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Exile Gov't finds China’s "emancipation day" provocative for Tibetans

March 29, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
March 27, 2009

Dharamsala, March 27 -- China’s controversial
decision to observe the "Serf Emancipation Day"
on Saturday is further aggravating the already
"unbearable conditions" for Tibetans in Tibet,
according to Tibet’s Government in exile.

"China’s decision to observe tomorrow as the
so-called Serf Emancipation Day is aggravating
problems in Tibet," the Kashag (Cabinet) of the
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said in a press statement.

"Tibetans consider this observance offensive and
provocative," Kesang Y. Takla, Minister for the
Department of Information and International
Relations of the CTA, said reading out the
Cabinet's statement at a press conference here today.

Reacting to a media query, Takla said the move
was a "massive propaganda" by the Chinese
government to "hide its ongoing repression" in
Tibet. She said the provocative move was aimed at
"destabilising and creating chaos in Tibet by a
few individuals with overriding self-interest.”

"If the Tibetans, losing their patience, took to
the streets in protest, the Chinese leaders will
have the excuse to use even more brutal force to crackdown, she said.

Beijing sent military troops to occupy Tibet in
late 1949. Tibetan Government-in-exile says over
1.2 million Tibetans died and more than 6,000
monasteries were razed to the ground as a direct
result of Chinese communist rule over the years.

China contends that old Tibet was feudal and
repressive and claims that its military
occupation of the Himalayan region has 'liberated’ Tibetans.

"This is a blatant distortion of the nature of
Tibet’s old society," Takla remarked.

"In the early mid-20th century, there was no big
gap between the peasants in Tibet and China.
Moreover, the Tibetan peasants enjoyed more
freedom and better living conditions."

Takla said that total number of prisoners in the
whole of Tibet before 1959 hardly crossed
hundred. "After the so-called liberation and
emancipation of the Tibetan ‘serfs’, prisons have
come up in every part of Tibet. In Lhasa alone,
there are 5 major prisons with a total prison
population between 3,500 - 4, 000,” she said.

"Today, it is hard to come across a Tibetan
family that has not had at least one member
imprisoned or killed by the Chinese regime," she said.

Takla argued that the best judge of whether there
had been "liberation" in Tibet was the Tibetan people.

Referring to hundreds of Tibetans who continue to
escape Tibet each year to seek better lives in
exile, Takla said "they vote with their feet and
lives by crossing the Himalayas to seek freedom
and happiness outside of their liberated Tibet."

"They also sacrifice their lives to inform the
world of the terrible conditions prevailing in Tibet."

"If the ‘serfs' are happy with their
‘emancipation,’ why are they risking lives and
limbs to protest Chinese rule in Tibet," Takla said.

Takla maintained that widespread anti-China
unrest last year and the ongoing sporadic
protests against Chinese rule in different
Tibetan areas despite heavy military clampdown
had clearly demonstrated "true Tibetan attitude"
to what China has done in Tibet.

"This year, Tibetans did not celebrate the
Tibetan New Year to mourn those killed in last
year’s crackdown on the widespread protests that
erupted throughout Tibet," she said.

Takla said March 28 would instead be a day of
mourning for Tibetans throughout the world and
especially those in Tibet. "This day will be
observed as the day when the Tibetans as a people
lost all vestiges of their basic individual and collective freedoms," she said.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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