Officials with the Tibetan government-in-exile have condemned the Chinese government's creation of a new holiday to mark what China calls the liberation of Tibetan serfs and slaves in 1959.
Officials with the India-based exile government on Tuesday accused the Chinese government of distorting the true history of the period ahead of the 50th anniversary of an uprising in Lhasa.
Chinese state media said Monday that the March 28th holiday marks the date that Chinese troops quelled an armed rebellion allegedly staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters.
A world court (the International Court of Justice) investigation at the time (1959) found that there was evidence China committed genocide against Tibetans during its violent crackdown.
China's move comes after last year's anniversary -- which many Tibetans regard as a key moment in their national liberation struggle -- sparked a wave of sometimes violent protests against Chinese rule.
Tibetan exiles have long celebrated March 10th as "Tibetan Uprising Day."
The date marks a protest against Chinese rule by Tibetan women in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in 1959. Exiles gather each year on that date in Dharamsala, India, to listen to a speech by the Dalai Lama and hold pro-independence rallies.
On March 28th, 1959, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai dissolved the Tibetan government, which theoretically had retained substantial autonomy under a 1951 agreement signed with the Dalai Lama's government after Chinese troops invaded.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader fled to India on March 30th, 1959, and soon repudiated the agreement with China and asserted Tibet's historic independence.
After the Lhasa uprising ended, a low-intensity revolt continued for several years with support from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
That uprising began in the Tibetan areas of Qinghai and Sichuan in 1956 in response to Chinese land and social reform policies. Many of those same areas also were sites of Tibetan protests in 2008.
Chinese leaders have accused the Dalai Lama of stirring unrest aimed at gaining Tibet's independence. But the Dalai Lama denies that charge, saying he has been calling for genuine autonomy for Tibetans within China, and not independence, for decades.