Saturday, August 14, 2010

Modern day warrior

In 2002, Tenzin Tsundue climbed the scaffolding of the Mumbai building where Chinese premier Zhu Rongji was staying during his state visit. Tsundue carried a banner that read “Free Tibet: China, Get Out” and shouted slogans even as the police were carrying him out. He repeated the performance in 2005 when Chinese premier Wen Jiabao was addressing a conference at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, standing on the balcony of the 200ft-high tower with a red banner that read “Free Tibet”. This time the police were not as prompt. “I knew they would have to arrest me and I only wish they’d done it sooner,” says Tsundue, flashing a rare smile. The young Tibetan activist had hidden himself in the balcony overnight—and stayed there without food or water—because it would have been difficult to get past security on the day of the official visit.

In a 2006 essay published in The Guardian, Tsundue wrote, “We Tibetans have no political strings to pull, no money power or crude oil: but we are willing to sacrifice everything for a free Tibet.” He is acutely aware of the meagre resources he has on call. And for him, the media is the main weapon to amplify his activism. Of this, he talks in frank terms. “Why would the media cover a small guy like me shouting ‘Free Tibet’ on the streets? I have to find ways to make my protests stunning.” So, in his words, he “borrowed” the Chinese premier’s media. Every big media house had representatives stationed to cover Rongji’s visit. All of that got diverted to Tsundue’s high-wire stunt.

Full report here Mint

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