For Immediate Release
Ottawa rally commemorates 50th anniversary of 1959 Tibetan uprising
(Ottawa, Tuesday, 10 March 2009) – Tens of thousands of Tibetans and their supporters worldwide held commemorations and vigils today honouring the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, announced the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC).
To commemorate the anniversary the Canada Tibet Committee with other Tibet support groups held two days of events in Ottawa, including an unprecedented national day of lobbying and rallies both on Parliament Hill and in front of the Chinese embassy.
“For over half a century, the Tibetan people’s continued resistance in the face of incredible odds symbolizes their courage and determination in spite of the climate of fear that permeates Tibet to this day,” said CTC executive director Dermod Travis.
Since January, at least five protests have been reported in Tibet involving hundreds expressing their dissatisfaction with Chinese rule, despite a massive military presence, severe restrictions, and the threat of imprisonment and torture. In 2008, more than 100 protests took place in over 50 locations across the plateau following the 10th March anniversary. In the resulting crackdown over 200 were killed, thousands detained and hundreds imprisoned. Over 1,300 are still missing.
Earlier this year, the CTC released declassified documents dating to 1944 from the then Department of External Affairs analyzing the situation in, invasion of and the political status of Tibet.
The department wrote that “if China owned Tibet…there would certainly be no point in sending an army to conquer it.” Later in 1950, a legal opinion solicited by the department concluded that “Chinese suzerainty, perhaps existent, though ill-defined, before 1911, appears since then, on the basis of facts available to us, to have been a mere fiction…Tibet is, from the point of view of international law, qualified for recognition as an independent state.”
On March 10, 1959, Tibetans rose up against the Chinese administration as a result of the oppression and systematic brutality they were experiencing under military occupation. Thousands died and many thousands more were forced into labour camps during the uprising.
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organisation of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, who are concerned about the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
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