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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Amnesty International and Boston Tibetans march for jailed Tibetan filmmaker

October 14, 2010

By Tenley Palsang
October 11, 2010

On Sunday October 10th, 2010 the Tibetan
Association of Boston (TAB) in collaboration with
Amnesty International group 133, participated in
the fifth annual Honk Festival parade in
Somerville Massachusetts. The Honk Festival
serves as a showcase for the growing number of
politically active guerilla marching bands that
have been gaining popularity in the United
States. Activist organizations like Amnesty
International, who in the previous year
highlighted the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi,
leader of the democratic party in Myanmar, under house arrest since 1989.

This year TAB and Amnesty International came
together to simultaneously celebrate Tibetan
culture and bring awareness to the imprisonment
of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen. He was
arrested in March 2008 in Tibet for filming the
documentary “Leaving Fear Behind”, in which
Tibetans inside Tibet candidly discussed their
feelings about the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the
Dalai Lama, and China’s policies inside Tibet.
Wangchen, in a sham trial (the lawyer chosen by
his family to represent him was barred from the
courtroom by Chinese authorities) was sentenced
to six years in Chinese prison and has been
subjected to torture. He has since contracted
Hepatitis B, for which he has received no medical treatment.

About 200 TAB community members and Amnesty
International supporters marched wearing
traditional Tibetan clothing, while dancers
performing the colorful Tashi Shoelpa and Yak
Dance entertained crowds of supporters lining the
parade route. Also present was a ten foot long
ceremonial horn and community members blowing
conch shells. Children from TAB’s Sunday School
program handed out thousands of flyers and
collected signatures for Students for a Free
Tibet’s campaign petitioning for the immediate
release of Wangchen. The event was covered by
local media and several marchers were interviewed.

The Honk Festival’s two and a half mile parade
route from Davis Square in Somerville to Harvard
Square in Cambridge, drew thousands of New
Englanders as well as 350 performers from around
the world. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day as
the marchers were adorned by a sea of colorful Tibetan flags and banners.

Despite the serious nature of the Tibet issue,
the spirit at the festival was celebratory and
the Tibetan/Amnesty International marchers were
greeted with cheers and applause all along the parade route.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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