CTA holds Prayer Service in memory of peaceful demonstrators of 1987-1989 Pan-Uprising in Tibet

CTA holds a Prayer Service in memory of peaceful demonstrators of the 1987-1989 Pan-Uprising in Tibet. Image: Tibet.net

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 8 March: The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) held a prayer service today in memory of the bravery and sacrifices made by Tibetans who rose up between 1987 and 1989 in protest against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) colonial rule in Tibet at Tsuglag-Khang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj.

The annual prayer session, organised by CTA’s Department of Religion and led by the monks from Namgyal Monastery, was held between 9 to 10 am today. It commemorates the 35th anniversary of 8 March when the CCP imposed martial law in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1989, by the then CCP president Hu Jintao in response to the perpetuating rise and demonstrations of Tibetans, beginning from 1987 until the complete shutdown of Tibet in 1989.

Following the prayer service, CTA President Penpa Tsering addressed the media and paid his respects to Tibetans for their selfless deeds during the pan-Tibet non-violent protests between 1987 and 1989 and stated that the service honoured the sacrifices of those involved in Tibet’s struggle for freedom.

The declaration of Martial law saw the arrest of thousands of Tibetans as well as the immediate expulsion of foreign journalists and tourists from Tibet, to hang the black curtain behind which Chinese authorities persecute Tibetans. However, some foreigners were able to capture the unfolding protest and China’s brutal crackdown in photos as well as videos – a vital source of evidence against the CCP’s earnest efforts to alter or erase history to their whims.

The martial law lasted for thirteen months.

It’s also significant to note that the chain of protests occurred across all three traditional provinces of Tibet and was participated in by Tibetans from all walks of life, with ordained monks and nuns often leading the revolt. The use of the Tibetan national flag and calls for Tibet’s independence was unmistakable at the time.

Additionally, Penpa Tsering expressed solidarity with Tibetans facing repression in Derge County due to China’s proposed construction of 13 dams along the upper Drichu. He stated that despite the peaceful pleas of Tibetans, the Chinese government persistently disregards the people’s rights and desires, prioritising the implementation of policies aimed at diverting Tibet’s rivers for the benefit of a select few business magnates. 

Apart from the CTA President Penpa Tsering, the prayer service was also attended by Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang, CTA’s education Minister Changra Tharlam Dolma, Security Minister Dolma Gyari, Information and International Relations Minister Norzin Dolma, Standing Committee members of the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Election and Public Service Commissioner and Secretaries and staff of the CTA offices.

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