Tibetan Olympics torch in Tokyo
TOKYO, Japan, 16 March 2008 (AFP) — Tibetan exiles in Japan hoisted an alternative Olympic torch on Sunday in a bid to ramp up pressure on China over its crackdown on their homeland before the world's athletes head to Beijing in August.
Some 100 exiles and their supporters ran through central Tokyo's Yoyogi park relaying the "Tibetan Olympics" torch and waving flags while shouting "Free Tibet" and "China, get out of Tibet."
"We are questioning China," said Rinchen, a Tibetan exile in Japan who uses one name. "There are such violations of human rights in China. But will they still hold the Olympics? read
Press release: Tibetan Olympics Torch Relay, Tokyo Chapter
TOKYO, Japan, 16 March 2008 — As the world prepares for the 2008 August Beijing Olympics, Tibetans will be left out: Because their country has been occupied by China. China has been awarded the honour of hosting the 2008 world Olympics, on the condition that China would improve the conduct of its regime, so as to live by the spirit of the Olympics.
The recent torture and killing by the Chinese security force of peaceful monks and laypeople read
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 15 March 2008 — The fith leg of the Tibetan Olympics Torch Relay will be held on Sunday, 16 March in Tokyo, Japan.
The torch will be lit at Yoyogikouen, near Tokyo Olympics place at 13.00 hours and the relay run will start at 13.15 hours.
Contact Kubo Takashi for details, Tel: 0081 90 3317 0011.
All are welcome to join.
16 March 2008 – TOKYO, Japan — On 16th March, around 120 Japanese and Tibetans gathered at Yoyogi Park, one of the biggest parks in Tokyo city, to participate in and witness the Tibetan Olympics Torch Relay. Tibet Support Network Japan and the Tibetan community in Japan organised the event to show their solidarity to the Tibetan Olympics scheduled at Dharamshala, India in the month of May.
The event started at 1 p.m. with a speech from Mr. Kubo, Chairman of TSNJ. He expressed his deep concern over the recent killings and arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet. He called upon the Chinese authorities to show restraint, and take these demonstrations as a message from the Tibetans that they are not at all happy with the Chinese rule all these years.
"Brute force cannot vanquish the spirit of freedom — this Tibetan Olympics torch is the spirit of Tibetan freedom. So long as Chinese authorities fail to respect the wish and hope of Tibetan people, more torches of freedom will come up. Therefore, Chinese authorities should look deeper into this Tibetan issue and try to resolve the differences with Tibetan government in exile before the Beijing Olympic," he said before the cheering crowd.
Later, Ms Dolma, representing the Tibetan community, read the press release message of the Torch Relay. The message stressed the essence of Olympics as representation of peace, freedom and justice. This being so, Olympics cannot happen in a place where the spirit of the Olympics is besmeared. Quoting the recent speech of Hu Jintao, linking stability in Tibet to stability in the whole China, the press release said, "If Hu is genuine about stability in Tibet, he should give Tibetans their rightful autonomy". The press note was received well by the audience with thunderous applause.
After observing five minutes mourning in silence for all those who lost their lives in recent event in Lhasa, the relay started with great fervor. Starting from the Mejijingu-mae entrance, people ran with the torch and Tibetan national flag around the park, a 3 to 5 km course. Many young and elderly people from all walks of lives came to participate. People ran around the jogging course shouting slogans such as "Bod Gyalo", "Human Rights in Tibet", "Free Tibet" etc.
Journalists and TV crews from major newspapers have come to cover the event. Interviews of the Japanese and Tibetan participants have been taken, which were shown on the evening TV news.
A signature campaign to urge the Chinese government to restore peace and stability in Tibet by giving Tibetans their rightful autonomy was also done by the supporters. It was learnt that the Tokyo Office of Tibet remained open throughout the weekend, and many called to show solidarity. Some even walked in with family to make donation, some cried on the phone while expressing their sympathy.
The relay ended with the people resolved to meet again on 22nd March at Roppongi Park and march to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo to draw to their attention that people in Japan are closely watching the event in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet. People will also request the Chinese government through the embassy to take a practical approach in dealing with this Tibetan issue and bring peace in the region. The gathering dispersed after singing the Tibetan national anthem.
Report by Tibet Support Network, Japan
More about the Tokyo Torch Relay
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