Dharamsala – Students for a Free Tibet today held a public ceremony in Dharamsala to release a re-creation of the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence issued by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. The 12 foot-long handwritten scroll, bordered with brocade and silk in the style of a thangka, was unveiled to an excited crowd of several hundred in anticipation of the upcoming centenary of the declaration that proclaimed the restoration of Tibet’s independence following a Manchu invasion. The scroll was unveiled by Ven. Palden Gyatso, Tibet’s second longest-serving political prisoner who was born in the time of the 13th Dalai Lama’s government. In the proclamation, issued on February 13, 1913, the Dalai Lama states in the fourth paragraph:
“..Meanwhile,the Manchu empire collapsed. The Tibetans were encouraged to expel the Chinese from central Tibet. I, too, returned safely to my rightful and sacred country, and I am now in the course of driving out the remnants of Chinese troops from DoKham in Eastern Tibet. Now, the Chinese intention of colonizing Tibet under the patron-priest relationship has faded like a rainbow in the sky…”
“We hope this scroll will give Tibetans everywhere a reason to celebrate our history as an independent nation,” said Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The history of Tibetan sovereignty is indisputable, and it forms the basis of unity in our struggle to reestablish a free Tibet. A century after the issue of this proclamation, Tibetans of this generation are engaging in concrete nonviolent actions such as noncooperation and civil disobedience to construct our social, political, cultural and economic independence from Chinese rule. Although China controls Tibet’s borders, it has already lost control over the Tibetan people’s actions.”
“Today is an occasion to remind all Tibetans and the global community of Tibet’s status as an independent nation in the past, as May 23rd marks 61 years since the Tibetan government was forced to sign the 17 Point Agreement,” said Dorjee Tsetan, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet India.“We consider the re-creation of the Proclamation of Tibetan Independence a repudiation of the 17 Point Agreement as well as a fundamental rejection of China’s ongoing colonial occupation of Tibet.”
Speakers included Narkyid Ngawang Dhondup, author of the 13th Dalai Lama’s definitive biography; Serta Tsultrim, Member of Parliament; Bawa Kalsang Gyaltsen, Member of Parliament; Dhardon Sharling, Member of Parliament and youth leader; Kanyag Tsering, Kirti Monastery; Tenzin Tsundue, writer-activist; Lhadon Tethong, director of Tibet Action Institute; and Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet.
The year 2013 will mark 100 years since Tibet proclaimed the restoration of its independence. The Manchu army sent troops to Tibet in 1909, prompting the 13th Dalai Lama to escape to India. However, as the Manchu dynasty succumbed to a Chinese revolution at home, Tibetans expelled the Manchu troops from Tibet. The 13th Dalai Lama returned to Tibet and issued a proclamation to mark the restoration of Tibetan independence. The text of this proclamation has survived, though the original document has not.
Students for a Free Tibet has produced a re-creation of this historic document ahead of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation. Between now and February 13, 2013, SFT aims to have this scroll distributed in 100 cities – delivered to Chinese embassies, presented to world leaders, pasted on global landmarks.