Worsening Human Rights Situation In Tibet Under Xi Jinping

(Author is a veteran Tibetologist and Chairman, Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement)

What ordinary Tibetan refugees havefeared about and have been calling upon the world community for help is now confirmed by the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Releasing its ‘Concluding Observations’ on its third periodic review of China on 6th March, the Committee has underlined a number of issues related to human rights of Tibetan people under Chinese rule which call for serious and urgent attention of world community. These issues include serious onslaught on Tibetan culture and religion; forced relocation of nomad communities; poor treatment and exploitation of Tibetan labour; and brainwashing and forced assimilation of Tibetan children through Chinese Communist Party run boarding schools.

It is not a coincidence that Freedom House, a global watchdog of human freedoms across the world, also released its latest report titled “Freedom in the World 2023 Report” on 9 March which has ranked Tibet as “World’s least-free country” alongside South Sudan and Syria. This is successively third time, following similar reports of the Freedom House in 2021 and 2022 that Tibet has won this dubious distinction of being ranked at the bottom of community of countries. Using its own method of grading political rights and civil liberties, the organization assigned minus 2 marks out of a possible 40 for political rights and just 3 marks out of 60 for civil liberties in Tibet. That puts Tibet with a total score of 1 out of 100 and thus bracketing Tibet with South Sudan and Syria who have been also assigned the same score of 1.

In its report the Freedom House has found that both the Chinese and Tibetan citizens living in Tibet lack basic rights, but the (Chinese) authorities are especially rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of Tibetan religious beliefs and cultural identity.

Commenting on this report of Freedom House the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a prominent Tibet advocacy group in the USA and Europe, said, “After more than six decades of illegal occupation, China has turned Tibet into the world’s least-free country…. With Tibet once again at the bottom of Freedom House’s global freedom scores, it’s imperative that the global community take action to resolve the decades-long conflict in Tibet.” The ICT also referred to the historic bipartisan bill, recently presented jointly by representatives of Democratic and Republican parties of USA, for passing “Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act” which acknowledges Tibet as an ‘unresolved’ issue and makes it an official US policy that China must resume dialogue with Dalai Lama to determine Tibet’s legal status under the international law.

Tibet watchers have regularly expressed disappointment at what they call as “return of Mao’s Cultural Revolution” in Tibet since President Xi Jinping took over reigns of China. His openly expressed goal of wiping out Tibet’s distinct cultural and social identity by assimilating Tibetan

population into a ‘uniform’ Chinese identity has given rise to such fears both among the Tibetan people and human rights watchers across the world. In his first ever sudden and secrecy wrapped visit to Tibet in July 2021, Xi addressed a widely attended meeting of Chinese administrative officials of Tibet and the local Communist cadres to call upon them for taking necessary steps to convert Tibetan Buddhism into a ‘Buddhism with Chinese Characteristics’.

Xi’s call for this attack on the religious faith of Tibetan people simply exposed the failure of China’s rulers to tame and discipline the Tibetan masses even 70 years after their colonial rule over Tibet. Xi and his fellow communist leaders of China have many times shown their frustration over Tibetan people’s continuing faith in Buddhism and their love for the exiled ruler of Tibet the Dalai Lama who was forced to flee Tibet and take asylum in India in 1959. This had followed the violent crushing of Tibetan uprising against nine year old Chinese rule. Following President Xi’s call the Chinese administrators of Tibet have gone into an overdrive to reduce the influence of Buddhism in Tibet. Reviving the memories of blasting of Buddha’s giant stone statue in Bamianof Afghanistan by the Taliban on 2 March 2001, the communist administrators of Kham Drakgo, a Tibetan area incorporated in Sichuan Province of China, demolished a 99-foot tall bronze statue of Buddha and 45 huge prayer wheels in December 2021. Since then there have been regular reports of demolition of many such statues which dominated the skyline of various Tibetan towns in occupied Tibet.

The UN Committee has also referred to China’s ongoing campaign of putting an end to the traditional lifestyle of Tibetan nomads who regularly migrate along with their yaks, sheep and cows with changing seasons. These nomads account for about one third of original Tibet’s six million population. The Chinese authorities have been forcing these nomads to sell off their animals and settle into designated, small and newly developed crowded settlements where strong Chinese surveillance system can keep them under discipline and close watch. Beside many other issues like what the UN Committee has termed as “coercive lobour programs implemented in Tibet’ and systematic ban on use of Tibetan language”, it has specially focused on “the Chinese government’s extensive resettlement policy and forced assimilation of Tibetan children at state run boarding schools.” This concern has gained international momentum over recent years following reports from China controlled Tibet that hundreds of thousands of Tibetan children, many of them as young as four year olds, are being forcibly taken away from their families and are being admitted to residential schools which are run by the CCP cadres. Terming it as a serious danger for the Tibetan identity and Tibet’s future generations, GonpoDhundup, President of Tibetan Youth Congress says, “These residential schools, controlled and run by the Chinese Communist Party remind you of the residential schools which were extensively established and used by the colonial occupants of North America and Australia. The only use of these schools was to completely wipe out the native languages and local social identity of many generations of the Red Indians and Aborigines. President Xi is also using the same method to convert future generations of Tibet who would look Tibetan in their physical appearance but their brains and hearts will be programmed as perfect communist cadres of China.” The UN Committee report has called for independent international investigations to the current Tibetan situation.

The UN’s Support: A ray of hope with the upcoming Tibetan Uprising Day

Tens of thousands of Tibetans protested China’s illegitimate invasion and occupation of their country on March 10, 1959, in the streets of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. Many Tibetans risked their lives to secure the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile, where he has been a persistent advocate for his people. Tibetans from the past and present, who are now dispersed throughout the globe, have been affected by March

10. From the older generation, who sought safety in Lhasa’s streets after fleeing across Tibet, to the generations who followed, who risked their lives to flee across the Mountains with their children to a new generation who was born and nurtured in exile. There has never been a time in Tibet’s history when a single event has had such a profound impact on the lives of the Tibetan people and inspired successive generations to continue the Tibetan legacy of bravery, resiliency, and optimism, as well as to continue the campaign for their independence.

Tibetans still have the same fervour and determination to protect their leader and country against Chinese tyranny sixty years later. The right to be Tibetan, including the freedom to speak their own language, practise their Buddhist faith, and live in their own nation, is still something the Tibetans continue to want. Unmistakably showing that they will not submit to Beijing’s rule or put up with the severe repression they have been subjected to over the past 60 years, Tibetans inside Tibet are proving that they will not be ruled by Beijing. Since 2009, at least 155 Tibetans have self-immolated inside of Tibet in an effort to gain freedom. In exile, Tibetans have committed 10 self-immolations. Since March 10, 1959, Tibetans have risen up – from the protests of the 1980s to the 2008 general uprising to the recent self-immolations – and have risked all in the hope that their sacrifices would alter the course of history for the next generation. The Tibetan liberation struggle is currently being led by a completely new generation of Tibetans in Tibet and exile, who are leading with passionate, astute, and innovative nonviolent methods to complete what begun more than fifty years ago.

The US think tank Freedom House has consistently put Tibet among the nations with the worst political and civil rights records in the world. There is no freedom under the Chinese Communist Party. Despite this, Tibetans have fewer civil and political rights than the majority. Every day, the Chinese government subjects Tibetans to oppressive control and the use of violence, from the widespread police surveillance of Lhasa’s crowded streets to the torture that takes place in Tibet’s secret detention facilities. Tibet is under attack in every sphere of existence. Dissent, protest, or even wishing the Dalai Lama a happy birthday or carrying a Tibetan flag on your

phone will make you a criminal. In order to avoid being imprisoned, Tibetans must censor themselves. With significant use of torture on political detainees from Tibet, China has repeatedly broken UN agreements. A large number of Tibetans are detained and their families are unaware of their location since they are facing vague or undefined allegations. They go through trials that do not adhere to international standards of justice and are denied access to adequate legal representation. Even young children can have their freedom and human rights violated. With Chinese authorities actively observing and controlling religious activity at monasteries and nunneries, Tibetan Buddhism is strictly regulated since it is considered a danger to the occupying Chinese state. Tibetan is a confined and marginalised language; Chinese is the language of business and education, putting the Tibetan language in danger.

After conducting its third-cycle review of China’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in mid-February of this year, the UN Committee on Economic,

Social, and Cultural Rights published its final findings. A large number of violations of China’s responsibilities under the Convention have been documented by the UN committee, including those in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China. The relocation of nomadic herdsmen, particularly Tibetan ones, “is carried out in the State party without sufficient consultation and, in most cases, without free, prior, and informed permission,” according to the experts. In addition, it was taken into account that compensation for expropriated property is sometimes insufficient to sustain an adequate quality of living and that traditional lands and livelihoods may be lost as a result of poverty alleviation programmes and ecological restoration resettlement initiatives. China has been advised by the UN Committee to immediately suspend all such forced relocation and rehousing schemes and engage in genuine engagement to look at other solutions with full, adequate, and timely compensation.

Concerned about the subpar working conditions, workplace harassment, and absence of labour inspection procedures to look into violations in Tibet, the UN Committee has advised China to provide the funding for labour inspection and independent audit firms to pursue legal action against enterprises in Tibet. Concerns raised by the UN Committee regarding the significant limitations placed on Tibetans’ participation in cultural life, particularly their ability to learn and teach Tibetan language, history, and culture, have been noted. In order to allow for the establishment of private Tibetan schools, the UN Committee has urged China to dismantle its forced residential school system. Additionally, it has urged China to take all necessary steps to guarantee that Tibetans can fully exercise their right to cultural life, identity, and the practise and use of Tibetan. Reservations over the systematic and widespread destruction of religious sites, particularly monasteries in Tibet, as well as the tightening of laws governing religious practises have been raised by the UN Committee. By safeguarding and repairing holy places, the Committee has advised China to “take appropriate measures to maintain cultural diversity and the cultural practises and heritage” of Tibetans. Reports were filed by the Geneva office of the Tibet Bureau. Undoubtedly, the UN agency needs to act quickly to make sure that the Chinese government actually follows its suggestions rather than just documenting them.

UN Committee Questions China on Monoracial Policies and Widespread Rights Violations in Tibet and other Regions

Geneva: During the last two days, 15-16 February 2023, the UN Committee on Cultural, Economic and Social Rights reviewed China for the third time on China’s implementation of the Covenant. The UN Committee members questioned China on its monoracial policies enforcing forced assimilation of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians and others as well as the widespread rights violations being carried out in Tibet, East Turkistan (CHN: Xinjiang), Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China.

Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim, Chair of the UN Committee, chaired the review session. The task force that carried out the review consisted of Country Rapporteur Michael Windfuhr, Ludovic Hennebel, Preeti Saran and Asraf Ally Caunhye. The Chinese government delegation of 39 members was led by Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China, to the UN office in Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland. 

The UN Committee members repeatedly questioned China on its monoethnic, monoracial policies enforced by China against Tibetans, Uyghurs and Southern Mongolians and noted that these policies of China are evidently counterproductive and in violation of international laws. The UN Committee questioned China on wide-ranging topics related to Tibet, including persecution of Tibetan human rights defenders, forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads, appropriation and mass-evictions of Tibetans from their lands, free and prior consent from Tibetans before construction of mega dams in Tibet, forced labour in Tibet, discrimination against Tibetans in labour markets, freedom of religion in workplace, disparity in access to education for Tibetans, forced assimilation of nearly 1 million Tibetan children in boarding schools, language rights of Tibetans, rights of Tibetans to freely practice their religion including the flying of prayer flags and circumambulation (kora) of holy shrines, large-scale destruction of religious sites, measures to control Tibetan Buddhist practice of reincarnation and so on. 

Despite specific and repeated questions from the UN Committee members asking for data and clarification, the Chinese delegation failed to provide satisfactory answers. The Chinese delegation either denied all charges or provided blanket self-praising statements. Exasperated by the delegation’s unsatisfactory line of answering, one of the committee members remarked that if the Chinese delegation considers the well-substantiated allegations of violations as “baseless,” then it should provide details of the investigation based on which this conclusion was arrived at. 

The Tibet Bureau Geneva, International Campaign for Tibet and members of Tibet Advocacy Coalition attended the review session. Representative Thinlay Chukki from Tibet Bureau Geneva thanked the UN Committee members for the detailed review of China, touching upon all major areas and noted, “The review evidenced the dedication and passion of the Committee members and the Secretariat to protect and promote human rights.” 

“The widespread human rights violations in Tibet are well-documented, and despite this, China repeatedly denies the substantiated criticisms as evidenced in the review. It is time China is held accountable for the egregious human rights violations in Tibet. As we look forward to the Committee’s concluding observations, we hope China will introspect its policies and ensure that Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians, Hong Kongers and Macau people are guaranteed genuine universal human rights,” remarked Representative Thinlay Chukki.

‘Tibet’ gov’t to invest $1.99 billion this year to mainly improve new border defence village conditions

China said Feb 22 that its Tibet Autonomous Region would invest 13.7 billion yuan (about $1.99 billion) this year in initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of local residents, especially in the new border defence villages across the Line of Actual Control on the border with India.

Most of the border defence villages have been built in recent years in environmentally forbidding areas by compulsorily relocating Tibetan farmers in so-called Xiaokang (well-off) villages, some of them in areas claimed by India and Bhutan. The villages are meant to help secure Chinese-ruled Tibet’s border with India, with the villagers being employed also in various types of border-defence jobs.

The initiatives include providing livelihood subsidies for border residents, supporting medical professionals in aiding Tibet, and upgrading the oxygen supply facilities in border counties and townships located in areas 3,500 meters above sea level, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 22, citing the regional government.

With an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, Tibet experiences harsh conditions such as extreme cold and a lack of oxygen. For this reason, improving the well-being of local residents has been a top priority, the regional government has said.

The report said a total of 630 million yuan will be allocated to support the construction of heating projects in county and district public hospitals, and the operation of community-level heating facilities.

30 European senators support Tibet’s autonomy from China

Under the Presidency of the European Research Council (ERC), some thirty senators
from different political formations have created an interparliamentary group to
support Tibet’s autonomy from China, reported Europe Press.

The alliance will be formally established this Wednesday. This intergroup will work to
garner real support for the resumption of substantive dialogue between the Chinese
leadership and the Dalai Lama’s representatives to ensure “genuine and meaningful
autonomy” for the Tibetan people.

In their opinion, Tibet is an independent country with a thousand-year history that was invaded by China,
which continues to be “threatened” by Beijing and needs international support, reported Europe Press.

It will be attended by the representative of the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration, Rigzin
Genkhang; the president of the Tibetan community in Spain, Rinzing Dolma; and two members of the
Tibetan Parliament in exile representing Europe, Thubten Wangchen and Thupten Gyatso, reported
Europe Press.

In addition, a message from the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, Penpa Tsering, will also be

According to the promoters of the intergroup, its main objectives are “to promote and defend the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people, especially in order to improve respect for Human Rights in Tibet”, and to achieve “the recognition of the Central Tibetan Administration with headquarters in Dharamshala as the sole and
legitimate representative of the Tibetan people,” added Europe Press.

Reports of ramped up security measures belie China’s claim of joyous Losar celebrations in Tibet

China’s official media suggested that Tibetans ushered in Losar, their traditional New Year, which fell on Feb 21, with joy and gusto, greeting each other with the phrase “Losar Tashi Delek” (Happy Tibetan New Year), as its official Xinhua news agency put it. However, according to the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Feb 21, the Chinese government had imposed intense restrictions on residents of Tibet’s capital for the occasion, with security forces ramping up surveillance and monitoring of residents and conducting random searches. Xinhua also highlighted how the compulsorily relocated nomadic Tibetans and mixed-marriage families celebrated Losar with great festivity.

“Beginning in February, Chinese authorities started installing more surveillance cameras in Lhasa ahead of the start of Losar, citing unreasonable reasons such as for security,” the rfa.org report cited a local Tibetan as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution from authorities.

“Police are stationed every kilometer where [members of] the public are summoned for random searches, especially of their cell phones,” he has said.

The Chinese government has not only deployed police and military troops in Lhasa ahead of Losar, but also posted government officials dressed in civilian clothing to spy on Tibetans, another resident from the region has said.

“The police are probing every shop and restaurant under an ongoing campaign called ‘Security and Welfare by the Police’,” he has said. “And the Tibetans visiting Lhasa from other parts of Tibet who are staying in hotels and guesthouses are constantly investigated and harassed.”

While the Norbulingka, the historical winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, was declared open to the public from Feb 15, visitors had to show their national identity cards and register their names.

“This is something that has never happened before, where people have to register their names and provide an identity card to visit Norbulinka for a pilgrimage,” Sangay Kyab, a Spain-based researcher at the Tibetan Center for Human Rights, has said. “So, this is a violation of religious freedom.”

Meanwhile the Xinhua report highlighted the celebrations of Losar by nomadic Tibetans it had made to relocate from Tsonyi, “China’s highest county”, located in northern Tibet’s Nagchu City, with average altitude of over 4,500 meters, to Singpori on the north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River in the city of Shannan (Tibetan: Lhokha) City, located at an altitude of 3,600 meters in southern Tibet.

The report noted that in In Jul 2022, Tibet launched the second phase of the high-altitude ecological relocation to Singpori. Under this compulsory program, China is to eventually relocate nearly 10,000 people from the counties in Nagchu City of Tsonyi, Amdo and Nyima, with an average altitude of over 4,500 meters, to Singpori.

The report also highlighted the celebration of Losar by Chinese immigrants who had settled in Tibet and married local Tibetans. China has a decades-long policy of actively encouraging local Tibetans to marry Chinese immigrants with the provision of a host of incentives as a part of its Sinicization drive there.

China spending over $2.17 billion for rural Tibet revitalization projects this year, citing ongoing India-border focus

China said Feb 16 that its Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government would implement more than 1,300 rural revitalization projects this year, with an estimated investment of more than 14.67 billion yuan ($2.17 billion). While the report did not say the focus will especially be on border villages, which China is alleged to have built even in Indian and Bhutanese territories as part of its border security measure, the only example it cited was of Nang County which is located just across the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Starting from 2021, a series of rural revitalization projects have been implemented, and rural villagers have been benefiting, the official chinadaily.com.cn Feb 16 cited Meng Chunhui, deputy head of the rural revitalization bureau in Nang County of Nyingtri City, as saying.

Meng has said rural revitalization projects in his county were mainly rural infrastructure upgrades, including the improvement of sewage treatment systems, water supplies, the living conditions and road pavement.

“More than 200 million yuan was invested in infrastructure projects in more than 10 villages and six townships in our county in 2022, and we plan to implement similar projects in 14 new villages this year,” Meng has said.

“These projects also provide job opportunities for residents, providing another main source of income for them. All construction sites welcome local workers, which enables them to earn money without traveling far from their homes.”

Overall, the report said, citing the region’s rural revitalization bureau. that among the plans, the construction of 84 projects with an investment of 701 million yuan had already begun, and a total of 809 projects with investment topping 9.13 billion yuan had completed preliminary work and entered the bidding process.

The region is working “to promote all-around rural revitalization, to enhance people’s sense of gain and happiness and to accelerate agricultural development in 2023”, Wang Junzheng, the region’s Party secretary, has said at a regional work conference on rural affairs recently.

It wants “to promote the intensive processing of agricultural products, to develop rural tourism, leisure agriculture and rural e-commerce, and to cultivate new agricultural and animal husbandry business entities in the rural areas,” Wang has said.

The region will “focus on introducing a number of agricultural and animal husbandry industrialization leading enterprises, build and strengthen professional cooperatives for rural residents and let them share the results of social reform and development”, Wang has added.

Tibetan Youth Congress organises freedom concert in Delhi to demand independence

The Tibetan Youth Congress recently organized a “Freedom Concert” in Delhi, India, to raise awareness about the political situation in Tibet. The event was attended by over 5,000 people, including Tibetans and supporters from various parts of India.

The concert featured performances by Tibetan artists, as well as speeches by political leaders and activists. The main aim of the event was to draw attention to the ongoing struggle for Tibetan independence and to highlight the human rights violations faced by Tibetans under Chinese rule.

The Tibetan Youth Congress, a pro-independence group, has been campaigning for the freedom of Tibet since its inception in 1970. The group has been advocating for the reinstatement of Tibet’s independence and for the return of the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since 1959.

The event also marked the 11th anniversary of the 2008 Tibetan uprising, during which hundreds of Tibetans were killed or arrested for protesting against Chinese rule.

The organizers of the Freedom Concert expressed their gratitude to the Indian government for allowing them to hold the event, despite pressure from China to cancel it. They also called on the international community to support their cause and put pressure on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans. The event was seen as a significant step towards raising awareness about the Tibetan cause in India and around the world, and the organizers hope to hold similar events in the future to keep the issue alive in the public consciousness.

India to bolster Indo Tibetan Border Police amid tension with China

India will raise seven new battalions of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in the next few years, a minister said on Wednesday, amid tensions with neighbour China that led to deadly border clashes in 2020 and scuffles late last year.

The undemarcated 3,800-km (2,360-mile) frontier between the nuclear-armed countries stayed largely peaceful since a war in 1962, before the clashes nearly three years ago sent relations nosediving.

The ITBP primarily guards the India-China border, stretching from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh in India’s north to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh state in the east. Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in hand-to-hand clashes at some areas of the frontier in the past few years.

The new battalions, approved in a cabinet meeting and to come up by 2025/26, will cover 47 new border outposts and 12 staging camps of the ITBP, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told a news conference.

Indian and Chinese troops had minor border scuffles in December in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, also claimed by Beijing.

The clashes were the first since troops were involved in hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan valley of Ladakh, abutting the Chinese-held Tibetan plateau. That incident led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops.

Tibet’s struggle for Independence from china is also for national security for India and peace for the world

While the people of Tibet and other colonies of China are struggling for freedom of their countries from Chinese occupation, their struggle is also aimed at ensuring the national security of countries surrounding China, especially for India, and peace for the rest of the world from a belligerent China. This was a common observation of experts and advocacy groups who shared a common platform to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the ‘Declaration of Independence of Tibet’ by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913.

The webinar was organised jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) on the evening of Monday, February 13,2023. The experts who presented their perspectives were Mr Bhuchung Tsering, Interim President of International Campaign for Tibet who participated from Washington DC; Dr Uwe Meha member of the Board of Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association GSTF who participated from Switzerland; Ms Youdon Aukatsang, a Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, who participated from Singapore; Ms Tenzyin Zochbauer, Executive Director of Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID) who participated from Berlin; and Gonpo Dhundup, President TYC who joined in from Dharamshala.

Bhuchung Tsering dwelt upon all the five points emphasized by the 13th Dalai Lama in his Declaration. He said that the Declaration not only reiterated the independent status of Tibet but it also presented a much larger vision of the Dalai Lama about the future of Tibet. “While point-4 declared that Tibet had regained its independence after a short spell of Manchu army’s invasion of Tibet, points-1 and 2 emphasized over preserving and promotion of Tibetan national identity. Similarly, points-3 and 5 explained how the Tibetan officials should govern Tibet and work for the social welfare of the Tibetan masses”, he said.

He said the historic declaration of 1913 becomes far more significant when considered along with the Shimla Agreement between Tibet and British India and his 1932 prophecy about the future of Tibet. During the Shimla convention between Tibet, China and British India the representatives of China refused to sign the treaty because Tibet had raised the issue of those areas of Eastern Tibet that China had occupied and Tibet demanded their return. In his 1932 prophecy, the 13th Dalai Lama had warned the people of Tibet about the lurking danger from the Chinese communists and the carelessness of Tibetan officials regarding governance and national interests.

Dr Uwe Meya in his presentation underlined the danger of the world community borrowing the Chinese narrative on Tibet without examining or challenging it. He said, “In the media, and also in political debates, ‘Tibet’ is mostly referred to, if at all, as ‘TAR’. Even worse, many media use the official Chinese language when reporting on Tibet and just call it ‘a region in southwestern China’. They are unaware that with this, they implicitly and unknowingly acknowledge that Tibet has been part of China for all time. Moving to politics, we notice that most governments now do not challenge China’s “one-China” standpoint and thereby fall into the trap of accepting to treat Tibet as China’s “internal affair” and thereby weakening the Tibetan position in negotiations. Moreover, Beijing uses these statements as ‘evidence’ for its claim and uses the international community’s statements as a substitute for legitimacy to rule over Tibet. The other trap that the Western world – politicians, the media and the general public – falls into is calling the Tibetans a ‘minority’ and using euphemisms such as ‘the Tibet issue’. We must realize that Tibetans were made a minority only by the Chinese occupation.”
Ms Youdon Aukatsang reminded the people that when the 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s independence it was after defeating the Manchu army which was not ‘Chinese’. She said that over the history the relations between the Manchu kings and Tibet were of patron and the priest and did not mean that the Manchus were the rulers of Tibet. This simply means that this was a friendly relationship. Giving a modern example of Bhutan and India relations she said that although Bhutan is a protectorate of India, but both countries respect each other as independent countries. She said although China claims that it ‘liberated’ Tibet but the reality is that Tibet is an occupied country.

Ms Tenzing Zochbauer said that this day would be celebrated in the best way if the Tibetans use it to counter the Chinese propaganda and inform the world that Tibet was never a part of China. She emphasized the need of educating and training the young Tibetan generation about the true history of Tibet. She spoke about the campaign of her organisation TID which has been successful in enrolling more than 450 German city councils to hoist the Tibetan flag on their office buildings every year on 10th March. She said that Tibetans and Tibet supporters are working towards a day when the flag of free Tibet will be hoisted on Potala palace and the Dalia Lama will return to a free and independent Tibet.

Gonpo Dondup in his presentation and his vote of thanks said, “TYC and all Tibetans are celebrating this historic day, which very clearly underlines that Tibet has been always an independent country and that the Chinese occupation of Tibet is illegal. China is using its propaganda machinery to establish a false narrative in the international discourse against the truth of the independent status of Tibet. It is therefore the duty of every Tibetan, whether in exile or those living under the colonial occupation of Tibet, to fight back against this Chinese propaganda. While people of Tibet are struggling for a Free Tibet they are actually fighting for the national security of India and other countries surrounding China and also for the restoration of peace for the rest of world.”, he said.