By Shyamal Sinha
Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso into exile.
Tibetan Uprising Day is observed primarily by organizations and individuals who support Tibet such as Students for a Free Tibet, and is often accompanied by the release of a statement by the Dalai Lama. Tibetan independence groups often organize protests or campaigns on March 10 to draw attention to the situation in Tibet.
The annual wreath-laying ceremony, marking the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising, was held today, 5 March 2019, at the Innocent Victim’s Memorial, Westminster Abbey.
Organised by the All Party Parliamentary group for Tibet (APPGT) in the UK Parliament, in conjunction with the Tibet Society UK, the wreath-laying ceremony started at 12.30pm on a cold windy London weather with welcome and prayers by The Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence, Westminster Abbey; and by Khenpo Kadrak Ngodup Sonam, Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
Hon Chris Law, MP, Scottish National Party and co-chair of APPGT in his address reiterated his continued support for Tibet and to work with his colleagues in the UK parliament for a peaceful resolution to the Tibet issue.
The wreath was laid in memory of all Tibetans who have lost their lives as a result of China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950 and to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising that began in Tibet’s capital city Lhasa, on 10th March 1959.
The wreath-laying ceremony was attended by 4 Members of the UK parliament including Rt Hon Tim Loughton, MP of the Conservative Party; Hon Kerry McCarthy, MP and Hon Karen Lee, MP both from the Labour Party.
Khenpo Kadrak Ngodup Sonam and OoT staff Tenzin Kunga thanked the MPs present individually for their presence at the wreath-laying, despite their other parliamentary commitments, and for their continued support for Tibet.
Representatives from Tibet Support Groups in the UK, Tibetans and public attended the ceremony. After the ceremony, the Tibet Society hosted a lunch to the visiting Tibetan parliamentarian; and later gave him a tour of the UK parliament, including to both the House of Commons and the House of Lords where Khenpo Kada Ngedup Sonam observed the proceedings from the visitor’s gallery.