By Tenzin Dharpo
Former Botswanan prez (garlanded with White Scarves)Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 11: While thousands of Tibetans marked the 60th anniversary of the ‘Tibetan Uprising Day’ around the world, here in the seat of the exile Tibetan government, the head of the Tibetan polity, President Dr. Lobsang Sangay reiterated that Tibetans will continue to hold a stance of resistance until the issue of Tibet is resolved. The Indian capital also saw protests by local Tibetans led by the Tibetan Youth Congress against China’s illegal rule in occupied Tibet.
The Tibetan Uprising day marks the fateful day on March 10, 1959 when thousands of Tibetans were massacred while preventing the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from attending a Chinese function, fearing harm for their leader. The ensuing by PLA resulted in the deaths of over 87,000 Tibetans according to the exile Tibetan government records.
The Tibetan President said, “Over the last six decades, the government in Beijing has brutally repressed the Tibetan people, denied us our basic rights and has consistently pursued systematic policies to crackdown on Tibetan language, culture, unique identity, and spiritual practices. In essence, China has deliberately aimed to eradicate Tibet’s civilization from the face of this earth.”
Tibetans march towards Kotwali Bazaar, Dharamsahala to participate in March tenth uprising's commemorative event, Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
“The Chinese government assumes that the issue of Tibet will fade with time. But our experience of over half-a-century makes us believe otherwise. This new generation of Tibetans is committed to preserving their unique identity and pursuing their dignity. They are prepared to carry forward the baton of the struggle until the Tibet issue is resolved,” he further said.
The official function here marked an auspicious presence of high-level parliamentary delegates from countries such as Taiwan, Germany, Canada and Slovakia among others. A Chinese delegation of 60 people mainly from Taiwan also took part in the official proceedings.
Two supporters of the Tibetan cause and admirers of the Dalai Lama also joined in on the commemorations. Former Botswanan President Ian Khama met with the Dalai Lama and attended the official function. Khama’s visit to the seat of the exile Tibetan government is categorically objected by the ruling leadership of his nation citing souring of relations with China. Khama is considered a defiant figure in the ever shrinking number of global leaders that have stood up to China lately.
Khama told the gathering, “I am sure that I speak for the many other distinguished international guests and supporters who are also here with us in Dharamsala in saying that we are representative of a worldwide community who have not, and shall never, forget the suffering endured by Tibetans as they peacefully pursue their struggle to once more live in freedom in their ancient homeland.
“The fact that the Tibetan struggle, as reflected in the teachings and diplomacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as manifested in the political outreach of the Central Tibetan Administration, continues to be based on the “Middle Way” doctrine of non-violence and dialogue ultimately aimed at reconciliation with the Chinese state is truly remarkable given the extreme repression Tibetans have endured, in both the Maoist and post-Mao eras.
Long time supporter of Tibet and veteran Indian legislator Shanta Kumar revealed that days ago, he had received an official letter from the Chinese Ambassador to India who urged him not to attend the commemorative events organised by the exile Tibetan government.
The largest pro-independence activists group ‘Tibetan Youth Congress’ held a large rally in Delhi consisting of members from its various chapters in India. The rally participated by around 2000 people began from the Majnu-ka-tilla Tibetan colony and culminated at the Jantar Mantar street. Impassioned protestors cried injustice at decades of Chinese destruction of their homeland and their identity.
Another activist group ‘Students for a Free Tibet’ went airborne unfurling the Tibetan and the Indian flag as well as banners that called for Tibet’s Independence at the police ground near Kacheri here where the rally by Dharamshala Tibetans of a few hundred ended.
Inside occupied Tibet and especially in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Chinese authorities have banned foreign tourists for over a month during the historically sensitive period fearing global knowledge if peaceful protests like that in 1059, 1989 and in 2008 erupts.
Lhasa city where most of Tibetan resistance and mass protests can trace their epicentre to is put under a virtual siege with heightened and additional presence of security personals. Tibetan pilgrims and businessmen are questioned and put through strict vetting procedures, creating an overall shadow of fear and lockdown, sources said.