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Tibetans in-exile celebrate 109th anniversary of 'Tibetan Independence Day'

Tibetans in exile gathered in Dharamshala on Sunday and celebrated the 109th anniversary of 'Tibetan Independence Day'.

On February 13, 1913, the 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibetan independence in the declaration of the "Proclamation of Independence" and since then Tibetans mark February 13 as an important day in Tibet's history to educate people on the significance of Tibet's history.

To commemorate the occasion, the Students for Free Tibet (SFT, India) held a symbolic celebration here in Dharamshala on Sunday.

SFT activists held a talk on this issue and exhibited photographs of previous events of this day. They also held a group dance to celebrate the occasion.

Activists also displayed the treaty which was signed during the Shimla convention in 1913- 1914 concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by then representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet, and the United Kingdom.

Tibetan activists say that Tibet was occupied by China in March 1959. Activists raised their voices to send a clear message to China by saying that "Tibetans shall be happy in the land of Tibet and Chinese shall be happy in the land of China".

Tibetan activists in Himachal's Dharamshala last December carried out a candlelight vigil, calling out China to end its "repressive policies" in Tibet.

The activists accused Beijing of ordering a widespread crackdown on citizens of Kham Drago, a province in Central Tibet, demolishing schools, Buddhist statues and monasteries, in an attempt to "Sinicise" entire China-occupied countries.

The candlelight march came after the Chinese government mowed down a giant 600 feet Buddha statue in Tibet and bulldozed a monastery earlier in the week.

The vigil was a sign of China's rising "repression of Tibetan practice of Buddhism inside Tibet."

Emphasising Kham Drago is not the only region that faces Chinese oppression, another member from the vigil told ANI that "it is happening in many other places, and we got to know recently."

According to a Center for Democracy, Pluralism and Human Rights (CDPHR) report published in May, arbitrary arrests, maltreatment in custody, torture, sterilisation and forced abortion are frequently opted for repressive strategies against Tibetans by Beijing.