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Tibetans rise up with City Hall

by Lisa Provence
published 12:10pm Monday Mar 10, 2008
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More than 60 Tibetan refugees and their supporters gathered at City Hall this morning in support of Tibetan National Uprising Day, a commemoration that drew the ire of China, whose embassy emailed City Councilors, accused them of meddling in China’s internal affairs and urged them to reconsider flying the Tibetan flag. Charlottesville declined, and Mayor Dave Norris, left center, spoke on behalf of Tibetan independence.

Among the onlookers was former Councilor Rob Schilling.

“I don’t think the city has any business getting into this,” says Schilling. “I support Tibet, and I’m totally against oppressive China. But I think this should be done on private property.” He adds, “What flag are they going to fly next?”

Others, like last year’s City Council candidate Peter Kleeman, saw it as an opportunity to learn about the Tibetan community. City Councilor Satyendra Huja was pleased to see the event take place in front of the Free Speech Monument.

Speakers like Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee, left, from the Tashi Choeling Buddhist Center in Albemarle want to use the 2008 Olympics as an opportunity to pressure China and draw the world’s attention to Tibet’s plight of being invaded and occupied by its powerful neighbor. Dorjee was the fieriest speaker, even with his remarks translated from Tibetan.

He pointed to a flag with the Olympic symbol above a red field and compared it to the blood shed in Tiananmen Square when Chinese citizens sought greater freedom. “Free Tibet,” he shouted.

Organizer Tseyang, right, president of the Tibetan Association in Charlottesville, fled from Tibet with her family in 1963, and asked that her last name not be used because of fear of retribution against relatives still living in Tibet.

The United States flag fluttered on a table with small Tibetan flags. Much as Americans feel about their flag, “We Tibetans have the same feeling when we see [the Tibetan] flag,” said Tseyang in a choked voice.

A woman carrying a Tibetan flag wiped a tear from her eye.

  • Janie March 10th, 2008 | 1:02 pm

    I feel for the Tibetan people. I’m also against what China has done. I agree with Shilling. The City should focus on the unfinished/full plate they have. Others beside the govt. of cville are willing to take this cause on.

  • Rick March 10th, 2008 | 2:37 pm

    Wait until they start flying the Venezuelan flag in support of Hugo Chavez…it’s only a matter of time before the liberal kookburgers of Cville think of that.

  • theironsuperfly March 10th, 2008 | 3:43 pm

    Does the City of Charlottesville know that this will make them a laughing stock of the state of Virginia. I urge all residents of Charlottesville to vote the so called progressives out of office in the next city council election next year.

  • Cville Eye March 10th, 2008 | 4:08 pm

    “Others, like last year’s City Council candidate Peter Kleeman, saw it as an opportunity to learn about the Tibetan community.” Instead of City Council educating me about the Tibetan community, it would be a good idea if it took a course in Budgeting 101. I hope Ambassador Norris had Gary O’Connell outside with him where he could keep an eye on him; otherwise, O’Connell/Watts probably spent another $250,000 that the DP will have to find.

  • joeblowcville March 10th, 2008 | 4:25 pm

    Actually Charlottesville is being seen as progressive and I am proud of what City Council has done. If that is liberal then liberalize me. It costs no money, shows character and courage. Sorry that you don’t find those values worth striving for.

  • Cville Eye March 10th, 2008 | 4:32 pm

    If flying a flag is progressive or liberal, then China, Russia and Cuba are both liberal and progressive. That’s being far left, I think.

  • Cville Eye March 10th, 2008 | 4:34 pm

    Change “both” to “all” please.

  • Richard Meredith March 10th, 2008 | 4:59 pm

    Shilling had a good interview on this topic today. He interviewed Xin Shen from the Chinese Embassy.

    Audio is up at http://www.wina.com

  • Cville Eye March 10th, 2008 | 5:21 pm

    It was an extremely interesting interview.

  • Brigitte March 10th, 2008 | 7:24 pm

    Agree with Shilling

  • Ed in Greenbrier March 10th, 2008 | 8:55 pm

    Glad to see Rob Shilling standing up for the communists.

  • Publius March 11th, 2008 | 9:51 am

    Republicans love communists. They admire their hot totalitarian ways.

  • A cville minority March 11th, 2008 | 10:21 am

    There is a difference between standing up for the communists and DOING THE JOB YOU WERE HIRED TO DO. This is a private matter for which there are avenues available to have a peaceful demonstration. It is unethical for the council members to force their beliefs on the entire populace. There may be some Chinese rseidents in town who beg to differ. Suppose next year they demand equal representation…. oh thats right the council does not AGREE with their side so they get pushed away.

    Fix the potholes…

    Let PRIVATE groups demonstrate.

    Take a friggin class on government at Walker or Buford if you don’t get it…

  • Janie March 11th, 2008 | 10:53 am

    Minority-You certainly summed it all up here. AMEN!

  • Publius March 11th, 2008 | 11:54 am

    “Tibetan exiles and their supporters demonstrated in San Francisco; New Delhi; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Olympia, Greece, from where the Olympic flame is soon due to leave for Beijing.” (Christian Science Monitor)

    …and dear old Cville because a majority of us are not Republicans here. Take “a friggin class” on demographics if you don’t get it.

  • Janie March 11th, 2008 | 12:00 pm

    Hmmmm-I’m not a Republican. I always make up my own mind and consider/vote for the “person”.

  • Cville Eye March 11th, 2008 | 12:01 pm

    Publius, is your point that, in Charlottesville, non-Republicans are monkey-see-monkey-doers? Where on Earth is there a class on demographics or is it that you don’t understand the meaning of the word? Snippy, snippy.

  • Publius March 11th, 2008 | 12:04 pm

    My point is, we run this town. If you don’t like it, too bad. Sucks to be in the minority, doesn’t it?

  • Cville Eye March 11th, 2008 | 12:21 pm

    Publius, it feels good not to have the dog mentality of having to be in a pack in order to validate an opinion. Who are “we?” Are you a member of Gary O’Connell’s staff?

  • Cville Eye March 11th, 2008 | 12:21 pm

    Did Obama or Clinton attend a rally yesterday?

  • Cville Eye March 11th, 2008 | 12:33 pm

    Publius, thinking again about that silly “minority” comment: the media reported that about 60 people out of 125,000+ people in Albemarle and Charlottesville marched yesterday. This represents a majority of what? Perhpas you are the one that needs a class in demographics, if you can find one.

  • Janie March 11th, 2008 | 12:34 pm

    Publius-What a pathetic/insecure and egotistic come-back on your part. Are you saying the govt. officials-city shouldn’t recognize or respect the views of another opinion, this issue? This is not govt. according to Jeffersonian principles.

  • A cville minority March 11th, 2008 | 3:12 pm

    The majority does not rule. The majority sets the rules within the framework of the Constitution. This point is important. The Council does not have the RIGHT or POWER to speak for ME. Suppose the Council were able to get a majority vote to support the KKK, do you think that would be ok? I say again what about the rights of the chinese residents wwho disagree with tibets version of events? Right or wrong they are being lumped in by their address as supporting one governemnt over another.

    Fix the Potholes and Schools. The Council office is not a bully pulpit for your liberal agenda.

  • Janie March 11th, 2008 | 4:24 pm

    Amen Minority! God bless you too!

  • twoside sam March 11th, 2008 | 6:31 pm

    There are two sides to every story….

    From wikepedia:
    In 2005, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s offered to hold talks with the 14th Dalai Lama on the Tibet issue, provided he dropped the demand for independence. The Dalai Lama said in an interview with the South China Morning Post “We are willing to be part of the People’s Republic of China, to have it govern and guarantee to preserve our Tibetan culture, spirituality and our environment.” A statement that was seen as a renewed diplomatic offensive by the Tibetan government-in-exile. He had already said he would accept Chinese sovereignty over Tibet but insisted on real autonomy over its religious and cultural life. Tibetan government-in-exile, called on the Chinese government to respond.[87] The move was seen to be unpopular with many Tibetans in exile.[87]

    In January 2007 the Dalai Lama, in an interview on a private television channel, said “What we demand from the Chinese authority is more autonomy for Tibetans to protect their culture.” He added that he had told the Tibetan people not to think in terms of history and to accept Tibet as a part of China.[88]



  • Cville Eye March 11th, 2008 | 7:17 pm

    twoside sam, thanks for the input. The complexities of foreign policy are best sorted out by a full branch of the federal government that is dedicated to these problems. Others will often find themselves becoming unwitting pawns.

  • John Gault March 12th, 2008 | 8:34 am

    If you want to learn about Tibet check this out:


    Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth

    by Dr. Michael Parenti

  • Sick Of The Local Rambos March 12th, 2008 | 10:39 am

    China now has Charlottesville in their sights. And they have missiles capable of reaching us. :)



  • Jim March 13th, 2008 | 12:20 am

    Quid pro quo I say. Hopefully Tibetans will now send money to Dave Norris and company so the potholes that jolt my car on a daily basis can be filled.

  • Jim March 13th, 2008 | 12:44 am

    I wonder what Chinese Communists would think of a mayor that is not elected by popular vote?

  • gompo March 14th, 2008 | 11:02 am

    can u put more photo,please so i can show it to my friend and teacher, have a nice day and good luck

  • John Gault March 15th, 2008 | 8:47 am

    Ted Rall has something to say about this:


    Then came 9/11. The Bush Administration, seeking to avert a Chinese veto of its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the U.N. security council, drafted China into its “war on terrorism” by granting it a free pass to beat up its Tibetans and Uyghurs.

  • [...] to host the 2008 Olympics in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes, we should mention that local Tibetans are having a prayer vigil for Chinese earthquake victims Friday night between 8 and 10 on the [...]

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