Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of the Taiwanese capital at the weekend shouting “Let The Dalai Lama go home, Free Tibet,” and “Tibet belongs to Tibetans” as they wound their way from central to east Taipei.
Along the way, the parade featured some partaking of the sacred Tibetan ritual known as the “Long Kowtow,” which places the palms together in front of the chest, raises them over the head while chanting a six-word mantra, then stretches the whole body along the ground to remember the 310 uprising and those Tibetans today still fighting for their homeland to be free of China’s Communist regime.
Keeping hope alive amidst despair.
Speaking to the crowd, the 11th Kirti Rinpoche said, “Over the past 62 years Tibet has suffered in agony under (the) oppression (of China), but under the leadership of (our) spiritual leader Dalai Lama, they (Tibetans have) never given up their desire for freedom.”
The President of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, Tashi Tsering (札西慈仁) added , “We (Tibetans) don’t believe (in the) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at all.”
He also referred to the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who vanished 25 years ago when he was just 6 year-old, as well as other influential Lama currently imprisoned, whilst also mentioning that Tibetans today wouldn’t lose heart until their goal is reached.
Tibetans in exile.
To contribute to a new socialist society, China’s Communist government of the time signed The 17-Point Agreement with Tibet in 1951, followed by the implementation of “people’s communes” and the so-called “Great Leap Forward”, which in time destroyed monasteries and countless Tibetan Buddhist institutions recognized by the Chinese government as centers of anti-Chinese resistance.
A massive – armed – anti-Chinese uprising broke out in Lhasa in March of 1959 which eventually led to the current 14th Dalai Lama to flee to exile in India along with tens of thousands of other Tibetans who, in escaping, have never again seen their homeland.
Taiwan’s present is Tibet’s past.
Here in Taiwan, as the 228 Incident remains a painful time in our own history, so too does the 310 Uprising to Tibetans.
Under the shadow of China and facing a potentially similar fate to Tibet, Taiwan needs to be aware that China isn’t a neighbour worthy of our trust. We only need to look back at Tibetan history to see this.
Earlier this year, Tibet held an global election – on January 3rd – in order to form a new Central Tibetan Administration, with an estimated 80,000 Tibetans registering to vote.
Two polling stations were set up in Taiwan – in Taipei and Taoyuan.
In the hardest and darkest times, Tibetans have never surrendered, and today continue speaking up to demonstrate to the world that Tibetans will never forgot the history of their homeland – and that one day, they want to return.
Hopefully this will happen soon, rather than later.