Tibetans in Dharamsala mark 64th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day
DHARAMSALA, 10 March: “The Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) is hoping to find a mutually-agreeable way forward to discuss Tibet’s future status based on the Middle-Way Policy,” the President of the CTA said before Tibetans and supporters gathered at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-Khang, the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, here today to observe the 64th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising day.
“In this regard, we are ready to engage with the PRC government based on equality and friendship to seek a mutually beneficial and lasting solution. Moreover, we urge the PRC government to immediately stop its flawed policy of eradicating the Tibetan identity,” CTA President Penpa Tsering said.
President Tsering then thanked the guests and dignitaries and declared their presence a strong motivation to the Tibetans in exile and that it sends a strong message of hope and support to the Tibetan cause for the Tibetans inside Tibet.
Honourable Mikulas Peksa, a Member of the European Parliament attended the event as the Chief guest while Damon Wilson, the President of the National Endowment for Democracy, Arunas VaIinskas, a Lithuania Member of Parliament and Salvador Caro Cabrera, a Mexican Member of Parliament as the special guests 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.
Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel declared the Tibetan National Uprising day as “Martyr’s Day,” to remember the patriotic valour of the men and women of our nationhood.
He further offered his “tribute and obeisance to the patriotic men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their all, including their very lives, for the sake of the religious, political, and ethnic identity of the nation with indomitable courage and deeds.”
He further expressed concern about the Tibetans inside Tibet who continues to suffer under the repressive Chinese regime in Tibet and offered his says“sense of empathy and solidarity with the men and women in Tibet who continue to be subjected to this day to untold suffering under the oppressive rule of the government of China.”
Mikulas Peksa, a European Parliament member who attended the event as the Chief Guest in his address called out China for the serious human rights violations inside Tibet.
Reaffirming the EU’s support for the Tibetan cause, he said that “we will continue to hold China accountable for transgressions. And injustices committed against the Tibetan people.”
“You will have allies in Europe who will continue to fight for your cause politically,” he concluded.
Damon Wilson, the President of the National Endowment for Democracy said in his address described the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising day as “A day that will forever mark the great sacrifice, inspire and encourage the indestructible spirit of the Tibetan people.”
“We are here to convey our unwavering solidarity and support for you and your struggle for freedom and justice and democracy,” he added.
He further said that “The international community has much to learn from the Tibetan people, your resilience over the last 64 years, your democracy that is thriving in exile and third and finally you have what no other people have, which is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a globally beloved and a revered leader with unwavering moral clarity and his message of compassion peace and nonviolence.”
“The world needs Tibet. Tibetans have so much to offer. Know that you are not alone. Know that we stand with you. Continue to be resilient and stand firm in the principles of justice democracy and non-violence.”
He concluded by declaring “Tibet’s struggle for freedom, a beacon of hope for so many around the world.”
Arunas VaIinskas, a Lithuania MP who was born before the disintegration of the USSR said in his address that “I, like some of you, was born under occupation.”
He further said that having interacted with the Tibetans here in the exile headquarters over the last few days, he added: “I can hear history repeating itself. We Lithuanians too were told that we were being liberated when in truth we were being imprisoned. That we were being saved when we were being condemned. That our country was being developed when in fact it was being looted. That we should be grateful and not bitter. That we should be content and not rebellious.
“Reject this narrative with your head held high as you have been doing to this day.”
“All empires run their course. Even those who at their height might seem invincible, succumb to their own internal contradictions and their own weight. As a man who was born in a dictatorship and now can come to you as a citizen of a free country, let me tell you that, there is not only hope but a kind of certainty that your path will be the same.”
The group of parliamentarian Friends of Tibet from Mexico read a statement on the matter of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama declaring that only the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans will have the authority and the responsibility to decide on the election and the recognition of His Holiness.
Following the official anniversary function, four Tibetan NGOs – Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party 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 64th 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 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.