Three elected members of the Dharmsala-based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile are in Indian-administered Kashmir to seek the support of pro-Indian leaders in their campaign against Chinese rule in Tibet.
On their five-day visit to Kashmir, the trio met Tuesday with a range of local political figures, including two former chief ministers.
Exiled Tibetan lawmaker Dawa Tsering told TibetPress that India has a crucial role to play in the Tibetans’ struggle.
“Tibet holds significant importance for India on multiple fronts,” Tsering said. “Prior to Tibet’s occupation, there was no historical precedent of Chinese forces being stationed along the Himalayas,” the scene of deadly border clashes between the two countries in recent years.
Tibet had served as a politically neutral buffer zone between China and India prior to its 1951 annexation by China, Tsering said, adding that the loss of that buffer has cast a pall over diplomatic relations between Beijing and New Delhi.
Tsering said Beijing has deployed missiles and built military infrastructure near India in what he described as an attempt to encroach upon Indian territory.
“Tibet witnessed the same moves before China occupied Tibet,” Tsering said. “Now, China is aiming to capture Indian territories and they are rapidly building infrastructure in Tibet along the Indian border.
“It is high time for India’s people and the government of India to boycott the Chinese goods so as to weaken China’s economy.”
Fellow exiled lawmaker Yeshi Dolma said Tibetans have been “traumatized by systematic violations of their most fundamental human rights” and the attempted eradication of Tibetan cultural and national identity since China’s annexation.
“Over the last seven decades, the situation in Tibet has been deteriorating to the extent that it is now facing imminent threat of cultural genocide and total annihilation of Tibetan identity,” Dolma said during a press conference in Srinagar.
In a statement to journalists, Khenpo Sonam Tenpal, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile — now called the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) — said Tibet has been ranked among the world’s least-free territories by Freedom House for the third consecutive year in its 2023 Freedom in the World report.
“Last year, U.N. human rights experts expressed serious concern over the large-scale colonial boarding schools in Tibet rampantly being implemented on a massive scale and referred to it as a way to assimilate Tibetans into majority Han culture, contrary to international human rights standards,” Dolma said.
“Likewise, the forced mass DNA sample collection of Tibetans, including kindergarten children, is an intrusive securitization measure under the authoritarian surveillance regime to instill fear and wrest control of all aspects of public and private life of the Tibetan people.”