Dharamsala, May 24 – China on Monday marked the 60th anniversary of what it called “the peaceful liberation of Tibet” as hundreds of exile Tibetans at the second Tibetan General Body Meeting discuss the amendments to their Charter concerning the Dalai Lama’s retirement. “Tibet is “an inseparable part of China” and “its fate has always been closely linked with that of the motherland,” said China’s top political advisor, Jia Qinglin, at a symposium marking 60 years since signing of the 17th Point Agreement between China and Tibet.
Meanwhile, exile Tibetans called the agreement “controversial” saying they were “coerced to sign it” or face invasion by military force.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama made utmost efforts to uphold the agreement despite the fact that Tibetans were coerced to sign it. But the Chinese government violated it by using brute force to bring about systematic annihilation of every vestige of Tibet and Tibetan people’s identity. The unprecedented National Uprising of Tibetans against the Chinese government’s repression in 1959 was the last straw which led to the massacre of tens of thousands of Tibetans and the exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” said a joint statement issued Monday by the participants of the second Tibetan General Body Meeting.
18 April 1959, immediately after coming into exile in India, the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally repudiated the agreement, said the statement.
In his book Tibet and Its History, Hugh Richardson, Britain’s last and independent India’s first representative who spent nine years in Tibet, wrote, “The long, tendentious manifesto, masquerading as the preamble to the agreement, in which the Chinese took the opportunity of falsifying history and justifying the use of force, cannot conceal that Tibet had lately been a separate entity.”
“China’s propaganda on bringing development to Tibet was exposed by the then Communist Party Secretary, Hu Yaobang. After witnessing the extent of poverty in Central Tibet in 1980, he stated that the living standard should be brought up to the pre-1959 level,” the statement further added.
The statement added that the struggle of the Tibetan people to secure a better future for themselves has intensified over the last sixty years no matter how much of fanfare China commemorates this infamous agreement with. “The 60th anniversary celebration of the agreement will not whitewash the atrocities committed on the Tibetan people by the occupying power.”
Ngabo Ngawang Jigmey, the man who represented the Tibetan side in the agreement, died in 2009. His death, however, was mourned by China as well as the Tibetan government in exile.