On this day, sixty five years ago in 1959, the people of Tibet from the three traditional
provinces rose in protest against the repression of the Chinese communist forces in capital Lhasa.
Today also marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Martial Law imposed on 5th March 1989 after
repeated peaceful protests in Lhasa in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and the sixteenth anniversary of the
peaceful protests that erupted across Tibet in 2008. And since 2009, 157 Tibetans are known to have
self-immolated for more freedom inside Tibet and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to
Tibet. On this solemn occasion, we remember and offer our prayers in honour of our compatriots who
have given their lives for the cause of Tibet. We stand in solidarity with those who are still suffering
under the brutal occupation of the People’s Republic of China.
Today, as we contemplate on the future of Tibet, we cannot ignore the developing events in
Tibet and beyond. Currently, the ongoing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exceeded two years; war
between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has engulfed Eurasia. The powerful nations continue to forge
alliances and China’s economy continue to decline. Increasing and intensified suppression of
fundamental rights of Tibetans and implementation of oppressive policies have resulted in an
unprecedented threat to the survival of distinct Tibetan national identity.
The PRC government’s policy of exterminating the Tibetan identity since its invasion of Tibet
has continued unabated for over seventy years. In the last decade, the PRC government has extensively
expanded its pervasive communist party organisations to the grassroots level, accelerated massive
population transfer within and outside Tibet and tightened control over movements and daily lives of
Tibetans by sending tens of thousands of “work teams” across Tibet. With surveillance through the
grid management system, Tibetans are compelled to spy on each other. Externally, Tibetans are
threatened with transnational repression. The PRC government is vigorously pursuing a policy of
“forging a strong sense of the Chinese as one single identity” by erasing the Tibetan identity;
promotion of Chinese language by banning and minimising the teaching and use of Tibetan language
and sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism. Reinterpreting and conforming the content of Buddhist canons
to suit communist ideology and manipulation of monastic discipline and subjecting every Tibetan and
every household to “patriotic re-education” campaign are aimed at eradicating Tibet’s distinct religion,
culture and language. The Kashag has highlighted these policy measures and its implementation in its
previous statements.
The PRC government has issued various regulations and policy documents that contravene the
foundational principles of the Chinese Constitution and Law on Regional National Autonomy. On this
occasion, the Kashag would like to highlight how these regulations and policies are being used to
erode the Tibetan language and religion.

  1. Marginalisation of Tibetan Language
    The Chinese Constitution and Law on Regional National Autonomy guarantees the
    autonomous regions to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and separate regulations. The
    so-called ten “Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures” and two “Autonomous Counties” incorporated into
    China’s Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan Provinces have declared regulations autonomously in
    their respective areas in 1980s. However, the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has not
    enacted such regulations until now.


Although the governments of Tibetan autonomous areas are given less legislative power than
Chinese provinces, regulations of autonomous prefectures and counties stipulate that the heads of
various organs of government must be a Tibetan; organs of autonomous area must use both Tibetan
and Chinese as official languages when performing their functions; the Tibetan and Chinese languages
be used for recruitment examination; Tibetan language must be the main medium of instruction in
primary and middle schools; Tibetan language professional and curriculum for specialised courses in
Tibetan in universities and vocational schools in their respective areas, and the organs of government
must carry forward the Tibetan traditional culture. Similarly, the Tibetan Language Work Regulation
enacted in the 1990s facilitated the autonomous areas to establish offices to implement learning and
use of Tibetan language. Textbook editorial offices were established by respective provinces or
through collaboration of provinces and autonomous region.
Likewise, a mechanism for learning, use and promotion of Tibetan language on a trial basis
was announced in 1987. It stipulated that Tibetan should be the medium of instruction at primary and
middle schools; lower level government offices can refuse to acknowledge receipt of official letters
from higher offices if they are not written in Tibetan and lower level offices can write their official
letters to higher offices in Tibetan. However, the contents of the document were revoked through
amendments in 2002 and 2019. Instead, it was formulated that “courses in compulsory education shall
be in Tibetan and Chinese languages”, thereby, reducing the status of Tibetan to an optional language.
As stipulated in the Chinese Constitution, the “Law on the National Standard Spoken and
Written Language” guarantees that “all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own
language”. Similarly, the Education Law and the Law on Regional National Autonomy and
Compulsory Education Law of 1986 stipulate that “schools and other educational institutions with
mainly ethnic minority students may use of their own language for teaching”. However, the provisions
that mandate the use of their own spoken and written languages for teaching were withdrawn when
Compulsory Education Law was revised. Similar provisions in regulations of autonomous areas,
prefectures and counties were either altered or abrogated as can be seen in Malho “Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture” regulation of 2021 and Tibetan language work regulation of 2023.
As the laws framed by the Chinese Central Government on learning and use of Tibetan
language contradict themselves, the contents of regulations of the autonomous region, prefectures and
counties contravene one another. Irrespective of whether China is governed by law or not, the laws
formulated by the Chinese central government either in violation of the Constitution and the Law on
Regional National Autonomy have become the key instruments being used to erode the Tibetan
Alarmingly, the ongoing forced assimilation of nearly one million Tibetan children in Chinese
state-run colonial style boarding schools and promotion of Chinese language in a large number of
kindergartens established across Tibet not only deny Tibetan children the right to learn and use their
own language, they are also cut off from their way of thinking, custom and belief, which is giving rise
to a generation affected by forced assimilation. On 14th December 2023 the European Parliament
adopted with a large majority a resolution, strongly condemning the repressive forced assimilation of
Tibetan children in Chinese state-run boarding schools in Tibet. The resolution calls on the Chinese
government for the immediate abolishment of the boarding school system in Tibet, as highlighted by
UN experts.

  1. Destruction of Tibetan Buddhism
    In 2017, China’s State Council put into force Regulations on Religious Affairs to tighten
    control over the religious groups, religious schools and institutions, places for religious activities,
    religious figures, religious practices, and monastic properties. Furthermore, in 2022, the State
    Administration of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Finance enforced the Financial Management
    Measures for Religious Activity Sites, mandating that all the properties and wealth of monasteries and
    nunneries will be owned by the state and that the religious institutions must report their assets, revenue


and expenditure to the relevant departments of the Chinese Government every year. Similarly, under
the Measures for the Management of Religious Activity Venues enforced in 2023, religious
institutions should establish democratic management committees composed of religious figures,
representatives of local religious community and other relevant personnel, who in turn will be
inspected by a committee formed of local religious groups, representatives of the local religious
community and empowered registration offices. And the religious sites must reflect Chinese
characteristics in style, architecture, sculpture, painting and decoration.
Furthermore, the Measures on the Management of Religious Affairs of “TAR”, which was put
into force in 2021, states that the “religious activities must be carried out based on the need of the time
and the excellent traditional Chinese culture” and “monastic rules and disciplines should be improved
and reformed”. It mandates that “curriculum of religious institutions should include courses on
politics, laws, regulations and policies, Chinese language and history of the relationship between Tibet
and the motherland, building a strong sense of the Chinese nation’s community and modern science
and these studies must comprise 30% of monastic education.” It further states that the “process of
recognition of inheritance and succession of the Living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism must be handled
in accordance with the Measures for the Administration of the Reincarnation of the Living Buddha of
Tibetan Buddhism and the relevant regulations of the autonomous region and it should not be subjected
to interference and control by foreign organisations or individuals”. Similarly, inspection bodies have
been established at all levels of governments till township to oversee religious activities at multiple
level of society. Moreover, religious affair liaison officers and intelligence personnel are appointed by
religious management committees in villages.
The Regulation of the Management of Religious Affairs of Karze Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture revised in 2023 also contained most of the above provisions. In addition, monks and nuns
who seek to engage in religious activities in areas outside their jurisdiction must obtain permit from
local democratic management committee and county-level Buddhist association, after which, the
Buddhist associations of both their place of residence and where the activities to be held are required
to file the same to the religious affairs department of the respective local governments. The
monasteries and nunneries must get approval from the provincial government for religious activities
to be undertaken for a year before the end of its preceding year and not to make alterations in
contravention to the proposed plan.
In short, these regulations are aimed to directly control the numbers, recognition, eligibility
and curriculum of monks and nuns, properties, revenue, expenditure and management of monasteries
and nunneries. These also mandate the Chinese Communist Party’s misappropriation of Tibetan
people’s authority to select reincarnation of Trulkus, restriction on all religious activities and
movement of monks and nuns across administrative areas. These additional and extreme measures
expand on the existing Chinese central government’s regulations to control over Tibetan Buddhism.
Reports of arbitrary beatings, arrest, imprisonment and sentencing of Tibetan monks, nuns,
teachers, students, writers and common people continue unabated since the launch of “patriotic
education” campaign in Tibet for the last thirty years. Many fear China’s new and sweeping “Patriotic
Education Law” that came into force on 1st January this year, which facilitates the authorities with
power to punish and hold officials accountable. It all points to impending release of policy documents
that will be immeasurably more draconian in Tibet.
The Kashag in its 10th March statement last year highlighted the forced and mass relocation
of Tibetan population carried out supposedly in the name of ecological preservation in central Tibet
and damming projects along the major rivers of Machu (Yellow river), Drichu (Yangtse) and Zachu
(Mekong) in Kham and Amdo regions. Recently, China has ordered local Tibetans and monasteries of
Wonpoto area in Dege in eastern Tibet to relocate to carry out construction of Kamthok Hydropower
dam on Drichu river as part of the 13 dam construction project started few years ago. On 14 February
2024, video footage emerged out of the area shows a large number of local Tibetans pleading to local
government authorities and encircled by Chinese security forces. Subsequently, on 20 February,


another footage revealed Tibetans kneeling and crying in desperation while pleading to Chinese
officials. Reports continue to emerge of arrest of large number of Tibetans. These footages offer a rare
glimpse into the real plight and sufferings of the Tibetan people. Implementation of this dam project
will make the area vulnerable to earthquake and it will lead to loss of invaluable Buddhist cultural
relics and artifacts in the local monasteries dating back more than 600 years. It will adversely affect
the welfare and livelihood of thousands of Tibetans and cause irreversible damage to the ecology.
Such acts undertaken solely for economic gain are nothing but short-sighted and no one can guarantee
that the devastating consequences will not befall on Chinese people living in the downstream of
During the UN Human Rights Council’s fourth Universal Periodic Review of China’s human
rights record held on 23rd January this year, despite China’s efforts to evade scrutiny, 21 countries
raised the issue of Tibet  more than double the number in the last review  explicitly expressed
serious concerns over the worsening human rights situation in Tibet, particularly emphasising their
concern over China’s assimilation of Tibetan children through colonial-style boarding schools and
sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism.

  1. Our Hope and Appeal
    We call upon the PRC government to allow Tibetans to learn, use and develop Tibetan as their
    official language as guaranteed in the Chinese Constitution and Law on Regional National Autonomy.
    The use of Tibetan language in the offices across Tibet and Tibetan classes in schools, higher
    educational and vocational training centres with Tibetan as the medium of instruction should be
    restored. Likewise, the Tibetan language test in university entrance exam and government staff
    recruitment exam must be reintroduced. We call on the PRC government to correctly recognise that
    these are not only fundamental provisions for the implementation of regional national autonomy, but
    also the basis for equality and harmony of all the nationalities.
    During the long history of friendly relations between Tibet and China in general and
    particularly since Tibet established priest-patron relationship with successive rulers who reigned over
    China from Mongolian Yuan dynasty until Chinese Communist Party, Tibetan Buddhism unstintingly
    bestowed spiritual guidance to the emperors and the people of China, immensely benefiting them.
    Even today, despite the fact that Tibetan Buddhism can certainly help the government and people of
    China when their fine traditional culture is facing decline, the Chinese government is ruthlessly
    resorting to suppression and destruction of Tibetan Buddhism. Tragically, this will only result in
    harming the interest of both Tibetan and Chinese people.
    Although, the Chinese government has attempted to reinterpret the Buddhist canons to suit its
    ideology and expound it as excellent traditional Chinese culture, however it cannot even touch upon
    the basics of Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist science. The Tibetan Buddhist culture which is based
    on core practice of love, compassion and altruism is pitted against violent and revolutionary struggle
    built on self-promotion by communist regime. Consequently, it is a matter of great concern that
    ordinary followers of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet are subjected to constant threat of persecution and
    hatred. The dire situation in Tibet is corroborated by the fact that Tibet scored zero in political rights
    and civil liberties in the Freedom House report, which was released on 29th February this year.
    The Central Tibetan Administration is committed to pursuing the Middle Way Policy to resolve
    the Sino-Tibet conflict through dialogue. Therefore, we reiterate that the PRC government must
    immediately cease its misguided policy of eradicating the Tibetan identity and culture, which could
    cause deep wound and antagonism between Tibetan and Chinese people. We call on Tibetans inside
    Tibet to use legal means to give timely suggestions to the local governments on its misguided and
    extreme policy measures and to uphold rights of the Tibetan people guaranteed in the Chinese
    Constitution and the Law on Regional National Autonomy.


On the sixth day of the Tibetan New Year, 15th February 2024, the US House of
Representatives passed the bipartisan bill “Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act”
with supermajority. We wholeheartedly thank and applaud the wisdom and integrity of the members
of the US Congress for supporting truth and justice. We hope that this bill, which aligns with the 16th
Kashag’s strategy to gain recognition to Tibet’s true historical status to serve as leverage for the Middle
Way Policy, will be passed in the US Senate. This historic bill will definitely inspire other democratic
countries and strengthen the Tibetan people’s spirit and determination in keeping their identity alive.
The Kashag will continue to reach out to other countries in this regard.
The unshakable hope and determination of our Tibetan brothers and sisters inside Tibet are the
driving force for the 16th Kashag’s resolve to work towards the realisation of the just cause of Tibet.
To that end, the Offices of Tibet have been firmly given clear and specific responsibilities, while
Sikyong and Kalons are making every effort in undertaking advocacy campaigns by reaching out to
governments, parliaments, think tanks and media. Recently, around 170 participants from over 40
countries attended the 9th International Conference of Tibet Support Groups that was successfully
held in Brussels. Likewise, over 500 activists from the Voluntary Tibet Advocacy Group (V-TAG)
have carried out impactful campaigns in 32 regions. Under the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and support of the state oracles and guided by strategy of cooperative effort and moving forward,
these efforts have helped us catapult the issue of Tibet to a new level on the international stage. The
Kashag would like to thank all those who made this possible. Nonetheless, we must continue to pool
our collective efforts until resolving the issue of Tibet is achieved.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has singularly led Tibetans on the path of democracy and
established a vibrant democratic system in exile. Therefore, Tibetans living in the free countries have
the unavoidable duty to make it robust, efficient and sustainable. Meanwhile, we have to grasp every
opportunities arising from the changing global situation and actions of the Chinese government. We
urge all the Tibetans that they must not fail to recognise our opponent and forge unity and make
cooperative efforts in the larger interest of our common cause. At the same time, Tibetans must remain
vigilant and confront the PRC government’s insidious tactics of infiltration into our exile community
and transnational repression.
Taking this opportunity, the Kashag would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the
governments and people of India, United States and other countries and Tibet supporters around the
world, who are committed to truth and freedom. As the Tibetan identity is facing existential threat,
you are our backbone and source of inner strength to keep our struggle for freedom alive.
Finally, I pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. May the truth of Tibet’s cause
prevail! May the Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile be reunited.

The Kashag
10 March 2024