CHAIRMAN’S NOTE March-April 2018

10th March 2018 Commemorations: It was gratifying to know that all our supporters and friends regularly go to venues around the country to remember those who have lost their lives as a direct result of Chinese occupation of Tibet. In Auckland, we as usual gathered at the Cenotaph, and over 70 people came, and we followed our usual format of the singing of the Tibetan national anthem, led by Gadhen Paljor, then the laying of the wreath and flowers and the minute’s silence to reflect on those who have departed from this life. The 10th March speech of Dr Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, was admirably read by longstanding member Peter Dormon. The Song of Immortality, the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama was recited in both Tibetan and English, and the two songs Long Shog! (Arise!) and Words of Truth were led again by Gadhen Paljor. After my short address about the current situation in Tibet, we gathered further down in the Domain for a shared lunch.

Thank you to Gadhen Paljor for leading in the singing, and to Wangdue Tsering for photographing and recording the event. Wangdue la also posted the event on Facebook with a voiceover in Tibetan, which was watched extensively worldwide. These two men are valuable members of the Tibetan community.

Sponsorship of a post-graduate student: As you may recall, our fundraising at the Auckland Film Festival and later showings, plus a fundraising by the Rotary Club of Courtney Place in Wellington, plus further donations, we had decided to sponsor a student chosen by the Education Department of the Central Tibetan Administration to study for his M. Sc. in Nepal. Unfortunately he was not admitted into the chosen university. The Department advised that the next intake will be in June this year, and we will be allocated a student to sponsor. We will keep you informed when a student is selected.

Birthday of HH the Panchen Lama: Please remember HH the Panchen Lama on his birthday, 25th April. Students for Free Tibet worldwide and Tashi Lhunpo Monastery will attempt to light 130,000 candles on the cake – a number symbolic of the approximate population of Tibetans in exile. Each candle will represent a Tibetan in exile’s aspiration for freedom and justice for the Panchen Lama. The organisers hope to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the most number of candles lit on a birthday cake. On 25th April 2018, His Holiness the Panchen Lama will be 29 years old and since his recognition in 14th May 1995, when he was 6 years old, he was taken by Chinese authorities to parts unknown. To date no one has seen him and China will not allow anyone to see him or produce evidence that he is alive.
As it is ANZAC Day, we in New Zealand avoid taking any action about His Holiness the Panchen Lama, but we remember him in our hearts. However we do remember him during 10th December, which is Human Right Day and have a demonstration or vigil in the Chinese Consulate in Auckland or at Aotea Square where we distribute leaflets about His Holiness the Panchen Lama and ask the public to write to the Foreign Minister to request his whereabouts.

Best wishes and Tashi Delek

Thuten Kesang
National Chairman