Tibetan activist speaks out against China

2012-03-09 22:59

New york - The wife of detained Tibetan documentary maker Dhondup Wangchen broke down in tears on Friday in New York as she blamed Chinese rule for a wave of self-immolations by protesters in her homeland.

Lhamo Tso, a petite woman who last spoke to her husband in 2008, appealed for help at an open-air press conference held in Times Square, where excerpts of Wangchen's banned documentary, Leaving Fear Behind, were also shown.

She said her husband's imprisonment was an example of Chinese oppression that human rights activists say has driven some 25 ordinary people to set fire to themselves.

"Why are they doing this? Why are they burning their own bodies? Their life is the most important thing they have," Tso, 40, said. "When I hear that Tibetans are self-immolating, I feel a knife through my heart."

Tso, who lives in exile in India and was on US soil for the first time in her life, spoke forcefully for several minutes against the dazzling backdrop of the Times Square advertising jumbotrons, including an especially prominent one publicizing the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

But her composure did not last as she described her husband's trial without a legal defense team and reports that he has become sick while serving his six-year sentence.

"I want to ask for your help in the release of my husband - in the release of my husband and in the release of other political prisoners in Tibet," she said through an interpreter, her eyes filling with tears.

"I'm here in the centre of the United States," she added, sobbing now, "but my heart and mind are always with my husband".

US-Tibetan activists at the press conference said they would march on Saturday through New York and in cities around the world to mark the 53rd anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Read more on:    us  |  china  |  tibet

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