By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, March 12: Tibetan Women’s Association, the largest women’s organisation in the exile Tibetan community today commemorated the 53rd Tibetan Women’s Uprising day.
Hundreds of Tibetan women – nuns, school girls, and laywomen – along with supporters took part in the commemorations held at the “Martyrs’ Pillar” in honour of the sacrifices made by Tibetan women.
On March 12, 1959, thousands of women had gathered in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, peacefully protesting China’s occupation of Tibet. Chinese authorities responded by restoring to brute force,
resulting in the deaths, torture, and arrests of a large number of women.
In a press statement, TWA paid homage to the “great sacrifices that brave Tibetan women made and continue to make in the name of Tibet.”
“It is the steadfast, undeterred presence of Tibetan women and their resilience in the face of oppression that encourages this self-sustaining struggle to rise against injustices and a repressive regime,” the statement said.
Calling the ongoing wave of self-immolations and mass protests in Tibet as evidence of the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet, TWA urged China to stop its repressive policies in Tibet.
“China must realise the inevitable truth that their violent response to the Tibetan issue is counter-productive and has exacerbated the grievances Tibetans feel, encouraging only greater resistance to
China’s rule,” TWA noted.
26 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire since 2009, demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
“We ask world governments to apply multilateral pressure and take action against China to end the crackdown and allow free press inside Tibet,” the statement read.
Dismissing China’s outgoing helmsman Hu Jintao as a “failed leader,” TWA condemned his “brutal policies of bloodshed and provocation in Tibet.”
However, the women’s organisation expressed its hope that the fifth generation of Chinese leaders led by Xi Jinping will “bring positive change.”
“We request that Xi Jinping commit to an assessment of the situation on the ground in Tibet and to dialogue with Tibetan leadership in exile,” TWA said.
“Above all, we ask Xi Jinping to make use of the opportunity to peacefully resolve the Tibetan crisis.”
Addressing the large gathering, TWA President Kriti Dolker Lhamo rebuked the United Nations for failing to raise the issue of Tibet with China.
“UN has to realise that it is a global organisation representing different countries and not just China,” Kirti Dolker Lhamo said urging the UN to put pressure on China to end the ongoing critical situation in Tibet.
As part of their Suitable Development Project inside Tibet, TWA pledged Indian Rupee 500,000 to benefit Tibetan women and children who are “victims of the Chinese environmental policy to forcible evict
Tibetan nomads from grasslands.”
TWA also released popular Tibetan writer Jamyang Kyi’s flagship book “A Sequence of Tortures: A Diary of Interrogations" in Japanese, German and Spanish languages in addition to the already existing
Tibetan, and English versions.
“Kyi’s unflinching courage is exemplary of female strength and literary prowess and offers a powerful message to the oppressed women around the world,” TWA said.
Following the function, hundreds of Tibetan women carried out a protest march raising slogans for a Free Tibet and demanding an end to China’s repressive policies in Tibet.