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Uprising 2015 report: "Let Tibet flourish" PDF Print E-mail
[12 March 2015] Tibetans and Tibet supporters in the UK marked the anniversary of 1959 Tibetan National Uprising with a series of events. On 7 March, the Tibet Freedom March and Rally took place in London with approximately 500 people marching through central London calling for a free Tibet. On 10 March, a wreath was laid at Westminster Abbey to remember all the victims of Chinas brutal occupation of Tibet. Further events were also held around the UK, including a flag-raising in Northampton and a candle-lit vigil in Norwich.

Reports: Tibet Freedom March I RallyWreath-laying Ceremony
Northampton flag-raisingNorwich vigil

Photo albums (via facebook): March I Letter deliveries I Rally I Wreath-laying

Further reading: Letter to PMLetter to AmbassadorSpeech by Chodak Hunter

Tibet Freedom March
Tibet Freedom March 2015On Saturday 7 March, approximately 500 Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered in London to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. The crowd marched through central London calling for a free Tibet and for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people.

The march began opposite Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister. Aptly one of the four key messages on the march's placards was "Britain: Stand up for Tibetan human rights", a direct ask for the UK government to do more for the people of Tibet. Other placard slogans expressed solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, demanded freedom and called on China to end the occupation.

Letter to Downing Street 2015Prior to the start of the march, representatives of the organising Tibet groups (Tibet Society, Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet UK and Tibetan Community in Britain) delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street. The letter called on the Prime Minister to heed his own minister's proclamation at the UN Human Rights Council on 2 March ["We must address violations and abuses wherever they occur"] and take action on the T
ibet issue.

Tibet Freedom March 2015Under blue skies, the procession wound its way towards the Chinese Embassy, via major London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square (pictured right), Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Oxford Circus. The marchers waved Tibet flags and chanted slogans, creating a colourful spectacle for shoppers and tourists alike. Flyers were distributed to explain the Tibet issue and encourage participation.

Tibet Freedom March 2015The Dalai Lama's portrait was carried at the front of the march, followed by a symbolic demonstration of the current repression inside Tibet, with Tibetans in handcuffs guarded by truncheon-carrying Chinese soldiers. Along the line of marchers banners with a variety of messages were carried, including "Independence for Tibet", "China stole my country" and one highlighting the self-immolations.

As the march approached the Chinese Embassy, the chanting increased in volume and fists were raised to show defiance to China's brutal regime. Though emotional, Tibetans and supporters alike remained dignified and peaceful, a show of the Tibet movement's real strength.

View photos of March via facebook
View photos of letter delivery to Downing Street via facebook
Read letter to Prime Minister Cameron

Tibet Freedom Rally
Tibet Freedom Rally 2015The Tibet Freedom March culminated with a rally outside the Chinese Embassy. The rally included inspiring speeches, Buddhist prayers and renditions of the Long-sho (the Tibetan Uprising Song) and the Tibetan National Anthem (composed in 1959 by Kyapje Trichang Rinpoche, tutor of the Dalai Lama).

Prior to the start of the rally, representatives from UK-based Tibet organisations attempted to deliver a letter to the Chinese Ambassador. Once again, as in previous years, the Embassy staff refused to open the door, so the letter was left on the doorstep. (Another copy has been posted to ensure it is at least read.)

In the letter, the Tibet organisations urged the Chinese government to re-open conditional talks with Tibetan representatives, allow open access to Tibet and set a date for a visit to Tibet by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The rally began with a minute's silence to remember all those who died during the 1959 Uprising and subsequently as a result of China's occupation.

Rally speeches: "Let Tibet flourish"
Chonpel Tsering 2015Mr Chonpel Tsering, Representative of the Dalai Lama for the UK and Northern Europe (pictured right), was the first to address the crowd. He noted the importance of the marking of the anniversary in London and across the world, especially in order to let Tibetans inside Tibet know they have not been forgotten. Mr Tsering also reiterated the Tibetan government in exile's stance that it is ready and willing to enter into dialogue with Beijing and is determined in its quest to find a peaceful, non-violent resolution.

Dr Fiona McConnellDr Fiona McConnell (pictured left), a Tibet academic and former Students for a Free Tibet UK board member, spoke about self-determination, the Scottish referendum and its relevance to the Tibetan people.

Dr McConnell said, "In the peaceful holding of the Scottish referendum the UK sent a powerful message to the world: that the right of a people to self-determination - to determine their own political future is a right that must be honoured. The Tibetan people have precisely the same right." Dr McConnell added, that under United Nations resolutions and articles, China has a legal obligation to enable Tibetans to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Dr McConnell concluded by calling on all those present to use their democratic freedom and continue to lobby their MPs to ensure the British government demands China allows the Tibetan people the right to self-determination.

Chodak Hunter 2015The final speaker was Tibetan activist Chodak Hunter (pictured right). His impassioned speech focused on the effects of China's policies on the Tibetan people - from forcing nomads off the grasslands to "deliberately diluting" the Tibetan language; from the strict control over Tibet's monasteries to punishments for possessing images of the Dalai Lama on a mobile phone. Mr Hunter said for over 130 Tibetans, self-immolation had become the final, desperate act of a people that were essentially "second class citizens" in their own country.

Tibet Freedom Rally 2015Mr Hunter concluded by calling for action to ensure the issue of Tibet is not forgotten. "It is not always about being political. As a group we seek change through developing a community with friends. Only through keeping our culture, language & identity alive can the name of Tibet truly flourish."

View more photos via facebook
View photos of letter delivery to Chinese Embassy via facebook
Read letter to the Chinese Ambassador
Read speech by Tibetan activist Chodak Hunter

The Tibet Freedom March and Rally were organised jointly by Tibet Society, Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet and Tibetan Community in Britain.

Wreath-laying ceremony
Wreath-laying ceremony 2015On 10 March, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet held its annual wreath-laying ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London.

The ceremony was held at the Memorial to Innocent Victims of Oppression, Violence and War located at the west entrance to the Abbey. A short multi-faith service was held with prayers led by Reverend Jane Sinclair, the Canon in residence, and Buddhist prayers led by Geshe Tashi Tsering, the Spiritual Director of Jamyang Buddhist Centre.

Reverend Sinclair opened the ceremony by noting that as well as remembering those who died during the 1959 uprising "we remember those Tibetans who have died recently in Tibet, and those who suffer there today."

Riki Hyde-Chambers, Chairman of Tibet Society, the Secretariat of the APPG for Tibet, spoke of the significance of the uprising 56 years ago and how Tibetans today continue to resist oppression in order to ensure the survival of their culture and religion.

The wreath was laid by Mr Hyde-Chambers and Tehor Yeshi Ngawang, representing the Tibetan Community in Britain.

The wreath-laying ceremony was organised by Tibet Society.

View photos of ceremony via facebook

Events around UK

Northampton flag-raising 2015On 4 March, almost 100 people gathered at Northampton's Guildhall to mark the Tibetan National Uprising anniversary. The focal point of the ceremony was the raising of the Tibet national flag by guests of honour, the Dalai Lama's UK representative Mr Chonpel Tsering, the Mayor and Mayoress Cllr John and Cheryl Caswell and the Leader of the Council Cllr David Mackintosh.

Organiser and long-term Tibet activist Caroline Scattergood opened the event urging all to join in a conspiracy of love for Tibet. Messages of support from politicians and celebrities were then read out.

Northampton flag raising 2015Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, sent a note saying, Campaigners like those here today are very necessary and important in keeping this issue alive. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, sent a message encouraging dialogue and positive engagement as the best way to reach a sustainable agreement for Tibet. Sandie Shaw, a well-known singer from the 1960s, said, You have my full support in fighting for religious freedom in Tibet.

Norwich vigil 2015In  the evening of 10 March, a candle-lit vigil was held in Norwich city centre. The vigil was organised by Tibet Society member Mark Roper. In reporting the vigil, Mark said it was a privilege to be involved in the anniversary commemorations. He noted the mood of the vigilers was upbeat and they spoke together about the ongoing and current hardships the Tibetan people have to endure. Mark concluded his report saying, "I feel fortunate to live in my country with relative civil liberties and not to exist in an occupied land full of repression and danger - where even possessing a small photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama could result in being beaten and imprisoned".

Other events marking the Tibetan National Uprising anniversary were held in Stamford and York, along with film screenings in Hebden Bridge and Leeds. On 12 March, the Tibetan Women's Association marked the anniversary of the Tibetan Women's Uprising with an event in London.

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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