Tibetans and their supporters across the world will observe the 62nd anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day on March 10 this year.
The Tibetan Uprising Day is observed every year on March 10 to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan peaceful uprising against Communist China’s repression in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.
Tibet was a sovereign state before China’s invasion in 1950 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered northern Tibet. In 1951, a 17 Point Agreement was forced upon the Tibetans by the Chinese Government. By 1958, it was clear that they had no intention of securing the preservation of Tibetan autonomy and institutions.
Many Tibetans attempted escaping the communist persecution by going to India, but only a small percentage actually survived the difficult conditions of the journey.
The uprising in Lhasa was triggered by fear of a plot to kidnap His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.
Chinese military officers invited 14th Dalai Lama to visit the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) headquarters for a theatrical performance and official tea and he was told to come alone that no Tibetan military bodyguards or personnel would be allowed past the edges of the military camp.
On March 10, fearing for the 14th Dalai Lama’s life, 300,000 Tibetans surrounded Norbulinka Palace, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, preventing the Dalai Lama from accepting the PLA’s invitation.
After the crowds refused orders to leave the compound, the PLA launched an attack, killing thousands of innocent civilians.
The Tibetans were hopelessly outnumbered and only seven days later, fearing for the lives of his people, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped to India and took refuge along with around 80,000 other Tibetans.
By March 17th, Chinese artillery was aimed at the palace and in the resulting melee ended up killing 87,000 Tibetans with many more arrested or deported to labour camps. That day is marked as the most brutal and barbaric day on part of China, leading to the death and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.
Meanwhile, March 10 is also regarded as ‘Tibetan Martyrs’ Day’, dedicated to the patriotism of the heroic men and women of Tibet.