Oct 14, 2006 – On a chilly, slightly foggy October morning, around 25 people gathered in front of the gate of the Chinese consulate here in Vancouver today to express their outrage and condemnation of the Sep.30 killings of innocent Tibetans on the Nangpa La Pass. Banners were unfurled, placards displayed, and flags waved in full fervor as all the participants — local Tibetans, students, political activists, parents, and a couple of puppies — screamed their lungs out. Many were still coming to terms with the latest video footage showing Tibetans chillingly shot down by Chinese snipers high up in the Himalayan pass as a large group of climbers watched in absolute horror and disbelief. One of the crew members in the video points out, shakily, “They are shooting them like dogs.”
At Chinese Consulate
Sam Price, a board member of SFT Canada, expressed his disgust at the atrocity carried out by the Chinese who claimed that they were only acting in self-defense. “Well, obviously, I’m shocked and angry at the Chinese Gov’t for killing four Tibetans, for shooting at them in the back as they were fleeing. [What is] equally shocking and disheartening is the lack of condemnation and media coverage from the international community.” Price asked, “What further evidence do you need to see how little regard the Chinese regime has for the Tibetans inside Tibet, or anywhere else? I’m very, very sad and angry — at China and for the world in general for ignoring this plight of the Tibetans.”
The President of the SFT chapter in UBC echoed Price’s sentiment. “It is absolutely important,” said Tenzin Bhutila, “for people here to realize the tortures and the oppression that are being carried out inside Tibet.” She continued, “This isn’t the first time it’s happened in Tibet. The only thing that stands out about this one is that it happened recently and that there were people from other countries that actually saw the whole thing unfold right before their eyes, [and] they have the pictures and the video footage that show clearly what happened.” Mel Raoul, a veteran political activist and SFT member, added, “It is a cruel mockery of the much-hyped Olympic slogan of theirs – ‘One World, One Dream’. How can the IOC ignore this kind of atrocity and still promote the games by saying ‘The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles.’? I hope they have an answer for that because I find it totally repulsive that they would claim one thing and then look the other way.” The next summer Olympics will be held in Beijing in 2008.
One World One Dream Indeed
The protestors demonstrated in front of the consulate for more than an hour and also waved at passing motorists who shared their sentiments by honking their cars. Although there weren’t any Chinese representatives to answer to the protestors’ demands, the gate did open briefly towards the middle of the demonstration but no one neither entered nor left the premises.
Another veteran Tibetan activist, Tenzin Lhalungpa, was “appalled, but not surprised”. A long-serving Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) member, and a local resident of Vancouver, he further stated, “All the Canadian businesses [referring to Bombardier & and Hunter Dickinson] should think twice before they decide to sully their hands and moral integrity by dealing with the Chinese Government.” He also added that he was worried about the Tibetans who managed to escape and are in-hiding in Katmandu, the capital city of Nepal. He was informed that there were Chinese officials inside the city who were actively seeking out the escapees to have them deported back to China where they will most likely be imprisoned and tortured. The Nepalese government has long suffered from Chinese pressure in regards to the Tibetans living in Nepal. Large communities of productive and affluent Tibetans reside in Katmandu and other parts of the mountainous country.
As the flags and banners slowly came down and the protestors bade each other goodbyes, the one positive thing that could be procured from this whole event was the unrelenting determination of everyone to do whatever it takes to make the Chinese government own up to the slaughter and to let other people know about all the crimes against humanity being committed inside Tibet. Amidst the trickling fall foliage, SFT member Ayako Turnbull parted with some few choice words towards the Chinese government while loading the placards and banners into her car, “We won’t let this just slide by. We’ll be there, right up against China whenever or however they try to deny what they did. We won’t forget. Never.”
Indeed, it will be hard-pressed for anyone who saw the video to erase the horrible sight of Tibetans dropping down dead on the slopes as the others try to desperately flee the deadly rage of the border patrols. The climbers certainly will not forget any time soon.
More protest pictures can be viewed here.