Dharamsala: Exiled Tibetans celebrated their Independence Day here on Friday, highlighting the national flag which is one of the most recognisable symbols of independent past.
On February 13, 1913, the 13th Dalai Lama reasserted Tibetan independence in the declaration of the "Proclamation of Independence". Since the centennial in 2013, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) has been educating people about significance of independent past as a building block for a future free Tibet on the day.
"Today on 13th February, we are celebrating again Tibetan Independence Day. We started that in 2013. Today this is the third celebration. This year we are highlighting the importance of Tibetan national flag, which is symbol of resistance and symbol of Tibetan independence in the past," said SFT leader Dorjee Tseten.
Tibetans and their supporters proudly raised the national flag in 30 cities around the world to celebrate the independent past and to challenge China`s propaganda about their history.
"By highlighting Tibetan flag, we are also proving that Tibet was also once independent nation. We are highlighting Tibetan flag also internationally. This event is being observed in 30 cities around the world," added Tseten.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, says he simply wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, and denies espousing violence.
China has long defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" Tibet.
Tensions in China`s Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.
In fact, China calls the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep`s clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.