9 March 2012
First and foremost, we would like to pay our deepest respect to all the Tibetan heroes who sacrificed their lives for freedom and stand in solidarity with their family members.
Today is the 10th March anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising against the occupying Chinese army. In March 1959 Tibetans from all three provinces rose up against the overwhelming firepower of the Chinese army to protect Tibet’s freedom, culture and its religion.
Today is not a day of shame or defeat. On the contrary, it is a day on which the Tibetan people stood up against the Chinese with the courage and conviction to proclaim that the Tibetan Government and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are their sole protectors. By sacrificing their lives for our cause, the Tibetan heroes have made these facts clear, and as we commemorate this day, it is important not only to remember them but also to fulfill their aspirations.
From 1959 to this day, there have been three principle slogans – Free Tibet; Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and China Out of Tibet – which have been chanted by Tibetans both inside Tibet and in exile. These watchwords are source of strength for the living and final words spoken by those who have died for the cause. We would like to remind everyone that the truth of our struggle, the strength of our unity, proof of our history and our aspiration are stored deep inside these words.
During the last fifty-three years of China’s brutal occupation of Tibet, Beijing’s strength and propaganda reach may have increased by manifold. But the Tibetan people’s courage and faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and their conviction in their struggle for a free Tibet remain steadfast.
On the occasion of the China’s so-called ’60-year liberation’ of Tibet and on the anniversary of the 10th March last year, Lobsang Phuntsok, a 21-year-old monk from Ngaba Kirti Monastery in Amdo, northeastern Tibet, defiantly set himself on fire to protest against the Chinese rule. Since then as many as 25 Tibetan monks, former monks, nuns and lay people have self-immolated one after another for their nation. The clear and united demands of these heroes are freedom for Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Their nonviolent and ultimate fiery sacrifices were neither acts of desperation nor blind and fruitless actions. In fact, these were a new and bold protest based on fervent belief in our freedom struggle by the younger generation. Likewise, the young Tibetans clearly realize that the Chinese and Tibetans are fundamentally different in terms of culture, history and language with rightful ownership of their own country. Through their love for Tibet, aspiration and creative resistance, they are sending a clear message that a free Tibet is possible.
Therefore, a time has come for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and the exile Tibetans to bring about clear strategies to restore Tibet’s independence. This is in tune with the ultimate demand of those who sacrificed their lives for Tibet. The basis of such strategy may lie in building grassroots awareness in each household, school, institution and community. The unclear policy that is being pursued over the last few decades and flawed strategies that depend too much on goodwill of our adversary will have to be changed. We must go back to the same direction that our struggle took in the early years of exile, which must be promoted throughout the entire exile community.
Today is the first 10th March anniversary since His Holiness the Dalai Lama devolved all his political responsibilities to the elected Tibetan leadership, which leads the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. This government is our sole leadership and it represents the entire Tibetan people in and outside Tibet. Tibetans have complete faith and full trust in the exile Tibetan government and it goes without saying that on this important day every Tibetan must make a pledge to stand by and support in whatever way they can in the days, months and years to come.
The above mentioned great democratic transition to an elected Tibetan leadership was made possible due to the incomparable leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Taking this opportunity, we would also like to thank the Government and the people of India for their kindness and generous support during the most difficult time in our history. At the same time we would also like to acknowledge the great service of all the people who are serving and who have served our exile government. It is because of their tireless service that we have managed to come this far.
Through its various propaganda channels, the Chinese authorities fabricate lies about having built peaceful and free Tibet, and that the Tibetan people love Beijing and support its rule over Tibet. However, the fact that Tibetans from all over Tibet continue to peacefully protest against Chinese rule and the fact that under a slogan that reads ‘My gun listens to me, and I follow the party’s order’, the security personnel have killed, arrested, tortured and harassed thousands of Tibetans proved Beijing’s propagandas are nothing but lies. Consequently, we would earnestly like to urge governments, international community and individuals living in the free world to take concrete steps to pressure Chinese government to heed the Tibetan people’s calls for freedom.
Finally, we would like to pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that the exile Tibetan government will grow from strength to strength. We would like to pray for a speedy restoration of Tibet’s independence and the reunification of all Tibetans.
Note: Translated from Tibetan text which should be considered final and authoritative.