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China's occupation of Tibet: a "damning indictment" on world politics PDF Print E-mail
Tibetans, MPs and supporters commemorate the 56th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising

[9 March]
Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world [1] are marking the 56th anniversary of the 10 March 1959 uprising in Tibet - a time when hundreds of thousands of Tibetans protested Chinas illegal invasion and occupation of their country [2].

Tibet Society logoOn 10 March, in London, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet will hold a ceremony at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. MPs will lay a wreath to remember all Tibetan casualties of China's occupation of Tibet. [3]

"It is a damning indictment on world politics that, 56 years after Tibetans rose up against China's illegitimate occupation of their country, Tibet remains under China's rule, unchallenged by world governments, said Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society.

Ms Carrick added, "Last week Baroness Anelay told the UN Human Rights Council that human rights violations must be addressed wherever they occur in the world [4]. However, when such violations happen in Tibet directly as a result of Chinese government policy, they rarely merit acknowledgement much less any action or censure."

Since Xi Jinping became Chinas President in March 2013, Chinas grip on Tibet has tightened, with increased restrictions on freedoms of expression and religion, raising the oppression to a new level of severity [5]. The renewed clampdown includes the use of disproportionate force against peaceful gatherings of Tibetans and collective punishment policies that allow authorities to impose penalties against entire Tibetan communities.

Despite this crackdown, Tibetans continue to protest against occupation and assert their rights to basic freedoms:

► On 4 March, at a religious festival in Ngaba (Sichuan province), Tibetans defiantly carried flags bearing banned images of the Dalai Lama and exiled Tibetan leaders. [6]

On 5 March, Norchuk, a 47 year-old nomadic woman died after self-immolating in Ngaba. The self-immolation protest was the first to take place in 2015 in Tibet. Since 2009, 135 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet against China's oppressive policies. The majority of the self-immolators have called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and called for freedom and/or human rights for the Tibetan people. [7]

On 8 March, an 18 year-old Tibetan monk was detained after peacefully protesting in Ngaba. Gedun Phuntsok, from Kirti monastery, carried a portrait of the Dalai Lama during his protest on the main road in Ngaba town and shouted slogans including Let His Holiness the Dalai Lama return to Tibet and Freedom and equality for Tibet. The current whereabouts and condition of Gedun Phuntsok is not known. [8]


Philippa Carrick: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , +44 (0)20 7923 0021, +44 (0)7941 105 485
Paul Golding: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , +44 (0)20 7923 0021

1. See global events via

2. On 10 March 1959 thousands of Tibetans in Tibet took to the streets of Lhasa to protest against China's rule and protect their leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As the Chinese army shelled Lhasa, the Dalai Lama was forced to escape from Tibet.

3. The wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 11.30am on Tuesday 10 March, at the Memorial to Innocent Victims in front of Westminster Abbey. It will be accompanied by a short multi-faith service. Organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet Society.

4. "We must address violations and abuses wherever they occur." Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay at the UN Human Rights Council on 2 March. See report on

5. US-based NGO Freedom House ranked Tibet alongside North Korea and Syria as the Worst of the Worst countries or territories for political and civil rights. 2015 Freedom In the World Report

6. See Radio Free Asia: Tibetans Display Banned Images on Flags at Prayer Gathering in Ngaba

7. See Radio Free Asia: Tibetan woman burns herself to death in protest over Chinese policies

8. See Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy: Freedom of peaceful assembly under attack: Tibetan monk detained for non-violent protest

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; Family 36; Life 500.
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