March 10, 1970

Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Eleventh Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, 10 March 1970

March 10th has now become a symbol of our struggle for freedom, for
justice and for the right to live as we wish. March 10th today stirs
the hearts and minds of all Tibetans. Whether they are in the free
countries or still under suppression in Tibet, March 10th, 1959 marked
a new era in the history of Tibetit was on that day when the brave
people of Tibet rose against the might of Communist China. It was on
that day when unarmed men, women and children paraded through the
streets of Lhasa calling for the restoration of Tibets independence.
It was on that day when the people of Tibet united as one force in a
heroic attempt to free themselves from bondage. The world knows of the
brutal and ruthless oppression that followed the national uprising.
That was eleven years ago.

The situation in Tibet has ever since been gradually deteriorating, and
conditions worsened with the advent of the so-called Cultural
Revolution. Eleven years may not seem long to those of us who have been
able to escape into free countries, but to those of our countrymen who
are still in Tibet, it has been a period of unending terror and
suffering. Yet in the midst of such a desperate and difficult situation
the flame of freedom, which was lit on March 10th, 1959, still burns
persistently. The Communist Chinese regime in Tibet has experienced
constant opposition from the Tibetans, often in the form of violence.
In 1969 alone, we learnt of ambushes and raids by Tibetans on Chinese
military camps and ammunition dumps in the area of Chamdo, Poh, Lhoka,
Tolung, Nyemo and Shang. There were also incidents where many Chinese
officers were killed and many were held prisoners by the Tibetans
during meetings organised by the Chinese. Above all, the Communist
Chinese must have been shocked to find mounting opposition from the
young Tibetans, many of whom have been educated and indoctrinated by
the Chinese themselves in Tibet as well as in China. These are clear
indications that all is not well in Tibet; that Tibetans are not
contented and satisfied under the rule of alien power; that desperate
resistance still continues; and that the spirit of libertyis still
strong.

It is now nineteen long years since the armed forces of Communist China
trampled Tibet under their feet. The Chinese have had all the time
required to educate, indoctrinate and produce a new group of Tibetan
leaders who would totally support their regimebut this has not
happened. They have not been able to produce a single notable, young
Tibetan leader. They are still using a few ex-members of the old
Tibetan government who are actually considered to be reactionaries
according to the Chinese themselves. This is again a clear indication
that the Tibetans, young and old, no matter how they are treated or
brought up are not prepared to yield completely to the Communist
Chinese rulers. Many of these Tibetans may be ideologically Communists,
but they are definitely nationalist Communists. To these Tibetans their
nation comes first, ideology second. We are fighting against
colonialism and not against Communism.

When the hopes and aspirations of our countrymen, struggling to survive
in a vast prison camp, are so strong and persistent; so unfailing and
determined; it is not sufficient to dedicate this day only to the
memory of those martyrs who laid down their lives for the freedom of
Tibet. We must, also, renew our pledge to hold high the torch of
freedom and to continue the struggle so that the sacred cause for which
six million Tibetans are still aspiring can be achieved. It is only
fitting that we in the free countries shoulder this responsibility as
our duty. We, therefore, solemnly rededicate this day and earnestly
renew our pledge for the cause of Tibet’s independence.

The world is ever changing. International changes are occurring almost
every day of the year. A change in Tibet will definitely come about.
The Chinese must realise that the spirit of freedom in the Tibetans is
indomitable.

I take this opportunity to express on behalf of the people of Tibet and
on my own behalf, our sincere and deep gratitude to the government and
people of India for their generous and understanding assistance to the
Tibetan refugees living in India. We also remember and remain deeply
indebted to those countries, along with India, who have supported us in
the United Nations. Last but not the least, we thank the various
voluntary agencies that have come forth at a time when help was
urgently and desperately needed. Much of what we have achieved in the
fields of rehabilitation, education and cultural activities would not
have been possible without their help.

Finally, while I call upon my people to strengthen their determination
and work conscientiously for the freedom of Tibet, I also appeal to all
those nations who cherish freedom to give us their firm and strong
support in the just cause of Tibet’s independence.

The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1970

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