China to Establish Holiday to Mark Quelling of 1959 Tibetan Uprising

Legislators in China's Tibet Autonomous Region have proposed the creation of a new holiday to mark the quelling of a pro-independence uprising in the remote Himalayan region 50 years ago.

China's official Xinhua news agency Friday reports about 400 members of the provincial congress will review the motion on Saturday.

News reports say the proposal to celebrate a so-called "Serfs Emancipation Day" is the central government's latest effort to discourage local support for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in March of 1959.

The region's Communist Party chief, Zhang Qingli, says Tibetans today enjoy the feeling of being their own masters thanks to the current government.

He says the province would have developed faster without what he termed as "sabotage" by the Dalai Lama's supporters.

Chinese leaders have accused the Dalai Lama of stirring unrest aimed at gaining Tibet's independence, including March riots in Tibet's capital, Llasa, ahead of last year's Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Dalai Lama says he wants "genuine autonomy" for Tibetans within China, and that he condemns violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.