News

Tibetans on Hunger Strike Demand UN Action

Tibetans outside UN headquarters enter 17th day of their water-only fast for human rights, March 9 2012.
Tibetans outside UN headquarters enter 17th day of their water-only fast for human rights, March 9 2012.
Margaret Besheer

Three men sit on thin mattresses under Tibetan flags in a small park across from the United Nations. Every day since February 22nd they have taken up their respective positions, sitting all day through either harsh cold, wind and rain, or, on this day, unseasonably warm sunshine. But despite the pleasant weather, they are bundled in jackets and sweaters, probably more sensitive to temperatures as they enter the 17th day of their water-only fast.

One of the three activists, Shingza Rinpoche, 31, is a prominent Tibetan monk who left his homeland to live in India, but recently came to New York in solidarity with his countrymen.

Resting in an orange down-filled jacket, he says the group has sent a petition to the United Nations with five demands, including a request for a fact-finding mission into the critical situation in their homeland, where even a young mother recently set herself on fire, the latest in a wave of self-immolations over the past year.

Dozens of Suicides

According to the Tibetan Youth Congress, at least two dozen people have set themselves on fire as part of the renewed campaign to secede from China and see the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

While many Tibetans have long accused China of suppressing their culture, religion and freedom, these men say Beijing can no longer ignore the seriousness of the situation nor the resolve to uphold their demands.

In addition to a U.N. fact-finding mission, the hunger strikers want China pressured into ending what they call undeclared martial law in Tibet. They also want international media access and the release of all political prisoners.

Dorjee Gyalpo, a 69-year old Tibetan-American who lives in the U.S. state of Minnesota, says in a weak voice that he is willing to sacrifice his life to achieve these goals and is urging the United Nations to intervene to help improve the human rights situation.

With weary and reddened eyes, Yeshi Tenzing, 39, a sweater seller who lives in India, says he is striking not only to create awareness about the situation in Tibet, but to solve the situation.

Penpa Tsering of the Tibetan Youth Congress echoes the sentiment, explaining that Tibetans-in-exile have a responsibility to be the voice of those inside the country who have no voice.

Like those in Tibet who have already taken their lives, he says they are willing to sacrifice themselves and hopes the world will soon wake up to their plight.

The United Nations says it has received the Tibetan’s letter and is looking into the matter.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hoang
March 22, 2012 1:23 AM
To Jonathan Huang,
You are either brainwashed or belong to PRC. It is China who always threatens Vietnam. Americans have made mistakes in Vietnam but they fought in Vietnam to stop the spread of evil communism. I am a Vietnamese patriot by standing against the tyranny of Chinese expansionism. China has already invaded Vietnam by taking Paracel and Spratlly Islands and lands from Vietnam. China will never destroy the fighting spirit of the Vietnamese and Tibetan people.

by: Jonathan Huang
March 17, 2012 7:23 PM
I have been to Tibet at 2008 I saw they have new houses and they dress nicely. and CCP didn't kill a lot of Chinese, but we did have thousands died from famine in 50s. we had peaceful life in 80s and 90s but we were poor. Now our lifes are improving very fast thanks to CCP. You west should talk to Tibetans live in Tibet not those exiles, for sure they would say nothing good for China.

by: Xing
March 15, 2012 12:06 AM
@Pablo: Your guys traveled and worked in China, Tibet, & Nepal for what? A real traveler will never involve the internal affairs in other countries. Where has no complains? If you chat with the exiles, you would feel that the current Tibetan life is even worse than that before liberation. Is that true? Of course not. It is true that exiles's life is worse than before.

by: Pablo
March 14, 2012 3:42 PM
@Jonathan... I've traveled and worked in China, Tibet, & Nepal over the last 2 decades, and have interacted with countless Tibetans during those visits. Have YOU spent time in Tibet? I've seen the "re-education" tents in monasteries where police force monks to denounce the DL, I've walked through ruined monasteries, & spoken with terrorized refugees who escaped to Nepal. China brutally represses the Tibetan people. That's a fact!

by: Jonathan Huang
March 12, 2012 8:00 PM
To Hoang, How do you know what happened in Tibet? did you live there? did you even live in China? Stop lying, lying make you stupid!
And when you try to defend US killing in Afghanistan, try to remember how many Vietnamese killed by americans!!! Assume you were born there. Shame on you a traitor!

by: LEO
March 12, 2012 8:33 AM
Do not confuse the public audiovisual population. People in Tibet live happily. Stop misleading and go home.

by: Hoang
March 12, 2012 3:11 AM
To Jonathan Huang,
This US soldier that killed 15 civilians did this on his own. Look at the thousands of innocent Tibetans that the CPC systemically killed from orders of the Communist Republic of China. Check out the site 'Death by China'.

by: Jonathan Huang
March 11, 2012 7:18 AM
WOW, an US soldier killed 15 civilians! It happened again and again! Tibetan monks please pray for those innocent soles also!

by: hamad part 2 of 2
March 10, 2012 1:32 AM
China business absolutely . In the beginning , I thought I had read a novel of tragedy and then I realized it is VOA . The hoax of democracy has become of date after Obama financiers legislated SOPA and NDAA .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs