“March 10, 2014, marks the 55th anniversary of 1959 National Uprising against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet, when H.H. the Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile. It also marks the 6 year anniversary since wide spread protests against Chinese rule swept Tibet in 2008.” ~ This quote is taken from a handout I received on Monday during the annual Tibetan National Uprising Day rally in Toronto, Canada.
Back in October 2008, I traveled to Tibet on a flight from Kathmandu, Nepal, stayed there for 7 days and traveled overland back to Nepal. It was an extremely memorable experience for me. The natural landscape was stunning while surveying the remnants of old Tibet broke my heart.The days prior to our arrival in Tibet were tense, the approval of our travel visas were delayed and our tour guide had to be resourceful for an extra couple of days in Nepal. Understandably, earlier in 2008 the border to Tibet were closed. We heard a few tour groups in October were refused entry completely. Hearing that, our delayed entry was considered fortunate. However, as it was the last week of October, many places expected the tourist season to have ended for 2008. A few monasteries were locked and our tour guide had to search for the authorities and monks to unlock the temple doors.
As cold as it was, watching snow fall inside Tibet gave me a very different experience despite my multiple years of snow in Canada. Snow on the stark landscape in Tibet softened the visual experience. I wondered what Tibet would be like now, if China never crossed the border in the 1950’s.
FACT – 3 things not allowed within Tibet: carrying a photo of H.H. the Dalai Lama, flying Tibet flag and voicing opinion against the Chinese government.
FACT – My parents were born in mainland China, they fled to Hong Kong to escape communism. I was born in Hong Kong, while it was under the rule of the British monarchy. When I was 10, we immigrated to Canada.
I am very fortunate and grateful that I have only known freedom of speech, democracy and human rights. I wish people all over the world can experience this freedom.
Travel has allowed me to see life from a different perspective. Sometimes life is more harsh than I can ever imagine.