The Tibetan community in exile residing in Dharamshala and all around the world surely must be celebrating this day, February 13, as their independence day, the anniversary of the five-point proclamation issued by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913.
The social media has been flooded with messages wishing the peaceful autonomous region on this important day despite the illegal occupation of China that dates back to nearly six decades. But among all, an interesting message by former West Indies cricket legend Vivian Richards on Saturday, lending support to Tibet's freedom movement, has created a buzz on the internet.
"Happy Independence Day, Tibet" Way To Go #FreedomForTibet," the message from Richard's twitter account read.
Was the account hacked?
It is true that the Saturday morning tweet by Richards did come as a surprise to many. Within hours after the message was uploaded, nearly 50,000 people had liked the tweet and around 13,000 had retweeted it.
Some users also wondered whether his account had got hacked while many others supported the former cricketer and thanked him for the tweet.
Recently, an American Congressman had written to former US President Donald Trump and implored him to recognise Tibet as an independent nation.
Scott Perry, the Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, had lauded Trump, who was further renowned as a vociferous critic of the Chinese Communist Party and its policies in the region, saying that the latter's administration highlighted the establishment's "roguish behaviour" of illegally occupying and expanding territories.
"Tibet was a de-facto independent country until the People's Republic of China chose to illegally occupy the country in 1951. Since then, numerous pieces of legislation passed by the US Congress have indicated Tibet's status as an occupied country," Perry said in his letter to Trump.
Human rights in Tibet
In March 1959, eight years after the signing of Seventeen Point Agreement, an uprising, which had been brewing for a few years, against the Chinese establishment erupted after many feared the Dalai Lama might be taken to Beijing as the region's independent status was not recognized and the previous Tibetan government was abolished.
However, the Tibetan revolt was brutally suppressed by the Chinese Communist rule and tens of thousands of people were believed to have been killed at the hand of the establishment's troops. Today, China illegally occupies the western and central Tibet while the eastern areas are mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces.
The Tibetans in exile observe February 13 as their Independence Day, the anniversary of the five-point proclamation that was issued when Tibet was freed in 1913. It is not a declaration of independence, rather a re-assertion or reminder of the region's independent status.
It should be therefore noted that Tibet's freedom movement, which demands secession from China and primarily led by Tibetan diaspora in different parts of the world, has got a huge backing from a short message of the West Indies cricket legend.