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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibetan National Uprising Day across Canada and in the Canadian Parliament

March 16, 2015


Canada Tibet Committee, March 10, 2015 – In commemoration of the 1959 Lhasa Uprising, Tibetans and supporters across Canada held rallies and vigils under the banner “Canada Stands with Tibet”.  The events were organized by representatives of Tibet support groups and community associations, and they included the participation of the growing contingent of new Tibetan-Canadians who have come to Canada under this government’s resettlement project for 1000 Tibetans from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Lhasa Uprising in March 1959 has come to symbolize China’s occupation of Tibet and the exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to India.

Events began on Saturday March 7 in British Columbia. A strong showing of supporters gathered in the provincial capital Victoria and marched to the BC Legislature where they were addressed by MP Randall Garrison and other leaders of the community.  On March 10, hundreds travelled from Seattle and from across the lower BC mainland to gather in Vancouver where they marched from the Vancouver Art Gallery to a rally at the Chinese Consulate.  The City of Vancouver marked the day with an official proclamation declaring March 10 as “Tibet Day”.  The proclamation reads in part: “We affirm the determination of the Tibetan people in Tibet and in exile to retain their heritage and protect it from destruction against overwhelming odds through non-violent and peaceful means.”

In Calgary, Alberta, more than 200 Tibetans turned out for a rally in front of the Chinese consulate where the annual statement from the Tibetan government was read in both Tibetan and English.  Prayers for Tibetans inside Tibet were led by local Geshes. The rally was featured on CTC news that evening.

In Toronto, which is home to the largest Tibetan community in Canada, political theatre highlighted the experience of Tenzin Choedak, a Tibetan social activist who died in December 2014, just two days after his release from prison at the age of 34. He was serving a 15-year prison term for acting as a ringleader of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa.

In Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, 250 Tibetans and friends of Tibet from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, gathered on Parliament Hill where statements of support were read by six Members of Parliament representing each of Canada’s political parties. The annual statement of the Tibetan government was read in Tibetan, English and French.  The crowd then marched from Parliament Hill to the Chinese Embassy where a protest of China’s policies in Tibet continued until late afternoon. 

In the House of Commons, MPs Wayne Marston and Wladyslaw Lizon rose to speak about the significance of March 10 for the Tibetan struggle.  Mr. Marston said in part “It is time for action from Canada.  There is a role for the Ambassador of Religious Freedom to play.”  Mr. Lizon noted that due to the rally on the Hill, “we are reminded that in Tibet today, the very basic human rights of Tibetan people are being violated by the Chinese communist government.” 

Photos of all rallies, a copy of the City of Vancouver’s proclamation, CTV news coverage of Calgary events, and video of the two MP presentations in Canada’s House of Commons are available on the CTC facebook page /CanadaTibet.

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