HKFP Voices Politics & Protest

60 years of occupation, 60 years of resistance: The anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising

An open letter: The year 2019 marks numerous significant anniversaries: 30 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, 25 years since the Rwandan Genocide, 20 years since the 1999 East Timorese crisis, and 60 years since hundreds of thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of Lhasa in what is now marked and commemorated as the Tibetan National Uprising.

As Tibetans and Tibet supporters look back over the 60 long years since that first uprising, and the decades-long military occupation, we see a pattern of Tibetan resistance against Beijing’s colonial rule, a pattern of protest and popular uprisings that continues despite thousands upon thousands of arrests, disappearances, cases of torture, arbitrary detention and forced political indoctrination.

Tibetans have continued to reject China’s rule without violence, but with fearlessness and daring.

save tibet

File photo: HKFP.

The human rights situation in Tibet, as elsewhere under China’s rule, is now worse than at any time since 1989. Human Rights Watch recently reported that China’s assault on individual human rights is at its worst level since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and Freedom House has ranked Tibet to be the second least free place in the world for the fifth year in a row.

Right now, millions of Tibetans – along with Uighurs, Southern Mongolians, Hong Kongers and Chinese people – are facing unbelievable levels of human rights abuse, whether they be religious practitioners, human rights defenders, feminists, petitioners, lawyers, journalists, professors or students.

However, these peoples’ common desire to stand up against the ever-pervasive restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, despite China’s draconian grip, is striking and reflects the growing global trend to confront abusive governments and push back against decades of oppression.  

The scale of the crisis in Tibet, Uighur areas and across China, and the Chinese Communist Party’s continued unwillingness to acknowledge the widespread concern, warrants a strong international response to combat the flagrant disregard for fundamental human rights, and China’s violent and systematic assault on Tibetans, Uighurs and others living under Beijing’s repressive rule.

tibet flag

A Tibetan flag seen in Hong Kong. Photo: Cloud.

As the 60-year anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising approaches, we call on United Nations (UN) member states to join together to deliver a resolution on the human rights situation in China, calling for:

  • unfettered and independent access to Tibet and Uighur areas and China by independent international human rights experts, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant UN Special Rapporteurs.
  • an end to the abuse of national security legislation as a means of criminalising the work of human rights defenders, freedoms of expression, association, religion or belief and subverting due process, and call on China to seek assistance from UN experts to this end/achieve this.
  • the immediate release of any and all individuals subjected to unlawful and unjustified deprivation of liberty, and prevent torture; for example language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk.

China has ridden roughshod over the human and political rights of citizens under its rule for far too long. Despite the decades that have passed since the first Tibetan National Uprising in 1959, this remains an issue that cannot be consigned to history; far from it.

With resistance by the Tibetan people so strong and vibrant, it’s time for a response from the international community that matches their courage and conviction.

Signatories - click to view.

Western Europe:

Aide aux Refugies Tibetains

Association Dorje

Association Drôme Ardèche-Tibet

Associazione Italia-Tibet

Autodétermination-Tibet 09/31

Briancon05 Urgence Tibet

Caisse d’Aide aux Prisonniers Tibetains

Casa del Tibet – Spain

Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (CAT)

Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain (Les Lilas)

Corse – Tibet

Eco-Tibet France

EcoTibet Ireland

France-Tibet

Free Tibet

Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin, France

Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete, Portugal

International Society of Human Rights, Munich Chapter (IGFM)

Jamtse Thundel Association

La Porte du Tibet, Geneva

Les Amis du Tibet – Belgium

Les Amis du Tibet Luxembourg

Lions Des Neiges Mont Blanc, France

Lungta Association Belgium

Maison des Himalayas

Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info

Nos Amis de l’Himalaya

Objectif Tibet

Passeport Tibetain

Phagma Drolma-Arya Tara

Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet

Save Tibet, Austria

Society for Threatened Peoples International

Students for a Free Tibet – France

Students for a Free Tibet – UK

Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association (GSTF)

Tibet 59 / 62

Tibet Democratie

Tibet Initiative Deutschland

Tibets Kinder im Exile V.

Tibet Liberte Solidarite

Tibet Libertes, France

Tibet Society, U.K.

Tibet Support Group – Ireland

Tibet Support Group – Netherlands

Tibet Unterstutzung Liechtenstein

Tibetaanse-Vlaamse Vriendenkring vzw

Tibetan Association of Germany

Tibetan Community Austria

Tibetan Community in Britain

Tibetan Community in Ireland

Tibetan Community of Italy

Tibetan Youth Association in Europe

TSG Free Tibet And You

Tsowa-Maintenir la Vie, France

 

Northern Europe:

Association of Free Tibet Denmark

Friends of Tibet in Finland

Swedish Tibet Committee

The Norwegian Tibet Committee

Tibet Support Committee Denmark

Tibetan Community in Denmark

Tibetan Community Sweden

Students for a Free Tibet Denmark

 

Central & Eastern Europe:

Fair Society o.s.

Friends of Tibet Society St. Petersburg, Russia

International Youth Human Rights Group – Human Rights in Tibet

Polish Movement for a Free Tibet

Save Tibet Foundation

Society for Croatia-Tibet Friendship

Students for a Free Tibet, Poland

The Foundation for Civil Society, Russia

Tibet cesky (Tibet in Czech)

Tibet Support Association – Hungary

Tibet Support Group – Krasnodar Region, Russia

Tibet Support Group – Romania

Tibet Support Group – Sochi Region, Russia

Tibetan Association of Slovakia

Tibetan Community in Poland

Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation

TSG – Slovenia/Podporo

Union Latvija Tibetai

Zida Cels, Latvia

 

Africa and Middle East:

Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People

Tibet Support Group Kenya

 

North America:

Association Cognizance Tibet, North Carolina

Bay Area Friends of Tibet

Boston Tibet Network

Canada Tibet Committee

Colorado Friends of Tibet

Committee of 100 for Tibet

Dhokam Chushi Gangdruk

International Tibet Independence Movement

Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association

San Diego Friends of Tibet

Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet

Sierra Friends of Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet – Canada

The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago

The World Tibet Day Foundation

Tibet Committee of Fairbanks

Tibet Justice Center

Tibetan Association of Ithaca

Tibetan Association of Northern California

Tibetan Association of Philadelphia

Tibetan Association of Santa Fe

Tibetan Association of Southern California

Tibetan Cultural Association – Quebec

TIBETmichigan

Toronto Tibet Youth Congress

United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT)

U.S. Tibet Committee

Western Colorado Friends of Tibet

Wisconsin Tibetan Association

 

Central and South America:

Amigos de Tíbet Chile

Amigos del Tíbet, El Salvador

Asociación Cultural Peruano Tibetana

Asociación Cultural Tibetano – Costarricense

Casa Tibet México

Centro De Cultura Tibetana – Brazil

Grupo Pro-Cultura Tibetana, Chile

Le Club Francais – Paraguay

Tibet Group-Panama

Tíbet Mx

Tíbet Patria Libre, Uruguay

Fundación Pro Tibet – Argentina

Friends of Tibet in Costa Rica

World League for Freedom and Democracy

 

Asia:

Anterrashtriya Bharat – Tibbet Sahyog Samiti

Bharrat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, India

Circle of Friends (Philippines)

Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India

Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H. H. the Dalai Lama

Gannasamannay

Himalayan Committee for Action on Tibet

India Tibet Friendship Society

Japan Association of Monks for Tibet (Super Sangha)

Japan Committee of 100 for TIbet

Lung-Ta Project

Mahatma Gandhi Tibet Freedom Movement

National Campaign for Tibetan Support, India

National Democratic Party of Tibet

Ns3 Rigpa Community Builder’s Foundation

Raise Tibetan Flag Campaign

Roof of the World Foundation, Indonesia

Students for a Free Tibet – Japan

Students for a Free Tibet – India

Students for a Free Tibet – Bangladesh

Taiwan Friends of Tibet

Taiwan Tibet Exchange Foundation

Tibbat Desh Patrika

Tibet Lives, India

Tibet Solidarity Forum, Bangladesh

Tibet Support Group Kiku, Japan

Tibet Support Network Japan

Tibetan Student Association, Madras (TSAM)

Tibetan Rights and Freedom Committee (TRFRC)

Tibetan Women’s Association (Central)

Tibetan Youth Congress

Youth Liberation Front of Tibet, Eastern Turkestan, Manchuria & Inner Mongolia (YLFTM)

 

Australasia:

A.C.T. Tibet Support Group

Australia Tibet Council

Australian Tibet House Inc.

Friends of Tibet New Zealand

Sakya Trinley Ling

Students for a Free Tibet – New Zealand

Tibet Action Group of Western Australia

Tibet Support Group Adelaide – Australia

Tibetan Community of Australia (Victoria)

Tibetan Women Association and Friends Australia (TWAFA)

60 years of occupation, 60 years of resistance: The anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising