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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Holiday for Tibet 'liberation'

Holiday for Tibet 'liberation'

Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from Asia1

BEIJING - CHINA is likely to establish a holiday to mark what it calls the 'liberation' of Tibetan serfs, 50 years after the Dalai Lama fled into exile and China quashed a Tibetan uprising, state media said on Monday.

A meeting of the Regional People's Congress in Lhasa this week will discuss the draft resolution to establish the holiday, the China's official Xinhua news agency said on Monday. It did not give a date for the commemoration.

March is a politically significant month for Tibetans.

Exiled Tibetans claim March 10, 1959, as the day of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. That year also marks the exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama from Tibet.
The Chinese government says 'democratic reform' in Tibet dates from March 1959, with the end of the theocracy of the Buddist lamas.

'The Central government ... quickly suppressed the rebellion, carried out democratic reform, brought down the theocratic feudal serf system, abolished feudal hierarchy, personal bondage and brutal penalties to liberate millions of serfs and slaves,' Pang Boyong, the deputy director of the standing committee of the people's congress, told a press conference in Lhasa this weekend.

Demonstrations by monks in Lhasa on March 10 last year escalated into deadly protests on March 14, when a Tibetan crowd attacked Han Chinese and Hui Muslim shops. That in turn triggered an uprising against Chinese rule by Tibetans across the plateau.

This March is also the 20th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on demonstrations in Lhasa in 1989.

A possible date for the commemoration would be March 28, the anniversary of the day in 1959 when the former Tibetan local government was formally dissolved and the Tibet Autonomous Region Preparatory Committee took power.

About 150,000 Tibetans now reside in India, many joining the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharmsala, India.

The regional people's congress meeting will be attended by journalists from four neighbouring countries, Xinhua said separately, without giving further details. -- REUTERS