It’s been fifty years since the uprising in Tibet against Chinese occupation, and more than that since what the Chinese government likes to refer to as the ‘peaceful liberation’ of the country (during which the people of Tibet were ‘liberated’ from the crushing burdens of autonomy, self-determination and, in many cases, their lives). Today was an international day of protest to commemorate the failed March Uprising and call again for China to release its hold on Tibet.
There’s a sizable Tibetan expatriate community in the north-east, but even so I was surprised by the size of the demonstration: the line of marchers in white T-shirts carrying black flags seemed to go on and on. And while free Tibet is something of a cause celebre among Western liberals, this march seemed to be an authentically Tibetan affair: I only saw one person, at the very tail end of the procession, who was obviously not Tibetan. Their banners and slogans —
“Tibet for the Tibetans, China for the Chinese” and
“Shame, shame, Hu Jintao” were in English, however.