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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

50 years in exile marked in Paris with Tibet event

April 7, 2009

By Tenam
April 6, 2009

Paris 4 April -- The Office of Tibet and the
Salvation Army organised a day-long programme to
mark the 50 years since the exile of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people at the
historic Cite de Refuge built by the legendary
French architect known simply by Le Corbusier in
1933. Welcoming the participants, Mr. Tashi
Wangdi, His Holiness' representative for Europe
said that any event organised to talk about Tibet
is labelled as work of “anti-China” forces by the
Chinese authorities which is a misnomer.

The day started with a photographic exhibition of
the chronology of the last fifty years since the
invasion and coming into exile. People heard from
Sinologist like Marie Holzman, Jean-Luc Domenach
and Tibetologist Anne Marie Blondeau in the first session of the afternoon.

"2009 is a year full of anniversaries starting
from the May 4 student movement of 1919, 1949
establishment of the PRC, the 1989 Tienanmen massacre," Marie Holman said.

People around that world hoped that China hosting
the Olympics might help to open it up but the way
the the Chinese government reacted to Tibet
protest of 2008 showed that it knew only "one way
to react to opposition, that is by employing its
machine of suppression" she added.

"Today the Chinese government retains all the
power of an authoritarian system and the worst
aspect of capitalism -- the complete exploitation
of the weakest class in the society," she concluded.

Pointing at the current global economic crisis,
Jean-Luc Domenach said that it is a "bad news"
for Tibetans as China seeks to "recolonise its hinterlands."

The second session in the afternoon saw very
touching testimonials from two nuns from Drapchi
14, and a Chinese student who participated in the Tienanmen protest in 1989.

"I am aware of the Chinese government's way and
so I extend my sympathy to the two former
political prisoners from Tibet and apologise" said Zhen Sang.

Due to the constant government propaganda, many
Chinese look at the Tibetan culture as backward,
Mr. Sang said. "Yet it is changing today" -- as
he believes that the question of Tibet is not a
question about nationalism but about basic human rights."

"More and more intellectuals inside China are
starting to speak out in favour of the Dalai Lama
and the Tibetan culture," Mr Sang said.

Sharing his experience of the Olympics torch
relay in Paris, he said many Chinese students
told him they were asked by the Chinese Embassy to come for the torch relay.

"We are not against the Chinese people but
against the policies of the Chinese government,"
said Gyaltsen Drolkar, one of the 14 'singing nuns of Drapchi.'

"The reason I protested was I could not remain
immobile to the sufferings and daily humiliations
perpetrated by the Chinese government in Tibet," she added.

"I had no choice," added Namdrol Lhamo, the other speaker.

"Based on personal experience and from what I
hear, the situation inside Tibet continues to
deteriorate. Now more than ever we need the
support of the people around the world," pleased Gyaltsen Drolkar.

The evening ended with the screening of "Tibet:
le mensonge Chinois?" (Tibet: The Chinese lie?),
a film that chronicles the recent history of
Tibet, since its occupation by juxtaposing
Chinese propaganda newsreel and interviews with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, exile Tibetans and former political prisoners.

In an interview with 'France Info', the French
Ambassador to China, Herve Ladsous, said that the
China Daily frontpage story that quoted him as
saying that Tibet was a “slave society over 60
years ago” is not true and that is is not the
first time that the government controlled “China Daily had misrepresented him."

Last week Tibetans here organised a candle light
vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy to denounce
the "Serf Emancipation Day" decreed by the
Beijing authorities. To mark the 50 years of
Tibetans and Tibetan supporters are planning year
long events in France. The Tibetan Community of
France is organising a two day event in Paris
with conferences, film screening, cultural
programmes etc in the end of the month.
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