Tibetans in Dharamsala mark 63rd anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day

DHARAMSALA, 10 March: “We are ready to engage in discussion to seek a lasting solution based on equality, friendship and mutual benefit,” the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Penpa Tsering said as he reiterated the administration’s “hopes to find a mutually-agreeable solution to Tibet’s future status through dialogue based on the Middle-Way Approach, and particularly, by urging the Chinese government to correct its wrong policies.”

The political head of the Tibetan people made the remarks before Tibetans and supporters gathered at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-Khang, the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, here today to observe the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising day.

Honourable Jiri Oberfalzer, the Vice President of the Czech Senate and Amarendra Dhari Singh, a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India attended the official anniversary function as the Chief Guest and Special Guest respectively along with the representatives of the three pillars of the Tibetan democracy as well as members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and officials of the CTA.

“Sixty-three years ago, on this day in 1959, Tibetans in Lhasa rose in peaceful protest against the Chinese government’s occupation of Tibet,” he said and added that  “We pay tribute to the brave men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their lives for our spiritual and political cause, and stand in solidarity with the Tibetans who continue to suffer great oppression in Tibet.”

The CTA President added that: “until the Sino-Tibetan conflict is resolved, as the free spokespersons of our brethren in Tibet, we will make every effort to use result-oriented means to bring the ongoing Chinese government’s repression and extermination of Tibetan identity to the attention of world’s parliaments, governments, think tanks and the media through the voluntary Tibetan advocacy campaign and other means.”

Applauding the Tibetans inside Tibet for their “unwavering determination and courage to preserve their religion, culture, language, and protect the natural environment” despite China’s repression, he described “the spirit” of Tibetans inside Tibet as the “backbone of our determination” and called on the Tibetans in exile to redouble their efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and identity.

Further, he urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who is scheduled to visit East Turkistan in May to visit Tibet as well.

“As Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is scheduled to visit Xinjiang in May, we urge the High Commissioner to also visit Tibet.”

Expressing solidarity of the Tibetan people with the Ukrainians facing the invasion from Russia, he added: “We also mark this day under the shadow of war triggered by the invasion of Ukraine. We express our prayers for those who lost their lives and those injured in this conflict, and stand in solidarity with over 2 million Ukrainian refugees.”

 Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel declared the Tibetan National uprising day as Martyr’s Day and offered the parliament’s “obeisance as well as prayers with heartfelt remembrance for the patriotic men and women of Tibet who with courage and determination have thus far sacrificed their all, including their invaluable life, for the greater good of the common Tibetan cause.”  

He further expressed concern about the Tibetans inside Tibet who he says, “to this day continue to suffer persecution under the oppressive rule of the government of China.” 

Both the Tibetan leaders reiterated the Tibetan administration’s firm stand and commitment to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through the ‘Middle Way Approach’; urged the Chinese government to enter into a peaceful Sino-Tibetan negotiation on the issue of Tibet and thanked friends of Tibet and the Tibetan people from the past and present across the world for their continued and unequivocal support for the issue of Tibet.

Amarendra Dhari Singh, a member of Rajya Sabha in his address attributed China’s occupation of Tibet in 1951 as the root cause of India’s dispute with China and further rued India’s sidestepping over the matter with a hope that relations with China may improve as a mistake. 

“In view of the unrelenting Chinese hostility and aggression against India, and its continuing repression in Tibet, the time has come for a more assertive if not muscular response,” he added. 

The MP from Rajya Sabha further urged New Delhi to confer Bharat Ratna to the Tibetan Spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and India’s continued support to Tibet and Tibetans.

Honourable Jiri Oberfalzer, the Vice President of the Czech Senate said in his address that in several hours, Tibetan flags will be raised across hundreds of city halls around the Czech Republic and in front of the buildings of the Czech parliaments, both the upper and lower house, to rousing applauds from the congregation.

Drawing similarity between the Chinese regime that currently occupies Tibet and Czech’s history under the totalitarian communist system for many decades, he added: “This is why we can understand well, others, who are facing the same history and unfortunately have been facing it so far.”

“China wants to plunder the future of the people of Tibet. This must not be allowed, “he said and added that “I always propound: If there is any single nation under oppression, any single subdued country in the world, no state can be fully safe, no one can be sure of their own freedom.”

The Vice President of the Czech Senate added that “the fight for free Tibet is fight for freedom of people’s spirit and soul – the most important human substance.”

He concluded by declaring that “the Czech Republic is on your side, and freedom for Tibet.” 

The Central Tibetan Administration’s official anniversary function is held to pay tribute to the Tibetan martyrs who lost their lives in the March 10, 1959 Uprising in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital as well as all those Tibetans who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet.

The commemoration function returned to its usual venue, the courtyard of the Dalai Lama temple after two years as Tsuglagkhang, the main temple of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama was closed for nearly two years due to the raging COCVID-19 pandemic.

Following the official anniversary function, five Tibetan NGOs – Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet-India jointly led a peace march from the main temple in McLeod Ganj to Kacheri in lower Dharamsala to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

Carrying Tibetan national flags, pictures of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama and play cards with slogans such as ‘Free Tibet’, ‘China out of Tibet’ and ‘Tibet belongs to Tibetans’, hundreds of Tibetans from all walks of life and supporters marched took part in the march.

Protests and marches are also being held across the world as Tibetans and supporters of the Tibetan cause commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day with great fervour.

On March 10, 1959, sensing a Chinese plot to abduct His Holiness the Dalai Lama, more than 300,000 Tibetans surrounded his summer palace, Norbulingka to protect his life and to protest against the Chinese occupation.

Seven days later, His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Lhasa and fled to India followed by 80,000 Tibetans into exile.

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