Statement on the 53rd Commemoration of the Lhasa Uprising of 1959

This declaration has been released to Tibetan organizations world-wide in recognition of the many thousands of Tibetans who lost their lives fighting for Tibetan independence and in solidarity with the people of Tibet, who continue their rightful struggle for nationhood, justice and freedom.

As His Eminence 11 Shingza Rinpoche, Mr Dorjee Gyalpo and Mr Yeshi Tenzin approach the third week of their hunger-strike outside the steel and glass indifference of the United Nations Headquarters, in occupied Tibet the resistance to China’s violent and illegal occupation continues, undiminished by the genocidal efforts to erase Tibet’s national identity. Despite placing Tibet under military siege, shooting, torturing and jailing Tibetans, protests for Tibetan independence continue across that blighted land.

Meanwhile, armed with a recently selected Prime Minister, who sings a remarkably similar song of compromise to the previous incumbent, the body formerly known as the Tibetan Government in Exile (promoting itself as the Central Tibetan Administration [CTA] a less politically emphatic title aimed to mollify China’s sensitivities) maintains efforts to appease communist China, in the hope of securing so-called ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibetans. In surrendering the objective of a separate political or territorial identity for its people, the CTA now sees resolution in submitting to Chinese rule and extending trust towards the theoretical protections within Communist China’s law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy.

Evidence for such breathtaking compromise may be found within the troubling pages of the ‘Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People’ (released on 16th November 2008 by the CTA). A document that contemptuously ignores and abandons the rightful political aspirations of the Tibetans inside occupied Tibet, it is in essence a capitulation towards China’s demands. Illustrated by this extract:

 “To a very considerable extent Tibetan needs can be met within the constitutional principles on autonomy“. Investing significant faith in China’s law on regional and ethnic autonomy it goes on to claim that discretionary powers within the regional framework “can be exercised to facilitate genuine autonomy for Tibetans” and concludes by describing Tibetans as an ‘ethnic minority’.

Such betrayal, and that is precisely what is going on here, is difficult to stomach, more so as the architects and supporters of this surrender will be flying Tibet’s national  flag this March 10 and offering fine words on the sacrifices of Tibetans, while behind closed doors they  are pressing for a ‘solution’ diametrically opposed to the very cause being waged by their compatriots inside occupied Tibet.

A struggle, even Tibet’s oppressors acknowledge, that has the objective of national independence, on Wednesday March 7 Tibetan traitor, carrying the Sinocized name of ‘Wu Zegang’, China’s puppet ‘governor’ in the region of Ngaba, Amdo, speaking on recent self-immolations declared that “Tibetans demanded: “independence for Tibet..”

Unsupportive of that aspiration, the strategists of the CTA, while aware of the decades of tyranny China has forced upon Tibetans, in a staggering example of misplaced optimism triumphing over fact, believe prosperity, self-rule and freedom attainable under communist China’s constitution.  The thinking and denial that accommodates such delusion would no doubt have counseled that equality and justice was possible for Black people under South Africa’s Apartheid Regime!

In rushing to address China’s increasing demands on talks relating to Tibet the CTA appears to be blind to the fact that  securing ‘genuine autonomy’ itself presents hazardous political risks and offers no protection whatsoever in maintaining a distinct Tibetan national, cultural or territorial identity. Tragically, such considerations do not trouble the thinking of those responsible for progressing negotiations with Beijing, including Lobsang Sangay.

Meanwhile, the selfless sacrifice of the Hunger Strikers outside the United Nations, or demands of the Tibetan martyrs who have self-immolated, and countless individual and mass protests for Tibetan independence across Tibet, has not agitated the conscience of the CTA, which remains contemptuously dismissive towards any dissenting voice, preferring to stumble, with eyes wide-open towards the abyss. What a disconnect between a people and its leadership, instead of unity we have an Administration willing to extinguish Tibetan nationhood and trampling over the common political aspiration of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet. Thankfully however opposition towards this inane strategy is increasing, particularly from younger Tibetans, and those communities far removed from the deferential conventions which stifle dissent within Tibetan communities in India. Evidence for such resistance may be observed across the Internet, the call to end the CTA’s  vacuous and fruitless policy of appeasement is gaining ground.

March 10 is a date of immense resonance for Tibetans inside, and beyond Tibet, this year against ongoing repression in occupied Tibet and with self-immolations reminding the world of Tibet’s true cause for independence, it is hoped that the Central Tibetan Administration will not only hear the voices of its people, but decide to act upon them by actively supporting the national liberation of Tibet.

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