This is the 50th anniversary of the start of China's invasion of Tibet and the 41st anniversary of the Tibetan uprising and the Dalai Lama's exile along with 140,000 Tibetan refugees.
Tibet is an ancient civilization and was an independent nation until it was invaded by China in 1949. We want to raise awareness of Tibet, China's brutal repression and the atrocities that have occurred and continue to occur under China's occupation.
The Canadian government has repeated swept aside the issue of Tibet, in exchange for further promotion of trade. We do not object to trade with China but not if Canadians have to trade away our obligation to defend the innocent of other nations. China's brutal occupation of Tibet has cost the lives of one in every six Tibetans. If we continue to sideline human rights issues in our relationship with China, we are trading away Canadians' self-respect along with human rights and human lives.
Issued by: Canada Tibet Committee and the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario
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For more information, please contact Pema Lektsog, Media Coordinator at (416) 269-8730.