March 12th is the anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising. On this day in 1959 thousands of women gathered on the ground called Dri-bu-Yul-Khai Thang in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. This demonstration – Women’s Uprising Day – in an act of spontaneous non violent resistance to the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese authorities responded by resorting to brute force and arrested the leaders of the movement and many other innocent women. They were sentenced to indefinite prison terms, and many of them were mercilessly beaten to death. However, these repressive measures did not dampen the women’s courage. They did not let themselves be cowered by the Chinese.
The events of this day lead to the birth of the Tibetan Women’s Association. A main objective of the Tibetan Women’s Association is to promote awareness at the local and international level of human rights abuses in Tibet. TWA has also initiated projects to address the various social welfare, educational and environmental needs of the exile community.