DHARAMSHALA: Thousands of Tibetans and supporters gathered at the Tsuglagkhang today to mark the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising day.
The chief guest at the function was Dr Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyroll, an autonomous region in northern Italy. Other high level guests include Mr Michel Raison, President of Tibet Group in the French senate, Mr Andre Gattolin, French senator and Mr Consiglio Di Nino, (retd) Canadian Senator.
Members of the Kashag, members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Tibetan Justice Commissioners and staff of the Central Tibetan Administration, attended the function in full strength.
The function began with a minute’s silence in honour of the Tibetans who lost their lives in the Tibetan freedom struggle.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of the Tibetan people, and Ven Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament read the statements of the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament.
In his statement, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay recalled the sacrifices of the Tibetan men and women from the all three provinces who have bravely challenged the Chinese invasion on this day in 1959.
He also condemned China for its continued repression in the face of the Tibetan people’s resilience and commitment to non-violence.
“Despite the repression and crackdown, Tibetans in Tibet have been at the forefront of the Tibetan freedom struggle to protect their political, social, cultural and environmental rights. Despite the increased repression and intensified crackdown, they have made clear their genuine aspirations, as reflected in the case of 145 self-immolations that called for “Freedom for Tibetans” and “Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”
“Even today, as we speak there is a major military presence in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, and on March 3 this year, a 5000-strong army officers with a convoy of 1000 military vehicles conducted a massive military drill in Lhasa making it reminiscent of a war zone,” he said.
He further highlighted the severe human rights violations taking place inside Tibet under the leadership of president Xi Jinping.
“The Chinese government under President Xi Jinping’s leadership has taken an alarming position on Tibet that states ‘China’s security and stability is dependent on Tibet’s security and stability,’ based on which individual Tibetans are having to ‘give up on their security in return for gaining harmony.’ Such strategic approach warrants increased repression in Tibet.”
“A recent report issued by the Intermediate People’s Court of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) points to 1446 cases of detention and 1793 cases of indictment in TAR alone in the year 2016, in a widespread crackdown on Tibetans under the pretext of punishing criminals.”
He also sought the world’s attention on issues such as Tibet’s environment and Tibetan education including the rights of advocates like Tashi Wangchuk. In light of these ongoing repression and violation of human rights in Tibet under the Chinese government, Sikyong declared 2017 as ‘year of campaign’ to galvanise the global Tibetan movement to resolve the Tibet issue.
Sikyong emphaised the Kashag’s consistent focus on the importance of women empowerment and gender equality, officially announcing 12 March as ‘Tibetan Women’s Day’.
Sikyong released a book titled ‘Tibet and Tibetan People’s Struggle’ a compilation of 10 March statements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from 1961 – 2011.
Sikyong called on the Chinese leadership to resume dialogue with the Tibetan representatives. “Given the international condemnation of China’s Tibet policies, we once again call on the Chinese leadership to review its wrong policies in Tibet and revisit Hu Yaobong initiated liberal policies on Tibetan people. Ultimately the Tibet issue can be best resolved by adhering to the win-win proposition of the Middle Way Approach and resuming dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as reiterated by the US Government and European Parliament.”