On March 10th, 2020, we mark the 61st anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising against the illegal occupation of Tibet by China. This is commemorated, along with remembering the ongoing struggle of Tibetans against the draconian policies instituted by the Chinese communist regime in their determination to erase Tibet’s cultural identity. However, Tibetans living within Tibet remain ever-poised, with monumental resolve to protect their way of life. They remain unwaveringly peaceful in their resistance despite the onslaughts of violence unleashed in wave after wave by the Chinese government.
This year, 2020, is the year of the mouse. It reminds us of the last year of the mouse, which was twelve years ago in 2008. During 2008 there were peaceful protests all over Tibet, which were wantonly suppressed. As we remember these solemn uprisings and pay homage to the lives that were sacrificed for the sake of those demonstrations, please note that as of yet there is no sign of the Chinese government loosening it’s harsh policies over the Tibetan people.
The Tibetan plateau remains the least free area in the world according to international human rights watch groups. Not a single international media outlet is allowed to base itself there. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult to get information from within Tibet, as the rampant technological surveillance there is worsening. Without hesitation, the Chinese government conducts arbitrary detention, torture, and murder of any dissenting voices or suspects thereof. This is a regressive trend in human rights, and it affects other regions within China as well. This is all fueled by the fact that despotic China has become a major trading partner of important democratic countries that at times find it more convenient to look the other way.
While the Chinese invasion of Tibet was brutal, the subsequent repressive policies in Tibet are even more sinister. These policies ploy to uproot and eradicate the very essence of the way of life that largely defines Tibetan identity and culture. Political repression conjoined with the much-propagandized “modernization of Tibet,” are replete with perverse psychological strategies targeting the traditional values of the Tibetan people. These fabricated ideologies, besides undermining the rich cultural heritage of Tibetans, also justify ravaging Tibet’s fragile ecosystem in a vain attempt to satisfy unending colonial lusts.
When Deng Xiaoping, the former Chairman of China, famously proclaimed “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice,” it sounded like a call for China to relax its humanitarian policies after the devastating cultural revolution. Many people in the west interpreted this statement as heralding positive reform in China. On the contrary, though, the policies of the Chinese government have since then become increasingly regressive. China is set in a primitive, predatory quest for total domination. Even the Chinese who deploy these tactics are themselves stripped of their past cultural values and sense of honor. Such crude ideology, devoid of basic humanity, disrespects the very environment and wildlife which sustains it. Insatiable greed for material objects has given rise to a culture of colonialism, xenophobia, and widespread discrimination against minorities and vulnerable sectors of society.
If nothing changes, these pervasive and important injustices, coupled with the apathy of people of the 21st century regarding the plight of Tibet, will make an irreparable dent in the goal of world peace and ecological health. This huge oversight, if not given the necessary attention, will prove irreversible in its wake of utter devastation. It will particularly affect Tibetans within Tibet, who are grossly oppressed under totalitarian authority, while hoping against hope that peace and justice will be restored by the concerned attention of the world.
We wholeheartedly thank and pray for individuals and communities around the globe who are tirelessly working to keep this hope alive.
United Nations for Tibet
March 9, 2020