Following are excerpts of a statement by the Tibetan Students Association of Madras (TSAM), who conducted a peace march in Chennai on Sunday.
"We Tibetans in Chennai, as exiles in a distant land, while yearning for our country, would like to declare the following statement to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the National Uprising Day of Tibet. On 10th March 1959, in Lhasa the capital city of Tibet, thousands of Tibetans, chanting “Free Tibet; China, leave Tibet; and Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama”, formed a massive human chain around the Potala Palace, the residence of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, to protect him and their country.
Tibetans from across the social spectrum, united by the indomitable Tibetan spirit staged a defiant, yet peaceful and historic uprising against the forceful and illegal occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.). In short, this was the day when Tibetans declared unequivocally to the world that we are an independent nation. The Uprising was brutally suppressed and thousands of Tibetans were mercilessly killed.
As a result, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans fled into exile to India. Today, on the 60th anniversary of the Uprising, we have organized this peaceful Freedom March to remember and honour all the Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for our nation’s struggle,. We wish to ensure that the spirit of the Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for our country remains alive among us.
1) China must ensure to the Tibetan people genuine autonomy.
2) All Tibetan political prisoners, including the Panchen Lama, should be released.
3) UN representatives and independent journalists should visit Tibet and investigate the ongoing human rights violations there, including the 164 self-immolations by Tibetans.
4) China continues to occupy formerly independent nations such as Tibet, Inner Mongolia, East Turkistan and Manchuria. The world must be vigilant to Chinese expansionist designs.
We urge all freedom and justice loving people to support us. Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet will continue to resist the occupation with full passion and energy, until freedom is restored in our homeland. This is our responsibility. There’s no guarantee that because of the change of globalpolitics, the Chinese regime would not explode or transform, giving us new opportunities. We must therefore be ready to grab these opportunities and use them to advance the interest of theTibetan people.
We must immediately end wasting all our time, energy and resources that we are currently spending on factional fighting and ideological battles among ourselves. Instead, we must pool all our resources and energy together into creating programs for a serious reconstruction of Tibet. This is another way to grab the opportunities to reunify with Tibetans inside Tibet.
Compatriots, we must raise our heads high and march forward. With wisdom, courage and confidence, we must fight our enemy whose guns, tanks and bayonets are responsible for the deathand torture of tens of thousands of Tibetans. We must not forget the last words of our patriots, the courage and bravery of our ancestors, and their promises that remains unfulfilled."