In early January, five leading Tibetan organizations announced the launch of the “Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement”, a coordinated Tibetan resistance effort leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Games will take place just months before the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising against China’s invasion of Tibet. Since then, more than 1 million Tibetans have died as a direct result of China’s occupation.
As stated in a Press Release, even now, China continues an “unrelenting war on Tibetan religion and culture.” They are displacing thousands, and “drastically increasing the rate of Chinese population into Tibet.” This threatens the very survival of Tibetans as a people. Further, China is using the Games as a platform to gain approval as a world power, and to legitimize its illegal occupation of Tibet.
A number of actions have been planned by the movement. Perhaps the most significant is a long-distance protest march set to begin on the anniversary of the failed uprising. On March 10, hundreds of exiled Tibetans will depart from Dharmsala, India—with the aim of traveling to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. A solidarity march from India to the Tibetan border will also take place. Aswell, Tibetans and supporters throughout the world have organized several non-violent direct actions and mass protests during China’s Olympic torch relay, on through the Games themselves.
The purpose of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement, however, is not just about protesting and raising awareness. Such actions are means, not ends. Rather, the movement is about reviving the spirit of the 1959 uprising; about protecting Tibetan culture, language, religion, and traditions; about working to end China’s colonial occupation; about freeing all the political prisoners; about restoring human rights, and about returning home.
For this end, the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement is calling on Tibetans worldwide to join at this critical time. Non-Tibetans are also welcomed to help. Please visit www.tibetanuprising.org to find out how you can do so.
In the spirit of the 1959 Uprising and in memory of all the courageous Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for Tibet’s independence and continue to resist China’s tyrannical rule, we declare the commencement of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement.
The Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement is a global movement of Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet taking control of our political destiny by engaging in direct action to end China’s illegal and brutal occupation of our country. Through unified and strategic campaigns we will seize the Olympic spotlight and shine it on China’s shameful repression inside Tibet, thereby denying China the international acceptance and approval it so fervently desires.
We call on Tibetans inside Tibet to continue to fight Chinese domination and we pledge our unwavering support for your continued courageous resistance. We call on Tibetans in exile and supporters in the free world to take every opportunity to protest China’s Olympic Games and support the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom. We call on Tibetans everywhere to support the return march of Tibetan patriots to our homeland, Tibet.
As we move forward with our movement we, the Tibetan People, commit ourselves whole-heartedly to this effort and demand that the Chinese government immediately:
1. Remove all obstacles to the unconditional return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and his rightful place as leader of the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetans as our sole and undisputed leader. In recent years, Tibetans inside Tibet have repeatedly called for the Dalai Lama’s return for which many have been persecuted and still languish in prison.
2. Begin dismantling the colonial occupation of Tibet. Chinese colonial rule along with the transfer of Chinese into Tibet is marginalizing the Tibetan population and reducing us to a minority in our own country. The very survival of the Tibetan people and nation, represented by our language, religion, culture and traditions, is gravely threatened.
3. Release all Tibetan political prisoners from any form of detention and restore human rights to the Tibetan population. Thousands of Tibetans – including the young Panchen Lama Gendun Chokyi Nyima, Chadrel Rinpoche, Lobsang Tenzin, Trulku Tenzin Delek, Bangri Rinpoche, Dolma Kyab, Rungye A’drak, and Adruk Lopo – are being persecuted for the peaceful expression of their religious and political beliefs and all Tibetans living inside Tibet are systematically denied their basic human rights.
The Tibetan People also demand that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) immediately:
1. Cancel the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and never again consider China as a potential host country of the Olympic Games until Tibet is free.† The Chinese government is committing cultural genocide in Tibet and does not deserve the honour of hosting such an internationally celebrated event.
4 January 2008
Tibetan Youth Congress
Tibetan Women’s Association
Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet
National Democratic Party of Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet, India