Statement of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on the commemoration of the 62nd Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising
Today, the 10th of March 2021, marks the completion of 62 years since the Tibetan people revolted against the brutal imposition of occupation power by the communist Chinese enemy. It was in order to be able to regain our freedom that the Tibetan people staged a mass uprising on that day. Therefore this is a momentous day worthy of being commemorated with the solemnity the occasion deserves. What we all need to remember and, at the same time, bear in mind, is our common knowledge that for thousands of years Tibet as a nation was a self-governing, independent entity from whatever perspective anyone may look at it. This was so in terms of the outer vessel of its geographical configurations that includes its rivers, mountains, rocks, snow mountains that encircle it and so forth. This was also true in terms of its inner contents mainly of ethnic Tibetan people with Tibetans’ own language, script, costumes, traditions, religion, and so forth. This is also obvious from the point of view of the fact that for over a thousand years Tibet as a country was ruled by a succession of kings. It is also obvious from the history of the succession of the reincarnations of His Holiness the Dalai Lamas who have continued to rule Tibet later on. Apart from that, during the rule of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, Tibet signed a series of treaties with several countries of the world as an equal party. What these and other evidences show is that the long history of Tibet’s status as an independent country under customary and other aspects of international law can never be erased by anyone. Nor can anyone cover up the geographical reality of Tibet’s historical status as an independent country. Even so, ever since they took political control of the entire territory of China, the communist Chinese entertained utterly shameless and viciously cruel plans to take territories belonging to other peoples and put them under their rule. Through the vicissitudes of its history, Tibet had a “patron and priest” relationship of diverse kinds and range of closeness with successive emperors of China. Making absolutely untrue claims about the nature of that relationship, the communist Chinese government took to keep asserting that Tibet was historically a part of China. And it has doctored a totally false historical discourse about it. It was on this basis that from the year 1949 onwards, following its proclamation of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the communist Chinese government launched a succession of territorial aggressions against Tibet. Finally, in the Tibetan Iron-Tiger Year in 1950, it launched a full-scale invasion of Tibet from Chamdo in the east. And in the Tibetan Iron-Rabbit Year in 1951, the communist Chinese leaders compelled a Tibetan government delegation, whose members they had kept under a hostage-like situation, to sign a “17-Point Agreement”. This was a document drawn up entirely by them and contained only what the Chinese side wanted to include in it.
Following the signing of this so-called agreement, the communist Chinese leaders sought to charm the Tibetan people by claiming in their statements that Tibetans and Chinese were members of one big family, and that the Chinese people were there only to render service to the Tibetan people. They sought to reinforce this charm offensive by being limitless in their spending of money on a number of Tibetan people. By such acts of apparent generosity and numerous other means, the communist Chinese leaders set out to win over the Tibetan people. Eventually, however, they unmasked themselves; they bared the ferocity of the dark storm of their true face of violent hatred against the Tibetan people, untampered by any pretension of friendliness. The religiously devoted monks and nuns were their principal targets of hatred. The Buddha and every individual who engage in any religious practice were made targets of criticism and debasement. Religious places and people belonging to religious orders were subjected to destruction and plunder. Both religious and lay people who dared to speak their mind on the Chinese invasion were killed or otherwise imprisoned. The general mass of the hapless Tibetan public was put to hard labour, as if they were beasts of burden, in the name of various campaign programs. By such and numerous other means, the communist government of China subjected the Tibetan people to multitudes of inhuman and unimaginable atrocities. And this remained a continuing state of repression in Tibet. In fact, this remains the situation there even today. To sum up, throughout the Chinese occupation rule, the Tibetan people remained without even a moment of respite. On the contrary, the Tibetan people at all levels of society were forced to remain in a perpetual state of anxiety and insufferable anguish. Such was the situation in which the government of China took to showing open and outright disdain for Tibetan traditions and habits in general and, in particular, on their religious systems and practices. Besides, it continued to plot evil designs that targeted nothing less than the personal safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama while also scheming numerous other stratagems that were utterly reprehensible in whatever way one looked at it. The Tibetan people were long aware of and resented these developments. And their pent up feeling of anguish from the accumulated chronic affliction from these developments burst forth on the 10th March, 1959. On that day, Tibetans from all strata of society in capital Lhasa, being of one thought and feeling, rose in an unprecedented, spontaneous act of peaceful protest demonstration against the communist Chinese. It was a historic event whose effect touched the very essence of its purpose and opened a new chapter in the history of our Snowland of Tibet. It is therefore most important that this event in the history of our country be remembered for the sacrifices made by the patriotic Tibetan men and women of outstanding bravery for the sake of Tibetans’ religious heritage and temporal governance.
From that time onwards, the occupying Chinese government launched a series of campaigns or movements which included those called “Quelling the Disturbance”, “Democratic Reform”, “Class Struggle”, “People’s Commune System”, “Cultural Revolution”, rule by “Martial Law” and so forth. More than one million Tibetan people were killed or caused to die unnaturally under the vagaries of these campaigns and movements. Many thousands of religious centres were destroyed completely. Through such and other campaigns, China subjected the outer vessel of Tibet and its inner contents of human and natural resources to horrifying degrees of smashing, looting and destruction. But more than that, it has remained unrelenting in devising ways and means for its vicious plans to annihilate the very identity of Tibet and its ethnic people by targeting the Tibetan religious heritage, culture, language and so forth. The communist Chinese government employs brutal violence to deprive the Tibetan people of even the most fundamental of their human rights and freedoms. The life of the Tibetan people under such a policy of relentless atrocity has resembled that of enduring hell on earth, and it is a situation which continues to this day. It is a situation of persecution and torture with no end in sight. This sinister move to Sinicize Tibet and its people has today reached such critical juncture as to warrant a most urgent intervention.
The policy of violent repression followed by the communist Chinese government in Tibet has long been impossible for the Tibetan people to live with. In order to make this explicit in a new phase of protests, Tibetans began to carry out self-immolations. Since the year 2009, a total of 155 patriotic Tibetan men and women have displayed great valour in sacrificing their all, including their precious lives, by carrying out protest self-immolations. Even so, many Tibetans are still being killed under China’s policy of violent repression. For example, take the case of Tenzin Nyima, also known as Tamey, a monk of Dza Wonpo Monastery in Sershul County of Kardze Prefecture, who was arrested on the 19th of November in 2019. He died on the 19th of January in 2021 as a result of torture and merciless beating in prison. The same thing happened to a man named Konchok Jinpa, who was arrested on the 8th of November in 2013 from Village No. 5 of Chagtse Township of Driru County in Nagchu Prefecture. He died on the 6th of February in 2021, also a victim of torture and merciless beating in prison. Likewise, a 36-year-old woman named Lhamo-la from Driru County in Nagchu Prefecture was also subjected to indiscriminate beating during interrogations after she was arrested with false accusations. As a result, she died in August 2020.
On the 17th of September in 2015, a man named Shurmo who belonged to Shagkchukha Village in Driru County of Nagchu Prefecture carried out a protest self-immolation. Chinese police at once arrested and rushed him to the local hospital. However, he passed away the same day. And the sad information about all these tragic developments reached the outside world only towards the end of January 2021. What this reveals with unmistakable clarity is that the government of China applies such tight control on the movement and activities of the Tibetan people under its brutal policy of violent repression in Tibet that information about what is going on there rarely reach the outside world.
It is a fact all too well known to everyone that it is the desire of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the resolute position of the Central Tibetan Administration that we should strongly adhere to the Middle Way Policy and strive to revive the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. Unfortunately, while we have continued to try to reach out, the government of China has not reciprocated in a proper manner to our gestures thus far. On the contrary, it has continued to maintain its policy of inflicting an astonishing level of religious destruction, violent repression, all manners of obstructions and so forth in Tibet. Not only that, it has trampled on the Tibetan people’s freedom of speech, continued to indiscriminately arrest and put them on trial, subjected them to ethnic discrimination, put a large number of them into military-style vocational trainings and re-education through labour programmes. It has also carried out numerous other forms of repression and persecution of the Tibetan people in a continuing policy of denying them their human rights or otherwise trampling on them. We therefore appeal to the duty-bound United Nations Organization and its top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, to take interest and show a much-needed concern for protecting the basic human rights of the Tibetan people. We urge them to confront or deal with the government of China in whatever way it is appropriate and necessary for this purpose. We urge that the large number of innocent Tibetan people who have been put in jail be release as soon as possible without any precondition. We urge that the ongoing evil routine of carrying out torture, persecution and other forms of ill-treatment in the prisons in Tibet be stopped. Tibetan language activist Tashi Wangchuk-la, who was persecuted and jailed for five years, was released on the 28th of January this year after completing his sentence. However, even after he was released, it remains difficult to know what his health situation is and whether he is free to move about and act as he likes. Hence we wish to call on the government of China to allow Tashi Wangchuk-la to fully enjoy his basic human rights without any precondition. During the period he was previously under detention before trial, Tashi Wangchuk-la was subjected to beating and torture. We therefore urge that those who were responsible as leaders in those incidents be investigated without being left untouched with impunity. Likewise, we intend to strongly press the government of China through the good office of the United Nations Organization to seek information with regard to the true current situation of Tibetan political prisoners and former Tibetan political prisoners, notably including the situation of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.
Today is a day when we especially remember with outpouring of emotions our compatriots, the heroic men and women of Tibet, who sacrificed their all, including their precious lives, for the Tibetan religious, political, and ethnic causes. We offer our esteem and respect to them for their sense of determination and feats of accomplishment. Even to this day, there are so many Tibetan people who continue to be subjected to all manners of hardship from torture and ill-treatment inflicted under the communist Chinese government’s policy of violent repression of the Tibetan people. To all of them we express our feeling of anguish as well as solidarity and empathy. And we offer solemn prayers to the almighty ocean of victorious ones of the Three Precious Jewels that Tibetans living in Tibet may see their tribulations come to an end in all speediness and realize a state of bliss in which they can amuse themselves in joyousness.
After His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s escape from our homeland occupied by China, followed by some eighty thousand Tibetan subjects, He newly set up in India a Tibetan administration in exile. He also established settlements, schools, religious centres and so forth for the Tibetan people living in exile. His success in these efforts carried out with accomplished means have won Him deep admiration from all concerned persons and entities. We owe enormous debts of gratitude especially to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as to our elders of the different time periods in exile for our success in reaching the current stage where the voice of the Tibetan people’s struggle for their just cause reverberates all across the wide world. They have worked with great diligence and made enormous personal sacrifices with immense sense of determination to make the realization of this success possible.
While continuing to carry out his traditional and routine works of enormous magnitude, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made use of the avenue of internet to interact with prominent figures as well as large numbers of his devotees in numerous countries of the world. He has given them religious teachings and held discussions and other forms of meetings with them, as well as delivered to them edifying talks through online meetings. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world have benefited, and continue to benefit, from these online interactions with Him. And thanks to the solidly unwavering courage and determination of the Tibetan people in Tibet as well as to the efforts of the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people living in exile, those coming forward to extend support for our just cause keeps increasing by leaps and bounds year after year. Including the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 and Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020 passed in the United States of America, in many countries of the world, parliaments have seen discussions held, resolutions and motions passed, and feelings expressed on the issue of Tibet in greater numbers than ever before. And it remains our abiding appeal and hope that such legislations and discussions be seen implemented into action so as to exert such pressure on the government of China as to compel it to take steps to resolve the issue of Tibet.
Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the year 2020 became one of bleakness and misfortune to the entire world. The losses the pandemic inflicted on people in each country across the world in terms of their health, economic undertakings, social construction projects and so forth have been truly enormous. Tibetans in Tibet as well as Tibetans in living in exile have also suffered hardships similarly. In the case of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile too, many official works for which budgetary allocations had been sanctioned could not be carried out. We pray that the spread of this Covid-19 pandemic may subside and come to an end at the soonest possible moment; that the sun of happiness may finally emerge out of the clouds of this pandemic to shower joy and happiness over the entire world.
The preliminary poll for the Sikyong and Parliament-in-Exile elections for the year 2021 have been concluded in an atmosphere of harmony and in a dignified manner and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile wishes to express its cheers and compliments for the success. At the same time, we wish to appeal everyone to continue taking responsibility to ensure a successful conduct of the schedules of the process for the upcoming final poll for both elections with successful conclusions.
During the period of 62 years thus far the Tibetan people have remained in exile, the people and government of India have extended such fraternal generosity of support and help as to make us feel like living in a second homeland. We owe great debts of gratitude and offer our heartfelt thanks for extending financial and other forms of support and help in the struggle for the just cause of Tibet, the education of the Tibetan people living in exile, facilitating Tibetan people’s good health and numerous other purposes to the Indian government, individuals and other entities from across the world.
In conclusion, we pray that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the protector and ultimate source of comfort for all sentient beings across the world in general, but especially to the Tibetan people in Tibet and in exile, may live for a hundred aeons, that all his wishes may be seen fulfilled with spontaneity, and the just cause of Tibet attained with utmost certainty.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile
10 March 2021
* In case of any discrepancy between this English translation and its Tibetan original, the latter should be considered as authoritative and final for all purposes.