The Tibet Bureau News
What China is doing in Tibet is shameful - Italian Mayor
The Tibet Bureau, Geneva - 25 July 2008
“What China is doing in Tibet is shameful and we must
express our solidarity with the Tibetans,” said Mayor Achille
Variati of Italian City of Vicenza. The Mayor officially
received Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai
Lama in Geneva in Vicenza City Hall on 24 July.
While speaking to the media, the Mayor said even though Tibet
today was under Chinese occupation, yet Mr. Chhoekyapa
represents a people with a very ancient culture and tradition.
He said it was a great honour to receive His Holiness the Dalai
The reception was also attended by Mrs. Elena Donazzan, the
head of the Veneto Region. In her address, she said that as
politicians, she and the Mayor differed on various issues.
However, on the issue of Tibet, they were united.
Mayor Variati at the press conference said that in act of
solidarity with the Tibetan people, the city of Vicenza and
Veneto Region would fly the Tibetan National flag in the City
Hall on 8 August. He asked the citizens of Vicenza and Veneto
Region to fly the Tibetan National flag or light a candle to
express solidarity with the Tibetan people on 8 August.
Mr. Chhoekyapa said that the situation in Tibet was very
tragic and tense. Over 200 Tibetans have been killed and over
6000 arrested by the Chinese security forces in response to
peaceful demonstrations by Tibetans since March 2008 against
Chinese rule in Tibet. He said, despite this heartbreaking
situation in Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not calling
for Tibetan independence but for a genuine autonomy for the
Tibetan people so that the Tibet’s religion, culture, tradition
and language is preserved before it is too late.
During a visit to the Vicenza Provincial government office,
the Mayor’s representative presented Mr. Chhoekyapa a copy of
the Tibet resolution passed by the Provincial Legislative
Council on 27 December 2002 to host the Tibetan National flag in
the legislative building until the Tibetan issue is resolved.
During the three days visit to the Vicenza region, there was
good local media coverage both in newspapers and TV. The
Vicenza’s largest newspaper had a
one full page
interview with Mr. Chhoekyapa.
At a simple reception in the Lonigo Town Hall on 23 July, the
Mayor presented Mr. Chhoekyapa a placate with the following
citation – “With gratitude and solidarity with the Tibetan
people, that it will not lose its identity.” The Mayor said that
the Lonigo town council had passed a resolution to host the
Tibetan National flag in its building until the Tibetan issue
On 24 July evening, a Tibetan cultural evening was organized
in Lonigo town by Mrs. Sonam Dolkar Yongschar, the only Tibetan
living in the region. Mrs Yongschar was born in Nepal soon after
her parents escaped from Tibet. She was first admitted to the
Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala and later sent with a
group of Tibetans for education in Switzerland.
The event was held in Lonigo’s town square front of the
Mayor’s office. A special stage was decorated with Tibetan
national flags and Lungta, the Tibetan prayer flags spanning the
The local celebrity journalist Mr. Claudio Tessarolo, who
travelled to Tibet, Nepal and India, gave a very moving
introduction to Tibet. Mr. Chhoekyapa spoke in Tibetan about the
situation in Tibet which was translated into Italian by Mrs.
Yongschar. “Tibet, the cry of a people” documentary was screened.
Despite the summer holiday, over 500 people gathered in the
town square for the Tibetan cultural evening which started at
9pm and finished at 11.30pm. The audience gave a standing
ovation at the end of Mr. Chhoekyapa’s talk. Then the town
square went dark. Suddenly each individual present in the town
square lit a candle as a symbol of solidarity with the Tibetan