Tibetan National Uprising Day Commemorated With Brussels Protest
Tibetans across the world are commemorating the Tibetan Uprising Day, referring to the popular uprising against the Chinese government’s occupation of Tibet in 1959. Since 1951 Tibet has been occupied and annexed unilaterally into the People’s Republic of China. As one of UNPO’s founding members in 1991 the Central Tibetan Administration has sought to promote the rights of Tibetans inside and outside the region and help other UNPO members in their causes far and wide. UNPO stands with all Tibetans protesting today around the world.
The uprising in 1959 is considered a landmark event in the history of Tibetan resistance against Chinese occupation. Many Tibetans lost their lives in the uprising and the 10th March has since become synonymous with a national day for Tibetans. In 2008, widespread protests by Tibetan monks on March 10th led to a brutal crackdown and the resulting self-immolation protests of the monks have shone a light on the conditions they face for attempting to express themselves.
Today’s Tibetan Autonomous Region is subject to a draconian surveillance program, with foreign journalists under heavy scrutiny and little space for freedom of speech or assembly of Tibetans in the region. Since the significant protests in 2008 and the ascent of Xi Jingping to the head of the Chinese Communist Party, the international observers present have noted an even further tightening of the screw in terms of civil and political rights.
In recent years the protests have gathered even more importance due to the tightening of the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on civil society and crackdown of peaceful protest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is why UNPO supports the initiative taken by Tibetan NGOs to hold a protest in Brussels demanding an end to the Chinese government’s systematic repression of the Tibetan people, their identity and right to self-determination.
UNPO Secretary General Ralph J. Bunche spoke at the event, saying that “UNPO looks to the Tibetans as an example of how to resist colonialism and occupation with dignity and resolve everywhere. While ultimately the Tibetan Uprising did not succeed in liberating Tibet, it was fighting against impossible odds and it sowed the seeds of the non-violent resistance that has characterized the Tibetan cause ever since”.
The Secretary General went on to explain that the Tibetan cause “stands as a monument to the dangers of the current world order” where there is “a carte blanche that accorded to the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, including China”.
UNPO remains dedicated to aiding the Tibetan cause on multiple fronts, from making their voices heard in various forums without being subject to intimidation to highlighting the consequences of China’s occupation on regional security given its vital water supplies.