Tibetans are remembering the long 24 years since China first declared martial law in Tibet. Phuntsok Yangchen has reported on March 8, 2013, for Phayul.com, Tibetans observe 24th anniversary of declaration of martial law in Tibet. Today, the exile Tibetan administration held a special prayer service to mark the 24th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in Tibet’s capital Lhasa on March 8, 1989.
Hundreds of Tibetans, which included all staff members of the Central Tibetan Administration led by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, and Tibetan school students, attended the prayer service at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharamshala, India. Ngawang Choedak, Secretary of the Department of Religion and Culture, said to the media, the prayer service was held in “solidarity with all the Tibetan martyrs who were killed, jailed, and tortured during the martial law imposition in Lhasa.”
On March 8, 1989, China under the then Tibet communist party Secretary Hu Jintao, imposed martial law in Lhasa after three days of protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule. In the protests 16 Tibetans died and thousands of armed forces were deployed in Lhasa. The martial law was continued for 13 months and ended on May 1, 1990. For two years all foreign journalists, tourists, and diplomats were banned from the region. Around 2000 Tibetans were killed during the entire period of the imposition of martial law. Ever since 1990 the exile Tibetan administration has been holding similar annual prayer services. The situation in Tibet remains tense at this time.