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May 23: A Black Day in Tibetan history
Phayul[Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:52]
By Phurbu Thinley

New York City, May 23: Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) of New York and New Jersey today observed the day as a “Black Day in the history of Tibet”.

On May 23, 1951, after the occupation of eastern Tibet’s provincial capital, Chamdo, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), forced Tibetan delegates to sign a 17-point "Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet".

The agreement is popularly referred to, in short, as “17-Point Agreement”. Tibetans, however, continue to repudiate the legitimacy of the agreement, which they say was signed at that time by the Tibetan delegates under complete duress.

The members of the Tibetan Youth Congress today pasted a crossed copy of the "17 Point Agreement" and a couple of “Free Tibet” stickers on the wall of the Chinese Consulate in New York City early this morning to describe this agreement as illegal and forged.

Photo: RTYC NY & NJ
Photo: RTYC NY & NJ
The youth congress members also submitted a memorandum to the Chinese Consulate and the UN calling them to pressure the Chinese Government to resolve the Tibetan issue.

In connection with the protest event, a resource talk on the “17 Point Agreement” by Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a Research Fellow at east Asian legal Studies program, Harvard Law School will be held on Sunday (May 27) at 2:00pm at Circulo Eseanol Hall (41-02, 41st S. B/Way Astoria).

Since the agreement was signed, the Dalai Lama and the Government of Tibet had to accommodate within the framework of the 17 Point Agreement from 1951 to 1959 seeing no other alternative solution. Failing to abide by the terms of the agreement, Tibetans allege that the occupying Communist force had threatened to take further military action in remaining parts of Tibet.

Tibetans also claim that the 10 March National Uprising in Lhasa in 1959, against the Communist China by the Tibetan people, which subsequently forced the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans to escape Tibet, was a cumulative result of the wanton violations of the terms of the agreement by the Chinese occupying forces themselves.

On his arrival in India, after escaping Tibet, the Dalai Lama issued a press statement on 18 April 1959 in Tezpur, Assam. In it, the Dalai Lama stated that the "17-point Agreement" had been signed under pressure from the Chinese government. On June 20 1959, he issued another press statement from his new headquarters in Mussoorie, India in which he repudiated the "Agreement", describing it as having been forced upon Tibet by invasion, threat and deceit.

The International Commission of Jurists had stated that through this repudiation Tibet legally "discharged herself of the obligation under the Agreement".

Based on report forwarded by Tsering Palden, President, RTYC NY/NJ
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