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[10 March 2013] Speech by Nawang N Anjatsang, a UK-based Tibetan film-maker, at the Tibet Freedom Rally outside the Chinese Embassy, London, on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.

Sonam at the RallyMy name is Sonam (Nawang N Anjatsang) and I am a Tibetan.
Tibet is my homeland. My father, who was born in Derge (eastern Tibet), told me a lot about the hard times Tibetan people have suffered ever since China invaded Tibet. For more than six decades of successive failed Chinese policies, the Tibetan people have never found happy times under communist rule.

Younger generations, who grew up, educated and are supposed to have benefited under the Chinese rule, are today calling for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Right now, there is a major human rights crisis on the Tibetan plateau. Who is to blame for all this?

In Tibet, Tibetans are not allowed to engage in any form of conventional protests. Tibet is still closed to the outside world. No independent media are freely allowed in Tibet. Requests for access by foreign diplomats and journalists are being turned down by the Chinese authorities. So, China has full control of anything that goes on in my homeland as I speak.

Buddhist monasteries and town centres across Tibet are heavily guarded by the Chinese armies. Tibetans in Tibet cannot freely travel in their own homelands, but the Han Chinese can! This alone says a lot!

More so, Tibetans are being punished for showing their devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Nomads are being forced to relocate to Chinas version of concentration camps from their ancestral nomadic lands. The so-called housing development for the Tibetan nomads is nothing but a well thought-out Chinese strategy in controlling and systematically destroying the Tibetan peoples way of life, particularly the nomadic culture.
With such unbearable lives under Chinese rule, over 107 Tibetans - from all walks of life including monks, nuns, teenagers, mother, father, students, writers, nomads and farmers - have resorted to self-immolations since 2009, in their desperate bid to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet. I am afraid to say that this number may rise unless China addresses the Tibetan grievances soon.

Like thousands of exiled Tibetan refugees, my father too had his wishes to return back to Tibet one day, where he wants to take his last breath. But his wish never materialised. It was just a dream!

In exile, particularly here in the UK, we the Tibetans enjoy universal rights, including freedom of speech, that are being denied in Tibet. Therefore, we have a greater responsibility to do something meaningful, whatever way we can, by using our knowledge and area of expertise. With support from my British friends and family, I was able to produce Little Tibet - a documentary film on Tibet.

During the screenings of my film, across 40 cities in 9 countries, I have come across genuine, sympathetic people, who are very supportive of the Tibetan cause. Some are new to Tibet and expressed their love and support.

I have been attending the 10 March protests in London over the last 12 years and I have witnessed the growing number of supporters every year. As a Tibetan, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Tibet supporters for your continued love, support and your solidarity with the Tibetan people at this very difficult time in our history. I promise you it wont be too long before we regain our freedom. I also take this opportunity to thank the UK coalition of Tibet support groups namely Tibet Society, Free Tibet Campaign, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Community in Britain and Tibetan Youth UK for their vital work for Tibet, and the Tibetan people. It is important that we engage with the leaders and support their work.

Once again last week, Chinas incoming President Xi Jinping stated his growing concern on the collapse of Chinese Communist Party before reaching its 100th anniversary in less than ten years time! This indicates the Partys slow decline and ultimate collapse - a good sign of happy times ahead for all Tibetans, other ethnic minorities in China, and also our Han Chinese brothers and sisters too.

Recently, we learnt of split views in the current coalition government on the UKs approach to China. This is an opportunity for Tibetans, Tibet justice groups and individual supporters to impress upon the senior leaders in the coalition government to do the right thing for Tibet and human rights. We should remind our government that just as business is important to this country, human rights should equally be placed high on agenda, especially in our foreign policy.

Let us send this message to the Chinese leaders in Beijing: You cannot get away with everything simply because China is becoming economically powerful. You will have to accept the realities in Tibet one day, sooner or later. You will have to deal with the current situation and address the grievances of Tibetan people. It is in your Partys interest to deal with the current crisis in Tibet on par with the Tibetan peoples belief and culture. And do remember, we the Tibetans in Diaspora and Tibet justice groups will not allow China to continue injustices in Tibet. The Tibetan struggle will carry on!

Past - we have suffered, learned and grown a lot.
Present - we have knowledge, determination, experience and working hard to get our country back.
Future is what I am looking for.
Free people,
Free nation,
Free Tibet.

Watch a video of this speech on Facebook

Read Tibet Uprising Anniversary 2013: UK Report

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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