Dharamsala, Dec 2 IANS | 2 years ago

A Tibetan refugee cycled through 15 countries of Europe and Asia and reached this Himalayan town's suburb McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh where Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been residing for over half a century.

"The cycling helps me draw the attention of the world to the cause of Tibet," Rinpo Yak told IANS Monday.

He embarked on the cycling expedition from Brussels March 10. Since then, he has been cycling away for eight months.

Cycling through Belgium, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Nepal, Yak, who is based in Minneapolis in the US, finally reached McLeodganj Saturday to a warm welcome from his community.

"During my journey I met a host of parliamentarians, Tibet supporters and human rights activists. I tried to highlight China's atrocities and let the world know the aspirations of those taking recourse to self-immolation in Tibet," he said.

Yak, who wants to see his homeland free from Chinese occupation, said: "It's (the cycling is) a way of peaceful protest against repression, and of course a unique way to focus on the aspirations of Tibetan people, who were born and brought up in exile."

Tibetan parliament-in-exile speaker Penpa Tsering met the cyclist and applauded his efforts to raise awareness against China's atrocities, a Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) statement said.

Tsering urged the Tibetans to draw inspiration from his initiative and determination to do something for the Tibetan cause.

The speaker also highlighted the contributions of other Tibetan individuals who have carried out similar campaigns for the Tibetan cause. He stressed that Tibetan unity is the most important factor that will determine the success of the Tibetan movement.

In Nepal, he met the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the US ambassador in Kathmandu.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

The Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern Indian hill town, but is not recognised by any country.

(Posted on 02-12-2013)