This March 10 marked the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against the People's Republic of China in Tibet. In NYC, thousands of Tibetans and those who support them, such as members of Students for a Free Tibet, convened in front of the United Nations to protest continued oppression by the Chinese government in Tibet. In the afternoon, protesters marched to the Chinese Consulate at 520 12th Avenue waving flags and chanting slogans such as "Shame, shame China shame," "China out of Tibet now," and "Free Tibet now." The occasion was particularly solemn due to the self-immolations that have taken place in recent months in and around Tibet.
Since 2009, 107 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in protest against the ongoing suppression of freedoms by the Chinese government and its systematic usurpation of Tibetan culture and traditions. Among those who set fire to themselves were 93 men and 14 women; 23 persons self-immolators were 18 or younger; 21 were monks; two were nuns.
At the UN on March 10, I spoke to one Westerner who is a longtime friend of a group of Tibetans in this country. Although she said she has been to Tibet herself, she said, her Tibetan friends cannot go. "Anyone who goes to Tibet now will see that it is virtually unrecognizable. It is completely Chinese."
Since 1959, approximately 1. 4 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese government; hundreds of monasteries and temples have been decimated; and many civilians, monks and nuns have been raped, tortured and imprisoned. Additionally, the Chinese government has prevented Tibetans from practicing their religion, while attempting to usurp the country's culture and traditions. And still the world does not attend to Tibet. And still China practices its unlawful takeover, violating human rights in Tibet.
As Tibet's spiritual leader (and until recently political leader) in exile, HH the Dalai Lama has helped to significantly raise people's consciousness around the globe about the plight of Tibet. He advocates nonviolence, and his people have followed and continue to follow his spiritual guidance although they now have another political leader. In April 2011, Harvard law scholar Lobsand Sangay became the first Prime Minister of Tibet after being elected to the position by Tibetans in exile. He is in his early 40s and currently a Senior Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School and an expert in Tibetan law and international human rights law.
The International Campaign for Tibet has a fact sheet page on the self-immolations in Tibet and a petition that supporters of the Tibetan cause can sign, listed on the right on this page: http://www.savetibet.org/resource-center/maps-data-fact-sheets/self-immolation-fact-sheet