Czechs express support for Tibetan independence

Tibetan flag

March 10th 1959 is a black day in the history of the Tibetan people - their freedom uprising was crushed by the Chinese, their spiritual leader Dalai Lama was forced to flee the country along with other supporters of the uprising, and the people of Tibet were subjected to the harsh conditions of a military regime. By Daniela Lazarova.

Since regaining their own freedom in 1989, many Czechs mark the Tibetan anniversary by expressing sympathy and support for Tibetan independence. Lungta, one of the local organizations which support Tibet, have asked the public to join them in a demonstration for Tibetan independence outside the Chinese embassy in Prague on Friday afternoon. We contacted Lungta's spokesman Mirek Posta to find out more about this and other events which are taking place in support of Tibet:

"It is not a new thing, this demonstration. It has become something of an institution in the Czech Republic , and this is not the only thing going on in support of Tibet. There will be a lot of other events throughout the country. To begin with, there is the campaign "Flag for Tibet" which has also become "institutionalized" and within this campaign a lot of town halls will be raising the Tibetan flag. It is quite ironic that there will be more Tibetan flags flapping in the Czech Republic than in Tibet itself because it is a criminal offense to raise the Tibetan flag in Tibet as it is an offense to sing or play the Tibetan national anthem."

How has the Czech public responded ?

Tibetan flag
"The response has been very good. I think it has been improving over the years. Last year about 90 town halls hoisted the Tibetan flag while this year some 120 town halls have confirmed that they are going to do so. I think that this is indicative of growing support. I think it is a good thing to have these campaigns because it is important for Tibet to make the headlines . This happens only about once or twice a year - in March and whenever the Dalai Lama visits the CR. It is important to keep Tibet in the news."

What kind of support do you think that Tibet needs most at this point?

"Well, I think the most important thing is for people around the world to realize the situation, to know what is happening in Tibet and then put pressure on their politicians to do something for Tibet. For instance in the past year we organized a petition in the Czech Republic in support of Tibet which will be submitted to the Czech government. One of the points in the petition is that Czech politicians should raise the Tibetan issue with Chinese politicians. I also believe that when we organize these campaigns in one way or another the news will make its way to Tibet and that Tibetans will become aware of this support and I think that knowledge can help ordinary people as well. "