Tibetan women commemorate the 65th Tibetan Women’s National Uprising Day

Tibetan women marching from Mcleod Ganj to Dharamshala, to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day, March 12, 2024. (Photo: TPI)

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Dharamshala – Tibetan women held a peace march in Dharamshala to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day and to protest against the illegal occupation of Tibet by the Chinese government in 1959. They said, “As we mark 65 years of Chinese Communist Party persecution, we recognise and honor women all over the world who have made significant sacrifices to maintain our culture, identity, and independence. We also pay our respects to those who continue to suffer under the oppression of the Chinese Communists."

Central and Regional Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) organised an event to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day at the Tibetan National Martyrs' Memorial, Tsuglagkhang, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, India on March 12, 2024. After the event, hundreds of Tibetan women, including 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 in 1959.

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

Tenzin Dolma, President of TWA, reading the TWA statement on the 65th anniversary of the Tibetan Women's National Uprising Day, said, "Today, the Tibetan Women's Association commemorates the 65th anniversary of National Tibetan Women's Uprising Day. March 12, 1959, is a watershed moment in Tibetan women's history when they united together to protest the Chinese government's ruthless repression in the capital city of Lhasa, outside Potala's palace, on the Drebu Yulkhey grounds. A group of women, led by Pamo (martyr) Kunsang, took to the stage alongside hundreds of Tibetan women to oppose Communist China's unlawful annexation of Tibet. Hundreds of Tibetan women were killed in ruthless repression during the uprising, and many more were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and beaten without trial. We stand in solidarity with all of these martyrs and their great sacrifices."

"One of the most important days in our Tibetan history is March 12, 1959. As we mark 65 years of Chinese Communist Party persecution, we recognize and honor women all over the world who have made significant sacrifices to maintain our culture, identity, and independence. We also pay our respects to those who continue to suffer under the oppression of the Chinese Communists. We have a responsibility to ensure that their hopes of reuniting the exiled and Tibetan people are achieved, she continued.

"A period of transition for TWA followed the uprising when many Tibetans were force to live in Exile. TWA remained dormant though its torch was kept alive in places with larger Tibetan Communities like Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Rajpur and Dharamshala. On the 10th of September 1984, with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Women's Association was officially reinstated with 12 branches throughout India. Today, the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) has 58 regional chapters and over 20, 000 members outside Tibet. Our Association has been very vocal about the political situation in Tibet and is an active advocate of the human rights of Tibetans in Tibet as well as in exile We are recognized for our engagement and attentiveness towards social justice, women's rights, environmental welfare, youth leadership, and non-violent political operations. The Tibetan Women's Association strives to preserve and promote His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's vision following the middle way approach," the President explained.

"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. After 65 years of occupation, Tibet today is still in shambles: the people are silenced violently; there is no freedom of faith; the developmental and economic plans introduced by the State do not benefit the Tibetan people. They are still punished for raising their voices for human rights and are subjected to gender-specific torture. The situation in Tibet is deteriorating, with an intensifying crackdown and systematic repression of Tibetans. The repercussions are clear in the on-going spate of self-immolations; 169 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire, demanding the return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Tibet and Tibetan freedom," TWA stated.

"Since their inception in 2016, the colonial boarding schools, which the government refers to as "education and training centres," have been a source of contention It is crucial to keep in mind that the Chinese government's practices towards Tibet have long been criticised for violating human rights and for being an attempt to indoctrinate people into politics and culture. Cultural genocide in Tibet by the Chinese government led to destruction of numerous monasteries and countless sacred scriptures, as well as forcing many monks and nuns to disrobe and renounce their monastic world," they said.

"The Tibetan Plateau is now facing great danger from major environmental degradation, which is both man-made and Nat- Ural. However, various environmental challenges on the Tibetan plateau are due to human-induced factors more specifically through series of unplanned development policies by China in Tibet. Tibet often referred to as the "Third Pole" due to its massive ice fields and glaciers, is indeed at risk from hydroelectric power dam projects. China has been constructing numerous dams in Tibet as part of its broader strategy to increase hydroelectric power generation and meet its growing energy demands. Tibet's glaciers and rivers serve as the source of major rivers that sustain over 1.5 billion people across Asia," the Tibetan women declared.

Referring to the recent crackdown by the Chinese authorities on peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Dege County, Kham, in eastern Tibet, they said: "The construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Drichu River in Kham, eastern Tibet, has just come to light, posing a threat to the homes, livelihoods, and cultural heritage of the population of six monasteries and two communities. Local villagers and monks were observed kneeling down and pleading the authorities to halt the project, which resulted in the detention of more than 1,000 Tibetans, including monks. The construction of dams in Tibet not only threatens the local Tibetan Community but can have severe environmental consequences. It disrupts river ecosystems, alters natural water flow patterns, and can lead to the loss of biodiversity. Many of Asia's major rivers receive their water from the melting glaciers in Tibet, and changing these flows might have a significant effect on areas downstream. If world does not pay attention to the major destructions caused by China in Tibet, the future of Asia will be at great disaster. We urge the international community and leaders to join us in opposing the construction of the dam and demanding an immediate action to halt its progress."

"We stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people in Dege County for their courage and resilience demonstrated through their protests. With more international communities and leaders firmly supporting and working towards the Tibet cause, TWA is extremely grateful for the many opportunities it has provided to raise awareness of the predicament facing Tibetans on a global scale," they added.

The Tibetan activists said, "The time has come for the entire world to demonstrate that human rights abuses, no matter where they occur, are unacceptable. Now is the moment for the entire world to unite against the global tyrant. Human rights situations in the states seized by China would deteriorate further if international pressure is not applied to hold China responsible."

"We commemorate this day with the deepest of hopes for human rights, peace, and freedom in Tibet and the other regions of the world where peace is held hostage by brutal regimes," Tibetan Women said in the statement.