(TibetanReview.net, Mar12, 2017) – Tibetans across the world marked the 58th anniversary of their national uprising against Chinese occupation rule in their homeland on Mar 10, with Beijing promising a “resolutely strike” against the “Dalai Lama clique’s separatist activities”, the exile Tibetan reiterating its call on Beijing to resume talks to give real autonomy to Tibet, and Nepal once again banning the commemoration. Tibetans and supporters across the free world commemorated the occasion with a large number of Western cites flying the Tibetan national flag and several of them declaring the day as Tibet Day.
The Chinese promise of crackdown was delivered by Mr Che Dalha, the governor of Tibetan Autonomous Region, who was attending China’s annual parliament session in Beijing. He said the Chinese government would “hold a clear-cut stand against separatism, resolutely strike against the Dalai clique’s damaging and separatist activities”, reported Reuters Mar 10.
Earlier, on Mar 3, Chinese troops staged a military parade in Lhasa in what appeared to have been “intended to discourage public protests or expressions of dissent,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a Mar 9 statement. The group noted that foreign travel to Lhasa had been closed for all of March, with the entire region placed on a security alert.
“Chinese authorities are once again shutting off travel and holding military parades to bully the Tibetan population into silence,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said.
In Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture of Sichuan Province, internet was blocked in 10 counties in the run up to the anniversary to last till Mar 17, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Mar 10. A documents numbered 24 of 2017 of the provincial government was reported to list these 10 counties as Dartsedo (Kangding), Tawu (Daofu), Draggo (Luhuo), Kardze (Ganzi), Sershul (Shiqu), Dege (Dege), Palyul (Baiyu), Nyagrong (Xinlong), Lithang (Litang), and Bathang (Batang).
The order was reported to state that other areas not yet specified in the document, would also have their internet service blocked. “Based on past experience, the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture will also be affected,” the report quoted a local source as saying.
Across the Tibet Autonomous Region, government employees had reportedly been assigned to take turns to guard their offices round the clock, the report said.
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At the official exile Tibetan commemoration of the uprising day at Dharamshala, India, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay told the gathering that China had on Mar 3 conducted a military drill in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, involving 5000 troops and a convoy of 1000 military vehicles, which he said made the city resemble a war zone. He referred to the continuing serious violations of human rights in Tibet and numerous other concerns. And he said, “We once again call on the Chinese leadership to review its wrong policies in Tibet and revisit Hu Yaobang initiated liberal policies on Tibetan people.”
He believed that “ultimately the Tibet issue can be best resolved by adhering to the win-win proposition of the Middle Way Approach and resuming dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as reiterated by the US Government and European Parliament.”
He said the exile Tibetan administration was putting its best efforts to strengthen the social foundations of the Tibetan political struggle. He added that to further galvanize the global Tibet movement, his administration would observe 2017 as a year of campaign, with plans to mark 2018 as a year of gratitude “to express our deep appreciation to the governments and people around the world, in particular India, for extending their hospitality and unwavering support over the last half-century.”
Guests for the occasion included Arno Kompatscher, President of the Italy’s autonomous region of South Tyrol, Senators Michel Raison and Senator André Gattolin from France, and a former Senator Mr Consiglio Di Nino from Canada. Kompatsche expressed confidence that the Tibet cause will prevail one day while reaffirming his government’s support for and solidarity with the Tibetan people.
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In New Delhi, some 150 activists of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which campaigns for Tibet’s independence from Chine rule, were taken away by police after they tried to hold a protest outside the Chinese Embassy, reported voatibetanenglish.com Mar 10. Those detained included the group’s Vice President Mr Tamdin Hrichoe. All were later released, reported PTI news agency Mar 11. The report put the number of the detained at more than 70.
Elsewhere, residents of the Samyeling Tibetan Colony in old Delhi staged a procession to Jantar Mantar in the centre of the city where they were joined by Indian support group members.
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In Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office (which represents the exile Tibetan administrative), had to issue a public notice Mar 7, asking Tibetans to “refrain from commemorating the 58th Uprising day”. The notice said the Nepalese Home Ministry as well as the District office had rejected Tibetan requests for permission to commemorate the event. The notice asked the Tibetan to restrict themselves to holding prayers at home.
Nepalese leaders have repeatedly promised not to allow Tibetans to engage in any sort of anti-China activities as the country keeps receiving more and more aid and investment from Beijing. Nepal is home to around 20,000 Tibetans, most of them without any documentation.
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In the United States, members of the Tibetan community and Tibet supporters held a rally in front of the White House. Democratic and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement in observance of the day. Congressman Jim McGovern also released a statement for the occasion.
In Minneapolis in the US state of Minnesota, the city council adopted a resolution in support of the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination. This was despite the fact that on Mar 8, the Chinese consul general in Chicago had expressed “deep concerns” about the council’s plans in a letter. “We firmly oppose the above-mentioned resolution, which completely ignored the basic facts that Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times and the so-called Tibetan uprising back in 1959 was a full-scale insurrection plotted by a handful of serf owners with the aim to split Tibet from China,” consul general Hong Lei was quoted as having written.
The resolution, authored by all 13 members of the City Council, declared Mar 10 to be Tibet Day, in honor of the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising.
Tibetan in many other US cities observed the anniversary, including with rallies before Chinese consulates and state capitols.
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In Germany, hundreds of cities, municipalities and districts throughout the country showed their solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet by flying the Tibetan flag over their buildings. This was part of a campaign called “Fly your flag for Tibet” organized by Tibet Initiative Deutschland eV (TID) which advocates for the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination.
The group said the campaign faced opposition from the Chinese embassy which wrote to mayors to discourage them from raising the Tibetan flag on Mar 10. Also, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior sent out a letter, asking mayors to “re-think” their planned raising of the Tibetan flag, the group added. The group has been carrying out the campaign since 1996 and said the number of participants in the flag campaign had crossed 1,000 during some years.
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In London, with the participation of MPs, a series of events were held to commemorate the Tibetan uprising day, jointly organised by the four largest Tibet organisations in the UK: Tibet Society, Tibetan Community in Britain, Free Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet.
The participants gathered opposite the Downing Street with Tibetan flags and banners calling for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for their human rights to be respected. The organisers submitted a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May before marching towards the Chinese Embassy at Portland place where they held a demonstration.
Earlier, on Mar 7, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet held a ceremony at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the event. MPs laid a wreath to remember all Tibetan casualties of China’s occupation of Tibet. The group’s chairman Tim Loughton told the gathering, “We have a strong and cross-party support group within parliament who do as much as we can to remember those in Tibet, who have lost their lives in their struggle for liberty and recognition of their own culture over the last 58 years.”
He also said, “And we pay tribute to those brave members of Tibet, both within and outside the geographical confinement of Tibet who never tire of promoting the cause of freedom for the Tibetans living under the Chinese.”
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In Sydney, Australia, some 200 protesters marched through the central business district to the Chinese consulate to protest against the lack of human rights in Tibet, with larger demonstrations planned later on Mar 10 in cities including Taipei and London, said the Reuters report.
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In the Swiss capital Bern, more than 24 members of the Swiss Parliamentarian group for Tibet gathered in front of a large Tibetan national flag before the Bundeshaus, the country’s Parliament House, for a group photo with Tibetan community leaders. Swiss MP Angelo Barrile also raised the issue of Tibet in the parliament on Mar 9.
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In Hong Kong, the City University’s students’ union organized a seminar on “New Tibet – Hong Kong under re-colonisation” to mark the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising day. At the seminar, pro-independence Hong Kong National Party spokesman Jason Chow Ho-fai likened the influence of mainland China on Hong Kong to Tibet’s experience after the Communist Party established control of the region in the early 1950s, reported scmp.com Mar 11.