“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.” – Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
On July 8, 2020, RAIR Foundation USA caught up with Tibetan-born Canadian protester Sangyal Kyab, who started his 454.8 kilometer (282.6 miles) journey walking from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Canada to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa on June 28, 2020.
In this exclusive interview, RAIR’s own Vlad Tepes caught up with protester, who explained three demands he is making during his “peaceful protest” against the Chinese Government. China illegally occupied Kyab’s country of birth in 1959 and has been persecuting the people and erasing the culture of the Tibetan people ever since.
The protester highly reveres “His Holiness Dalai Lama” who he saw in India in 2004. Since 1959, India has hosted the Dalai Lama (who turned 85 on July 6, 2020), and the “Tibetan government-in-exile” has been housed in India, as well. According to NDTV, 1,60,000 Tibetans currently live in India.
Sangyal Kyab stated that his demands include 1). Support the return of the 14th Dalai Lama to Tibet, 2.) Renew Sino-Tibet dialogue in good faith and support human rights in Tibet, 3.) Release political prisoners, including Panchen Lama and Tashi Wangchuk. He has also taken part in a hunger strike for Tibet.
Sangyal Kyab explained that the Chinese government is guilty of “genocide” against the people of Tibet, and said in Tibet, there is “no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion…” which is why the protester left Tibet for India, and then made his way to Canada. He has been protesting in front of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto “every Wednesday for the past 2 years for human rights in Tibet.”
In his petition, Kyab explains that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has increased the persecution in Tibet as the Chinese Communist Party has become more totalitarian:
The PRC’s return to totalitarian ideology in recent years has led to even more control over Tibet with a sharp increase in the arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture of human rights defenders and activists. Peaceful dissent of any kind and degree are met with harsh penalties.
The protester also pleads to the “international community” and to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help his native country, whose history and culture under the Communist Chinese government is being erased in true communist fashion, in a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “cultural genocide”.
Similarly, the regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Toronto, New Jersey and New York held protests on June 30 “in front of the Chinese consulates to condemn China for its recent military intrusion in Galwan valley, Ladakh where 20 Indian soldiers died.” According to the Tibetan news outlet Phayul, the protests “expressed support and solidarity with India for defending its national interest and territory.”
Watch this video about Sangyal Kyab’s journey:
If American and Canadian governments are pressured by citizens to take a stand against the repression of the beautiful people and culture of Tibet, perhaps the Chinese Communist Party will not succeed in erasing them from history completely.
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