March 10th Updates:
It was a wet, wet day. Not just drizzle but solid sheets of rain. Four bedraggled souls collected at the foot of the columns of the Scottish National Gallery. Holding the banner that read “China: 0 pts for Human Rights”, we stood silently and attempted to attract attention from the bowed heads of pedestrians traipsing through the rain. Buses stopped in front of us allowing the passengers to read, and a good few tourists stopped to stare for a while.
After a while we began the mile-long walk to the Chinese Consulate. The rain refused to relent, and the banner began to droop and weigh down in our arms as it became saturated with water. At least the bright red paint did not run.
Reaching the Consulate, we were amazed to see the door was open, as it was already 3.30pm. A little apprehensive, two of us stayed outside to hold the banner, whilst the other two prepared to enter. Our question was concerning human rights: “Since the IOC presented China with Beijing 2008 Olympics, what measures have you taken to ensure that human rights are being protected in China and Tibet?”
I was wearing a small Tibetan flag across my chest as we approached the open glass door. We stood there in the foyer, dripping onto the shiny floor. A tall Chinese woman with long black hair, skinny jeans and boots met us, assuring us that office hours were closed and that we should come back from 9-12pm in the morning. Behind her, what looked like a make-up “workshop” was taking place. Several women were seated at a long table, at the head of which was a woman with her back to us, seated upon a raised stool allowing her face to the painted. We persisted for a while, asking if there was anyone at all that we could speak to. As we were reluctantly leaving, a second woman, who would not speak to us at all, was more firm in making us leave the property. As we came out onto the street, the door and gate were decisively locked up behind us.
Since we were already wet, we decided to hang around the building for a bit longer, standing in front of the security cameras brandishing our banner, and ringing the doorbell again. Two men in suits pulled up in a new car. They looked rather important, and were also attempting to get into the Consulate. They asked us to move away from them, hoping to increase their chances but were still unsuccessful. I asked one if he was a Foreign Ambassador, hoping to flatter, but he replied that he was “with the police”, and sternly left. If the police couldn’t get in, we were quite successful to make our presence known!
Our skills workshop took place later on in the evening. Our aim was to put together ideas for the Alternative Torch Relay and the Drapchi Nuns Reunion which is to take place in Edinburgh on Friday 4th April. It was an energetic session of crazy inspiration and exciting plans, including ceilidhs with rugby players, a relay of as many people as possible along the Royal Mile, and making Team Tibet badges for the whole public to wear on that day.
Even though we were few in number today, it was a successful day, if only for reinvigorating ourselves with energy for the Tibetan cause. We were met with several appreciative and approving comments along our march, and I got the impression that people were now aware of what the Chinese Government are doing to the people that they rule over. It is now a question of what we can do about it…
March 10 in Belgium
On March 10, 2008, the Wisconsin Tibetan Association held a March commemorating the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the Chinese occupation. The march began on State street in Madison and ended on the steps of the state Capitol. Speakers took to the podium to commemorate the day and to speak out against the Chinese policy on Tibet. Speakers included: Lobsang Tenzing, President Wisconsin Tibetan Association; Katie Crowley representing U.S. Senator Russell Feingold; Representative Spencer Black; Representative Joe Parisi; Asius Vangio, Secretary for Students for a free Tibet, and others.
10 March Paris - Tibetans and Tibet supporters marched in major French cities this weekend to commemorate the 49th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day.