Rinzin Choedon, National Director of SFT, speaking on the 109th anniversary of Tibetan Independence Day in Dharamshala on February 13, 2022. Photo:TPI

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Dharamshala, India — Tibetan activists from Students for a Free Tibet-India and Tibetans in Dharamshala commemorated the 109th anniversary of Tibetan Independence Day, which was declared by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama on February 13, 1913. “Observing independence day is a powerful expression of people's desire for freedom,” said Rinzin Choedon, national director of SFT.

Students for a Free Tibet(SFT)-India organised a programme to commemorate Tibetan Independence Day with a talk on “History of Proclamation of Tibetan Independence” by Tibetan scholar Naga Sangye Tandar, at Tibet Hotel, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, H.P, India, on February 13, 2022. 

Lhasang Tsering, activist and writer, Tenzin Tsundun, writer and activist, and Gonpo Dhondup, President of Tibetan Youth Congress, along with other guests and about 50 people participated in the commemoration of the 109th anniversary of Tibetan independence day. The Tibetan activists also showed the Shimla Treaty, signed in Shimla on the status of Tibet, negotiated by representatives of China, Tibet and the UK in 1913 and 1914.

“SFT observe February 13 as an important day to commemorate Tibetan Independence’s past in order to shape our future, for a free and independent Tibet. On February 13, 1913, the great 13th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people restored Tibet as a sovereign nation and proclaimed Tibetan independence after the failed invasion of the Manchu army,” said Rinzin Choedon, SFT National Director.

“To mark this historic day, on February 13, 2013, the global Tibetan movement observed the centenary of the declaration of Tibetan independence by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. In occupied countries, the observation of Independence Day is a powerful expression of a people's desire for freedom," she added.

"Since then, February 13 has been celebrated as Tibetan Independence Day around the world by organising various creative actions. For example, flag-raising ceremonies, exhibitions, lobbying events, and other creative actions to spotlight the Tibetan independent past," explained Rinzin Choedon.

“In the face of China’s growing propaganda that distorts Tibet’s history and makes illegitimate claims to its land and its people, Tibetans inside Tibet continue to reclaim Tibet through their protests against Chinese rule. To counter China’s escalating attempts to re-write Tibetan history, Tibetan Independence Day was launched on February 13, 2013, on the Centennial of the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence. Over the last years, Tibetan Independence Day has been celebrated in over 30 cities worldwide,” SFT stated.

“A global commemoration of this empowering history will help renew spirits, and reaffirm a global vision of a future independent Tibet with the return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,” they concluded.