Shri Shanta Kumar, former Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh; MEP Thomas Mann; MP Michael Brand; MP Antonella Incerti; Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, Deputy Chairman of the Slovak National Council; MP Garnett Genuis; MP Albeto de Belaunde; MP Mei Nu Yu; MP Sandy Kalyan; Dr. Yang Jianli, President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China.
In a symbolic display of support and solidarity with the Tibetan people inside Tibet and exile, an array of Members of Parliament from India, EU, Germany, Canada, Slovakia, Italy, Peru, Taiwan gathered at the courtyard of Tsuglagkhang in a sombre ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.
Marking the momentous anniversary, the leaders pledged to champion the voices of brave Tibetans inside Tibet and declared renewed support for the political leadership led by the Central Tibetan Administration and its earnest efforts to resume dialogue with the Chinese government based on the Middle Way Approach. As they conveyed their highest admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the lawmakers urged that China would only benefit in embracing His Holiness’ vision for Tibet and the world.
Speeches by the Members of Parliament and acclaimed Chinese intellectual on the 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day in order:
Honourable Shri Shanta Kumar, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Sitting Member of Indian Parliament
“First of all, I welcome all the 13 members of parliament here in Dharamshala, my hometown. My dear friends, you have come from other countries but for me, you don’t belong to other countries. In the great Vedas, it is said Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means the whole universe is one family. You are from my family of one community, I welcome you here. Today, I as a Member of Indian Parliament and as convenor of All Forum Indian Parliamentary Group for Tibet request all countries of all the world, all the parliaments of the world to mobilise public opinion, to request China to give justice to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is urging for genuine autonomy of the Tibetan people based on the Middle Way Approach and dialogue. The day before, I received an official communication from the Chinese Ambassador to India asking me not to attend the commemorative ceremony of Tibetan National Uprising Day in Dharamshala. The letter said, doing so would threaten the national sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China. In response, I would simply say that China is a powerful country in the world while I, on the other hand, am a simple man who belongs to this tiny state of Himachal Pradesh. However, neither China nor any other global power will decide where I shall or shall not go.
The late Jayaprakash Narayan has said, “Is Tibet lost forever? No. A thousand times no. Tibet will not die because there is no death for the human spirit.” Today the spirit of Tibet is still alive and thriving. Tibetans shall return to their homeland in dignity and freedom.”
Mr. Thomas Mann, MEP, President of Tibet Interest Group (TIG)
“Tashi Delek. Dear Tibetans, Tibetan supporters, Dr Lobsang Sangay, the high ranking excellencies here from Botswana, India, other parts and my colleagues from different parliaments in European Union, Europe, South Asia, South Africa, Northern America, Latin America and members of organisations and media who are here to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Tibet. Today we come together for this special day, the commemoration of March 10th as the 60th anniversary of Tibetan uprising against China in Tibet. We demonstrate our solidarity with Tibetan people inside Tibet and exile.
I am deeply honoured to be welcomed here again in Dharamshala. For me, it’s the fifth time to be here. The activities of the Tibet Interest Group in the European Parliament are an expression of our continued and consistent support for Tibet. We fight for human rights and for freedom. For 17 years, I had the privilege to be the leader of the European parliamentarians who support the Middle Way Approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Our Tibet Interest Group unites Members from different European states, different political groups. We don’t always have the same opinion but in the case of humanity, we are united in the European Union.
We support the Tibetans who are suppressed and suffering. Our work has shown visible results and keep us motivated to continue to be advocates for Tibetan rights. With our solutions, our special reports, with our hearings and also, our manifestations and the conferences which we held. We support the Tibetan cause by informing MEPs, the council and European Commission and the public about the torture and the illegal imprisonment. We invite high-ranking experts from all over the world, former Tibetan prisoners, monks and nuns, scientists, professors and media to inform about the political situation, about the environment and about the deficit of human rights and unacceptable living conditions. We cooperate with other parliaments all over the European Union. We have organised 150 TIG (Tibet Interest Group) meetings over the last years. This is one of our records. In September 2016, we celebrated the 7th International Conference of Tibet Support Groups in the University of Brussels. 250 participants from more than 50 countries joined us at the remarkable event including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay. One week later, the Dalai Lama gave a speech infront of the Foreign Affairs Committee in European Parliament in Strasbourg in France.
The last example, on our Europe Day in May last year, TIG board met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama here in Dharamshala. He emphasised the role of the European Union as an important voice for Human Rights in the world. We discussed the critical developments and the awful right-wing movements in member countries. Despite the conflicts within Europe and beyond, the Dalai Lama is strongly convinced of the important role of the European Union. He emphasised the fact that Europe more than ever needs to act together in an increasingly insecure world. Tibet is and must always be on the agenda of the European Union, of the European Commission and the European Council. Just next week, I will be hosting another conference on Re-education in China and persecution against minorities. We will keep on fighting for the rights of all Tibetan people and we are behind the Middle Way Approach and the dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China and the protection of Tibetan religion, culture, language and identity. We prove our persistence as a strong voice for human rights. Long Live Tibet! Tashi Delek!”
Mr Michael Brand, Member of the German Bundestag
“Tashi Delek, Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, esteemed guests, dear friends of Tibet and followers of the Dalai Lama, it is an honour for me on this special day in this special place to remember the Tibetan uprising sixty years ago. Today the world shall not turn away from the traumatic situation of the Tibetans, the worldly and spiritual leadership of the Tibetans has repeatedly chosen the path of peace in many decades of violence and oppression. We do not strive for a new world order of supremacy but for one of balance and respect for others even if they appear smaller and weaker. China must understand what the world has been long seeing; the protest of the Tibetans, their brutal oppression, also that of the Uyghurs and others, the desperation of the people; these are signals which cannot be overlooked and also cannot be suppressed. The rights of the Tibetans must finally be recognised. The necessary dialogue with legitimate representatives must no longer be blocked. German history has shown that oppression does not work in the long run but freedom prevails in the end. We will continue to work together to ensure that the rights of Tibet are recognised both nationally and internationally. This optimism is what I wish to convey to you today. I am sure that the strong and proud Tibetans will survive this crisis. We will not forget Tibet and we will remain along Dalai Lama, we respect this great culture and express our sympathy and solidarity for this peaceful and oppressed people. I am really thankful that so many friends from all over the world and parliament have come today to Dharamshala. All the best to the Dalai Lama, to Lobsang Sangay and to the Tibetan people. Thank you!”
Ms. Antonella Incerti, MP, Democratic Party, Italy
“We are here as human beings and also as a representative of a community that is very close to you and your cause. This community knows very well the situation of Tibetan people and share pain and suffering. They know very well. The friendship is witnessed today through our presence here on this very special day. On this day, many Tibetans sacrificed their lives and fought for their freedom but what I found extraordinary was how the Tibetan people was able to keep your identity alive, your values of compassion, in every place in the world, you have continued to preserve your tradition and your own identity. This initiative is also supported by the young generation. Your continued work had a huge success and is demonstrated by your extraordinary investment in education as we saw yesterday at Tibetan Children’s Village. You have been able to find a middle way, because of the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is a hope not only for the Tibetan people but also for the people of the entire world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was able to speak the more powerful language which is the language of non-violence and not only for you, the Tibetan people but for the entire world including the Chinese people.”
Mrs. Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, Deputy Chairman of the Slovak National Council
“Dear Mr Speaker of the Tibetan exile parliament, Mr President of the exile Tibetan government, honourable guests, dear friends, Tashi Delek. I came here along with my dear colleague Mr Martin Poliacik. My colleague and I came here as friends of His Holiness, whom we have met on a couple of occasions when he was in Slovakia. We came here as friends of Lobsang Sangay and of your beautiful country Tibet, and we came as friends of democracy and human rights. We came here to give you strength to maintain your traditions, language and your beautiful country. But what has really happened in Dharamshala is that it is intact you who have given strength to us. The stories told by young Tibetan people who had to leave their homeland in order to keep their religion, to be able to speak their own language made us 100 per cent sure that we stand on the right side of history. Those stories need to be heard, the world needs to know what strength and courage it takes to walk through the huge mountains of Himalayas barefoot, starved and freezing cold in order to keep your identity. Thirty years ago, Slovakia won democracy over communism. Slovak story is a success story, and I hope that yours and the Tibetan story will follow.”
Mr. Garnett Genuis, Member of Parliament, Conservative Party of Canada, Vice-chair of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet
“Tashi Delek! It is an honour to be with you today on behalf of so many Canadians who stand with you as we mark sixty years of your struggle for justice. I have here with me, another Member of Parliament of Canada, Ms Linda Duncan, we represent different parties and we stand in solidarity with you today. I want to share how Canada is supportive of your struggle. Before I was elected, I served as staff for former Prime Minister Steven Harper who hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama and who brought a 1000 Tibetan refugees to Canada from India. The leader of my political party has endorsed the Middle Way Approach and members of the parliamentary friends of Tibet from all parties recently had an opportunity to hold officials from the Chinese government accountable at our Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue of Tibet. We challenged them on the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, on the issue of language rights and Tashi Wangchuk. We raised these issues in an all-party way, in a direct and fearless way to hold the PRC accountable for the abuses in Tibet. We are here today to call for a solution. The Tibet solidarity movement has always been solutions-oriented; seeking dialogue as a means to bring about Middle Way Approach and genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people under the Chinese constitution. with a spirit of open-ended pursuit of justice and reconciliation. It is easy for people who have been victims of injustice to think that the pursuit of justice is incompatible with the pursuit of reconciliation but your nonviolent struggle with a good will and reconciliation with those who have uphill now been your oppressors is an inspiration. This is why the Tibetan struggle is so important for the Tibetans and for the world because you show us what is right while seeking reconciliation with love, compassion with the generosity of spirit. What we seek today for Tibet is the Middle Way. What we seek for the people of Tibet and China is freedom, democracy and rule of law. This will go on until our work is done and you have our full support.”
Mr. Albeto de Belaunde, MP, Liberal Party, Peru
“Today I woke up remembering my childhood. I was born in the middle of an internal conflict in my country caused by domestic terrorism. A lot of people suffered, a lot of people died and disappeared. We started losing hope. We thought that this dark night will be forever. We almost lost hope but we didn’t. Hope was the tool we have to stay together, hope was the tool we have to fight, hope was the tool we use to recover peace. Now my country Peru is in peace, working in the path of progress. So, my message is not only the message of friendship, Amistad as we say in Spanish, is also a message full of hope. We need to bring hope in people’s hearts, especially the young people’s heart because hope is the energy of change and it is renewable energy. I am sure that we are going to celebrate sooner than later a new day for Tibet and a new day for peace in the world. Thank you very much.”
Ms. Mei Nu Yu, Member of Parliament, Taiwan,
“Tashi Delek, ladies and gentleman, I am honoured to be here. I am here to support Tibet. Our party the Democratic Progressive Party’s Secretary-General Lo Wen-jia, we joined the rally for Tibetan uprising day in Taiwan and here this afternoon, we show our support for Tibet. In the past 60 years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has achieved three major commitments which are promotion for human values, creation of inter-religious harmony and understanding and speaking on behalf of his people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a great determination to move the Tibetan society towards democracy and devolved his political responsibility to an elected leadership. His Holiness the Dalai Lama remains committed to the Middle Way Approach, a peaceful and reciprocal solution to the issue of Tibet. Thus, His Holiness the Dalai Lama persuaded the people not to remain in animosity nor consider the counterpart as an enemy but to keep dialogue and have empathy and compassion in mind and to implement nonviolent approach to face the China’s atrocity. Today is the 60th anniversary of the 1959 uprising against Chinese occupation in Tibet. The Tibetan uprising brings forward a very significant value. Confronted with China’s crackdown and persecution, Tibetan people insist and trust nonviolence and peace in order to protect the unique Tibetan culture and identity in accordance with democracy, freedom and human rights. Both Taiwan and Tibetans are harshly oppressed by the Chinese government. At this moment, I hope every country can declare joint support for freedom of Tibet and Taiwan. Free Tibet!”
Ms. Santosh Vinita Kalyan (Sandy Kalyan), MP, Democratic Alliance, South Africa
“Namaste! I greet you in the name of peace and I cannot express in words what an honour and a privilege it is to be here to celebrate a momentous occasion like this. I would like to place on record sincere thanks to the Central Tibetan Administration for their kind invitation. So, I must confess that I was clueless about the Tibet situation until about ten years ago. I received a call to say that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was denied a visa to attend a meeting in South Africa. And I was shocked and horrified that a country with a constitution that enshrines freedom of movement, human rights was being dictated to by China and therefore they did not grant him this visa. I am so ashamed of my government for giving in to this kind of pressure. That’s how I came to be involved and I came to know that there was a group of people who were denied citizenships of their own country, denied the right speak their language, denied the right to be free in their country. I am not new to such a situation having grown up in apartheid. Black people, Indian people and coloured people in South Africa were shunned to live in townships. We could not associate with white people, we could not sit on the same benches that were allocated for them, and we could not swim in the same ocean that they swam in.
In the middle of the night, I remember knockings on my door, people coming to search my home without a search warrant because they knew that a few of us were fighting for freedom, equality and justice. There was one famous South African who went into exile for 28 years to give us our freedom. His name is Nelson Mandela. I want to quote his famous words he said on his release, “Never and never again shall the people of my country face oppression and live as second class citizen.” It is my hope that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will one day echo those very same words for the people of Tibet. Am I doing enough to help you? On personal reflections, I don’t think so. Yes I stand up in parliament I make statements, yes I get involved but I think I must do something more. To the people of Tibet, stay on message day after day. Stay on the message of hope, one day we will get and we will see your freedom.
The Kashag has dedicated 2019 as the year of commitment, I would like to say to you, I commit. Namaste. Thank you for your attention.”
Dr. Yang Jianli, the President of Citizen Power Initiatives for China
“Your honourable Mr President Dr Lobsang Sangay, distinguished guests, dear brothers and sisters, Tashi Delek! What an honour to be with all of you on this special day!
Sixty years ago today, the Tibetan people rose up against the occupation of the Chinese Communist regime at a time when their culture, religion, property, indeed, their very existence was being seriously threatened. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was forced into exile, as the uprising was brutally suppressed. The CCP turned Tibet into a “hell on earth”. The sufferings the people of Tibet have endured in the past 60 years at the hands of the CCP are almost unparalleled in the history of mankind. But the Tibetan people, under the guidance of His Holiness, both in and outside Tibet, have never given up hope. They have never stopped their struggle for beliefs, national identity and freedom. Their courage, tenacity and sacrifices have won them worldwide respect and admiration.
Despite being without land, army or police, the 150,000 Tibetans in exile, under the leadership of His Holiness and the Central Tibetan Administration, have built dozens of settlements around the world. While maintaining their shared memories and beliefs, they have developed the miracle of a highly cohesive spiritual state which includes all Tibetans. Going beyond mere survival, they have reached out to people around the world, presenting an image of tolerance, loving-kindness open-mindedness, and optimism, while embracing universal values and implementing democratic practices, putting to shame those who rely on violence to pursue their goals.
Today, Tibet remains under the occupation of the CCP empire. The dire situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of mankind, especially that of the Chinese people. It is our privilege, as Chinese, to join you in standing united for Tibet.
As we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, we reaffirm our gratitude to our Tibetan brothers and sisters for their long-term brotherhood, friendship and spiritual inspiration. We recommit ourselves to respect and defend the Tibetans’ right to determine their own destiny, supporting the middle way approach advocated by His Holiness and passed by the Tibetan People’s Assembly to resolve the Tibetan issue.Today, we honour our brotherhood, friendship and solidarity with the people of Tibet by redoubling our efforts on their behalf. We will walk every step together with His Holiness on the way home, and we will continue to fight side by side with our Tibetan brothers and sisters for their religious, cultural and political freedom.Free Tibet.Thank you!