For over the last sixty years since the Communist China’s occupation of Tibet, the Tibetan people have been undergoing untold suffering. Through its propaganda Beijing shows a different image, but in reality China practices colonialism and systematic destruction of the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language and environment because of which Tibetans have peacefully demonstrated time and again. Particularly in 2008, the Tibetans from all walks of life from all three provinces of Tibet rose against the Chinese rule by calling for freedom for Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet. These demands were made clearly known not only to the Chinese leadership but to the international community as well.
However, sadly the Chinese government, instead of seeking truth from facts, continues to hold hard line position and have driven the Tibetan people to a desperate situation. The Tibetan religious community is particularly hard hit as the so-called Work Teams have been sent into monasteries and nunneries to promote political indoctrination. As a result of these repressive measures, since March this year the situation in Ngaba, Tawu and Serthar etc. have turned critical as many people were either detained, arrested or imprisoned. To date, nine young Tibetans have self-immolated to protest against the hard line policies of the Chinese government, and to demand freedom for Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
They are Lobsang Phuntsok, 21, from Kirti Monastery, Ngaba, set himself on fire on 16 March. Tsewang Norbu, 29, from Nyatso Monastery in Tawu self-immolated on 15 August. Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, both from Kirti Monastery set themselves on fire on 26 September. Kelsang Wangchuk, 17, also from Kirti Monastery set himself on fire on 3 October. Khaying, 20, and Choephel, 19, both former monks of Kirti Monastery self-immolated 7 October. On 15 October another former monk of Kirti Monastery, Norbu Damdul set himself on fire. Tenzin Wangmo, 20, from Dechen Choekhorling Nunnery from Ngaba self-immolated to protest the Chinese rule.
Five of these young Tibetans have died. The condition and whereabouts of other four are unknown. Therefore, the Kashag is holding a day-long special prayer service coinciding with Lhakar in solidarity with those Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet and particularly those who self-immolated, their families and those suffering repression in Tibet.
Therefore we pay homage to their courage and stand in solidarity with their indomitable spirit.
As requested by the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetans in exile are organising activities in their respective places. The Kashag would like to request every Tibetan and Tibet supporters to carry out their activities peacefully and in accordance with the local law.
Taking this opportunity, we would like to appeal to the Chinese government to immediately stop its repressive policies in Tibet, and to resolve the issue of Tibet through peaceful means. We would like to appeal to the United Nations to send fact-finding delegations into Tibet. We would also like to request to allow free access to the media so that the international community could know the real situation in Tibet.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude for His Holiness the Dalai Lama for leading this special prayer service and for taking part in the fast. We would also like to extend our gratitude for His Eminence Gyalwang Karmapa and H E Kasur Kirti Rinpoche, and thank everyone present here today.
Finally, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tibet and pray for the earliest resolution of the issue of Tibet.
Note: This is the English translation. Should any discrepancy arise, the Tibetan version should be considered the final authority.