‘Tibetans Will Continue To Demand their Legitimate Rights from China’Thursday, 20 November 2008, 9:26 a.m.
|Kasur Gyalo Thondup, elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (L) and Kalon Trisur Juchen Thubten Namgyal (R) address a large gathering of national and international press reporters in Dharamsala on 19 November 2008, reaffirming China’s late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping offer to discuss any issues of Tibet except independence/Photo:tibet.net|
Dharamshala: The Tibetan people will continue to demand their legitimate rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, said Kasur Gyalo Thondup, who was told by China’s late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping on 12 March 1979 that ‘apart from independence, all other issues can be discussed.’Mr Gyalo Thondup on Wednesday refuted a response from Zhu Weiqun, executive Vice-Minister of the Central United Front Work Department of Chinese Communist Party in China, that Deng Xiaoping has never made such a statement.Zhu Weiqun, in an answer to a Japanese reporter’s question has said, “Comrade Deng Xiaoping had never made such a statement. It is a falsehood made by Gyari and is a complete distortion of Deng Xiaoping’s statement.”“I am shocked to hear such a statement from the Chinese officials because it was myself to whom the late paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, said, “except independence all other issues can be settled through discussions,” Mr Gyalo said while addressing a large gathering of national and international press reporters at the Kashag.He said: “Deng Xiaoping is no longer with us today. But to put the record straight I would like to clarify in front of international media that during my first visit to China in 1979 I met the paramount leader Deng Xiaoping on 12 March 1979. He told me “except independence all other issues can be settled through discussions.”I am totally surprised to learn that Mr Zhu Weiqun recently denied that Deng Xiaoping’s statement that except for the issue of Tibetan independence all other issues could be resolved through dialogue, said Mr Juchen Thubten Namgyal, who also addressed the press conference.“As a member of the first Tibetan exploratory mission, we met with Vice-premier Yang Jireng, who was also the head of Central United Front Work Department and Nationality Affairs Commission and others on 29 April 1982. I sought confirmation from Yang Jireng whether Deng Xiaoping had made such a statement. He did not deny this fact,” Mr Juchen added.On 1 March 1979, Ulanfu, Chairman of the CPC’s United Work Department and Minister for Nationality Affairs Commission, told Gyalo Thondup: “ The Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in exile were welcome to return to their home and contribute towards the development and progress of the nation. Suitable arrangements could be made for everyone upon their return. The Dalai Lama had not made contacts with the Soviet Union. Therefore, apart from independence, we can solve any problem…”A record of statements made by former Chinese leaders and official documents authenticated the statement made by Deng Xiaoping and Ulanfu.In an interview with Xinhua News agency on 19 May 1991, China’s former premier Li Peng said, “all matters except Tibetan independence could be discussed”. His statement was later emphasised in a newsletter released by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington DC, regarding the “Questions concerning negotiations between the Central Government of China and the Dalai Lama.”During a state visit to China from 18 – 23 May 1992, the then Indian president R Venkataraman was told by premier Li Peng that “ … we are willing to talk to him about anything except the issue of the so-called independence of Tibet.”Similarly, in Tibet – Its ownership and human rights situations, a White Paper released by the Information office of the State Council of the PRC in September 1992 reiterated, “All matters except Tibetan independence can be discussed”.The process of contacts with the Chinese government was established taking into consideration the instrumental role played by Deng Xiaoping in reunification of Tibetan nationality and reviving Tibetan cultural heritage after two decades of unimaginable destructive policy unleashed by the Chinese communist government in 1959.“Tibet was completed looted and robbed,” Mr Gyalo Thondup lamented, while recounting his first contacts with China and the unimaginable destruction of every aspect of Tibet with the onset of Chinese communist government’s rule in Tibet in 1959. He said some hardliner communist officials, who hold high up position in the Chinese government, treat Tibet as a ‘personal belonging in their pocket’ and deliberately intent to scuttle the dialogue process to resolve the issue of Tibet. The Tibetan people will continue to demand their legitimate and reasonable rights as given to other minority nationalities entitled in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Gyalo said.The legitimate rights of Tibetans are rights to freedom, thinking, speech, religion, travel, to promote and preserve Tibet’s culture, he added.Expressing his optimism that positive change will take place in Tibet in the near future, he said: “ We must not lose faith and plead to the Chinese government for our legitimate rights.”“As a Tibetan, I’m convinced that we must all live together. Therefore it is very important for the Tibetan people not to lose hope and to keep a good relationship with people in China. We are sandwiched between China and India, both very important countries. I was always critical with the Chinese face to face in Beijing, and now I’m desperate, that’s why I told people in the Chinese embassy in Delhi that there’s no choice [but to talk]. We must face the reality that we have to deal with China. The people of China will eventually realize that what we are asking is legitimate.” he said.He expressed his appreciation to the international press for taking interest in the Tibetan issue. “You must pay attention to what is going on, not only in Tibet but also in Central Asia, China and India. China and India are very powerful and, therefore, Tibet is very important for the future. It is necessary to pay attention to what is going on, and very important to discover what is going on in Tibet on the ground. So many things are going to develop over the next 50 years. This area is still half asleep, slowly it is waking up.”Mr Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is in Dharamsala attending the special meeting on the future of Tibet.