Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters held a rally in front of San Francisco City Hall on March 10 to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
Protesters said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) used its zero-COVID policy as an excuse to further persecute Tibetans.
“Under [the] CCP’s tyranny, Tibetans have been suffering so much. People in the free world, especially Americans, should stand up to these injustices happening all over the world. This is not for the future of Tibetans or Uyghurs, but for the future of all nationalities throughout the world,” Tenzin Rangdol, former president of the Tibetan Association of Northern California, told The Epoch Times.
Lobsang Chodon from the San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress told The Epoch Times: “We remember our suffering brothers and sisters; we remember Tibetans who still struggle under CCP governing. As we are in a free nation, we have the rights to rally and protest; we have the rights to parade and speak out. We can say whatever we want to say. So we have to speak out loudly for our brothers and sisters who cannot speak out. We will fight until the end, until Tibet is freed, until we can get back to our homeland.”
The Tibetan uprising took place in March 1959. The Dalai Lama was invited to attend a theater performance at the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) headquarters near Lhasa, according to the Dalai Lama’s memoirs. The day before the performance, PLA officers told the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards not to accompany the Tibetan leader to the show and also not to tell anyone he would be leaving Potala Palace.
The bodyguards became suspicious and publicized this information. The next day, March 10, an estimated 300,000 Tibetans surrounded the palace in an effort to protect the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama managed to evade the CCP and escape into exile.
Since then, March 10 has been commemorated as Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Hong Kong organizations and other groups also attended the rally.
“We should speak for those who cannot. We should defend for those who cannot defend themselves. A lot of Tibetans and Uyghurs are put into labor camps; they cannot speak out. If we don’t speak out for them, once we are deprived of our freedom, who will speak out for us?” Tony Tang, a Christian from China, told The Epoch Times.
Christianity and other religions, including Islam, are also persecuted by the CCP. In 2019, the CCP officially decided to rewrite its own versions of the Bible and Quran in an effort to “reflect socialist values.”
At the rally, there were performances to demonstrate the CCP’s persecution of Tibetans during the pandemic, as well as songs and chants.
The gathering at San Francisco City Hall was part of an all-day series that also included rallies at Berkeley City Hall, the San Francisco Chinese Consulate, and San Francisco’s Union Square as well as marches between locations in San Francisco.
Xue Mingzhu and Lear Zhou contributed to this report.