By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, August 17: With the wave of self-immolations continuing to rage across the Tibetan plateau, Tibetans and supporters carried out a mock funeral procession in New York City demanding global intervention to end China’s failed policies in Tibet.
The procession was carried out on Wednesday to mark one year since the self-immolation of a Tibetan monk named Tsewang Norbu and in memory of the 49 other Tibetans who have torched their bodies demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Within the last two weeks as many as five Tibetans set themselves on fire in separate incidents, followed by protests which resulted in the death of Tibetan protester as a result of severe beating by Chinese forces.
In New York, Tibetans and supporters led the mock funeral procession from Times Square to the Chinese Consulate, carrying signs that read “China: end the occupation,” and in late Tsewang Norbu’s words, “We Tibetans want freedom.”
Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, the organisers of the procession, condemned China's military rule over Tibet and demanded Beijing allow foreign diplomats and independent foreign media unfettered access to all Tibetan areas.
“It is China's policies that have created this crisis in Tibet, and we call on World Governments to stand together, to hold Beijing accountable for its atrocities in Tibet and to press for a multilateral forum to resolve the Tibet crisis,” Dorjee said.
In a release, the students’ group noted that the Tibetan self-immolations have emerged as the “most direct and drastic” form of political protest in Tibet in recent years.
"Despite its military clampdown in Tibet, China has been unable to stem the tide of self-immolation protests that has resulted in a rising number of mass demonstrations,” Kate Woznow, Deputy Director of SFT said. “The Tibetan spirit of resistance remains unshakeable."
Also on August 15, the Tibetan Community and SFT, UK staged a vigil in solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet and the 49 Tibetans who have self immolated in Tibet.
Large photos of each of the self-immolators were carried by demonstrators who stood outside the Chinese Embassy in London.