Tibetans and supporters protest against China for political prisoners at UN in NYC on March 10 Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising which began on March 10, 1959, and the Women's Uprising Day of March 12, 1959, involving thousands of women, against the presence of the People's Republic of China in Tibet.[1][2][3][4][5]

The armed rebellion was quashed by the Chinese army, resulting in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, tens of thousands of Tibetan deaths, and the escape from China of the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama, disguised as a soldier, on March 19, 1959.[6] It also put an end to the 1951 Seventeen Point Agreement, a Sino-Tibetan Agreement written by China which had promised to respect and protect “the religious beliefs, customs and habits of the Tibetan people," which was forced on Tibet to avert war. [7] The Dalai Lama refuted the Sino-Tibetan Agreement after he went into exile in India, in April 1959, in Tezpur, by making an announcement in the presence of the international community.[8][9]

In 2008, on Tibetan Uprising Day, a series of riots and violent clashes broke out in the Tibetan city of Lhasa when monks were arrested during peaceful demonstrations.[10] The events in Lhasa triggered a nationwide uprising in which protests occurred in every region of Tibet. The Central Tibetan Administration estimates that 336 protests occurred in Tibet in 2008.[11][1] China responded to the uprising by isolating the Tibetan Autonomous Region from the outside world with overwhelming use of violence, resulting in an unknown number of deaths, arrests, disappearances, cultural genocide, and the ongoing repression of Tibetan culture and religion inside Tibetan regions of China.[12] In response, starting in 2009 in accordance with its campaign to disseminate propaganda which portrays its invasion of Tibet as a peaceful liberation, China celebrates Serfs’ Emancipation Day, the anniversary of its bloody repression of the Tibetan uprising in 1959 with a flag raising ceremony and celebrations in Lhasa. China’s official journal China Daily reported that "People from all walks of life in the Tibet autonomous region held various activities on Mar 28 to mark anniversary of the liberation of a million serfs."[13]

Portland, protestors on Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetan Uprising Day is internationally observed by the Tibetan Community, the Sangha, and the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government in exile; governments, organizations, individual Tibetans and non-Tibetans who support the Tibetan people's struggle for religious and cultural freedom, such as Students for a Free Tibet and the International Campaign for Tibet.[14][15] Tibetan independence groups organize protests or campaigns on March 10 to draw attention to the situation in Tibet.[16] The commemoration of Tibetan Uprising Day is also accompanied by the release of a statement by the Dalai Lama.[17][18] Bipartisan United States government support includes a resolution by the Congress of the United States "commemorating the 59th anniversary of Tibet's 1959 uprising as Tibetan Rights Day, and expressing support for the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people and the Tibetan Buddhist faith community." and statements and speeches by politicians[19][20][21]

Beijing has regularly been accused of using spying, threats and blackmail against Tibetan exiles in other countries and ‘threatens relatives in Tibet’ to exert control over activists in exile, with greater transnational repression at Tibetan new year," Losar, which falls on or around the same date as Tibetan Uprising Day.[22][23] China also pressures other countries to suppress Tibetan Uprising Day commemorations and protests.[24][25] Freedom House, a global watchdog which monitors people's political rights and civil liberties in different geographic areas, regardless of the country they are in, has successively ranked Tibet as the World’s Least-Free Country for the three years the Freedom of the World report has been issued, in 2021, 2022, and 2023.[26][27]

Organizations that commemorate the day

See also


  1. ^ a b Staff (10 March 2004). "Tibetan Uprising Day: Statement of the Dalai Lama". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2010-02-04. Congressional Record: March 10, 2004 (Senate). Page S2538-S2539.
  2. ^ Iyer 2008, pg. 225
  3. ^ "Women Energize Tibetan Struggle". Radio Free Asia. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  4. ^ "The Tibetan uprising: 50 years of protest". The Guardian. March 10, 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  5. ^ "Is the Tibetan Women's Uprising Day less important?". Phyul. March 13, 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  6. ^ Latson, Jennifer (March 5, 2019). "How and Why the Dalai Lama Left Tibet". Time. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  7. ^ "China's 17-Point Agreement With Tibet Led to Oppression by Beijing: Experts". Radio Free Asia. May 25, 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  8. ^ "The 17-point Agreement – What China promised, what it really delivered and the future?". Central Tibetan Administration. May 23, 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  9. ^ Campbell, Charlie (March 7, 2019). "The Dalai Lama Has Been the Face of Buddhism for 60 Years. China Wants to Change That". Time. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  10. ^ Oster, Shai (28 March 2008). "Lhasa Riots Expose Tibet's Split Society". The Wall Street Journal: Business. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  11. ^ "2008 Uprising in Tibet Chronology and Analysis" (PDF). The Central Tibetan Administration. 2008. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  12. ^ "China: Attempts to Seal Off Tibet from Outside Information". Human Rights Watch. July 13, 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  13. ^ "China marks 64th anniversary of crushing of Tibet uprising". Tibetan Review. March 29, 2023. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  14. ^ "Important Tibetan Buddhist Holidays in 2024". tnp.org. Tibetan Nuns Project. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  15. ^ "Tibetans and ICT to commemorate Tibetan Uprising Day in Rome". International Campaign for Tibet. February 20, 2023. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  16. ^ Hunt, Stephen (March 12, 2023). "Protesters gather at city hall to mark anniversary of Tibetan uprising". CTV, Canadian TV News. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  17. ^ 10th March Statements Archive
  18. ^ His Holiness The Dalai Lama's 10 March 1999 Statement
  19. ^ "Legislation ,115th Congress , Senate Res.408". congress.gov. US Senate, US Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  20. ^ Pelosi, Speaker Nancy. "Pelosi Statement on the 63rd Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day". pelosi.house.gov. US House of Representatives. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  21. ^ "US Lawmaker Blasts China on Human Rights in Front of Embassy". VOA. Associated Press. March 10, 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  22. ^ Lau, Jesse (February 10, 2024). "Beijing accused of using spying, threats and blackmail against Tibetan exiles". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Under China's Shadow Mistreatment of Tibetans in Nepal". Human Rights Watch. April 1, 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  24. ^ "Appeasing China : restricting the rights of Tibetans in Nepal". loc.gov. Human Rights Watch, Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  25. ^ "COMMEMORATING TIBETAN UPRISING DAY; Congressional Record Vol. 167, No. 45 (House - )". loc.gov. Library of Congress, House of Representatives. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  26. ^ "Freedom in the World 2023: Tibet* Not Free 1". freedomhouse.org. Freedom House. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  27. ^ "Tibet ranked world's least free country in Freedom House index". April 10, 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  28. ^ "1997 ASSEMBLY JOINT RESOLUTION 33". State of Wisconsin.
  29. ^ "Tibetans in Taiwan mark anniversary of 1959 uprising". CNA. 2009-03-11.