By Tenzin Dharpo
Rally participants and organisers at the end of the rally at Norbulinka, on Aug. 8, 2018. Photo- McLeod Mountain Bikers.
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 8: Four prominent Tibetan NGOs based here on Wednesday organized a cycle rally to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Pan-Tibet uprising in the year 2008 prior to the Beijing Olympic games. Over forty local Tibetans and Indians covered a distance of almost 20 kms from McLoed Ganj to Norbulingka.
A similar cycle rally has been organized in New Delhi from Majnu ka Tilla to Sansad Bhawan (Parliament House) as well a photo exhibition on the historic uprising by the NGOs.
Tibetan Women's Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet – India said that the initiative is aimed to “pay respect and honour” the Tibetans and the families of those that died and suffered during the mass protest that began in Lhasa city and later spread throughout the Tibetan plateau towards the traditional Tibetan provinces of Kham and Amdo.
The coalition said that the mass protest from common Tibetans was in apparent resistance to the Chinese rule in Tibet as well to object the communist government’s repressive policies such as acute restriction on religious freedom and the mass migration of Chinese in Tibet.
Official reports deduce that the mass protest began March 10, 2008 in Lhasa city when around 400 Drepung monastery began protesting and later “snowballed” into lay and monastics following suit. “The historic uprising was Tibet’s largest freedom resistance, longest spanned as well as the heaviest participation after the 1959 Tibetan uprising,” the NGO’s stated in their joint press conference.
Official reports published by the exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration, estimate that 153 Tibetans died in the aftermath of the crackdown by China. CTA says that 218 Tibetans were arrested and 510 Tibetans were sentenced in the course of the crackdown that followed after the protest.
“Despite almost 60 years of intrusive and sometimes oppressive interference by the People’s Republic of China on how the Tibetan people should lead their individual and collective lives. The overwhelming message of all these protests was: let us be Tibetan, do not force us to be what deeply transgresses our innermost values,” CTA said in its comprehensive report.