Local Tibetan man fears for his family

Tim wieclawski/metro ottawa


Pema Namjyar, 30, a developmental services worker in Ottawa, has not spoken to his parents in Tibet since anti-Chinese demonstrations began last Monday.

It’s been six days since Pema Namjyar has spoken to his parents, and he is worried.

As rioting spread throughout Tibet yesterday, Namjyar’s parents, brother and five sisters remained locked down in the capital city of Lhasa. Namjyar, who left Tibet four years ago to come to Ottawa as a personal support worker, said he has been phoning frequently but the line is disconnected.

Late Saturday, he spoke with his brother on a cellphone. The entire city had been locked inside their homes for two days, his brother told him. He was unable to check on the rest of the family.

Namjyar said the military is at every corner, and people living in the same building cannot even speak with each other.

There was a good chance their phone call was monitored, he feared.

Anti-riot troops locked down the remote Himalayan city and barred foreign journalists without permission to prevent a repeat of Friday’s violence, the most serious in nearly two decades. Exiled representatives said 80 people had been killed.

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said the Tibetan nation was in serious danger and called for an investigation into what he called cultural genocide in his homeland.

Namjyar said his brother described it as "two days of chaos."

"Every Tibetan was out on the street," he said. "I have seen news stories that said it was just a small group, but they said the whole city was involved in this movement."

A candlelight vigil will be held on Tuesday at the Human Rights Memorial beginning at 7 p.m. Coincidentally, the monument was unveiled by the Dalai Lama in 1990.



  • Protests started in Tibet last Monday to mark the anniversary of an unsuccessful uprising.

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