Remembering 12th March 1959: Tibetan Women’s Role in National Freedom Struggle

Women play important roles in any society. In Tibetan society too, Tibetan women have played and continue to play important roles in all aspects. 

Exactly 63 years ago, on 12th March 1959, over 5,000 Tibetan women marched through the streets of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, carrying banners demanding “Tibet for Tibetans” and shouting “From today Tibet is Independent”. They even presented an appeal for help to the Indian Consulate-General in Lhasa. At the time there were only a few foreign missions stationed in Tibet including from India and Nepal. 

Mimang Tsongdu members and their supporters had erected barricades in Lhasa’s narrow streets while the Chinese militia had positioned sandbag fortifications for machine guns on the city’s flat rooftops. 3000 Tibetans in Lhasa signed their willingness to join the rebels manning the valley’s ring of mountains.

Only a few days earlier, on 10th March 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans surrounded NorbuLingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas, to protect the young Dalai Lama from the Chinese troops. Click here to find out Why Tibetans commemorate 10th March?

The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) is delighted to replay a discussion on ‘Tibetan Women’s role in their National Freedom Struggle’. Tsering Passang spoke with Tenzin Sangmo, a Tibetan activist based in England, in March 2021. 

In August 2020, Tenzin Sangmo organised and led a 5-day peace march – “Walk for Tibet” from Bristol to London, covering over 150 miles with three other Tibetans to raise awareness of China’s occupation of Tibet. She is passionate and advocates for the rights of Tibetans and others who are persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

On 10th March 2022, Sangmo gave a passionate speech outside the Chinese Embassy, London. Please watch it here.

Author: Tsering Passang (Tsamtruk)

NGO Professional | Activist | Author | Founder and Chairman, Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM)

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