Thiruvananthapuram | The 80th birthday of the XIV Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, will be observed as World Tibet Day by Tibet Support Groups and Tibet supporters all over the world.
Friends of Tibet, one of the principal organisers of World Tibet Day worldwide, expects more than 40 countries to join the event with various events and related activities, according to a press release here today.
This is the first World Tibet Day observed after the demise of Richard Rosenkranz, the founder of World Tibet Day Foundation. Richard Rosenkranz passed away on October 9, 2014 after a brief illness. Rosenkranz, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, was instrumental in making World Tibet Day one of the most important events in the Tibetan Calendar.
World Tibet Day (WTD) was first initiated in Chicago in 1997 at an informal meeting between Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lama’s younger brother and Richard Rosenkranz.
The concept of WTD was proposed by Rosenkranz saying it could become an annual worldwide event, designed to help the Tibetan people regain their essential freedoms.
He also suggested this event could be a way to showcase and celebrate the unique value of Tibetan culture and thought. Enthusiastic about the idea, Tendzin Choegyal suggested WTD should be held on July 6, linked to his brother’s birthday in order
to increase potential support among Tibetans.
Believing that the proposed event held great promise, they offered the idea to the XIV Dalai Lama who gave his warm support and enthusiastic blessings to the event by saying The World Tibet Day has helped greatly in raising awareness and support for the Tibetan cause and opened many hearts to the essential rights of the Tibetan people to preserve their culture and to practice their religion freely.
Sethu Das, Director, World Tibet Day Foundation, says One positive action each of us can take, no matter which country we live in, is to urge our government and our elected representatives to approach the Chinese Government on behalf of the Tibetan people in order to restore its lost religious, social and political freedom. One of our goals with World Tibet Day is to put pressure on decision makers in China to agree to negotiations with the Tibetan government in exile in India without any preconditions.
Richard Rosenkranz founded WTD with three main goals — To create an annual worldwide event to help restore essential freedoms for those living in occupied Tibet; To increase awareness of the genocidal threats to the Tibetan people; and To celebrate the unique beauty and value of Tibetan culture and thought.
According to the World Tibet Day Foundation, the way the WTD events are celebrated in each country is unique and different, with local organisers showing a great deal of independence in the campaigns they pursue on behalf of Tibet.
A good example is the worldwide Boycott of goods from mainland China campaign. Many Tibetan Associations encourage participants at their WTD events to support the worldwide Boycott of goods from mainland China, in order to help pressure the Chinese government into ending human rights abuses aimed at the Tibetan people.
In the meanwhile, Chinese Authorities have clamped down on celebrations of the Dalai Lamas 80th birthday by patrolling the area, blocking public gatherings and limiting the use of social media and therefore forcing Tibetan families to engage in private celebrations inside their homes.
The authorities are also preventing people from entering monasteries for recitals or prayers. On June 20, 2015, the Chinese police arrested Tsering Dondrub, a young Tibetan for possessing an image of the Tibetan flag and a photo of HH the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The whereabouts of Tsering Dondrub remain unknown to this day.
Demonstrations challenging the illegal Chinese rule of Tibet continues since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with more than 141 Tibetans setting themselves demanding independence and call for the return of the Dalai Lama.
With World Tibet Day observance in 2015, WTD Foundation is hoping that Tibet Support Groups and Tibetan Associations would join the event with their voices, participation and support.
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