A number of human rights groups — including the Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association and the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Taiwan — yesterday announced a series of events to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, while advocating for the Tibetan cause to the world.
“It’s been more than half a century, and we Tibetans living in exile are still waiting for the opportunity to go home, while as many as 130 Tibetans living in Tibet and five living abroad self-immolated between 2009 and 2014 to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet,” association president Tashi Tsering, a Tibetan, told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.
“We would like to invite all Taiwanese to stand with us to remember those Tibetans who have been sacrificed, and to voice our call for a free Tibet,” Tashi said.
Tashi explained that on March 10, 1959, a demonstration by Tibetans in Lhasa to stop the Dalai Lama from accepting an invitation to see a drama performance in a Chinese military camp turned into an uprising against Chinese rule.
“The Dalai Lama was therefore forced to go into exile until today, while more than 1.2 million Tibetans inside Tibet were killed, and over 6,000 Buddhist monasteries were destroyed,” he said.
“Since then, we Tibetans have never ceased in our pursuit for a free Tibet, for the freedom of religion in Tibet and for the preservation of Tibetan culture,” Tashi said.
Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎), secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, said that as members of the global community who have shown much concern for human rights issues in the past few years, “We Taiwanese should not hesitate to join people around the world to speak out for the Tibetans.”
This year, events to commemorate the Tibetan uprising include a march that starts from MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station in Taipei at 2pm tomorrow, and another march in Kaohsiung that begins from Central Park (中央公園) at 6pm on Tuesday.
In addition, a candlelit vigil is planned to take place in Taipei’s Liberty Square at 7pm on Tuesday.
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