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[17 March 2015] Text of speech given by Chodak Hunter, a Tibetan activist living in the UK, at the Tibet Freedom Rally on 7 March 2015. The speech was delivered outside the Chinese Embassy on the occassion of the 56th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.

Chodak Hunter, 7 March 2015I would personally like to take this opportunity to thank everyone here today that has made an effort to attend today's solidarity march for Tibet. Many of you will have travelled a long distance and for this I would like to say thor-che-che - your presence means so much. We would not be able to do this effectively without your support.

I would also like to give a sincere thanks to Tibet Society, Free Tibet, Tibetan Community in Britain and Students for a Free Tibet.  So much work goes on behind the scenes.

We stand here today in front of the Chinese Embassy to mark the 56th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.

The message I want to echo back to Beijing is that we will not tolerate this level of tyrannical dictatorship by the CCP.  The world has to hear that China has to stop its cruelty towards both Tibetans & Chinese living in Tibet. The human rights issues and barbaric tortures has to now stop! China you may have billions of dollars however, the issues relating to the environment and human rights does not just affect Tibet. It affects humanity!

Why do Tibetans self-immolate?

Since Chinese invasion of Tibet March 1959, Tibetans have witnessed the systematic destruction of Tibetan environment by deforestation and transporting tons and tons of logs to China causing devastating floods downstream during raining seasons.

Forcing nomads from the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau - a home they have known for thousands of years, they are now pushed to the outskirts of cities and often end up begging in streets.  Mining for minerals destroyed the grasslands and many sacred mountains they have known over centuries.

The Chinese Government has been deliberately diluting the Tibetan language.  Chinese as the official language in Tibet, Tibetan language is taught only as an optional subject at middle and senior schools. Tibetans who wish to have a reasonable job must have a good command of Chinese so they are left with no choice but to opt out of Tibetan classes. 

Systematic destruction of temples, monasteries and monitoring and controlling the daily routine of the monks and nuns still occur.   Tibetans are still being coerced to openly declare their opposition to the Dalai Lama and no Tibetans are allowed to possess the Dalai Lamas photo. Monasteries and homes are frequently raided for the Dalai Lamas photo and if found the owner is bound to face imprisonment.
Only last month a Tibetan in Lhasa was sentenced to two and half years for possessing the Dalai Lamas image on his mobile.    Worst still when pamphlets of a political nature, with the slightest hint for Tibets independence or the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet are found in Tibetan homes, the Tibetans from these homes are taken away for questioning and they suffer abject brutality and often are released from prison only days before it is certain they are going to die, and never recover from these inhumane treatment.

The influx of Han Chinese migration into Tibet now exceeds Tibetans and Tibetan tradition is dying rapidly.  In Lhasa and other big towns in Tibet there are four Han Chinese to one Tibetan. Tibetans are being marginalised in their own country.

For the last eight years the whole of Tibet has been under virtual martial law and for any individual Tibetan or a group of Tibetans protesting in public is virtually impossible, as they will be arrested within minutes.  To be a second-class citizen in your country and with no basic human rights, Tibetans are so desperate and the only way to resist Chinas brutal oppression is to self-immolate.

To date there have been 140 self immolations of which 136 were in Tibet.

We in the free world, those who care for human rights cannot take this as mere suicide nor should we ignore their desperate plea.  When each of those Tibetans self-immolate, and when every inch and cell in their body is burning under the intense heat, they were screaming for a free Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama.

For those living outside London who still want to be part of a Tibetan based community, please be aware that we have quite a few amazing groups around the UK. These include Cardiff, Bristol, Bournemouth, North-West and Edinburgh.

It is not always about being political, as a group we seek change through developing a community with friends. Only through keeping our culture, language & identity alive can the name of Tibet truly flourish.

I have been coming to these marches for the last three decades, our parents have shown us the way, long may this continue, we must leave a bold trail for our children & the next generation.

BHOEGYALO (Victory to Tibet)

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. Annual membership 24; Family 36; Life 500.
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