Hundreds Gather at Toronto City Hall to Stand Up for Tibet

Call for a global intervention to end Chinese-state-ordered crackdown in Tibet

[TORONTO] – Over 400 Tibetans and supporters gathered in Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall yesterday evening between 6-8pm, in a global solidarity prayer and candle light vigil for Tibetans, calling for an end to the intensifying Chinese-state-ordered crackdown in Tibet. Attendees prayed for the young Tibetans who have self-immolated in the last few months protesting Chinese occupation and calling for religious freedom.

To date, nine young Tibetans have set fire to themselves in Ngaba County, eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba County, Sichuan Province) since March 2011; seven since September 26, of which five have died. The conditions and whereabouts of the others remain unknown. The most recent incident occurred Monday when 20-year-old Tibetan nun, Tenzin Wangmo, died after self-immolating. She was seen calling for the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and for religious freedom in Tibet.

“The self-immolations by Buddhist monks and a nun in Tibet’s Ngaba prefecture is a clear indication that Tibetans have reached a breaking point,” said Tenzin Lobsang, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “China’s repression and Tibetans’ desperation in Ngaba is a microcosm of a nation-wide crisis in Tibet, engineered by China’s repressive and tyrannical rule. Tibetans will succeed in fulfilling their vision of a free and democratic Tibet – as has been achieved in recent months in Egypt and Tunisia – but they need global help and support.”

Activist leaders from Amnesty International and the Federation for a Democratic China attended yesterday’s vigil and expressed their support and hope to see an end to brutal Chinese rule in Tibet. Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament Cheri DiNovo, also addressed the crowd, pledging her support to continue to stand up for Tibet until Tibet is free. DiNovo also stated she had signed the online pledge to stand up for Tibet (www.StandupforTibet.org) and is strongly urging her colleagues in the Ontario Provincial Parliament to sign on as well.

Four other Canadian lawmakers have also signed the online pledge to Stand up for Tibet including Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Denise Savoie, and Member of Parliament Peggy Nash, representative for the largest concentration of the Tibetan population in Canada.

The Tibetan community of Toronto, along with Tibetans and supporters worldwide, are calling on China to withdraw its security forces to end the ongoing harassment and torture of monks. They are also calling for a global intervention, for a coordinated international response by world leaders to condemn China’s repressive measures in Ngaba and across Tibet.

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