Washington, D.C. (March 10, 2011) – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today to mark the 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day:
“Today, on the 52nd Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day, we honor the many brave Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom. We remember the Tibetan people who peacefully assembled to call for an end to harsh Chinese rule – and we recall the ensuing crackdown that devastated Tibet and forced His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile.
“The Tibetan people have accumulated legitimate grievances from decades of heavy-handed Chinese government policies in Tibet. Tibetans have been economically marginalized in their own land, imprisoned for peaceful expression, and barred from the free practice of their faith. So powerful is the image of the Dalai Lama that Tibetans are imprisoned for simply owning pictures of him.
“It is a tribute to his extraordinary commitment to democracy that His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently announced that he will voluntarily hand over his last governmental responsibilities to the democratically-elected leadership of the Tibetan Government In Exile. The bond between the Dalai Lama and Tibetans is unbreakable, and attempts by the Chinese government to dictate Tibetan Buddhist teachings and drive a wedge between the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people will continue to be counterproductive.
“We continue to call for the release of Tibetan political prisoners of conscience including Gedun Choekyi Nyima (the 11th Panchen Lama), Dhondup Wangchen, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Norzin Wangmo, Runggye Adak, and many others who are imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression.
“On this anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day, we must heed the Dalai Lama’s transcendent message of peace. And we must stand with the people of Tibet in their ongoing struggle.”