Tibetan exiles protest China's occupation of Tibet

( dpa )- Hundreds of Tibetan exiles marched through Taipei on Sunday to mark the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against China's occupation of Tibet and to demand independence for Tibet.

Holding portraits of the Dalai Lama and waving the Tibetan flag, the Tibetans marched through the centre of Taipei, shouting "Tibet Belongs to Tibetans!" "China Get out of Tibet!" and "Boycott Beijing Olympics!"

The march, organized by the Friends of Tibet, marks the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against China's invasion of Tibet on March 10, 1959. The uprising failed, causing the Dalai Lama to flee to India to set up his government-in-exile.

The protests, which are being held in many countries throughout the world, are intended to put pressure on China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama on the future of Tibet.

"Since China's 1959 invasion, China has done nothing to improve the lives of Tibetans and some 1.5 million Tibetans have died," Gonga Tsegyam , director of the Dalai Lama's office in Taipei, said before the start of the march.

"As China has driving Tibet to the edge of extinction, we want to use this opportunity to call the world's attention to the Tibet issue and to demand China re-open dialogue with the Dalai Lama," he noted.

In recent years, the Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, has compromised on the demands for Tibetan indepedence , asking only for autonomy for Tibet, so that Tibetan culture can be preserved.

But China has continued to label him a separtist and is waiting for him to die in exile so that Beijing can name his reincarnation inside China and use the new Dalai Lama as its puppet in ruling Tibet.

The Dalai Lama's compromise has angered young Tibetan exiles who are threatening to return to Tibet and take up arms against China.

Dozens of foreigners took part the in anti-China march in Taipei. David Reid, a student from Australia, said he thinks the Dalai Lama is being too conciliatory towards the Chinese Communists.

"The only solution for the Tibet issue is a change of government in China," he said.

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