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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Tibetan Hunger Strike Ends

UN Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie meets with remaining hunger strikers"New York, May 3 - The Tibetan Youth Congress called off its indefinite hunger strike at the United Nations on May 3, 2004, following a visit by UN Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie at the hunger strike venue at 4:30 pm. She assured the hunger strikers that the relevant UN organs would follow up on the concerns expressed by the hunger strikers. "

The UN Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie's visit to the Tibetan enclave outside the U.N. building in New York and her assurances that the protester's message had been received, loud and clear at the UN was enough for the remaining two hunger strikers to end their 32 day protest.

Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie is seen above enjoying a milk drink with two remaining strikers the first food that has passed their lips since April 2 when in the company of Ms Choepal they commenced their protest to draw attention to what they considered to be the UN's lack of attention to the situation in Tibet. Ms Choepal was forced to leave the hunger strike last Friday when after collapsing she was taken to a local hospital. She was subsequently released on Monday and is reported as being in a good condition.

Originally the strikers has stated that they would continue their strike indefinitely until they were visited personally by the U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan it would seem however that the visit by Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie on the personal instruction of the General Secretary was enough to satisfy their "demands".

Despite general world wide support for the hunger strikers from the Tibetan diaspora community some Tibetans felt that such an action was doomed to failure and that "hunger strikes" were not the way for Tibet to gain freedom from Chinese oppression.

Whilst stopping short of advocating violence as a means of achieving their goals some Tibetans expressed the opinion that protests such as hunger strikes are a thing of the past and stronger action is required.

 Dalai Lama: Spiritual Leader of the Tibnetan PeopleThe Dalai Lama the Tibetan spiritual leader has publicly stated that an independent Tibet is no longer one of his objectives and that Tibet and Tibetans could gain much economically from Chinese involvement in Tibet. The objective now he believes is to save the Tibetan culture and improve the lot of the Tibetan peoples.

This stance obviously has created a divide among Tibetans with some maintaining that a totally free Tibet is the only outcome they are willing to accept

Like the Uygurs of Xinjiang, the Tibetans must face up to the reality that the Chinese are there to stay. Strategically and economically both regions are just far to important to the Chinese state. The Tibetans goal like that of the Uygur should realistically be to strive for a degree of autonomy and self determination within the Chinese state and to try to maintain their unique cultures from fading into history.

Regardless I can not help but admiring the peaceful protest undertaken by these three Tibetans, none of whom, incidently, have ever seen their beloved "homeland". In these days of terrorist outrages and suicide bombers the "Ghandi" like demeanour and courage of these three young people was something to truly cherish.

In the scheme of things they have not achieved much but sometimes the embers need a little poke to keep them alive and for the Tibetan community and the world generally these brave people provided just that.

Link Read Rating:
Tibetan Youth Congress Calls off Hunger Strike - www.phayul.com: