Marching exile family nears Indo-Nepal border

By Tendar Tsering, Dharamsala: After marching for nearly two months and covering over 1300 kms, the Tibetan exile family on a peace march to Tibet is now about to reach the Indo-Nepal border town of Gorakhpur.

“We are about to reach the Indian border city of Gorakhpur,” Tsetan Dorjee told Phayul over phone. “We hope to reach Nepal within a few days.”

Tsetan Dorjee, along with his mother, Dhumpo Kyi and sister Lhamo Kyi had began their March to Tibet from the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala on March 10, coinciding with the 53rd Tibetan National Uprising Day.

“This march is our expression of solidarity and unity with the Tibetans inside Tibet,” the three had told Phayul at the beginning of their long journey home.

“As Tibetans in Tibet keep burning themselves for a free Tibet, it is our responsibility to be united and stand together for Tibet.”

The family is hopeful that Nepali authorities will not be a hindrance to their march, although they have made it clear that they will persist with their journey even if stopped or arrested at any point.

“We are not using any anti-Nepal slogans nor undertaking any anti-Nepal activities. I think Nepali police have no reason to overreact,” Dorjee, who has been seen carrying a Nepali flag along with the
flags of Tibet and the People’s Republic of China noted.

When questioned over his decision to carry the Chinese national flag on his march, a first known act of its kind in exile, Dorjee said it was in accordance with the “principles” of the Central Tibetan Administration’s middle-way policy, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet under the provisions of the charter of the PRC.

“We are carrying the Chinese flag because we are fighting for a genuine autonomy and want to tell China that we are willing to stay under Beijing if they give us genuine autonomy,” Dorjee said.

On the sidelines of meeting in April, Samdhong Rinpoche, former Kalon Tripa told Phayul that he personally didn’t object the marchers’ symbolic act of carrying the Chinese. “Hoisting Chinese flag along with the Tibetan flag hints that they are fighting for genuine autonomy for Tibet,” Rinpoche had said.

Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, while organising a Chinese flag burning campaign earlier this year had announced that the organisation can “never respect the five stared Chinese flag.”

"Some people say that the burning of the flag might hurt the sentiments of the Chinese people. But encouraging even one Tibetan to respect the red flag is far worse than discouraging 100 Chinese," TYC had noted.

"Under this five stared Chinese flag, more than two million Tibetans have lost their lives, and we are burning this flag in protest against the Chinese government."

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