Austria: Protest held outside Chinese Embassy demanding release of Tibetans arrested in Sichuan

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The Tibetan diaspora held a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna on Wednesday, demanding the release of arrested Tibetans in Sichuan who were peacefully protesting the planned construction of a dam in Tibet, local sources stated. The protest was held to showcase their solidarity with Tibetans in China’s Sichuan province and the demonstrators called for the immediate release of hundreds of Tibetan monks and villagers.

During the protest, the Tibetan diaspora members raised slogans and held flags against this “illegal and inhumane action” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These Tibetan individuals also spoke about their stand against China’s “draconian laws in the occupied territory.” The protesters carried placards that read, “Chinese Communist Party should stop the forced relocation and dam construction in Kham Dege Wonpo village in Tibet” and “China stop the demolition of homes and monasteries in Kham Dege in Tibet.”

One of the protesters said, “The proposed dam would submerge historic monasteries and numerous Tibetan villages. This dam is the sixth in a proposed series of 13 dams on the River Dri Chu. The demonstration in Sichuan province started when CCP officials came to demolish the Yena and Wontoe monasteries for the construction of the dam.” “Yena monastery in Shiba village and Wontoe monastery in Wontoe village are cultural landmarks believed to date back over 700 years, and the mural paintings in the monasteries have historical importance,” he added.

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Previously, three youngsters from the Tibetan community in Austria staged a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna on Saturday over the human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet. They urged the international community to unite and openly support the Tibetan government-in-exile in their ongoing struggle to protect the human rights of Tibetans in Tibet. Adopting a novel protest, the young Tibetans used a projector and played videos of the forceful displacement of Tibetans by the Chinese in Tibet on the walls of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna.

They also projected words highlighting the human rights violations of China and the cultural genocide carried out by China to erase the Tibetan identity. The young Tibetans, associated with the Voluntary Tibet Advocacy Group (V-TAG), Europe, also raised slogans against the large-scale environmental degradation happening in Tibet under the guise of huge projects that are unsustainable for the region. During the protest, the young Tibetans also raised slogans in German to create awareness among the people in Austria about what is happening to Tibetans in Tibet: the deliberate extinction of a community, an identity.

According to young Tibetans, these projects, including huge defence establishments, and large dams, would displace a large number of Tibetans from their native homeland. One of the main objectives behind such projects is to forcefully relocate Tibetans and erase their identities. The protesters stressed that the systematic disregard for the fundamental rights of Tibetans by the Chinese government reflects a blatant violation of international human rights law.

Protesters said that China, obligated to respect and adhere to mechanisms safeguarding people’s rights, has been persecuting human rights defenders, forcibly resettling Tibetans, engaging in forced labour, fostering workplace discrimination, curtailing religious freedom and language rights, assimilating Tibetan children in boarding schools, and perpetrating cultural genocide.