Dharamshala: - German Green Party politician and Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth joined Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Penpa Tsering and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at the Main Temple in Dharamshala this morning to express her support for Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Roth addressed thousands on the lower concourse of the Temple in commemoration of the 56th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the Chinese occupation of Tibet, where estimates of Tibetan deaths range between 80,000 and 430,000 lives.
"My dear Tibetan family. This is a very special, a very emotional, and a very touching moment for me," she said. "Thanks for 56 years of non-violent resistance, thank you for your strength and your commitment, thank you for your courage, thank you for your endless patience."
Roth expressed her concern that the issue of Tibet has not been given sufficient attention: "I am worried that the Tibetan struggle, one that has justice on its side, will be forgotten by the international community. It is a warning from history as we commemorate the past. It is a day to be mindful, a day against silence and indifference."
Roth also praised the untiring work of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his country: "The Dalai Lama symbolises a world without hatred or exclusion. He is an ocean of wisdom and he never fails to bring sunshine into our lives, even when clouds are over our heads."
"At a time of so many wars, so many crises, Tibet has a figurehead who has come to represent building bridges rather than creating divisions," she added.
Roth lamented the inclusion of Tibet in the 2014 Freedom of the World report's Worst of the Worst list, which identifies the world's most repressed cultures: "Tibetan people are campaigning for their religion, human rights, environment, culture and language. This is not a crime but a fundamental right and belongs to the Tibetan people."
"Change is essential and change is possible as long as we don't look away and aren't be intimidated by the Chinese government. Their integration into the world economy makes them a force to be reckoned with but there needs to be cultural leadership. Let me ask Beijing, how are the international community meant to support China when they have repressed human rights to such an extent?"
Roth went on to discuss the environmental impact Chinese occupation has had on Tibetan ecology, including the need to address the effects of Chinese mining, damning and consumption of Tibetan water.
She later underlined that "today is a day of solidarity. I stand here to express solidarity with you and to remember the victims of the 1959 uprising and the subsequent major protests in 1989 and 2008."
Dr Sangay subsequently thanked Roth for her speech: "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving such a passionate, detailed and heartfelt speech. Claudia Roth is one of the few politicians who not only says what she means, but also does what she says."