Tibetans Begin Trek Home to Protest China Policies

Thousands bid farewell to marchers as they leave Dharamsala
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2008 3:30 AM CDT
Tibetans living in Taiwan and Taiwanese supporters protest against human rights violations by Chinese in Tibet, Sunday, March 9, 2008, in Taipei. The Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959 following...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Cheering thousands bid farewell to more than 100 Tibetan exiles as they began a trek today from India back to their homeland to protest China's rule over Tibet.  "Everybody is pumped up," said one marcher. "Many people were in tears as they said goodbye."  Organizers hope to capitalize on increased international scrutiny of China in advance of the Beijing Olympics in the latest push for Tibetan independence. 

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's escape from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese. The Dalai Lama encouraged the international community to  "explore ways of investing their collective energies in producing a continuous positive change in China even after the Olympics." It's not clear what will happen when the marchers attempt to cross into China. "When we get to the border we will face the Chinese," said a marcher.