China claims blow against “Dalai clique”; Dalai Lama calls for autonomy

A March 6 headline in the official Chinese news agency Xinhua acknowledged that the declaration of March 28 as “Serfs Emancipation Day” is intended as a “tit-for-tat” against “Dalai clique.” The rubber-stamp parliament of Tibet Autonomous Region adopted a motion in January to commemorate the day in 1959 when China officially dissolved the local government of Tibet. (Tibetan Review, March 9)

“We’ll, for a long period of time, face austere test in maintaining unification of the motherland, fighting ethnic splittism, and maintaining social stability,” Xinhua quoted Legqog, director of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People’s Congress. “Since the Dalai Lama and his supporters failed in an armed rebellion and fled abroad 50 years ago, they have been dreaming of restoring the reactionary, dark, barbarian and backward feudal serfdom in Tibet, and they have never stopped activities to split the motherland and undermine ethnic unity,” he said. (Xinhua, March 6)

Meanwhile on March 10, the day when Tibetans around the world commemorate the 1959 uprising, international protests were held against Chinese repression. Hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, arriving at the United Nations wearing T-shirts reading “Tibet — 50 years of resistance.” In London, more than 100 marched near the Houses of Parliament, some dressed in monks’ garb or bright traditional Tibetan dresses.

In Germany, Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck called on world leaders to encourage China to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama, as a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Berlin. Some 80 people lit white candles in front of the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw.

In Canberra, the Australian capital, a handful of protesters briefly clashed with police outside the Chinese embassy after about 300 had marched from the Parliament House.

In Nepal, home to thousands of Tibetan exiles, police blocked about 100 Tibetans who marched in Katmandu. In India, thousands of young Tibetans marched through the streets in Dharmsala, where the Dalai Lama’s exile government is based. (AP, March 10)

The Dalai Lama delivered a speech in Dharamsala March 10 in which he said that Chinese rule of of his homeland has “thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth.” However, as the New York Times notes, he continued to stop short of endorsing calls for Tibetan independence:

We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Fulfilling the aspirations of the Tibetan people will enable China to achieve stability and unity. From our side, we are not making any demands based on history. Looking back at history, there is no country in the world today, including China, whose territorial status has remained forever unchanged, nor can it remain unchanged.

See our last post on China and Tibet.

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