Toronto a Haven for Tibetan Refugees

February 22, 2004

Source: Toronto Star

On February 22, 2004 the Toronto Star reported, "Tibetans have found the city [Toronto] to be a haven. The population of exiles here has exploded, with a tenfold increase in the last five years, community leaders estimate. About 3,000 Tibetans live here, many in Parkdale...It's a community with a history of suffering. Everyone has a story, if not of their escape from Tibet after the Chinese army's occupation, which began in 1951, than of the flight of their parents or grandparents. Chinese leader Mao Zedong offered little choice: 'Welcome the peaceful liberation or face armed liberation'...In Canada, they say, they have a future as citizens and the freedom to lobby politically on Tibet's behalf. 'Even after 44 years in Nepal, I was not a citizen, I had no passport,' says Dhondup, who has lived here for less than two years. 'I have been my whole life a refugee. My children could not be citizens of Nepal unless their father was a citizen. What would my children be? Here in Canada, citizenship in three years. Forty-four years — nothing done. We have come for the children.'"