Why are Tibetans and their supporters demonstrating today, March 10th?
March 10th is the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against the Chinese occupation on March 10, 1959. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan people’s resistance to the brutal Chinese occupation of our homeland.
Why do Tibetan oppose Chinese rule?
Because over one million people in Tibet have died since the occupation
- Since the violent invasion of Tibet in 1949, over one million Tibetans have died—victims of war, torture, prison camps and famine.
- One out of every seven Tibetans is a survivor of torture at the hands of the Chinese government. Many Tibetans have died as a result of torture in Chinese prisons.
- As recently as January 26, 2003, a 28 year old Tibetan named Lobsang Dhondup was executed in his hometown after an unfair trial with no legal representation.
Because Tibetans cannot freely practice their religion or express their political beliefs
- Over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet have been plundered and destroyed since 1949.
- It is illegal to possess a photograph of the Dalai Lama or a Tibetan flag in Tibet. Possession of these items can result in harsh prison sentences.
- Peaceful dissent against China’s illegal occupation is punished by arrest, imprisonment and often torture.
- The Chinese government controls most Tibetan monasteries and imposes quotas on the numbers of monks and nuns allowed to practice. Monks and nuns are subjected to patriotic re-education campaigns and forced to denounce the Dalai Lama.
Because the very existence of Tibetan culture and identity are at risk
- Beijing’s policy of population transfer into Tibet threatens the very existence of Tibetan culture, religion, and national identity.
- The Chinese government controls the Tibetan population through birth control policies which result in coerced and forced abortions and sterilization of Tibetan women.
Because Tibet’s fragile environment is being destroyed
- Tibet has suffered terrible deforestation that threatens not only the Tibetan people but people throughout Asia who live downstream from Tibet.
- 40% of the mineral reserves claimed by China are found on Tibetan soil. Tibet’s ecosystem is rich in natural resources such as gold, iron, lithium, borax, natural gas and uranium.
Despite this tragedy, the Tibetan people continue to struggle for freedom nonviolently.
What can you do to help the Tibetan people?
- Write letters to your congressional representatives and international government officials, including those in China, telling them how your feel about Tibet. Encourage them to release Tibet’s political prisoners and negotiate with the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama.
- Support the preservation of Tibetan culture, language and spirituality and struggle for Tibetan freedom by getting involved with your local Tibet support groups. These groups need your help! Your membership, volunteer hours, skills and financial contributions are what it takes to keep the Tibetan freedom movement going.