Speech by Jigme Norbu
April 20, 2006
Tashi Delek, Nee Haow, Asalam aleykum, and Hello to my fellow Tibetan, Taiwanese, Uyghur, and other freedom fighters. It is a great honor to stand before you and to be given an opportunity to speak. I am very grateful to the Taiwanese community for organizing this demonstration and for including all of us in this powerful display of unity. I am also deeply grateful to the Taiwanese community for strongly supporting our walks for Tibet’s independence.
We are so fortunate to live in a country that respects and protects our freedom of speech and our right to be here together. As you know, in Tibet, East Turkistan, and Southern Mongolia, we could not take part in such a demonstration. In fact, we would all be arrested.
Today, we are all here for one main reason; To tell Hu Jintao and China to get out of Tibet, get out of East Turkistan, get out of Southern Mongolia, and respect Taiwan’s right to independence. We will continue to demonstrate and pursue other strategies all around the world until we once again rule our own countries and feel safe in our territories.
Since 1949, Tibetans have experienced first hand the brutal occupation of China. At this time, the Chinese held my father under house arrest. My father was the leader of one of Tibet’s most important Monasteries, Kumbum Monastery. This Monastery is located in Amdo. When my father was the leader, there were 6,000 Monks living peacefully in Kumbum. His Monastery was the first to be occupied by China. Perhaps, this happened because His Monastery is located very close to China’s border.
There was another reason, however, why China treated my father in such a cruel way. As you heard, my father is the oldest brother of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Before the Chinese military held my father under house arrest, they made a request of Him. They demanded that He go to the capitol of Tibet, Lhasa, and convince His Holiness that Tibet was part of China, and that Tibetans needed to be liberated from the chains of serfdom. In return for doing this, the Chinese officials promised to make my father the top leader of Tibet.
My father said NO! And, He argued fiercely with the Chinese invaders. This resulted in His house arrest. For months, He could not leave His living quarters. He was watched 24 hours a day. Every move was assessed. His ability to lead His Monastery was weakened.
My father knew that if He did not go to Lhasa, His Holiness would not know the seriousness of the situation in Eastern Tibet. After months of living under house arrest, my father lied and agreed to China’s plan. The Chinese officials told my father if His Holiness did not accept that Tibet was part of China, and that the Tibetans needed to be liberated, He was to kill His Holiness. Again, my father lied and agreed. A large number of Chinese soldiers then accompanied my father on His way to Lhasa.
My father, however, was very smart, resourceful, and determined. To make the story very short, He knew at some point in the passage that the Tibetan bandits and nomads would over power the Chinese soldiers. Sure enough, this happened, and my father made His way to see His Holiness without the Chinese soldiers.
Unfortunately, His Holiness and the other Tibetan officials did not listen to my father when He told them that the Chinese were taking over Eastern Tibet and they were planning to take over the entire country. My father could not sit still and He decided to leave Tibet to let the world know what was going on in His country.
He traveled to many countries and met with many high leaders. Eventually, He landed in the United States in the earlier 1950’s becoming the first prominent Tibetan to settle here. Ever since He left Tibet, my father has been tireless in His effort to restore Tibet’s independence. For not even one second, has my father accepted that Tibet is part of China.
More importantly, my father has always believed the Tibetans must rule Tibet, and that the Tibetans are best suited to preserve their own culture and religion. He has never trusted the Chinese officials nor has He been willing to negotiate something less then independence. He has been willing, however, to negotiate a plan and timeline to return Tibet to the Tibetans.
Now, my father is in His 80’s. He is no longer able to attend such gatherings or participate in walks like He did as a slightly younger man. Still, however, He firmly believes that China is a thief and must return Tibet to the Tibetans.
My father has also been a very strong supporter of independence for East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia, and Taiwan. He has always worked to build cooperative relationships between everyone negatively affected by China’s actions.
Today, my father’s spirit and vision are here with us. If He were with us in person, He would not censor His words. He would tell you clearly that Hu Jintao was brutal and ruthless when he served as the leader of Tibet in the late 1980’s. He would also tell you that we must continue to work together and not accept anything less then what we deserve. That is, independence. My father would also say the United States needs to be careful as China’s plan is to dominate the world.
I have the responsibility to help achieve my father’s dream. Like Him, I will always fight to get my country back. I will never accept that Tibet is part of China. I will always remember the many Tibetans in Tibet who have given up and continue to give up their lives for Rangzen, or independence.
Further, like my father, I will stand side by side with my fellow freedom fighters from East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia, and Taiwan until we all can proudly and safely fly our own flags in each of our countries. I look forward to the day when we can freely meet in each other’s capitol cities and celebrate our victory. I also look forward to the day when each of our flags fly freely in Beijing and when the Chinese people achieve the democracy they so very much desire.
Thanks once again for giving me a chance to speak.
Independence for Tibet!
Independence for Taiwan!
Independence for Southern Mongolia!
Long Live His Holiness The Dalai Lama!