Tibetans In New Zealand Use Prayer Instead Of Protests & Demonstrations

Digital Journal, June 6, 2008

Auckland, New Zealand -- New Zealand’s Tibetan exiles are doing something new against Chinese rule. Instead of protesting, the Tibetan exiles are using prayer.

Ever since March on the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against China, Tibetan exiles in India and Nepal have marched and demonstrated in protest against Chinese rule. It had also marked the start of exile for Tibet’s leader, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama lives in exile in northern India.

Protests throughout Tibet were violently crushed by Chinese troops. China’s brutal crackdown on the protests brought international condemnation. But, China had remained defiant to international criticisms. This issue would be one that would affect China as it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics this coming August.

In New Zealand, Tibetan exiles are going towards another path. Instead of protests that get violent, the exiles are using prayer. Recently, China was rocked to the core by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake.

The Tibetan Buddhists of Auckland, New Zealand, have instead raised funds and offered their prayers towards the victims of the China’s earthquake.

“People have lost their homes, loved ones and lives, and we cannot let politics get in the way of basic human compassion,” said Geshe Thupten Wangchen, one of the Tibetan monks in Auckland. He added: “They have some problems with the Chinese Government, but we have no issues with the Chinese people, who we feel very close to.”

One member of the temple said that politics need to be put aside. She said that as Buddhists, the ethical thing needs to be done. To them, it is to help the victims of the China earthquake.

But, the Tibetan exiles in New Zealand are the only ones that are using prayer. The Tibetan exiles in Nepal have continued to demonstrate.

The monks and nuns in New Zealand plan to head to Sydney, Australia, where the Dalai Lama will be talking. So far, Australia’s government had to increase security out of fear of protests and violence at the hands of pro-Chinese students. They are also preparing against the Dorje Shugden, a Buddhist group denounced by the Lama.

But, the Tibetans in New Zealand have walked the path of offering prayers instead of protests.