By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, March 10: Thousands of Tibetans and supporters in Dharamsala today gathered at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-khang, the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala to observe the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959 and pay tribute to those who lost their lives when Chinese troops crushed that uprising in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital as well as all those Tibetans who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet.
This year’s official anniversary function was attended by among others, Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol as the Chief Guest, a delegation team from South Tyrol, a delegation from French senate led by Senator Michel Raison and Andre Gattolin, President of Tibet Group in the French senate, members of Tibetan election observation team and representatives of the three pillars of the Tibetan democracy as well as members of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people and the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile, Achraya Yeshi Phuntsok read statements of the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament respectively.
Sikyong Sangay called on the Chinese authorities to review its wrong policies in Tibet and further urged the Chinese leadership to engage in dialogue with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“Given the international condemnation of China’s Tibet policies, we once again call on the Chinese leadership to review its wrong policies in Tibet and revisit liberal policies initiated by Hu Yaobang on the Tibetan people.
Ultimately the Tibet issue can be best resolved by adhering to the win-win proposition of the ‘Middle Way Approach’ and resuming dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as reiterated by the US Government and European Parliament,” Sikyong Sangay said.
Sikyong Sangay released a book titled, ‘Tibet and Tibetan People’s Struggle’, a compilation of March 10 statements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from 1961 – 2011 at the function.
Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol and the Chief Guest at the function, urged the Tibetan people to be farsighted and assured that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Even though it doesn’t look like a solution is around the corner at the moment, you have to stick to your struggle because your cause is a just cause. I am sure, in the end you will prevail,” the President of South Tyrol said.
Achraya Yeshi Phuntsok, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, in his address relayed the same sentiment and urged the Chinese government to enter into a peaceful Sino-Tibetan negotiation on the issue of Tibet.
“So long as the government of China does not change its hard line policies on the Sino-Tibetan political issue, the contradictions between the government of China and the people of Tibet will only worsen and the international community’s perception of the government of China will also become considerably more negative. Naturally it will become impossible for the government of China to be ever viewed with respect by others. It is up to China alone to decide whether the Sino-Tibetan dispute should be settled. Hence, we take this opportunity to remind the current Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping of the need to open talks on the basis of the middle way approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and give consideration to making efforts to implement in Tibet a policy of meaningful autonomy in governance,” Achraya Yeshi Phuntsok said.
Following the official anniversary function, five Tibetan NGOs – Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet and National Democratic Party for Tibet jointly led the peace march from the main temple in McLeod Ganj to Kacheri in lower Dharamsala to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.