Dharamshala repudiates “17-Point Agreement”
DHARAMSHALA, (Phayul): 61 years to the day when the 17-Point Agreement was forced upon Tibet, Tibetans in the exile seat of Dharamshala carried out activities repudiating the so called agreement between Tibet and the People’s Republic of China.
Shortly after eastern Tibet fell to the Chinese invading forces in 1950, a Tibetan delegation was forced to sign the ‘agreement’ in Beijing using forged seals and threat of further military action.
The Chinese have since used the ‘agreement’ to legitimise its invasion and rule over Tibet.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark 60 years of the signing of the agreement last year, Xi Jinping, China’s future President, claimed that the “peaceful liberation of Tibet crushed the attempt of external forces to separate Tibet from China.”
“It upheld national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarded national unification and ethnic unity,” Xi spoke in the square below the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, has called the ‘agreement’ as nothing less than a “death warrant” passed on the centuries-old history of Tibet’s independence.
“If you look at the agreement, it is very clear that it was signed under threat and duress,” Tenzin Tsundue, the president of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Dharamshala said earlier today. “Even some names of the concerned Tibetan ministers and delegates printed on the agreement were misspelled.”
Soon after his arrival in Tezpur, India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement on April 18, 1959, explaining that the 17-Point Agreement was signed under duress and that the Chinese government had deliberately violated the terms of the Agreement. Thus from that day onwards, His Holiness declared that the agreement would be considered null and void, and that he would strive for the restoration of Tibet’s independence.
In his book ‘Tibet and Its History,’ Hugh Richardson, Britain’s last and independent India’s first representative to Tibet, who spent nine years in Tibet, wrote: “The long, tendentious manifesto, masquerading as the preamble to the agreement, in which the Chinese took the opportunity of falsifying history and justifying the use of force, cannot conceal that Tibet had lately been a separate entity.”
Repudiating the ‘agreement,’ Tibetans here in the town held a cultural parade as a part of Lhakar movement, a cultural resistance movement spreading and empowering the Tibetan freedom struggle from inside and outside Tibet.
Tibetans from all walks of life took part in the cultural parade, and awards were also distributed to some of the best-dressed participants.