By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 12 March 2018
Members of the Tibetan Women’s Association commemorated the 59th Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day today.
A few hundred Tibetan women, mostly school children, gathered at the Tibetan Martyr’s Pillar in McLeod Ganj for the official function.
Speakers for the occasion called upon the international community to put pressure on the Chinese leadership for talks to stop the repressive Chinese policies in Tibet, which is forcing Tibetans to resort to self-immolation protests. They also called for acceptance of the Middle-way approach initiated by the Dalai Lama to grant autonomy for Tibet.
They later marched down the hill to Dharamshala in a peaceful procession to spread information about the day.
The Tibetan Womens’s Uprising Day remembers the 12 March 1959 women’s event in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, where thousands of women demanded that the Chinese invaders leave Tibet. The protest was violently suppressed, and many Tibetan women lost their lives that day.
Two days prior, the people of Lhasa had risen in protest to protect the Dalai Lama from attending a show at the Chinese military headquarters, suspecting that the Chinese would abduct him if he attended.
Last year, the Central Tibetan Administration declared 12 March as Tibetan Women’s Day. An official ceremony was held at Tsuglakhang temple in McLeod Ganj with the Dalai Lama as the chief guest. The decision was met with criticism from various quarters, including the Tibetan Women’s Association.
One criticism was about the choice of the same day as Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day. Another was about the method of deciding — only members of CTA were consulted, not other Tibetan women or organisations such as TWA.
There was no event in sight marking a Tibetan Women’s Day today.