Commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the communist Chinese takeover of Eastern Turkestan
Candlelight vigil at Central Park Largo was well attended (about 30 people).
Diane Wolf, a local author provided some background information. Dennis Harrison, coordinator of the event and local peace advocate said a prayer and spoke about the people of Tibet. Jack Churchward, a local supporter also gave a short talk on the propaganda in the Florida Splendid China theme park and efforts underway to stop it. The vigil lasted about an hour.
In Brandon, at the premiere, leafleting commenced.
Leafleting starts at Tampa Bay area theatres.
Supporters gather to eat dinner and talk at a home of a member. After eating a hearty meal of Thukpa (Tibetan soup-Khampa style), Polla (Uighur rice dish), and mantou (steamed buns), supporters sat back in what little room was left and listened to Professor Norbu, Sung Li representing Taiwan and Ghulamettin Pahta from Eastern Turkestan. Professor Norbu remarked that the lies being perpetuated by the park is wrong. Tibet was an independent nation prior to the arrival of the Chinese. He also mentioned the efforts against the theme park are not just to help a few people, but will benefit millions. Rinpoche kept a smile on everyone's face as he gave his wonderful speech. Mr. Pahta was next and spoke to us about the tragedies of the Uighur people in Eastern Turkestan. How they were robbed of their homeland and have faced oppression and subjugation for the past 40 years left many in the room in tears.
Mr. Li from Ft. Lauderdale, told those assembled how once free, they were taken over by the Japanese, and later the Chinese occupation began under the Chiang Kai Chek and the KMT. He explained that all the material wealth of the island was removed to help the KMT win the civil war with the communists, and when the local people started to demonstrate, they were shot down in the streets. The date was 2/28/1947 and 30,000 Taiwanese were killed. He also mentioned that it wasn't about being anti-Chinese. As the people in attendance whose parents were Chinese and called themselves Taiwanese said, "we have a right to independence, as the people of Taiwan".
In commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the communist Chinese takeover of Eastern Turkestan, a protest demonstration was held at the main gate of Florida Splendid China in Kissimmee, Florida. The demonstration started a few minutes past the 10AM time announced, but the numbers of protesters made up for it.
At this demonstration, the Osceola Sheriffs Office (OSO) spoke to us in the parking lot before the demonstration and drove down Formosa Gardens Blvd. only once. As well, the normal EMT cart was not in evidence. We have it on good authority that due to financial considerations, the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) support was not longer available at the theme park. This department of the park which ensures timely assistance for injured visitors was closed. It should cause an independent observer to wonder what other shortcuts are being taken by Florida Splendid China that could have potentially harmful consequences to visitors.
The joyful march to the main gate showed off the colorful (and banned) flags of Tibet, Eastern Turkestan, Southern Mongolia. As well the US flag was flown and CACCP's own unique version of the PRC flag (with the stars removed that represent Mongols, Tibetans, and Eastern Turkestanis). In addition, there were banners and signs which read, "Free Inner Mongolia", "Free Tibet", "Stop the Nuclear Testing in Eastern Turkestan", and "Independence for Taiwan". Leading the procession down the sidewalk was Professor Thupten J. Norbu, followed by about eighty other demonstrators shouting and chanting, "China Out of Tibet", "Shame on China", "China Out of Eastern Turkestan", "Independence for Taiwan", and "Freedom for Southern Mongolia". The Eastern Turkestani community greatly supported the demonstration, Mr. Ghulamettin Pahta, Ablajan Baret, Tuerdi Hoja, and three other Uighurs were in attendance, having traveled from far away to attend. Our support among the Taiwanese community was also outstanding with many representing the local Taiwanese communities in Tampa Bay, Miami, and Orlando areas. I also wish to mention our core group of demonstrators also grew. Although not the largest demonstration held in front of the theme park, it certainly showed that the momentum has not slowed and that awareness about the park continues to increase.
The demonstration continued for two hours in front of the main gate at Florida Splendid China while the press continued to interview the guests and members of CACCP. The demonstrators noticed that only a few cars went into the park, even fewer stayed for more than 30 minutes (it was postulated that the ones that did stay were employees). At one point, the truck that transported the 'Big Cats' from Tiger's Eye Productions, paused for a few minutes at the main gate. The driver and attendant were asked why they had a bumper-sticker that said 'Save the Siberian Tiger", yet still kept them in small cages and drove them around to perform. One person asked if the cages were legally the proper size to transport these beautiful creatures, no response was given to these questions. About an hour into the demonstration, our friend in security, Clyde Still (who was recently promoted to Theft Prevention Manager), came out in his vehicle to talk with us. He wanted to ask if he could have another 'China Out of Tibet' bumper-sticker to replace the faded one on his bumper. It was unfortunate that one was not available. He thanked us for the book which he was given at a past protest, 'Seven Years in Tibet' and exchanged pleasantries for about 15 minutes. After he had gone back into the park, it was noticed that more security forces had assembled on the sidewalks leading into the park in their golf-carts. They were approached to offer them some literature, but angrily warned off the lone participant who reached out to them. The members of CACCP are grateful to have such a courteous relationship with both the OSO and security chief at the park. It is hopeful that the actions of a few park employees will not hinder our good relationships. It is certain that such actions will not slow down or stop our protests.
On the suggestion of our Taiwanese friends, the demonstration moved to US 192 and Formosa Gardens Blvd., where the enormous colored dragon sits. It was there that many people honked their horns in solidarity with us and some even stopped to chat with us. After the television media has finished taping and interviewing, the demonstrators concluded the demonstration and headed for the Formosa Gardens parking lot, where we were treated to 1000-year-old-eggs, fried rice, and buntou made by one of our gracious Taiwanese friends that morning.
The demonstration concluded with Professor Norbu saying a few words. He expressed his thanks for our efforts to inform the public about the distortions and lies about Tibet, Eastern Turkestan, and Southern Mongolia. He also told those assembled that this was an important cause and not just for the benefit of a few people, but would help millions of people under Chinese colonial rule.
Bod Rangzen !