By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 10 March 2016
Tibetans around the world marked the 57th anniversary of the 1959 uprising against Chinese invasion of Tibet.
In the capital of the exile Tibetan Diaspora, McLeod Ganj, the Sikyong (Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration), Lobsang Sangay, hoisted a Tibetan flag as thousands of Tibetans sang their national anthem.
Sangay stated in his annual speech that the situation inside Tibet is grim. He said that anyone speaking up for their rights are charged on political grounds and are given harsh punishments, and mere possession of the image of the Dalai Lama leads to arrest and imprisonment.
“Chinese government routinely claims there is happiness and prosperity with the development of a new Tibet. But the truth is otherwise. All the areas inhabited by the Tibetan people are bereft of basic freedoms and continue to remain under strict control and surveillance,” Sangay said in his statement.
He said that China claims the right to identify the reincarnations of Tibetan spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama. This is a blatant lie as the claim is based on doctored history.
“The power and authority to decide the reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, Tibet’s protector and saviour, manifested in the human form, rests solely with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Nobody else has the right to do so.”
China considers Tibet to be part of its sovereign territory since ancient times, and also says its troops ‘peacefully liberated’ Tibet in 1951 from feudalism, with claims that it has since brought economic development to a previously backward region.
The Dalai Lama, then the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, fled into exile after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, and since established an exile administration in McLeod Ganj. He relinquished his political powers in 2011 to an elected political leader Sikyong (Prime Minister).
The Dalai Lama and the exile administration are not seeking independence, but meaningful autonomy for all the Tibetan-inhabited areas of Amdo, Kham, and U-Tsang through a “middle way approach”. China counters that by saying “middle-way” is really semi-independence.
After the official function in McLeod Ganj, thousand of exile Tibetans and their supporters marched down the hill to the Dharamshala city centre, holding Tibetan flags and shouting free Tibet slogans.
Reports say that some 100 Tibetan activists tried to storm the Chinese embassy in Delhi. Indian police hauled the activists into waiting buses and took them away.