Words: Kinley Tshering and Gaurav Kumar

Dechen Palden, 28, is a businessman like many other Tibetans living at Majnu Katila in Delhi. He follows his usual routine everyday except that for the last few months, he had been closing shop before time. In the evenings he leaves for Jantar Mantar where his brethrens are protesting against Chinese occupation of their homeland.

“We are not yet deterred and we are still protesting,” said Dechen Palden. “Starting from August 2 we will be fiercely campaigning until the Olympics starts.”

The Beijing Olympics is only about 10 days away, but the protests and politics over the Games continue. Despite China’s several attempts at quelling the global protests over its alleged human rights abuse, the protracted China-Tibet issue is surfacing again.

At the international front, the US presidential candidate John McCain, who met the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on July 25, said that the Olympic Games in August provide an opportunity for China to demonstrate that it recognizes human rights.

Shouting anti-China slogans and calling for international community to interfere, the Tibetans are demanding a peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue. Tibetan protesters also think that Olympics is an opportunity to internationalise the Chinese suppression in Tibet.

“This (protest) will continue,” said Gyari Thukten, a member of parliament of the Tibetan government in exile. “Emotions are at its height. As a government we are trying to calm down the people. But with the Chinese suppression going on, Tibetans will not stop.” Tibetans across the globe as far as Africa are protesting against China’s oppressive regime, said Thukten.

Unofficial reports suggest about 100 pro-independence protestors were killed in Lhasa during the protests. The Chinese government has however played it down. The Chinese has claimed that only 13 or so Tibetan protestors were killed in the mishap.

“The Chinese are lying. They are trying to hide their faults,” said Rinchen Norzom, the president of Regional Association of Tibetan women in Delhi. “They are blaming the Dalai Lama. What is happening in Tibet is a gross abuse of human rights.”

Chenga Tshering, a Tibetan in Delhi feels that the world should boycott the Olympics although the Dalai Lama said that China should not be denied the opportunity to host the Olympics.

“Why should China, a country which has violated human rights unabashedly, be given the honour to host the Olympics?” asked a Tibetan student, who refused to be named. “We are urging the world to rethink this decision.”

Meanwhile the Chinese government seems to have stepped up measures to up its image before the Olympics. Three Beijing parks have also been designated as areas for demonstration during the Olympics according to recent media reports. The step was taken because International Olympic Committee Charter prohibits demonstration at the Olympic venues or sites.