Delhi, March 12 Lhamo Tso led over 2000 people as they marched on the UN Headquarters in New York to mark National Uprising Day, calling for the release of her husband and other Tibetan political prisoners being held.
53 years ago, on March 10th, the Tibetan people resisted an attempt by the Chinese government to remove His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Several thousand Tibetan surrounded the palace to protect him from Chinese officials with many giving their lives as Chinese military intervention grew stronger.
Fearing for his safety, His Holiness the Dalai Lama later fled to India where he publicly denounced Chinese rule and their treatment of his people. The aftermath of this saw the beginning of a violent and strong crackdown on Tibetan freedom and rights, a trend that has continued ever since.
Tso, the wife of jailed Tibetan film maker Dhondup Wangchen, addressed the crowd at Times Square. Excerpts from her husband’s banned documentary, ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ was also shown at the open-air press conference.
Tso last spoke to her husband in 2008 and questioned the true motives of the Chinese’s rule in Tibet. There has been recently been a large wave of self-immolations by Tibetans in protest to the Chinese rule, with 14 individuals in the past 10 weeks taking their own life. Tso described the feeling of hearing her fellow Tibetan’s decision to protest through self-immolation as a ‘knife through my heart’.
Tso currently lives in exile in India and was in the US for the first time. She spoke of her husband’s imprisonment, how he was convicted without a defence, and the reports of his suffering because of the squalor conditions.
“I want to ask for your help in the release of my husband – in the release of other political prisoners in Tibet. I’m here in the centre of the United States but my heart and mind are always with my husband”, she said while visibly distressed and crying.
Another really was held outside the Chinese Consulate in the city and an evening vigil was later held in Union Square, coinciding with other worldwide protests.
Find out more about Dhondup Wangchen and Lhamo Tso’s life since his arrest in TWA’s documentary Behind The Sea.