Pelosi Statement on the 46th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day

Mar 10, 2005
Press Release

Pelosi Statement on the 46th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi commemorated the 46th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day, honoring the sacrifice of the many Tibetans who gave their life fighting for freedom. Pelosi submitted the following statement into the Congressional Record today:

"Today is the 46th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day. We honor the many brave Tibetans who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom, and we demand that the Chinese government release all prisoners on conscience including Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and the 11th Panchen Lama. I am proud that my constituents in San Francisco organize a peace rally and march commemorating this day every year.

"When China's People's Liberation Army invaded Tibet in 1949, Tibet was an independent state. The Chinese government imposed an agreement on Tibet recognizing Tibet's autonomy over its internal affairs. But, as the Chinese government consolidated their control, they repeatedly violated the treaty and open resistance to Chinese repression grew.

"On March 10, 1959, the people of Lhasa assembled together and called for the Chinese to leave Tibet, thus marking the beginning of the uprising. The Chinese crackdown was harsh. An estimated 87,000 Tibetans were killed, arrested, or deported to labor camps.

"In the years since the People's Uprising, more than 1 million Tibetans have been killed and more than 6,000 monasteries and irreplaceable jewels of Tibetan culture have been destroyed. We know that Tibetans are routinely imprisoned and tortured for non-violently expressing their views. Beatings, prolonged exposure to extreme heat and cold, electroshock, sleep and food deprivation, and forced labor are among the techniques used to torture Tibetan political prisoners.

"Last month, the U.S. State Department published its annual "Country Reports on Human Rights." The section on Tibet states that "[Chinese] authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killing, torture, arbitrary arrest, detention without public trial, and lengthy detention of Tibetans for peacefully expressing their political or religious views."

"The Chinese government has not won the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people. Tibetans are as devoted to their traditional beliefs as ever, and the bond between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people is fundamental and unbreakable. Attempts to drive a wedge between Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people have failed and have been counterproductive for the Chinese government.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the key to peace and stability in Tibet. Envoys of the Dalai Lama have traveled to China and Tibet three times in recent years to continue discussions with Chinese authorities on a permanent negotiated settlement. While open dialogue is a positive first step, it is time for the Chinese government to follow through with substance and not just process. It is time to for China to take a step forward into a modern, open and free society.

"The survival of the Tibetan identity is an issue of urgent U.S. and international concern. If we are not committed to meeting the challenge of Tibet then we cannot be consistent when we talk about human rights in any other place in the world.

"As we honor the brave and heroic Tibetan people, we must heed the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is a constant reminder that the crisis in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world. We have not forgotten the people of Tibet in their struggle. Troops can crush a protest, but they can never extinguish the flame of freedom that burns in every human heart."

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