Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay unfurling the Tibetan National Flag at the official 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day function at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on March 10, 2013. (Phayul photo/Tentse)
DHARAMSHALA, March 10: Thousands of Tibetans and supporters led by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay today gathered in the courtyard of Tsug-la Khang in the exile headquarters of Dharamshala to attend the official ceremony of the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Starting from this year, the day is also observed as Tibetan Martyr’s Day.
The function began with the proud rendition of the Tibetan national anthem as Sikyong Sangay raised the Tibetan national flag. A minute’s silence was observed in solidarity with all Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet.
Sikyong Sangay in his official statement
called on Tibetans to “re-dedicate ourselves to the brave struggle started by the selfless elder generation” and paid tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet."
“The occupation and repression in Tibet by the government of the People’s Republic of China are the primary conditions driving Tibetans to self-immolation. Tibetans witness and experience China’s constant assault on Tibetan Buddhist civilisation, their very identity and dignity,” the de facto
Tibetan prime minister said.
“The prohibitions of peaceful protest and harsh punishments compel Tibetans to resort to self-immolation. They choose death rather than silence and submission to the Chinese authorities.”
Sikyong Sangay added that the recent attempts by Chinese authorities to criminalise self-immolations and persecute family members and friends through sham trials are likely to “prolong the cycle of self-immolation, persecution, and more immolation.”
“The only way to end this brutal and grave situation is for China to change its current hard line Tibet policy by respecting the aspirations of the Tibetan people.”
He noted that the moment has come for governments and the international community to “take concrete actions to press the Chinese government to enter into meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan leadership.”
“We call on the international community to press the Chinese government to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights entry into Tibet, and also to give access to diplomats and the international media. Only in this way can the truth about the grave situation in Tibet be unveiled and the self-immolations abated.”
While reinforcing the call to observe 2013 as the Solidarity With Tibet Campaign year, Sikyong Sangay requested everyone to communicate the core message of the three Ds: Devolution, Democracy and Dialogue.
With the once-in-a-decade change of guards in Beijing, the Kashag expressed its hope that the new Chinese leadership will view the Middle Way Approach, seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet, as a “pragmatic political approach, which bridges both Tibetan and Chinese interests, as a win-win solution.”
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay delivering the official 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day statement at the Tsug-la Khang in Dharamshala on March 10, 2013. (Phayul photo/Tentse)
“Tibet is not a constitutional or an institutional problem for the government of the People’s Republic of China … When it comes to Tibet, the Chinese leadership has neither employed the available constitutional mechanism at its disposal, nor has it shown the political will to resolve the issue peacefully,” Sikyong Sangay said. “From our side, we consider substance primary and process secondary, and are ready to engage in meaningful dialogue anywhere, at any time.”
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in its official statement
paid “heartfelt obeisance and gratitude to our compatriots in Tibet for their patriotic courage and ethnic loyalty.”
In the statement, the Tibetan Parliament also proposed four “mutually beneficial suggestions for consideration by the new leaders of China.”
Tibetan lawmakers urged China’s new leaders to carry out an impartial investigation in Tibet and allow international media and diplomatic representatives to visit Tibet; to end its policies of violence and repression against the Tibetan people; and protect the Tibetan people’s rights and release all the Tibetan political prisoners.
On March 10, 1959, Tibetans in the capital city of Lhasa rose up against the Chinese occupying forces, leading to the death of thousands of Tibetans and the eventual escape of the Dalai Lama to exile.
Each year, Tibetans observe the day as the National Uprising Day all over the world.