The following is a statement issued by the TYC leaders during a press conference being held on Friday, May 4, at their headquarters in Dharamshala.
"The dispute between Tibet and China is not a mere human rights issue but a historical issue of forcible occupation of Tibet by China. Therefore, since 1949 to date, the struggle has been evidently an issue about the sovereignty of a nation and sustaining the essence of our struggle.
Since there isn't mutual recognition of the two national flags, the government of China - our enemy - accuses Tibetans inside Tibet as ‘splittists' who raise, display or hoist the Tibetan national flag who are subsequently jailed, imprisoned or killed. Similarly, burning the Chinese national flag is our attempt to challenge the occupation of Tibet. As a Tibetan it becomes one's responsibility to express rejection of the Chinese flag until Tibet's independence is restored.
Therefore, for the last couple of decades Tibetans in exile despite challenges have consistently burned the Chinese flag. However, for the first time in 53 years of exile history, Tseten Dorjee and his family members through their recent march to Tibet campaign is seen parading the Chinese flag. This marks a blotch in our exile history.
Initially when the campaign began, the Tibetan Youth Congress supported the initiative based on their demands, their spirit and dedication. However, their act of parading the Chinese flag is unimaginable and unwarranted. The Tibetan Youth Congress would like to explicitly state that it is disappointed and strongly opposes this act. Moreover it would like to assert that TYC both at the Centrex and regional level would henceforth refrain from recognizing or supporting this campaign.
The reasons and background provided by the marcher for carrying the Chinese flag is his support for the middle way approach. In fact, TYC has no objection whether he supports middle way or independence. However, at this juncture, there has been no resolution to the Tibet issue with China either at the middle way or independence level. Additionally, under this very red flag more than millions of our Tibetan brothers and sisters have died and continue to die even to this day. Particularly, while Tibetans inside Tibet risk their lives to bring down the Chinese flag in their act of defiance against the Chinese oppression, here in a free country the action of a Tibetan carrying the Chinese flag completely contradicts the moral responsibilities of a Tibetan towards the struggle and historical legacy of Tibet.
Inside Tibet, Tibetans are either forced or lured through monetary gains to hoist the Chinese flag on the rooftops of their homes and monastic institutions. Additionally, during festivals and large gatherings Tibetans are forced to raise the Chinese flags. Living in a free country we should understand the background of these shrewd attempts by the Chinese. Therefore, we should be mindful not to play into our adversaries' interests. Being a Tibetan safeguarding our historical legacy becomes our responsibility and purpose of life.
Based on the aforementioned reasons and to express our resistance to the continued occupation of our country by China, until Tibet restores independence, TYC will continue to burn the Chinese national flag during its major campaigns. This, we believe is essential towards safeguarding historical legacy and sustaining our struggle.
If we refrain from protesting Chinese leaders or burning the Chinese flag and overlook the continued display and carrying of the Chinese flag in order to maintain a policy of appeasement, there may come a day when opportunists and Chinese stooges will misuse the middle way policy thereby eventually posing a threat to destroying our struggle. Therefore today, TYC not only oppose this act by the marchers but also would like to reiterate that in future it will continue to resist any individual or organization that will engage in such similar acts."