Today is Tibetan Uprising Day, commemorating the events of 1959. And reminding the world that the CCP oppression of Tibet continues.
by Ugyen Gyalpo
The army of the People’s Republic of China began its invasion of Tibet in the year 1949. In subsequent developments after that fateful year, the government of the CCP, employing the triple art of hypocrisy, deception, and deceit against the Tibetans, eventually unveiled its intention to brazenly occupy the territory of the great nation of Tibet. With devilish intentions, it targeted the personal safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The situation escalated to such severity that it became impossible for the people of Tibet to endure the ever-worsening developments anymore. The result was a mammoth, spontaneous peaceful uprising in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, involving people from all the three Provinces of the country, on March 10, 1959. Tens of thousands of Tibetans surrounded the Potala Palace, the home of the Dalai Lama, to protect his life and the future of the Tibetan nation. And tens of thousands were killed when Chinese soldiers opened fire, but the Tibetans refused to surrender. Many risked their lives to ensure the success of the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile, where he will become a tireless advocate for his people.
March 10 is a date deeply rooted in the hearts of all Tibetans past and present, now scattered across this world—from their great-grandparents seeking refuge from across Tibet in the streets of Lhasa, to their grandparents making the dangerous escape across the Himalayas with their infants, to their parents and to a new generation born and raised in exile. There is no other point in Tibet’s history where an event continues to touch their lives so intimately, an event that continues to inspire generations to courage, resilience, and hope of the Tibetan people, and one that continues to fuel the Tibetan freedom movement.
More than sixty years later, Tibetans are still filled with the same devotion and passion to safeguard their leader and their homeland from China’s rule. Tibetans are still demanding freedom simply to be Tibetan—to speak their language, to practice their Buddhist religion, and to live freely in their own country. Tibetans inside Tibet are unequivocally demonstrating that they will not be controlled by Beijing, nor can they tolerate the extreme repression they have been forced to endure for the past six decades and more.
March 10 is an anniversary that serves as a reminder to all—especially to the Chinese government—that the spirit of the Tibetans who rose up decades ago grows stronger every day, a new generation of Tibetans is determined to complete the struggle that began over half a century ago, and a growing global community stands in solidarity with them in their fight for freedom.
March 10 is also a lively epitome of the Tibetans’ spirit. Many of Tibetan self-immolators choose this day to lid up their bodies in flames. Usually, protesters on this day end up in detention. Some known as potential protesters are also arrested in advance as a cautionary measure, simply meaning that innocents are imprisoned in absence of any crime. In some cases, Tibetan protesters in Tibet have been also shot on spot. Even Tibetans residing abroad are routinely locked up in some countries before March 10, on the pretext of avoiding disturbances between the host countries and Chinese Government.
Yes, March 10 is the most restricted day in Tibet. Several thousand of Chinese security force are usually sent throughout Tibet Autonomous Region.
To cope with this, young and educated Tibetans have adopted new strategies to combat Beijing’s policies, always using non-violence. They of course use social media, a toll that reveal itself to be effective and efficient in waking up consciences in the world at large. Can then Tibetans hope, 62 years after the uprising, that the world will side with them for freedom?