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A video appeal from a Tibetan inside Tibet to the International Community

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is organizing a press conference at Lhakpa Tsering Hall, Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) on the fresh videotaped information received from Tibet that appeal to the International communities to act swiftly on behalf of the Tibetan people who are victims of human rights violations in Tibet.

Kelsang Tsultrim also known by pseudonym of Gyitsang Takmig is a monk of Gyitsang Gaden Choekorling Monastery in Sangchu County (Ch:Xiahe), Kanlho “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (TAP), Gansu Province, one of the main focal points of last year’s protests in Tibet. Kelsang Tsultrim took a great personal risk of recording and distributing video testimony giving detail account of Tibetan history since the flight of Dalai Lama into exile, lack of human rights in Tibet, suffering of Tibetan people, struggle, hopes, aspirations of Tibetan people inside Tibet and his appeal to the outside world. The hour long video testimony was recorded on 18 July 2009 and was later edited with the input of related video footage and photographs for the final version in a VCD that was widely distributed in many Tibetan areas in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Province. Kelsang is well versed in writing essays, composing lyrics etc. He had even authored a book.

According to the source who delivered the video testimony told the Centre that, “Kelsang Tsultrim wishes to distribute this video as widely as possible inside Tibet notwithstanding a great personal risk involved so as to educate primarily the illiterates and general Tibetan public who were fed with daily dose of government-sponsored propaganda with the true history of Tibetan struggle for freedom, the Dalai Lama’s call for the genuine autonomy through middle way approach, human rights situation in Tibet. He dealt in length with the Tibetan people’s hope and aspiration of the Dalai Lama’s return to rightful place, lack of human rights including religious freedom that led to the flight of many religious leaders including Karmapa, Arja Rinpoche and others who could have easily chosen luxury and privileges under the Chinese government rather than coming into exile.”

Kelsang Tsultrim video testimony also touches many recent events in Tibet and Chinese government policies which led to the displacement of a large number of Tibetan nomads in the name of development, and thereby completely altering their nomadic way of life, extraction of Tibet’s natural resources, destruction of fragile environment, economic marginalization and social exclusion of Tibetans, lack of freedom etc. He further elucidates on recent farming boycott movement in Tibet, self-immolation bid by Lobsang Tashi a.k.a Tapey of Kirti Monastery, suicide by a monk of Ragya Monastery, arbitrary arrest, detention of thousands of Tibetans post 2008 March protests in Tibet.

The video message also appeals to the United Nations and International communities that they have moral obligation to speak on behalf of the Tibetan people inside Tibet who are living in constant fear and under severe repression. Kelsang went on to retort the Chinese law on National Regional Autonomy by saying, “the laws on national regional autonomy stipulated under the Chinese Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights of minorities including Tibetans. But in reality it is a completely different scenario where our fundamental rights are not being respected at all. Tibet is governed as just another territory or region in the People’s Republic of China, but nothing is done to build the harmonious society that the government promises.”

“We do not have freedom of religion and politics because most of the religious and political websites are full of propaganda that distorts the situation. We do not hate the Chinese, but we respect truth and justice. We were protesting against Chinese rule because the local authorities are not acting according to China’s Constitution and autonomy laws. The Premier of the People’s Republic of China said that China respects truth and justice. But Tibetans don’t have equal religious, political, and economic rights. So, many Tibetan people sacrificed their lives to protest against Chinese rule [over the past year], including myself here today, because we want equal human rights and freedom. We will never give up our fight for freedom and truth until Chinese policies change regarding the implementation of the Constitution,” Kelsang concluded.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) consider the video message and view conveyed by Kalsang Tsultrim purely as general exercise of the fundamental freedom of expression and right to opinion enshrined in the Chinese constitution and other major international covenants that China is party to. The Centre believes that the message and views conveyed by Kalsang is widely shared by people inside Tibet.

Kelsang’s passionate outburst is a sign of China’s continuing repression inside Tibet and a manifestation of widespread human rights violations. His initiative in this expose under such risky circumstances indicates the deep seated helplessness that pushes Tibetan people’s endurance to the very edge of human capacity.

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