Statement of Kashag on 53rd Tibetan National Uprising Day
March 09, 2012
Statement of Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay (Political Head of the Tibetan People) on the 53rd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day
Today, on the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day and the fourth anniversary of the 2008 mass protests in Tibet, I offer tribute to the brave people who have sacrificed so much for Tibet. Despite fifty-three years of occupation by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Tibetan spirit and identity inside Tibet remains unbroken.
On this occasion, I pay homage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his vision, leadership and benevolence. I also pay my deepest respect and gratitude to our elders for their contribution and tireless effort that have sustained our movement’s growth and dynamism over the past fifty years.
One year ago, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced the transfer of his political power to a democratically elected leader, Tibetans were apprehensive and implored him to reconsider. Today, the world recognizes and applauds His Holiness’ vision and magnanimous decision. Tibetans are making a smooth transition with the free, fair and multi-candidate 2011 parliamentary and Kalon Tripa elections that involved exile and diaspora Tibetans in over forty countries.
I am deeply honored by the spiritual blessings, legitimacy, political authority and continuity bestowed upon me by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his statement at my inauguration ceremony on August 8th, 2011, His Holiness said “when I was young, an elderly regent Takdrag Rinpoche handed over Sikyong (political leadership) to me, and today I am handing over Sikyong to young Lobsang Sangay…in doing this, I have fulfilled my long-cherished goal.”
I am also enormously moved by the solidarity and endorsements from Tibetans inside Tibet during the elections and since assuming my political post. I have had many deeply moving encounters with hundreds of Tibetans from Tibet as they generously offered their blessings and support.
Blessed by the historic transfer of political power from His Holiness, empowered by the mandate received from the people, and buoyed by the support and solidarity from Tibetans inside Tibet, I can say with pride and conviction that the Central Tibetan Administration legitimately represents and speaks for all six million Tibetans.
Beijing’s view that a generational change in leadership may weaken the Tibetan freedom movement has not and will never materialize. The resiliency of the Tibetan spirit combined with a coming generation of educated Tibetans will provide dynamic leadership and sustain the movement till freedom is restored in Tibet.
If the Chinese government’s claim that Tibetans enjoy freedom and equality are true, then it should allow democratic, transparent, free and fair elections in Tibet. In the fifty-three years of Chinese occupation, no Tibetan has ever held the Party Secretary post of the so- called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Chinese hold majority of the decision-making positions in all branches of the government and constitute more than fifty percent of the public sector workforce. Seventy percent of the private sector enterprises are owned or operated by Chinese. Forty percent of Tibetan high school and college graduates are unemployed.
The Tibet issue concerns far more than the rights and welfare of six million Tibetans. It impacts the entire planet. The unique Tibetan culture, with its rich language, spirituality and history must be protected. The Tibetan plateau is the ‘world’s third pole’ as it contains the largest ice fields outside the two poles. Tibetan glaciers, the source of ten major rivers, affect the lives of more than 1.5 billion people. Billions of dollars worth of mineral resources are exploited annually to fuel China’s economy. Decades of logging have reduced Tibet’s pristine forest cover by half. Clearly, the management of this global common, and the Tibetan people’s traditional role as its stewards, ought to be a planetary concern.
When China invaded Tibet in 1949, it promised to usher in a ‘socialist paradise.’ In actuality Tibetans are treated as second- class citizens. When Tibetans gather peacefully and demand basic rights as outlined in the Chinese constitution, they are arrested, fired upon and killed as in the January 23-24th peaceful protests when Chinese were celebrating their new year. The Communist Party cadre members in the TAR have been ordered to prepare for a “war” against the Tibetan protestors.
In stark contrast, in Wukan (Guangdong Province), protests by Chinese people lasted weeks, their grievances were addressed, one
March 9, 2017