Press Release for 22nd/Mar protest in Tokyo

Major show of Support for Tibet in Tokyo

22nd March 2008. Nearly two thousand Japanese, Tibetans and many foreigners gathered at Tokyo Roppongi Central Park to show support to the peaceful demonstrations in Tibet and to condemn Chinese authorities for the brutal crackdown in the region. Tibet Support Network Japan (TSNJ) and Tibetan community in the region organized the peaceful demonstration, which later came be known as Solidarity March. What the organizers thought as a gathering of hundred or so turned into thousands on the day.

As a prelude to the demonstration, about twenty to thirty people gathered before Chinese Embassy in Tokyo at 12 pm, Mr. Makino Seishu, Executive Representative of Japan Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Mr. Kubo; Chairman of Tibet Support Network Japan and Mr. Kalden, Representative of Tibetan community along with others stood before the embassy`s main gate and called upon the Chinese authorities to open Tibet and restore Tibetan people`s right to freedom and democracy. Slogans were raised to address the Tibetan issue; it lasted for about half an hour. Memorandum drawing the attention of Chinese authorities to the current situation in Tibet was put in the embassy`s post box.

Main gathering was done at Roppongi Mikawa-Dai Park at 1 pm, where nearly two thousand people gathered to show their solidarity to the Tibetans in Tibet. One minute mourning was done for victims of recent crackdown in Tibet. Mr Kubo said, `Tibetan people are generally gentle and patience, the fact that they were driven to demonstrations show that all is not well at the roof of the world. Under great risk children come crossing the Himalayas every years, but their eyes sparkles the gentleness, this is Tibetan culture. It is of great importance that we should preserve this culture.`

Mr Makino said we are all here to support our Tibetan friends in their struggle for peace and justice. He said today is a memorable historical day, never have people gathered in such numbers to show solidarity to Tibetan cause. He called upon the Chinese authorities for immediate implementation of three points as the demand of people gathered there as: To stop brutal suppression and torture going on in Tibet. 2) Release all those arrested, and to stop Chinese policy of destroying Tibetan identity, culture and religion. 3) To open Tibet for foreign journalists and bodies to make a true assessment of the situation.

He also called upon Japanese government and United Nations to take a bold step to tell that China should live by international norm. He quoted paradox of the situation that China is a nation where no election was held democratically, but it is a member of UN with veto power. That’s why innocents always suffer. Therefore, the world and the UNO rethink about the composition of UN security council. He informed the people not to be misled by one-sided information coming from China. He Tatsumura called for the people to stand for justice and called upon the Chinese authorities to listen to the need of Tibetan people.

Tibetan representative Mr. Kalden thanked the gathering for their show of solidarity to the Tibetan cause. He clarified many issue relating the current situation and called for continued support from the Japanese people.

The gathering marched from Mikawa park to Kogai Koen in four lines, it was a colorful scene with Tibetan national flags, and placards and banners on which was written, `Free Tibet, Don`t Kill, Save Tibet etc.` Monks were seen carrying five colored Buddhist flags. A group of students with huge hand made banner of Tibetan flag and the slogans said that they have worked together late night for this event. They said they feel greatly for the Tibetans in Tibet and that the Japanese government should come forward and say something.

This was a massive show of support by the Japanese people from all walks of lives to the Tibetan cause. Some people have come all the way from Hokkaido and from Kyushu, they spoke of their support as a representative of Tibet supporters from the region. Japanese monks, artists, office staff, students, businessmen and sobaya (noodle maker), even people with walking problem came to show their solidarity.

Japanese public were baffled to know through television news how the Chinese authorities had suppressed information, and that military tanks were used from the beginning. They found it preposterous that Chinese authority of Premier Wen`s status could get so rhetoric to fabricate stories with such impunity to denounce Dalai Lama before the world. `This is the height of communist bragging lies`, said one of the participants who came all the way from Niigata-prefecture.

On being asked, many Japanese said that, Lhasa is a scared Buddhist site for all the Buddhists around the world. Tibetan people are most tolerant and religious; the way the Chinese police were dealing with them was dreadful. They also said that China is not allowing free press, this it self shows that they are doing wrong. Hun and Wen should understand this. `When we saw monks being chased by tanks, we thought its time we got to do something.` Said one University student.

Many felt that Dalai Lama is revered everywhere, he has been awarded Nobel Peace Prize and that many have listened to his teaching. He has always been speaking about peaceful resolution of Tibetan issue through dialog. `But the way Chinese authorities continue to criticize him, `wolf in monks robe`, is against the world public`s opinion. But China as a totalitarian regime is not ready to accept its mistake. This is the tragedy,` said one University teacher.

The solidarity march concluded around 3 pm with the people singing Tibetan national anthem and discussion to stage a few more demonstration if the Chinese authorities fail to take heed of the demand listed above. It was also decided to make an especial homepage, so that everyone present can be notified of next course of aciton at a short notice. The march was followed by Candle light vigil observed by some two hundred people for one and half an hour. Major Japanese papers and televisions covered the events. It was shown on Nihon TV, NHK and others.

From the Office of Tibet Support Network Japan (TSNJ), Tokyo

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