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Marchers to Reach Tibet Border Area Tomorrow

June 18, 2008

King of Askote gives Tibetan marchers traditional reception at his palace
June 16, 2008

Pithoragarh, June 16 -- 50 Tibetans marching to Tibet are approaching
Dharchula, the last Indian township before the Tibetan border. The
marchers are currently in Dunga Toli in Pithoragarh district, and are
expected to arrive in Dharchula on the morning of Tuesday, 17th June.
On Saturday the marchers were given a reception by the king of Askote
at his palace.

"Beijing is wielding the Olympic torch as a bludgeon against the
Tibetan people who are already suffering under virtual martial law,"
said Ven. Ngawang Woeber, President of Guchusum, an organization
founded by former political prisoners. Ven. Woeber is a former
political prisoner who was imprisoned by Chinese authorities after
participating in the protests of 1980s. "We reject China's lies as we
march for freedom, truth and justice."

China has deployed additional military troops on the Tibet side of
the border with orders to shoot at any Tibetan who might come from
Tibet toward the Indian border to support the marchers. The Indian
police already arrested 265 Tibetan marchers on 4th June in Berinag,
but another group of 50 marchers restarted the march at the same
place on Monday, 9th June.

"Beijing has betrayed the commitments it made to press freedom in its
bid for the Games," said Tenzin Choeying, National Director of
Students for a Free Tibet. "The stakes are higher than ever as China
parades its torch through Tibet. For the sake of protecting Tibetan
lives, Tibet must immediately be opened to international media."

On Saturday, the king of Askote, Rajwar Sahib Bham Raj Singh Pal,
gave the marchers a traditional reception at his palace. "Before
1959, we used to receive Tibetan traders who brought salt from
Tibet," said the Askote Raj. "In 1959, Tibetan refugees escaping
Chinese brutalities came this way and we gave them shelter. And now
again, it is now honor to host this group of Tibetans making their
journey home. No matter how long it takes, the Tibetan people will
eventually win out of oppression."

The March to Tibet started on March 10th from Dharamshala, Himachal
Pradesh, and reached Banspathan after traversing through many states.
Tibetans living in exile in India launched the March to Tibet as part
of the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement. On the same day that the
march was launched, monks from monasteries in Lhasa, as well as in
eastern Tibet, led nonviolent demonstrations, shouting slogans
supporting the Dalai Lama and independence for Tibet. Chinese
authorities brutally suppressed peaceful protests that continued for
days, leading to rioting in the capital and a wave of large public
demonstrations that have rippled across the country.

The March to Tibet and the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement aim to
revive the spirit of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959, and
engage in nonviolent direct action to bring about an end to China's
illegal occupation of Tibet.
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