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Taipei, Feb 14: Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan (HRNTT) held a “Cycling for a Free Tibet” event in Taipei on Wednesday ahead of the March 10 Uprising Day to raise public awareness of the Tibetan desire for freedom.

The event, which saw cyclists take to the streets of the capital, is being held to mark 65 years of Tibetan resistance against China’s occupation of their homeland and the Lhasa uprising that took place on March 10, 1959.

Tashi Tsering (札西慈仁), founder of the organization, said at a press conference outside the Legislative Yuan Wednesday that since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forced Tibet to sign the “Seventeen Point Agreement” in 1951, the Dalai Lama has been in exile and Tibetan children have been forced to leave their parents and been subjected to China’s brainwashing education.

Tsering added that the CCP even enacted laws to stipulate how “Rinpoche” — an honorific term in Tibetan that translates as “precious one” — are chosen to control and suppress Tibetan Buddhism. He noted that the CCP should not be able to decide who the 15th Dalai Lama is, as it is planning to.

Also at the event, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Puma Shen (沈伯洋) said China has been attacking Taiwan economically and diplomatically, and that the signing of the “peaceful treaty” with Tibet should pose as a warning to the country.

Given the situations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong, Taiwan has to defend against tyranny in any way necessary, Shen said, adding that he will continue to voice support for freedom, democracy, and human rights in parliament.

Sky Fung (馮詔天), chief secretary for Hong Kong Outlanders, said after Tibet was invaded by China, its religion, culture, and tradition were persecuted, and many of its people were forced to leave their homeland.

However, the Tibetan people have not given up believing their homeland can one day be free, Fung said, adding that as a Hong Kong citizen, he regretted not identifying China’s deception sooner and not doing more to stand up for Tibet.

Fung said people should not take freedom for granted, and that Taiwan could be China’s next target. He went on to say that everybody should come together in the fight for freedom and human rights.

Similar cycling events will also take place in Taipei on Feb. 21, Feb. 28, and March 6, as well as in Kaohsiung on March 2.

According to HRNTT’s Facebook page, the cyclists will gather at 9 a.m. on Feb. 21 and 28 and March 6 and begin from the 228 Peace Memorial Park, but the routes will be different each time.

It added that cyclists will meet at 1:30 p.m. on March. 2 at Exit 3 of the Kaohsiung MRT Cultural Center.

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