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Dharamshala:  Recognising the indomitable courage and spirit of Tibetans living in Tibet to speak up against the Chinese government's oppression and wrong policies in Tibet, the members of standing committee of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile yesterday honoured the Tibetans who took part in the peaceful protests in Tibet last year, and later escaped to India following China's brutal crackdown.

The standing committee members met twenty Tibetans, including monks and laymen, representing all the three traditional provinces of Tibet - U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo. All of them took part in the unprecedented peaceful demonstrations against the wrong policies of the Chinese government in Tibet in March 2008, which marked the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising day.

The members of the standing committee present at the meeting were Ven Sonam Tenphel, Sonam Damdul, Geshe Monlam Tharchin, Dolma Tsering, Kunchok Choedon and Gyalrong Dawa Tsering.

During their close interaction with the Tibetan escapees at the parliamentary secretariat, the members of standing committee, headed by the Parliament's speaker and deputy speaker, heard from the individual Tibetans about their role and experiences in taking part in peaceful protests against the repression in Tibet.

Some of the escapees expressed their deep concern and resentment against the wrong policies of the Chinese government, particularly the policy of marginalising the Tibetan language in Tibet and the denunciation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Under China's rule, the Chinese language has replaced the Tibetan language in publications and schools in Tibet, putting the very existence of the Tibetan people's unique tradition on the verge of extinction. Most of the publications such as newspapers in Tibet appear in Chinese language instead of Tibetan, Tenpa Dhargye, a monk from Machu in Kanlho Tibet Autonomous Prefecture told the parliamentarians.

"The Central Tibetan Administration in exile should focus on strengthening their effort towards salvaging and reviving the Tibetan cultural heritage from extermination, especially the Tibetan language in Tibet," Tenpa Dhargye added.

Tsewang Dhondup, who was shot twice by the Chinese security forces while saving a life a monk hit by a bullet in a protest last year in Drakgo County in Karze, lauded the efforts of the Tibetans in exile for their solidarity with their brethrens in Tibet and their unstinting determination in keeping alive the struggle for the just cause of Tibet. The monk that Dhondup tried to save succumbed to his injuries.

"I wholeheartedly express my gratitude to the Central Tibetan Administration for providing the much needed medical assistance to me," said Tsewang Dhondup, whose left hand has become virtually useless due to grievous wound sustained after being hit by bullet. He is currently receiving treatment under the care of the Tibetan Reception Centre in Dharamsala.

Speaker Penpa Tsering briefed the Tibetans on the historical background of the Tibetan struggle starting from the signing of the 17-point Agreement between the Tibetan government and the People's Republic of China under duress in 1951 to the flight of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans following armed oppression by the government of People's Republic of China in March 1959.

The speaker lauded the Tibetans in living inside Tibet for keeping intact their loyalty and allegiance towards Tibet despite having to live under Chinese government's oppression for the last 50 years.

"The courage and spirit of unity shown by the Tibetan people inside Tibet are constant source of inspiration for Tibetans in exile to keep alive the struggle for the Tibetan cause," Speaker Penpa Tsering added.

The speaker told the Tibetans that the Parliament would do its best to ensure their well-being by creating better career opportunities for them.

Expressing her happiness in honouring those Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet, Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari said, "We, as a representative of the Tibetan people, have the responsibility to look after the well-being of our people, especially in extending necessary help towards those Tibetans coming from Tibet."