The peace marchers of the "Tibet-Matters-March" walk on the roads of Gangtok on April 29, 2023. Photo: TYC

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Gangtok – Tibetan Youth Congress held a month-long peace march from Sikkim to Assam with more than 80 activists from 17 regions in India and Nepal. They sent clear messages to G20 leaders that China’s “diplomatic assurances” are not to be trusted and urged leaders to raise the issue of the Sino-Tibetan conflict with the Chinese President at the G20 summit in September 2023.

The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has started a month-long "Tibet Matters March" from Gangtok (Sikkim) to Tezpur (Assam), India from April 29 to May 23, 2023. More than 80 volunteers of TYC participated in the march from the regional chapters of TYC in India and Nepal.

President of TYC, Gonpo Dhundup said, “On 23rd May 1959, Tibetan delegates were forced to sign a “Seventeen-Point Agreement” with unacceptable intimidation, and large-scale military retaliation. The Tibetan delegates were also given the only choice of either signing the “Agreement” on their authority or accepting responsibility for an immediate armed indulgence in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.”

The President said, while introducing history of Tibet and occupation of Tibet by China, “For the next eight years, Tibetans tried to abide by the terms of this document but China, on the other hand, showed no inclination to honour its own part of the “Agreement”, and PLA immediately set out to inflict unbelievable atrocities upon the Tibetan people and occupied Tibet in 1959. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet and the Tibetan government (Kashag) repudiated the so-called “17th Point Agreement” in the Yugyal Lhuntse District of Tibet on March 26, 1959, and again on his arrival in Tezpur in Assam (India), His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama internationally repudiated the “17-point Agreement as having been “thrust upon Tibetan government and people by the threat of arms.”

The Tibetan activists said, “We urge the G20 leaders to raise the issue of the Sino-Tibet conflict which plays a significant role in resolving the growing tension between China and a number of countries in Southeast Asia. The very survival of almost 2 billion people depends on the freshwater resources originating from the Tibetan plateau. The continued exploitation of the Tibetan landscape, ecosystem, and natural resources by the Chinese Communist regime will produce a direct impact and long-lasting negative consequences for the downstream countries. Therefore, it’s high time to talk about Tibet which significantly matters in promising and promoting permanent peace and security in Asia.”

A statement of “Tibet Matters March" stated, “After more than six decades of forceful and illegal occupation of Tibet, China has turned Tibet into the world’s least-free country, sharing the bottom spot with South Sudan and Syria in Freedom House’s global freedom scores. The current human rights situation in Tibet has been one of the worst in recent years with the forceful imposition of repressive policies that primarily aims to eliminate the very Identity of Tibetans.”

“Under the Chinese colonial education system, over one million Tibetan children have been separated from their families and forcefully placed into Chinese state-run colonial boarding schools. It is a genocidal policy to indoctrinate Tibetan children from their cultural roots: the Tibetan language, Tibetan religion, and cultural heritage,” the statement added.

The Tibetan activists said, “And under the Chinese massive surveillance system, they have been taking their hands-on mass collection of Tibetan DNA samples including children as young as five. We believe this is their newest attack on Tibetan identity, massive surveillance on individual privacies, and freedom of movement inside Tibet. Therefore, Today, Tibetan Youth Congress urges the international community and the G20 leaders, in particular, to raise the Tibet issue with the Chinese leaders.”

The "Tibet Matters March" makes three demands of world leaders and China:

1) We urge the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji, and world leaders to raise the issue of the Sino-Tibet conflict with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in September 2023.

2) We demand the Chinese government addresses the ever-deteriorating human rights situation under its repressive rule in Tibet and immediately shut down the colonial boarding schools that attack and eliminate the Tibetan culture and identity.

3) We also seek the support of international community in resolving the Sino-Tibet conflict.