By Choekyi Lhamo
Chief guest Gyal P Wangyal addresses the gathering
DHARAMSHALA, DEC 10: The 30th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was celebrated at Tsuglagkhang this morning. Gyal P Wangyal (Chief Executive Councillor of Ladakh), presided over as the Chief Guest. The event also marked the Human Rights Day and the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Speaker of the Tibetan parliament Pema Jungney said that the commemoration of the 30th anniversary marks an era of His Holiness’ work towards peace and of the struggle the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people have undergone. He also mentioned His Holiness’ Middle Way Approach (MWA)which has seen acceptance from all across the world. The recent white paper called “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 years of Progress on Human Rights in China” is an example of propaganda which does not acknowledge the restrictions on language rights and religious freedom in Tibet and ignores important calls from the international organizations like UN and UNHRC, he added.
TIPA artists perform at the ceremony
He also called out the “atheist communist Chinese government” to have published a policy document “2017 Regulations on Tibetan Buddhism and Rinpoche Reincarnation” which claims to have power over the next reincarnation of His Holiness. Citing many important meetings conducted by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), it has been made clear that the sole responsibility and authority over the reincarnation resides with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. If any case, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still decides to appoint a candidate, “The Tibetan people will not recognize and respect that candidate.”
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay on behalf of the Kashag or Cabinet of CTA spoke extensively on the human rights abuses going on in occupied Tibet. He mentioned the recent self-immolation of Yonten in Ngaba, 2018 China’s public security circular which listed 22 illegal activities (environmental protection, language preservation and support for MWA) as organized crime, and the recent crackdown on Tibetan monks from Shedrub monastery along with two Tibetans whose similar protest demonstrations resulted in arrests by Chinese officials.
71st UN World Human Rights Day
Sikyong also reiterated the importance of the resolutions from the recent 3rd Special General Meeting and 14th Tibetan Religious Conference on the issue of reincarnation. He said that the year 2020 will be observed as the “Thank You, Dalai Lama” year in order to showcase gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Chief Guest Gyal P Wangyal spoke of the bond between the Ladakhi people and His Holiness in reverence. He urged that the Chinese oppression of Tibetans has been rightfully condemned all over the world. He also hoped that the relation between the Tibetans and Ladhakis enhances further through the shared culture and religion. Ladakh becoming a Union territory under the current government will try to ensure the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Tibetan people in Ladakh. He thanked the CTA leadership for inviting him for the anniversary and the hospitality they have shown him during his visit.
To commemorate the Nobel peace prize day and the Human Rights Day, various organizations of the Dharamshala conducted events throughout the day. The Active Nonviolence Education Center (ANEC) launched a series of post-1959 archival photos in the Tibet Museum which showcased important events of the Tibetan community in and outside Tibet. Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) put up a small board of 71 pictures of political prisoners in Tibet to mark the 71st UN world Human Rights Day outside the main temple. It had 71 similar but diverse range of stories concerning language rights activism, religious freedom and protests for independence which ultimately put them in Chinese prisons. Another celebration of the the anniversary is the ongoing two-day Himalayan festival at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.