At just 13 years of age, Migmer* was imprisoned in Tibet for protesting against the Chinese Government. Annalise Vogel spoke to the ACU nursing student about why the western world needs to wise up.
“I was born in Tibet. When I was 13 years old, I went with some friends to protest against the lack of human rights in Tibet, and to try and show the people of the world our issues.
We went to Laso Pago, and protested for only 15 minutes. We held signs that said “free Tibet; we want human rights; we want his Holiness to come back to Tibet; and Chinese Government go back to your own country, we want ours back.”
Because of these slogans, they put us into jail.
I was kept in jail for a year and eight months. In the world there is a law for children’s human rights – which says you can’t sentence children under 18 years old. The Chinese Government took no notice of this. I was jailed with older people, and tortured the same as older people – with electric shocks, punching, kicking – everything the same.
When I was released, we did some more protesting and some of my friends were put back into jail. I had to decide what I was going to do. I hadn’t told any of my family that I was protesting again except one of my brothers. I told him that I had a problem, that I might be in trouble again, and he told me I should hide for a little while or try and escape to India. I was scared of the Chinese Government finding out so I decided to try India.
We escaped by night because we didn’t have passports to show. I met the people I was escaping with that night for the first time. We went by car for a little bit, and then we walked. We went through mountains and rivers. We didn’t know if we would die on the way. We didn’t know, we just went.
When I arrived in Nepal, I felt safer because the government would look after us and help us get to India. Because we had been in jail, we had a lot of health problems which had to be treated in hospital - I had been sick for a long time. They told me I didn’t have to worry about going to India straight away. I could relax and get better in Nepal because it’s a free country. I stayed for six weeks, and then we were sent to New Delhi, before going on to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh where his Holiness [the Dalai Lama] lives.
After a while, I got the opportunity to come to Australia on a refugee or humanitarian visa, and I have been here five years now.
When I was in Tibet, I didn’t have any opportunity to do anything. So when I have a big opportunity to do some study in Australia, I choose nursing.
I want to be a nurse so that I can help other people. When I get my degree I would like to join the Red Cross and help my country.
I want my country out of the hands of the Chinese Government. We are all humans, and we all need the same equal opportunities and the same equal rights. In Tibet and many other countries around the world, there are no human rights, which is so sad.
It’s the 21st century, so everyone needs to help with these issues, talk about these issues, and you know, wise up to what is going on.”
*not her real name
To help students like Migmer, contribute to the ACU Student Aid Fund. www.acu.edu.au/giving