Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Eighteenth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

On this commemoration of the March 10th anniversary, our thoughts turn inevitably to events taking place in Tibet. It is well known that by invading Tibet, the Chinese Communists have stationed military personnel and civilian garrisons in extensive areas in the country. Parallel to this, Chinese settlements have even penetrated into the eastern and northeastern frontiers of Tibet. In addition to this influx, Chinese migrants continue to arrive in Central Tibet. According to Radio Lhasa broadcasts, between May 1975 and January 1977, 6660 retired PLA veterans as well as graduate students from different parts of China were transported to Central Tibet to raise families and settle there. Forty-three separate batches were thus mobilized for this scheme on the pretext that they were volunteers who "had come to join the socialist revolution and socialist construction work in Tibet".

Those of our people left behind in Tibet continue to experience a life of poverty and relentless hard labour. To cite an instance of this, according to reports received on the construction of a new dam during the winter at Lhatse, all young and old, male and female inhabitants were summoned to the site of the construction and compelled to work round the clock without any break until the dam had been completed. Even those who developed open wounds on their backs had no alternative but to work without respite. Many became mutilated as a consequence of severe frostbite. From another report on construction work at Taktse, we learn that the inhabitants were forcibly put to labour on agricultural cultivation by day, and with the assistance of kerosene torches were compelled to work on a hydroelectric plant by night. These reports have neither been fabricated nor exaggerated by us, but were broadcast by Radio Lhasa three or four weeks ago.

At a meeting convened to mourn the death of Mao a few months ago, 300 Tibetans were arrested and several were executed on the grounds that the accused showed a lack of genuine sorrow and grief at the meeting. A review of these facts will single pointedly indicate the extent of forcible oppression and repression which the Chinese Communists have wrought on the Tibetan people.

At present, the campaign against hegemony and colonialism has taken precedence in international affairs and the call for the equality of all races has gained momentum. Yet the Communist Chinese persist in a policy of invasion and expansionism in Tibet, a renowned nation in the history of Asia, and have reduced its innocent and defenceless people to interminable oppression, suppression and torture. How is it justified to neglect and leave unattended such tragic happenings in Tibet?

Our struggle for the independence of Tibet is compatible with the hopes and aspirations of 6,000,000 Tibetans. It is a fulfilment of our rights and duties, and a just cause. Therefore, in order to realize this goal in its entirety, every Tibetan must endeavour to work in unity, with resolve, courage and determination. It is the responsibility of every Tibetan, irrespective of age, to preserve, promote and personify the exemplary traditions inherited from our forefathers, to abide by truth and justice and to inculcate respect for our elders, tolerance of problems and difficulties in addition to benevolence to others, while at the same time remaining humble and modest. If deceitful and immoral means are adopted for insignificant and temporary gain and fame, not only will ridicule and abuse befall the subject of such indulgence, it will also be unbecoming of his status as an intelligent human being. It therefore becomes imperative for us all to cultivate the quintessence of a moral and prudent approach at all times.

The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1977