On March 11, 2018, the Tibetans’ rebellion entered the sixth decade.
It was on March 10, 1959, the Tibetans surrounded the summer palace of the Dalai Lama in defiance of Chinese occupation forces.
It may be mentioned that China’s occupation of Tibet began nearly a decade before, in October 1950, when People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops invaded the country, barely one year after the Communists gained full control of mainland China.
Around 300,000 loyal Tibetans surrounded Norbulinka Palace, preventing the Dalai Lama from accepting the PLA’s invitation on March 10, 1959.
By March 17, the Chinese artillery was aimed at the palace by the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama was evacuated to neighbouring India. The Dalai Lama entered India through Arunachal Pradesh and also camped in Assam’s Tezpur.
According to history, resistance to the Chinese occupation built steadily over the next several years after 1950, including a revolt in several areas of eastern Tibet in 1956 and by December 1958, the rebellion by Tibetans was simmering in the capital, Lhasa and the PLA command threatened to bomb the city if order was not followed.
There was a fear of a plot to kidnap the Dalai Lama and take him to Beijing which resulted in the March 1959 uprising in Lhasa.
In its invitation to the Dalai Lama to visit PLA headquarters for a theatrical performance, the Chinese military officers told His Holiness that he must come alone and that no Tibetan military bodyguards or personnel would be allowed to accompany him.
The Chinese began shelling Norbulinka, early on March 21 and slaughtered tens of thousands of men, women and children still camped outside. In the aftermath, the PLA cracked down on Tibetan resistance and executed the Dalai Lama’s guards and destroyed capital Lhasa’s major monasteries along with thousands of their inhabitants.
Speaking to the media Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday said that he doesn’t care about the cancellation of events of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Delhi to mark 60 years of it in India.
The Dalai Lama in a wide-ranging interview to CNN News18 said, “Tibetan people, whether they are at home or away, they have the Tibetan spirit that is wonderful. And I think, a majority – about 99 per cent of them — are Buddhists and about 1 per cent comprise Muslims, Christians etc.”
The Indian government, amidst the recent tensions with China, was reported to have cautioned its senior officials to stay away from events aimed at marking the start of the Dalai Lama’s 60th year of exile.