Commemorating the 47th Anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising Wisconsin State Capitol – March 10, 2006
I am sorry I could not be with you here today as you again come together to mark the anniversary of the tragic events of March 10, 1959. Today we remember the estimated 87,000 Tibetan men, women and children who were killed or deported to labor camps during the uprising against Chinese forces. We remember the flight of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and more than 100,000 Tibetans who fled their homeland as a result of brutal suppression by the Chinese government. We remember the courage of those who lost their lives, and we recognize the bravery of those who still fight for the human rights of the Tibetan people. The struggle is not over.
Today, we stand together with people all over the world to protest the injustices inflicted on the Tibetan people by the Chinese government.
Political, cultural and religious oppression continues in Tibet.
Tibetans are murdered, tortured, and imprisoned for peacefully expressing their political and religious views. Tibetans should be able to practice their religion, to preserve their cultural traditions and to speak their own language. These are fundamental rights that we all share as human beings, and they bind us to the Tibetan people. As the Dalai Lama said in his Nobel lecture, “Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other.We are dependent on each other in so many ways that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside.” We must all continue to work to make sure that what happens to Tibet is not ignored by the rest of the world.
I have always sought to make human rights a top priority in determining the U.S. relationship with China, and I will continue to pressure the
Administration to elevate human rights in our U.S. foreign policy toward the People’s Republic of China.
I thank all of you for taking the time to observe this anniversary today, and as always I thank the members of UW Madison Students for a Free Tibet for their tireless work to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the people of Tibet. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to support basic human rights for the people of Tibet and for other oppressed populations around the globe.