The official December 10 function underway at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on December 10, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, December 10: Tibetans all over the world today marked the 23rd anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 64th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day under the heavy shadow of the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet.
In the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala, a battery of Tibetan dignitaries along with hundreds of Tibetans and supporters gathered at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple, earlier this morning to mark the day.
The official function began with the proud rendition of the Tibetan national anthem and the raising of the Tibetan national flag by acting-Sikyong Pema Chhinjor.
Reading out the statement of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, speaker Penpa Tsering appealed to the new Chinese leaders to put an immediate end to China’s “repressive and inhuman practices” in Tibet.
“If the Chinese leaders still keep ignoring the aspirations of the Tibetan people by continuing to adhere to their existing hardline approach, rather than changing their policies for the better, it is not impossible that the situation across the whole of Tibet will worsen considerably in comparison with the current state of affairs there,” Speaker Tsering said. “The responsibility for that will be entirely on the government of China.”
With the alarming escalation in self-immolation protests in Tibet in recent months, the Speaker announced that the Tibetan Parliament will be carrying out a major campaign lasting for about a month from January 1, 2013. Under the campaign, Tibetan parliamentarians will be travelling throughout India, state-by-state, meeting with senior leaders, journalists, and the public, giving talks and garnering support for the Tibetan issue.
Tibetan school children carry butter lamps in their hands at the official December 10 function in Dharamshala on December 10, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Bolstering earlier calls for 2013 to be observed as Solidarity with Tibet campaign year by the exile Tibetan administration, the parliament today announced that beginning next year, May 17 will be observed as the International Solidarity Day for Tibet. On May 17, 1995, the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Niyma was “kidnapped and disappeared” by the Chinese government at the age of six. Since then, he has never been seen and despite international pressure, Beijing has refused to divulge any information on him.
In the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod in south India, a grand function was held today at the Drepung Monastery in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people.
Thousands of monks, students, and local Tibetans along with foreign disciples attending the ongoing teachings by the Dalai Lama were present at the function.
In his address, Sikyong Dr Sangay said the self-immolations in Tibet are a continuation of a “sustained non-violent Tibetan resistance” against the occupation of Tibet and represent a “worsening of the vicious cycle of unrest-repression-more unrest.”
“The Kashag attributes the self-immolation and current situation to the political and religious repression, economic marginalisation, social discrimination, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction in Tibet,” Sikyong said. “It is the responsibility of those of us fortunate to live in freedom to do all within our power to help bring the Tibetan demands to fruition.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay observe a minute's silence in honour of Tibetans who have lost their lives for the cause of Tibet at a function in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod on December 10, 2012. (Photo/OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor)
The de facto
Tibetan prime minister urged governments engaging in Human Rights Dialogue with China to “acknowledge that the situation in Tibet has worsened.”
“We urge them, and the international community, to intervene to end the crisis in Tibet. If Beijing ends repression of Tibetans then the self-immolations will abate.”
Sikyong Dr Sangay also expressed his disappointment at the “silence and seeming indifference” of most Chinese people, particularly that of Chinese intellectuals and public thinkers, to the suffering of the Tibetan people.
“The Tibetan struggle is neither anti-China nor anti-Chinese people. I appeal to our Chinese brothers and sisters to join us in supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people.”
Signalling a further intensification of campaigns, Sikyong announced that a four-day program of rallies, presentations and other solidarity activities will be held in New Delhi from January 30 to February 2, 2013. Jointly organised by the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Sikyong said that Kalons, Tibetan parliamentarians and representatives from various Tibetan settlements will be participating in the campaign.