What has been so encouraging about this year’s March 10 rallies is the central prominence of banners demanding Bod Rangzen (Tibetan independence) after all it is the heartbeat of Tibet’s true cause, the lifeblood of the hopes and dreams of those brave Tibetans who resist China’s despotic rule. Such a shame therefore that once again, while Tibetans and supporters in New York, Brussels, Vienna, Minnesota, Paris and other cities across India and Europe (as seen in the images in this post) were asserting independence for Tibet, we heard on the streets of London a very different tune was being played.
According to a number of people there instead of offering the Chinese consulate a unified and forceful demand for an independent Tibet a non-Tibetan speaker presented literally an olive branch. No placards calling for independence, nor banners displaying Rangzen, indeed it looks like once again to have been a mediocre turnout, part protest, part social gathering. When contrasted with the growing determination and collective spirit of solidarity with Tibet’s true cause, seen on the rise around the world, it’s all very disappointing.
Not only is a diluted and confused message being displayed by those who organize the event in London, one that is clearly not in harmony with the struggle waged by Tibetans in occupied Tibet, but the general support there seems to be stagnating. We refer not to the wider sense of sympathy or awareness that may exist within the English public, but to that body of people who have signed up to Tibet as members and supporters of the numerous related advocacy organizations that exist there. These are the Tibetan Community in Britain, Tibetan Youth UK, Students For Free Tibet UK, Tibet Society and Free Tibet.
Between those groups there maybe a total of 30, 000 or more people who have felt sufficiently motivated and interested to go beyond a mild concern on Tibet to actively associate themselves with organizations dedicated to political support for Tibetans. Yet for whatever reasons, despite organizers having twelve months to prepare, resource and promote, at best only 10% of that mass of people are present on March 10 outside the Chinese Consulate. Just what is going down in Britain? Is it that public demonstrations are not valued by those pulling the strings within those groups, do some organizations value more their membership as cash-cows to fund salaries, office rental, publications and other expenses?
Is a more concerted effort dedicated to fund-raising and marketing than assembling a mass demonstration? Whatever the facts, in terms of street profile Tibet’s cause there on March 10, far from gaining strength is at best in stasis and possibly in decline. A condition that must be music to the ears of the British Foreign Office (equivalent of the State Department) who are no friends of Tibetan independence.