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Tibetans worldwide call for freedom from China

Rallies held around the world marked the 65th anniversary of the uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet in 1959
Tibetans living in exile in India attend a peace march on March 10.

Tibetans living in exile in India attend a peace march on March 10. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 13, 2024 08:37 AM GMT
Updated: March 13, 2024 08:51 AM GMT

Thousands of Tibetans and their supporters have rallied worldwide in a joint call for Tibet’s independence from China.

The rallies organized on a global scale on March 10 marked the 65th anniversary of the civilian uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet in 1959, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on March 11.

Penpa Tsering, president of the Central Tibetan Administration in-exile, in a statement voiced his support for the Tibetans who lost their lives and those who are still suffering under China's brutal occupation.

“Since 2009, 157 Tibetans are known to have self-immolated for more freedom inside Tibet and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Tsering said.

“On this solemn occasion, we remember and offer our prayers in honor of our compatriots who have given their lives for the cause of Tibet,” Tsering added.

Tsering accused the Chinese government of “exterminating the Tibetan identity” through control over the movement of people, and extensive surveillance by compelling Tibetans to spy on each other.

He also accused the Chinese administration of promoting the Chinese language by banning and minimizing the teaching and use of the Tibetan language, among others.

The weekend rallies also marked the 35th anniversary of martial law imposed on March 5, 1989, and the anniversary of the peaceful protests that erupted across Tibet in 2008.

Rallies were organized in Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile reside, RFA reported.

The crowds listened to speeches from Tibetan leaders and later marched through the hillside town, chanting, and carrying banners and Tibetan national flags, which are banned inside Tibet.

Similarly, Victoria state in Australia witnessed dozens of Tibetans rallying with Tibetan national flags and banners demanding a “Free Tibet.” Cities like Paris, Vienna, Geneva, New York, Toronto, and Taipei also witnessed similar scenes.

Tibetans from across the United States gathered in Washington D.C. to urge lawmakers to pass the Resolve Tibet Act which they say could restart negotiations between China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys or the democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan people.

The talks have been stalled since 2010, and the bill passed through the US House of Representatives on Feb. 15 and is now up for Senate approval.

In a massive show of support, more than 2,100 towns, municipalities, and counties around the world hoisted the Tibetan national flag, RFA reported.

In Europe, more than 800 Tibetan flags were raised outside state or town halls in the Czech Republic, some 600 in France, and 458 in Germany.

In the US, Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin raised the Tibetan national flag at the Madison City-County building and officially declared March 10 as Tibet Day in his state.

Boston, and El Cerrito, Santa Barbara, Berkeley, and Richmond in California, East Rutherford in New Jersey, and Burlington in Vermont were among other cities in the US that witnessed similar flag hoisting ceremonies.

Meanwhile, Indian authorities removed and arrested 35 members of the Tibetan Youth Congress after they held a protest outside the Chinese embassy in the national capital New Delhi on March 11.

The arrested activists were charged with trying to storm the embassy and later released on bail.

Gonpo Dhondup, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said that the protest was aimed at drawing attention to human rights violations inside Tibet.

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