Dead Tibetan activist’s letter calls for freedom
By TIM SULLIVAN,NEW DELHI (AP) — The Tibetan who burned himself alive on the eve of a visit by China’s president left a letter that urged the world to stand up for his homeland, activists said, while Indian authorities detained more Tibetans on Thursday in the Indian capital.
Police have taken hundreds of Tibetans into custody since Monday’s self-immolation by Jamphel Yeshi, 27, and have effectively closed off New Delhi’s Tibetan neighborhoods, fearing embarrassing protests during the visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The Tibetans are expected to be released after Hu leaves New Delhi on Friday. He is in the city for the BRICS summit with the leaders of India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa.
In the letter, Yeshi urged his fellow Tibetans to fight for their rights.
“At a time when we are making our final move toward our goal: If you have money, it is the time to spend it; If you are educated it is the time to produce results; If you have control over your life, I think the day has come to sacrifice your life,” wrote Yeshi, who died of his burns Wednesday.
The letter was released by activists and translated on the website Burning Tibet. Activists said he wrote the letter about 10 days ago, and left it in his apartment where friends found it after the self-immolation. The letter’s authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
“The fact that Tibetan people are setting themselves on fire in this 21st century is to let the world know about their suffering,” the letter stated. “People of the world, stand up for Tibet.”
Hundreds of police are manning barricades along roads throughout the city, some carrying blankets soaked in water to quickly smother the flames if anyone else sets themselves alight.
About 30 self-immolations have occurred over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China in protest of Beijing’s heavy-handed rule in the region.
Beijing has blamed the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India for decades, for inciting the self-immolations, and has called the protesters’ actions a form of terrorism. But the Dalai Lama says they are the result of China’s policies of “cultural genocide” in Tibet.
At least 10 activists were taken into custody Thursday after they unfurled a banner from a pedestrian overpass over a major New Delhi road proclaiming: “Hu Jintao Failed Leader” and “Free Tibet Now.”
Police also detained another half-dozen or so protesters near the Chinese Embassy in the city’s diplomatic quarter.
Published Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | 06:32 PM