The Afternoon

‘To the Point: Tenzin Tsundue’
(The Afternoon | November 6, 2004)

Tenzin Tsundue

Tenzin Tsundue speaks to Soubhik Mitra on the five-day relay hunger strike by Tibetan Youth Congress, Friends of Tibet (India) and the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Association.

Q: What is the protest about?
A: We are protesting China's continued detention of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected reincarnate lama who is recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Delek had returned to Tibet after six long years of religious education in India to dedicate himself to the sacred task of serving the poor local Tibetans who have no access to education and medical facilities. However the Sichuab Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrested him in 2001 in connection to serial bomb blast in Chengdu and have been torturing him both mentally and physically. The Chinese government did not reveal any information of his whereabouts till seven months after his arrest.

Q: What are your demands?
A: We urge the Chinese government to guarantee fair trail and proper legal access to Trulku Tenzin Delek, and refrain from to torture and maltreatment during his imprisonment. We appeal to our friends in India and across the globe to pressure Chinese government to release him unconditionally.

Q: How many people are supposed to participate in the hunger strike?
A: We will begin the hunger strike with 50-odd people, however, it is expected to double by evening. Besides we are expecting more people to come in the course of next two-three days. Further, the other activities in the course of the strike are candle light vigil, screening of films featuring the plight of Tibetans due to Chinese tyranny and the strike will end with a mammoth signature campaign.

Q: Considering the nature of the Chinese governance do you think such protest actually make any difference?
A: At the moment our aim is to create awareness. We want to expose the Chinese government in front of the international community. Our apathy is that not so many look at us as a different nation. People feel that we are also Chinese which is not true. We are a different sovereign state and the Chinese government is suppressing our voice.

Q: What will be your next move in the protest?
A: We plan to repeat the same in Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi.

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The Case of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche