Tibetans around the world celebrated, protested and received support from government leaders as they marked the anniversaries of both the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Dec. 10, 2022 marked the 33rd anniversary of the Tibetan leader receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 in recognition of his nonviolent opposition to China’s brutal occupation of Tibet.
Dec. 10 was also Human Rights Day, commemorating the anniversary of the UN’s 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, for the first time in history, set forth fundamental human rights for all people.
In recognition of both anniversaries, Tibetans took to the streets to praise their spiritual leader and to speak out against the Chinese government for its continued human rights violations in Tibet.
“We pray for the long life and good health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom for the Tibetan people,” tweeted Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration, which provides democratic governance for Tibetans in exile. “May freedom and human rights prevail throughout the world!”
Support from government officials
Penpa’s tweets were among several messages from government officials on Dec. 10 that expressed support for the Tibetan people.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime champion of the Tibetan cause, said in a statement for Human Rights Day that, “On a bipartisan, bicameral basis, the United States Congress has fiercely opposed China’s ongoing campaign of repression against its own people, recently enacting the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.”
The Tibetan Policy and Support Act, which became law in 2020, dramatically upgraded US support for the Tibetan people, including by opposing China’s attempts to interfere in the succession of the Dalai Lama.
Nicholas Burns, the US Ambassador to China, released a statement “condemning China’s repressive policies on Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong,” Burns tweeted.
“We call on the [People’s Republic of China] to stop its ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, its repressive policies in Tibet, its dismantling of the autonomy it promised for Hong Kong, its arbitrary detention of those who speak out peacefully, and its global campaign of transnational repression,” the statement said. “We continue to support the right of peaceful protest, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the rule of law.”
In recognition of Human Rights Day—as well as International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9—the US Treasury Department announced sanctions on two Chinese government officials, Wu Yingjie and Zhang Hongbo, for their “serious human rights abuse” against the Tibetan people. Wu and Zhang were among 40 individuals sanctioned from nine countries.
The Kashag (Cabinet) of the Central Tibetan Administration released a statement offering its “deep reverence” to the Dalai Lama.
“The endeavour to transform the 21st century into a century of dialogue and peace by learning lessons from the devastation of war and conflict of the previous century has not yet materialized,” the statement said. “Therefore, it is evident that the broad vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama continues to remain relevant and indispensable for the entire humanity.”
Statements on the Nobel Prize anniversary also came from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and the CTA’s Department of Information and International Relations.
CTA officials celebrated the anniversary with festivities in Dharamsala, India, the exile capital of the Tibetan people.
The festivities included speeches by Tibetan and Indian officials; a Nobel Peace Prize song from artists at the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts; and other live performances.
There were also Tibetan celebrations around the world, including in Australia, Belgium, Canada, other parts of India and the United States.
Sandra Feist, a Minnesota State Representative, tweeted that, “It was a true honor to join the Tibetan community this weekend to celebrate the anniversary of the @DalaiLama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace prize.”
Along with the celebrations on Dec. 10, Tibetans took part in Human Rights Day protests around the globe against the Chinese government.
Tibetans joined with Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Mongolians, Taiwanese and others to demand the Chinese Communist Party end its oppression and human rights abuses.
The protests took place in many locations, including Amsterdam, Auckland, Berlin, Canberra, Chicago, Geneva, Rome, Tokyo, Vienna and elsewhere.