by S Gopal Puri
Tibetans says 13th Dalai Lama’s proclamation of independence a century ago undermines China’s claims that Tibet was always its part. They are busy painting placards and posters describing Chinese Manchu dynasty’s invasion of Tibet in 1909 that had prompted the 13th Dalai Lama to escape to India.
“But the Manchu dynasty succumbed to the Chinese revolution and Tibetans seized the moment and expelled their troops from Tibet. Then the 13th Dalai Lama returned to Tibet and issued a proclamation to mark the restoration of Tibetan independence,” said an activist. “Since 1913, until his death, the 13th Dalai Lama worked for independence of Tibet. His undying spirit will be the moving force behind this campaign.”
Students for Free Tibet national director Dorjee Tseten said February 13 would be the day to remind China and the world that their country was a great nation, with its own government, wealth and army. “Tibetans raised the national flag high in 1913. Though we are in exile now, we will do so again on February 13.”
Tseten said they would unveil the historic document on the proclamation made 100 years ago. “This document should give Tibet international recognition as a free country. The text of this proclamation has survived, though the original document did not.”
Another activist Gangkar Lhamo said the campaign will educate Tibetans and supporters of its history. “It will tell stories of our past, exhibit old Tibetan artifacts, including Tibetan money, postage stamps, passports.”