Tue, Jan 20, 2009 - Page 1 News List

China creates holiday to mark Dalai Lama’s flight


Tibet’s Chinese Communist Party-controlled legislature has created a holiday to mark China’s defeat of a Tibetan uprising 50 years ago and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India, state media reported yesterday.

The 382 legislators attending the session unanimously voted to designate March 28 as “Serf Liberation Day,” Xinhua news agency said, citing Legqog, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People’s Congress.

The politically sensitive date marks the flight of the Dalai Lama into exile as Chinese troops attacked in March 1959. On March 28 of that year, Beijing announced the dissolution of the Tibetan government and the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

China said the holiday would celebrate the “emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves” in Tibet.

Lawmaker Gaisang, 62, an ethnic Tibetan, praised the plan, saying “It is necessary to have the day remembered to comfort the old, who were once serfs, and teach the young,” Xinhua reported

Tibet independence advocates criticized the move.

“This effort at rewriting history is provocative and irresponsible, given the tensions between Chinese and Tibetans,” said Mary Beth Markey of the International Campaign for Tibet.

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