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US Congress leaders, cities commemorate 59th Tibet uprising anniversary

Marking the 59th anniversary Mar 10, 2018 of the Tibetan National Uprising Day in New York. (Photo courtesy: Tibetan Community NY & NJ)
Marking the 59th anniversary Mar 10, 2018 of the Tibetan National Uprising Day in New York. (Photo courtesy: Tibetan Community NY & NJ)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar11, 2018) – Marking the 59th anniversary Mar 10, 2018 of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a resolution in the US Senate to commemorate the historic event while House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi has called for re-energised international efforts to ensure meaningful autonomy for Tibet. And in New York City, thousands of Tibetans and supporters staged a rally to mark the occasion. Several cities in the US declared the day as Tibet Day and flew the Tibetan national flag.

Senator Leahy’s resolution affirmed support for the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and freedoms, including their right to self-determination and the protection of their distinct religious, cultural, linguistic and national identity.

Senator Patrick Leahy.
Senator Patrick Leahy.

Expressing the sense of the Senate that the identification and installation of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders, including a future 15th Dalai Lama, was a matter that should be determined solely within the Tibetan Buddhist faith community, in accordance with the inalienable right to religious freedom, the resolution called on the US Secretary of State to fully implement provisions of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

In exchanges with officials of the Chinese government, representatives of the US government should call for and otherwise promote the cessation of all interference by China in the religious affairs of the Tibetan people, it said.

It also urged the US Ambassador in China to meet with the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who was arbitrarily detained on May 17, 1995, and otherwise ascertain information concerning his whereabouts and wellbeing.

And it called on the US secretary of state to make efforts to establish an office in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, to monitor political, economic, and cultural developments in the Himalayan region.

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Meanwhile, in her statement for the occasion, Democratic leader Pelosi has said, “If we do not speak out for human rights in Tibet because of economic concerns, then we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights in any other place in the world.”

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

She has noted that nearly 60 years ago, the Tibetan people stood defiant in the face of oppression and brutality.

“Let us move forward together, renewed by the enduring faith of the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and re-energise our efforts to ensure meaningful autonomy for Tibet and guarantee that the culture, religion and human rights of the Tibetan people be fully and forever respected,” Pelosi has said.

She has said the Tibetan people had refused to be silenced and called for international support for their struggle. “Guided by their great faith and dignity, the Tibetan people refused to be silent – and the rest of the world heard their clarion call for freedom and justice.”

She has also referred to the current situation in Tibet as abysmal and a challenge to the conscience of the world. “Today, the abysmal human rights situation in Tibet continues to be a challenge to the conscience of the world. All freedom-loving people must continue to speak out, until every Tibetan man, woman and child is able to celebrate their heritage and culture, learn their own language, freely practice their faith and secure the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

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In New York City, thousands of Tibetans and supporters, including members of the Tibetan Community of NY-NJ, Regional Tibetan Women’s Association of NY-NJ, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of NY-NJ, Chushi Gangdruk of New York, Domey Association, U-Tsang Association, US Tibet Committee, and Students for a Free Tibet, marked the Tibetan National Uprising Day. They staged a protest march from Cadman Plaza across Upper Manhattan, with a stop at the UN office, and culminated the event before the Chinese Consulate in the city.

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In the city of Northampton in Massachusetts, Mayor David Narkewicz attended a commemoration event at which the Tibetan national flag was planted in a downtown area to remain flying for 59 days to commemorate the 59 years of Chinese occupation rule and Tibetan people’s resistance movement. It was organized by the Tibetan Community of Western Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts chapter of the Students for a Free Tibet.

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