Saturday, June 07, 2008

QC Alumnus Raises Awareness of Tibet

The Knight News
May 8, 2008 Volume 13 Issue 12
Queens College's Official Award-Winning Student Newspaper Since 1937
QC Alumnus Raises Awareness of Tibet
By Herman Araya
Staff Writer

While protesters around the world denounce China'shosting of the 2008 Olympic games, one Queens College alumnus has helped bring a New York City Council resolution into the furor.

Thomas Weiss, 65, a Staten Island resident, who graduated from Queens College in 1965, personally lobbied Councilman Tony Avella, who is a mayoral candidate, to sponsor resolution #1299 before its introduction on March 12.

Besides advocating for this resolution, Weiss also arranged a meeting with the Board of Directors of the U.S. Tibet Committee.

Avella publicly thanked Weiss for "getting me involved" during a rally held on March 10 - the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising. Footage is available in a YouTube video that can be seen at

The resolution calls "for the removal of the 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing" and makes reference to"acts of genocide" committed by the Chinese government. More strongly, however, the resolution calls "upon all American businesses and corporations who have their headquarters in New York City or do business in New York City to review their financial dealings with China to ensure compliance with international human rights standards and to withdraw sponsorship or support of the 2008 Olympic Games if they are held in China."

"It was my idea," said Weiss, who believed "going after the Olympic Games" was a very productive way ofraising awareness of the "acts of genocide" in Tibet, as it has been called by the International Commission of Jurists.

Weiss' passion over the issue of Tibet "goes back to my childhood," says Weiss. His mother was friends with Heinrich Harrer, the author of "Seven Years in Tibet." Weiss can recall her reading parts of the book and showing him pictures of the Dalai Lama - things that made him interested in Tibet.

It was when he worked with the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) that he learned of "an actual genocide situation," he says. "People don't know that it's a genocide," he says.

Weiss ran as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006. In a previous article, which discussed his candidacy, he said, "Tibet is the quiet genocide." Weiss once worked as a social worker at Queens Hospital Center.

Weiss is the publisher of UP FRONT News, available online at He is also a member of the First Central Baptist Church in Staten Island, whose pastor is the Rev. Demetrius Carolina.

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