Mao's Empire State Building?

Posted on 08. Dec, 2009 by in Uncategorized

IMG_1467Protesters yelled outside of the Empire State Building while plans to honor the People’s Republic of China took place inside.

“No to China’s empire, free Tibet now!” protesters shouted as tourists walked on Fifth Avenue near 34th street Wednesday morning.

Inside, consul general of the PRC, Peng Keyu, thanked the United States for their help with China’s development.

He said the planned lighting represented the friendship between the two countries.

“Let us work together to a brighter future,” Keyu said in the lobby of the building.  Then he pulled a lever that lit up a glass-cased replica building in the red and yellow Chinese colors.

The consul general took questions only from the Chinese media.

On the sidewalk, among protest signs and waving Tibetan flags, Tenzin Dorjee wasn’t celebrating.

Dorjee, 29, deputy director of Students for a Free Tibet said,  “We are completely opposed to the idea, you know, that this landmark of New York City, which represents freedom and democracy, is being bought over, is being dedicated to celebrate what, to us, is really 60 years of torture, 60 years of suffering, oppression and brutality.”

His organization works with Tibetans to provide freedom from oppression through non-violent protesting.

Dorjee said today marks the 60th anniversary of the Chinese invasion of Tibet, and that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed.

Sharon Hom stood outside amidst the chanting and signs, talking to various people. Hom, executive director of advocacy organization Human Rights in China, said they have an office in the building.

“They didn’t let us know until yesterday,” she said, upset that they weren’t consulted about the event.  The HRIC works for international human rights and works to protect these rights in China.

“To light the building, its kind of like a red star over the Empire State Building,” she said.  She said she didn’t think that there was anything wrong with noting the milestone, but believed that the human rights issue wasn’t being addressed.

“We have to be clear that this 60 years has also been marked with massive human rights abuses, and that’s continuing today,” citing attacks on lawyers, journalists, and anyone investigating the issue.

New York Film Academy student Felicia Lang held a sign that read “10/1/09 ESB Lights for China.”

As part of the Students for a Free Tibet, Lang and fellow protesters were outside the building at 9 a.m. making posters and shouting.

Lang, who recently moved from India to New York, said she knew people who came to India because they didn’t support Communism.

“By leaving, they can’t go back in. How would you feel if you couldn’t go back to your motherland?”

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