Today,as we commemorate the confluence of the nineteenth anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the International Human Rights Day, and the Himalayan Festival, the Kashag extends its warm regards and greetings to the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, as well as to all the peace-loving people of the world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not only guided the people of the world onto the path of peace and non-violence, the essence of which is loving kindness and compassion as shown by the teachings of the Lord Buddha; but also transformed the entire movement of Tibetan people for greater freedoms in Tibet into a complete non-violent endeavour. In order to show all the impartial people’s genuine respect and admiration for these great deeds, His Holiness has been bestowed with the world-renowned Nobel Prize for peace. As we commemorate today the nineteenth anniversary of the conferment of this peace prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration, on behalf of the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, makes obeisance to His Holiness and prays that he may live long for the benefit of humanity in general and the suffering people of Tibet in particular. The Kashag also implores him to continue his meritorious services in the religious and secular fields as before.
The past year has been the most significant and turbulent period in the forty-nine years of our exile history with both positive and negative developments. On the negative side, peaceful protests that rocked Tibet since March this year were brutally suppressed, as a result of which hundreds of Tibetans have been killed and thousands incarcerated and tortured. Some areas of China and Tibet suffered natural catastrophes such as snowstorms, flood and earthquakes. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to undergo a medical treatment due to slight indisposition. On the positive side, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, showing great health, visited many countries and perpetuated his meritorious works in the religious and secular fields. He, in particular, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament and met with the heads of the many countries. He also received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his outstanding contribution to the welfare of humanity as a whole.
Moreover, we were able to accomplish a host of politically significant works. For example, His Holiness sent subsequent letters to many supportive world leaders, explaining the emergency situation inside Tibet; he wrote to President Hu Jintao as well. His Holiness issued messages to the Tibetans, the Chinese and the Chinese believers of various faiths, including Buddhism. The issue of Tibet generated great interest and publicity internationally while the Olympic torch made rounds across the world. Peaceful and non-violent campaigns were carried out across the globe through the Tibetan Solidarity Committee. All India Tibet Support Groups Special Meeting was organised. The envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducted one informal and two formal rounds of discussions with the concerned officials of the People’s Republic of China. The first Special Meeting of the Tibetan exiles was convened under the provision of Article 59 of the Tibetan Charter. His Holiness the Dalai Lama not only issued statement to the Special Meeting, but also addressed the participants after the meeting. Moreover, the International Tibet Support Groups Special Meeting was convened to
solicit their suggestions on the future course of the Tibetan movement.
During the eighth round of talks, in particular, we delivered a memorandum on genuine autonomy for all Tibetans to the Peoples Republic of China and an overwhelming majority of Tibetans in and outside Tibet reiterated, through the Special Meeting, their support to the Middle-Way policy. The Kashag considers these two developments of great historical significance. Because, since the re-establishment of Sino-Tibetan contacts in 2002, we have engaged in serious discussions with the Peoples Republic of China based on the policy of one official channel and one agenda to determine the future of Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution so that all Tibetans could enjoy complete self-rule under a single administration. As a result, during the seventh round of talks the Chinese side asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama to clearly explain what he was actually seeking by saying genuine or meaningful autonomy. We complied by delivering a detailed explanation in writing of how the provisions of a genuine autonomy as stipulated in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China and its Law on National Regional Autonomy could be implemented, thus clearly demonstrating to the world the position of the two sides. This, we believe, will serve as a definite agenda if in the future dialogues were to be continued between the two sides. And even if dialogues do not take place for the time being, nobody can speculate on or distort the real intentions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama because the Chinese people and the international community have been clearly informed of his intentions. Therefore, the entire responsibility for the future status of our dialogues, irrespective of what it is going to be, lies squarely on the Chinese leaders. The Tibetan side has already made all the required clarifications and brought a process of dialogue that began in 2002 to its logical conclusion.
The current process of Sino-Tibetan dialogue has failed to produce any positive changes in Chinas Tibet policy. Moreover, the situation inside Tibet is worsening by the day. As a result, not only is the Tibetan community growing more and more concerned and frustrated, but the very process of dialogue underway is being criticised from different quarters. Therefore, His Holiness the Dalai Lama invoked Article 59 of the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile to convene the first Tibetan Special Meeting, feeling that the time has come to seek mandate from the people on this issue once again. The Special Meeting was participated by about 560 delegates from all Tibetan communities across the globe, who for six days held extensive discussions by breaking themselves into fifteen groups. Out of these, eight groups supported the Middle-Way Approach by majority vote, three groups by unanimous vote and four groups recommended the Middle-Way Approach although they did not clarify as to whether it was
by unanimous or majority vote.
Out of 161 written suggestions received from 50 Tibetan settlements and scattered communities, 20 monasteries and nunneries, 44 educational institutions, 25 Tibetan associations abroad and 22 Tibetan non-governmental organisations; 103 supported the Middle-Way Approach unanimously and 28 by majority vote. We were also able to collect suggestions from various parts of Tibet.
What became very clear, on the whole, was this: all of these suggestions unanimously agreed to follow the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; an overwhelming majority of these suggestions supported the Middle-Way Approach; there were other opinions expressed as well. This clearly demonstrated not just the enlightened political vision and understanding, as well as the firm stance and unified force, of the Tibetan people at the grassroots level; it also showed that our democratic process has reached a high point of maturity, for the Tibetan people partook in the Special Meeting with a sense of responsibility within themselves.
In the same vein, the International Tibet Support Groups Special Meeting strongly supported the views of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Middle-Way policy. Therefore, not only will the Central Tibetan Administration be able, now, to abide by and follow the Middle-Way policy with great confidence, but will also strengthen its constructive actions or programmes towards this end internationally. A time has come for us, in particular, to raise the level of dialogue with the Chinese people. We have, furthermore, kept the door of dialogues always open should the leaders of the Peoples Republic of China be willing to continue discussions on the memorandum we submitted.
His Holiness the Dalai Lamas address to the European Parliament on 4 December is an invaluable political guidance for the future of Tibet. All should,therefore, study this address carefully.
Due to the reasons cited above, we are now initiating these two campaigns with full force: circulating the memorandum on genuine autonomy for all Tibetans and creating awareness about it internationally; and strengthening dialogue with the Chinese people. We are also planning to convene a meeting of our Chinese friends at an appropriate time and in an appropriate place next year. We urge all Tibetans to take keen interest and co-operate with us in carrying out these campaigns.
In short, the issue of Tibet has reached a very crucial and critical juncture, whether one looks at it from the perspective of the strength of peaceful protests that erupted in Tibet or the outcome of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, as well as the international political scenario. Therefore, we would like to emphatically urge all Tibetans to make all possible efforts to initiate constructive programmes, as well as work towards enhancing the Tibetan people’s collective merit, so as to ensure that the lives laid down by hundreds of our brethren in Tibet do not go in vain.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has recently spoken about our gross failure in the areas of improving education among the Tibetan people and sustaining the Tibetan settlements in exile. Keeping these concerns in view, the relevant departments of the Central Tibetan Administrationare seriously considering these issues by holding extensive discussions among themselves. The Kashag would like to urge the Tibetan people at the grassroots level to take keen interest and co-operate in the implementation of whatever plans or programmes these departments will come up with in the near future.
The Kashag would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of India, as well as Tibet supporters across the globe, for their assistance and
co-operation in enabling over hundred thousand Tibetan refugees, led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to freely preserve their culture and to continue their struggle for the just cause of the Tibetan people during the last almost fifty years.
Finally, we pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the spontaneous fulfilment of all his wishes. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon!
The Kashag10 December 2008
This is an English translation of the original statement issued in Tibetan. If there is any difference between this and the Tibetan version, please treat the latter as authoritative and final.