SFT activists are seen holding a banner saying "Tibet with Hong Kong," and "No China Extradition", in Dharamshala, India, on June 21, 2019. Photo: TPI/Shivam Chhaparia

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Dharamshala, India — Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) India works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence, organised a solidarity campaign or action for Hong Kong at the main market area of Mcleodganj.

SFT is a global grassroots network of students and activists working in solidarity with the people of Tibet, uses education, advocacy, and nonviolent direct action with the goal of achieving Tibetan independence.

A number of Tibetan students representing Student for Free Tibet (SFT) organised a solidarity action in Dharamshala, India, June 21, 2019, to show their support for the recent protests in Hong Kong. Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than a week now against the extradition law that enables suspects to be extradited to China to face trial. The protests are expected to continue until the Hong Kong government accepts the demand of people of Hong Kong and Chief Executive Carrie Lam steps down from her position.

SFT unfurled huge banners to show their support towards the movement. They also distributed pamphlets to raise awareness among the tourist and people present regarding the present situation in Hong Kong.

SFT Campaigns Director Gyaltsen was present at the event and answered some of our questions:-

Q1) The protests in Hong Kong have continued despite the Hong Kong government suspending the bill and issuing a formal apology to the public. The protest is likely to continue until Carrie Lam steps down from her post. Do you see that happening?

A1) It depends on Xi Jinping and the Chinese government mostly. If China continues to back her it is going to be very difficult. But the spirit of the young generation that we have seen through this movement, I think in the end she would have to resign.

Q2) The recent protests have coincided with the release of Democratic activist Joshua Wong. What do you think his role is in this movement?

A2) He is one of the strong leaders right now in Hong Kong. Initially, he was in jail but he was released recently. Once he was released the demands of the protesters have also changed for the better. He is the only one who has brought up the resignation of Carrie Lam.

Q3) The Chinese media have repeatedly reported that the protest in Hong Kong is the work of ‘foreign forces’. Do you see any sense in this?

A3) I don’t think that’s the case. It’s a completely baseless claim. Almost 2 million people are out on the streets. This means that the people of Hong Kong have their own voice. If there was foreign force s involved I don’t think this many people would turn up.

Q4) Why have you organised this solidarity action?

A4) We are here today to show that we support the people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Tibet are very similar and are fighting against a similar foe. So to show them solidarity and to channelise our aspirations and anger altogether strengthens both countries freedom movement. SFT for almost five years since the Umbrella movement has been in touch with some of the democratic leaders of Hong Kong. We have also attended a conference in New York with them and we have been really good friends too. So it is important for SFT specifically to do such kind of support actions.

Q5) What do you have to say about the fate of Hong Kong when the lease agreement between China and the Britishers expires in 2047?

A5) Personally I feel that if China stays a communist country where freedom is restricted in every sphere of life then freedom for Hong Kong is a must. It is really important for the people of Hong Kong to fight for democracy and freedom if the autocratic nature of the Chinese government remains even after 2047.

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