‘Cycling For a Free Tibet’ Protest Rally Against China’s Rule Held in Taiwan

By Tsering Choephel

Humanitarian organisations stage ‘Cycling for a Free Tibet’ protest rally in Taiwan against China’s rule, highlighting human rights concerns in Tibet. Image: Facebook/ screenshot.

DHARAMSALA, 15 Feb: The Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan (HRNTT) organised the “Cycling for a Free Tibet” event in Taipei and Kaohsiung on Wednesday to draw attention to the Tibetan resistance movement against China’s rule and the human rights situation in Tibet ahead of the 65th Tibetan National Uprising day on 10th March.

Tashi Tsering, the founder of HRNTT and a Tibetan activist, stated in his Facebook livestream that “Cycling for a Free Tibet” was started fourteen years ago. It is held a month prior to March 10th, a historic day commemorated by Tibetans worldwide in exile.

The cycle rally on Wednesday started from a park in Taipei and ended in Kaohsiung with participation from many Tibet supporters, including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Puma Shen and Sky Fung, chief secretary for Hong Kong Outlanders, with a message of caution against China’s expansionist drive.

A press conference was held outside the Taiwan Legislative Hall. Tashi Tsering, in his address to the media, briefly outlined the historical facts of China’s annexation of Tibet and the eventual exile of the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans. He also highlighted the current situation inside Tibet, such as China’s colonial-style boarding school program that strives to rob Tibetan children of their cultural, linguistic, and religious identity. Moreover, he condemned Beijing’s efforts to hijack Tibetan Buddhism and its claim to the right to choose the next, the 15th Dalai Lama.

DPP Legislator Shen’s speech emphasised the significance of putting a defence against tyranny. “The world cannot afford to turn a blind eye to China’s human rights abuses,” said Shen. “We must stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people and fight for their freedom.”

Fung of Hong Kong Outlanders expressed regret for not realising China’s deception as carried out in Hong Kong sooner and warned that Taiwan could be next. “The struggle for freedom in Tibet is a reminder that the fight for human rights is ongoing, and we must all do our part to protect and defend them,” he said.

Several more “Cycling for a Free Tibet” events are scheduled to take place in Taipei and Kaohsiung before the 65th Tibetan National Uprising Day on 10th March.

Founded in 2016, the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan is a coalition of various Taiwan-based NGOs. Its members include Tibetan and Taiwanese social activists, college professors, writers, students, legislators, and people from various other professions.

Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on 10th March commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. The 10th March 2024, marks the 65th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.

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