Tibetans march from Mcleod Ganj to Kacheri in Dharamshala to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day on March 12, 2023. Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala – Tibetan women and their supporters commemorated the 64th anniversary of the National Tibetan Women's Uprising Day by marching from Mcleod Ganj to Dharamshala on March 12, 2023. They protested against China's violation of the human rights of Tibetans inside Tibet, especially Tibetan women.

Central and Regional Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) organised an event to commemorate the 64th anniversary of Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day at the Tibetan National Martyrs' Memorial, Tsuglagkhang, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, India on March 12, 2023. After the event, hundreds of Tibetan women and Tibetans, including monks, nuns and students, marched from Mcleod Ganj to Kacheri in Dharamshala to pay tribute to the Tibetan martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet, since 1959 and to protest China's illegal occupation of Tibet.

While marching from Mcleod Ganj to Kacheri, they chanted the following slogans: "Free Tibet, China, get out of Tibet", "Tibet is not part of China", "Tibet belongs to Tibet", "CCP out of Tibet now", "Shame on China", "Stop killing in Tibet", "Stop torture and genocide in Tibet", "Free the Panchen Lama", "We demand human rights in Tibet", "United Nations speaks for Tibet".

Tsering Dolma, Vice President of TWA, reading the TWA statement on the 64th anniversary of the Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day, said, “Today, we, the Tibetan Women's Association, honor the 64th anniversary of National Tibetan Women's Uprising Day. March 12, 1959, is a significant day in the history of Tibetan women, a date on which Tibetan women rose united against the brutal crackdown of the Chinese government in the capital city of Lhasa outside Potala's palace, the Drebu Yulkhey ground. A section of women, particularly Pamo (martyr) Kunsang, charged on stage along with thousands of Tibetan women to protest against the illegal occupation of Tibet by Communist China. During this uprising, hundreds of Tibetan women lost their lives in the brutal crackdown, and many of them were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and beaten without trial. We stand in solidarity with all the supreme sacrifices made by these martyrs.”

“March 12, 1959, marks a crucial day in our Tibetan history. The Tibetan women's association and regional chapters commemorate this day and request all Tibetan women around the world to remember and honor the great sacrifices that all these martyrs have made to preserve our culture, identity and freedom. All the hard work and sweat put into it by our previous and former members of TWA through the grace and blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama led to the growth of the association. In their name, we vow that these hardships will not be had in vain,” the Vice President said, pledging to continue their hard work to preserve Tibetan culture and identity and restore freedom to Tibet.

Tsering Dolma said while speaking on the history of TWA's development, “Today, the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) has 58 regional chapters and over 20, 000 members. TWA is the largest Tibetan NGO and the first women's NGO in our exile that advocates human rights for Tibetan women inside Tibet and the empowerment of Tibetan women in exile, particularly the new refugee women from Tibet. On this historic day, we, the Tibetan women's Association, thank our martyrs, older, present, and future generations for their struggle and hardship so that we can continue the pledge taken by those brave sisters to achieve freedom in Tibet and heroism in exposing the numerous atrocities perpetrated upon Tibetan people.”

“It has been 64 years since the occupation of Tibet. Since then, the Chinese government has opted for different methods to diminish Tibetan ethnicity, a few months before China announced a zero-covid policy in Tibet. Tibetan people were forcefully dragged in trucks and put in a mass internment camp. Both positives and negatives were put inside the same room despite their reports. They were served with stale and decaying foods with unhygienic toilets. A few Tibetans took their own lives by jumping out of a building to protest against Chinese oppression. Recently there have been issues going on inside the Tibet Autonomous region. According to the 2022 reports, 1.2 million Tibetan DNA samples have been forcibly taken through the tools of Thermo Fisher Scientific. The People's Republic of China is using the designs to erase Tibetan identities, gaining the benefit of technology surveillance and keeping a track record of each Tibetan. Not only Tibet but Xinjiang, the Uygyurs Autonomous Region are also reported to have their DNA taken by the PRC,” the statement of TWA stated.

“We are also expressing our serious concern at all levels about the colonial boarding school system administered by the state of China in Tibet. Chinese government policies are forcing three out of four Tibetan students to leave homes and enter colonial boarding schools that now house between 800,000 and 900, 00 children in Tibet between the ages of six and eighteen, as well as a yet unknown number of children of four and five, cut off from their families and communities. Students must study primarily in Chinese, are prohibited from practicing their religion, and are subject to intense political indoctrination,” Tibetan Women’s Association said.

We, the Tibetan Women's Association, appeal to the United Nations, National Committees, world leaders, members of the parliament, and independent human rights organizations:

  • To pressurize China to call on the Chinese leadership to engage with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and resume the stalled Sino-Tibet dialogue based on the Middle Way Approach to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet
  • To take account of the enforced disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, Tenzin Gedun Yeshi Trinley Pe Sangpo Rinpoche and call on China to release Tibetan political prisoners.
  • We ask the Chinese government to stop the implementation of the colonial boarding school system and also call on the United Nations High Commissioner to have immediate, meaningful, and unrestricted access to all areas of Tibet and we demand Mr Mark N Casper, the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, to stop selling their kits to China. 

Chief guest of the event, Rinchen Khando Choegyal, a founding member of the Tibetan Women’s Association said that it is not enough to commemorate the Tibetan Women's Uprising Day by shouting slogans, marching and protesting against China for one day only, we have to do something for Tibet or the Tibetan cause in our daily life, the Tibetan language is endangered in Tibet, therefore we, in exile, have to learn Tibetan well and preserve the Tibetan culture and identity.