March 12, 2007 : The Tibetan New Year of 2134 Fire-Pig marks the 48th anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising day. It was on this day that brave Tibetan men and women rose in unison against the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet in March 1959. During the unrest, the Tibetan Women’s Association was unofficially formed on March 12th when thousands of Tibetan women took to the streets of Lhasa and courageously voiced opposition against the Chinese imperialists. We are deeply humbled by the sacrifices of the older generations of Tibetans and inspired to continue the struggle in exile.
Atrocities committed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Tibet have scarred the past 48 years for the Tibetan people. Still rampant as before, the agitprop of the Chinese government obscures the ongoing tragedy inside Tibet to the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile under His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s leadership has repeatedly sought peaceful means to resolve the Tibet issue. Delegations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have met with Chinese heads of state five times since 2002 without reaching a concrete solution.
Despite every effort of the Tibetan Government to create a conducive environment for dialogue with China, there as been no reciprocity on the Chinese’ end. The Chinese government continues its ironclad rule even in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, only further restricting Tibetans’ inalienable freedom to a happy life and to practice religion. The Chinese policy of mass population transfer into Tibet threatens the existence of the unique Tibetan culture, religion and heritage. The Qinghai to Lhasa railway, notwithstanding inclement weather, geographical obstacles and political uproar against the construction of the railroad, was so diligently constructed only to expedite the population and military transfer that will marginalize Tibetans to a minority in their own land.
The Chinese Government vehemently denies all accusations of human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese military inside Tibet. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly called for the transparency of China’s policy and has continually clarified his position on seeking a positive future for Tibet within the Chinese framework. All efforts for a mutually-beneficial solution have been resisted; the Chinese constantly accuse the Dalai Lama of being a “splittist” and of harboring a hidden agenda behind the calls for dialogue. The Chinese have defamed the Dalai Lama time and again over the course of past decades, most recently in May 2006. The Dalai Lama’s picture still remains an illegal possession in most parts of Tibet.
Although the ruthless policies in Tibet have the power to control the bodies, no amount of pressure can control the minds and hearts of the Tibetans inside Tibet. Tibetans all over Tibet demonstrated solidarity and support for the Dalai Lama when they burned clothes made of animal products at His behest last year. Also, last year on September 30th, Chinese border police left the world aghast when they shot at Tibetans trying to escape to exile over the treacherous Nangpa-la. Border police claimed their actions were in self-defense, but this position holds no water as footage captured by Romanian mountaineers shows the contrary.
Another cause of concern and continued vigilance is the plight of political prisoners in Chinese-occupied Tibet. The Panchen Lama will be turning 18 after twelve years of abduction by China. His whereabouts remain unknown even though the Chinese government agreed to allow an independent body to confirm Panchen Lama’s status. There is also the unjust sentencing to life of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a revered monk and leader to Tibetan and Chinese Buddhists alike. Charged with crimes against the state, Tenzin Delek was originally given capital punishment, but international pressure held enough sway on the Chinese government to lessen the severity of the sentence to life imprisonment.
In light of China’s ongoing campaign of terrorism inside Tibet for the past 48 years, the Tibetan Women’s Association recognizes the long struggle to come. At the same time, we wholeheartedly support the Dalai Lama in his belief that a Middle Path can be reached with China to solve the Tibet issue. We urge China in this new age of global community to be aware of the long-term benefit in giving up its exploitation of Tibet’s people and environment. We finally ask the Tibetans to continue standing in solidarity and know that the force of nonviolence cannot be defeated.