A 966-km march to save tibet. dalai lama's brother among 12 headed for new york (toronto star)

Di Maffezzoli Giulietta - 10 marzo 1997


Published by World Tibet Network News - Tuesday, March 11, 1997

By Phinjo Gombu - Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The Dalai Lama’s oldest brother is one of 12 marchers who set off from Toronto yesterday on a march to New York to protest Tibet’s occupation by China.

The 966-kilometre walk is expected to take three months and the marchers plan to arrive at the United Nations plaza June 14 and unfurl Tibet’s flag.

“China can no longer escape blame for the crimes it has committed in Tibet,” said Professor Thubten Jigme Norbu, 74, the oldest brother of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetans around the world.

About 100 well-wishers were on hand outside the Chinese Consulate on St. George St., north of Bloor St. W., when the marchers and their supporters headed to the Kipling subway and the first leg of their journey.

During the trek, the group will stop for scheduled talks in towns and universities.

Norbu said the march marks the 38th anniversary of the March 10, 1959, uprising in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, against the occupation of their country by Chinese soldiers.

About 87,000 Tibetans died during that period of turmoil, resistance and repression, he said.

The Dalai Lama and more than 100,000 people were forced into exile in India.

Over the years, at least one million Tibetans have died as a result of Chinese occupation, exiles allege.

They continue to express outrage over the destruction of more than 6,000 monasteries and the influx of Chinese settlers, who they say number more than the country’s estimated 5.6 million Tibetans.

Among the marchers was Dadon Dawa Dolma, 28, a popular Tibetan singer, who fled Tibet in 1992, and her 3-year-old-son, Tenzin Tashi.

Dolma said she left Tibet because her songs, a combination of popular and folk tunes, had begun to get increasingly subversive and critical of the Chinese authorities.

In Geneva, Switzerland, the Dalai Lama, who was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, denounced what he said is increasing Chinese repression in Tibet, including torture and deaths.

He called for dialogue with China’s post-Deng Xiaoping leadership, saying repression in Tibet has reached a critical point.

Unless Beijing’s methods change, it will be hard to prevent the situation from deteriorating, he told 1,000 supporters.