Czech cities to fly Tibetan flag today in honor of historic uprising

From mountains to municipal buildings, hundreds of flags will mark the anniversary of the anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 10.03.2023 11:19:00 (updated on 10.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czechia will mark exactly 64 years today since the anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet by hoisting Tibetan flags on buildings. The Czech branch of Amnesty International will also organize a rally outside the Chinese embassy in Prague.

Human rights issues

Today’s commemorative actions are part of the “Flag for Tibet” campaign, which was created in the mid-1990s with the aim of highlighting the long-term human rights violations committed by China in Tibet. 

According to Lungta, an organization that is helping coordinate the event, over 850 municipalities across the country partook in the commemoration last year. Similar numbers are expected in 2023. 

The Tibetan flag is primarily symbolic in nature and is an expression of solidarity with Tibetans.

The city of Hradec Králové already hung up the Tibetan flag in front of its town hall this morning – it was one of the first cities in Czechia about 25 years ago to pay tribute to Tibetans.

On Saturday, the flag will also be hoisted on the Sněžka mountain. Senator and chairman of the Friends of Tibet group Přemysl Rabas with the Czech Tibetans non-profit organization are walking up the mountain.

A map of all participating buildings in Czechia can be found here.

About 80,000 Tibetans died in the March 1959 uprising, when protesters demonstrated against aggressive Chinese policies. 

Lungta also writes on its website that “basic human rights have been violated in Tibet for decades, including the systematic suppression of freedom of speech, political and religious beliefs, as well as national and cultural identity.” Torture of political prisoners and the persecution of Tibetan monks are commonplace, according to the organization.

Tibetans who display the flag face up to several years in prison in China, Lungta writes.

Czech government on Tibet's side

Czechia has recently shown warmth toward the autonomous region. Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský at the beginning of this month met with Tibetan representatives during a trip to India, where he criticized China’s human rights policy in the area, accusing the country of severe and unjustified persecution.

This, perhaps unsurprisingly, provoked a reaction from China. The Chinese embassy in Prague sharply criticized the meeting and warned against any similar gatherings in the future. A few weeks earlier, then-President-elect Petr Pavel had a phone call with Taiwanese counterpart Tsai Ing-wen, who is also seeking better rights for her people. China responded with anger, too.

Today’s commemorative displays exemplify Czechia’s firmly pro-Tibet chance – something especially significant amid mounting pressure with China.

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