New report on the 30th anniversary of the Lhasa protests
On 7 March 1989, a decree imposing martial law on Lhasa was issued by Chinese Premier Li Peng and China’s State Council. This move by Beijing firmly brought about a halt to a significant period of protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, led by monks from all three major monasteries in Lhasa: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Ganden Monastery. The protest which kick-started this new phase in Tibetan resistance took place 30 years ago, on 27 September 1987.
This latest report from Tibet Watch presents never before seen images of the protests, together with details of the brave protesters pictured. It also explains the impact of the protests in the context of the wider Tibet movement and, specifically, how they led to the creation of Free Tibet.
In 1987 the Dalai Lama proposed a peace plan for Tibet which was flatly rejected by China. This was by no means the sole cause of the protests which followed but was undoubtedly a factor. On 10 December 1989 the international community recognised what China would not and the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “first and foremost for his consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people's struggle to regain their liberty”. China’s bullish opposition to the peace proposal may even have played a part in the Nobel Committee’s decision. In a similar way, their brutal response to the peaceful protests of 1987-89 definitely influenced the international response. The protests may have been crushed but they have an enduring legacy in the strength of the international Tibet movement that they inspired. That inspiration remains at the heart of everything we do and will keep us going until the day Tibet is free.
Please note that some of the images in the report are graphic in nature and some readers may find them upsetting.