DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today presided over a grand prayer service for world peace and Tibet.
Heads of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon religion took part in the prayer service.
Addressing the prayer service, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said Tibetans are driven to set themselves on fire due to the Chinese government’s continued occupation of Tibet, demographic aggression, systematic repression of religion, culture and language, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction.
Sikyong said consistent uprising in Tibet during the past fifty years have exposed the policy of colonialism in Tibet carried out in the garb of development. He said, though Tibetans have shown strong resentment against the Chinese government’s hardline policies and called for freedom and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet in 2008 protest, the Chinese leadership continues to pursue repression pushing Tibetans to burn themselves to death.
China’s United Front Work Department has not given a positive response to the dialogue process to resolve the issue of Tibet, he said adding, instead it is engaged in misleading the world on Tibet issue and intensify crackdown on Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. These have became the causes for the unprecedented self-immolations by 51 Tibetans in all the three traditional provinces of Tibet since February 2009, and 41 of these self-immolators died, Sikyong added.
He said the Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetans in exile express solidarity with those who have died, those who are live, their family members, and those who are suffering arrest and imprisonment in Tibet.
Following the hour-long prayer service, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and Tibetan Parliament Speaker Penpa Tsering led a fast and prayer service for world peace and Tibet in the temple courtyard.
Thousands of Tibetans including 432 participants of the Special General Meeting, wearing a white head band for solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and black arm band asking for global support to save Tibet and restore freedom in Tibet, took part in the event. A group of participants of the special meeting, who have come from 26 countries, addressed the gathering in local languages.
Sikyong said the unimaginable fall of Berlin wall, disintegration of USSR and Arab Spring sends the world a strong message that democracy and freedom ultimately prevails over injustice and repression. Likewise, the truth and freedom will prevail in Tibet, he added.
He strongly urged the Tibetans to strengthen unity and make concerted effort to realise the restoration of freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.