Young Tibetans start ‘bald movement’ against ChinaMarch 30th, 2008 - 9:58 am ICT by admin
By Jaideep Sarin
Dharamsala, March 30 (IANS) They are young and born outside their motherland Tibet. But many of them are now shaving their heads as a unique means of protest against China’s handling of Tibet. Scores of Tibetan youth in Mcleodganj here - the Himalayan abode of the Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile based in India - are getting their heads tonsured. The campaign was launched after China this month brutally put down one of the biggest protests and riotings by monks and other Tibetans in Tibet’s capital Lhasa and other places seeking an end to Chinese rule there.
“Stand up in solidarity with our brothers and sisters killed or jailed in Tibet. Shave your head bald. Join the Bald Movement spreading in Dharamsala, Bylakuppe, Delhi, London, Paris and New York”, say the SMS and e-mail messages being sent to Tibetans and Tibet-supporters worldwide.
Tibetan NGOs like the Students for Free Tibet, Friends of Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress, Gu-Chu-Sum (an association of former Tibetan political prisoners), Tibetan Women Association and other individual Tibetan youths have taken the initiative for the ‘bald movement’.
“We decided to go bald to show our protest against Chinese brutality inside Tibet in recent days. We will make it a global movement. I have got my head shaved,” firebrand Tibetan youth activist Tenzin Tsundue told IANS here.
He is known internationally for twice climbing on to buildings to wave Tibetan flags and protest banners at the visiting Chinese president and prime minister in recent years.
Many activists from the Tibet NGOs have already got their heads shaved while others are joining the campaign here, in other parts of India and abroad.
Some Tibetan members of the exiled parliament here may also get their heads shaved to join the campaign, said Tibetan NGO sources.
The NGOs are coordinating with their local chapters in other parts of India and in the United States, Canada, European countries, Japan and Australia to make the campaign a global one.
“Every shaved head of a Tibetan or a Tibet supporter will remind the Chinese what they are doing to Tibet. Also, it will help our cause globally,” said another Tibetan activist Sonam Tsering.
Violence erupted in Lhasa and several other places inside Tibet March 14 and later after monks and other Tibetans protested against the Chinese restrictions on their religious practices. The violence erupted less than five months before the Beijing Olympics that is being seen as the biggest event by China to announce its arrival on the global scene.
The incidents attracted international attention following the Chinese crackdown on Tibetans. China, which was wary of international criticism of its human rights record in the past, has been trying to put up an all-well show in the run up to the Olympics but the Tibetan uprising may have spoilt the party. At least 20 have been killed in the uprising, say Chinese officials, but Tibetans put the figure at over 100.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)