Today, as we celebrate this auspicious occasion of the 26th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama, the Kashag pays humble respect and bows down in gratitude to our most revered leader, and joyously extend heartiest greetings to the Tibetan people, friends and well-wishers around the world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama advocates nonviolence and dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet, interfaith harmony, human values and environment. For these extraordinary contributions, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1989.
For decades, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has travelled to over 50 countries, published more than 100 books on the values of compassion, non-violence, universal responsibility and secular ethics. Deriving admiration and inspiration from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, more than 150 prizes and honorary degrees have been awarded to him.
Envisioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Middle Way Approach is the official policy of the Central Tibetan Administration. It is aimed at the long-term benefit of both the Chinese and Tibetan people, and has galvanized support from governments, opinion makers, intellectuals including many Chinese writers and scholars. Among the governments, the White House issued statements strongly supporting the Middle Way Approach. At the summit meeting, President Barack Obama this year publicly urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to engage in dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives. President Obama emphasised the importance and the need for dialogue to resolve the Tibet issue. On behalf of the Tibetan people, the Kashag would like to express our appreciation for such statements of encouragement and support.
The US Congressional delegation led by Leader Nancy Pelosi to Tibet also urged the Chinese authorities for dialogue and expressed concerns regarding human rights situation in Tibet. The delegation also conveyed to the Chinese government the strong, bipartisan support His Holiness the Dalai Lama enjoys in the Congress of the United States and among the American people. Similarly, Congressmen Jim McGovern, a member of the delegation, said that they had ‘some very heated exchanges’ with Chinese officials regarding issues related to Tibet. He has stated that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the solution, not a problem, to resolving the issue of Tibet.
The European Union delegation to China and Tibet also expressed concerns on the human rights situation in Tibet and the need for dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet. The German Human Rights Commissioner, Mr. Christoph Strasser, strongly rebuked the Chinese government for showing an incorrect reality of Tibet during their visit. We would like to express our gratitude to both the US Congressional and EU delegation for standing up for the Tibetan people and supporting dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet.
It is also our considered view that the recent meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore will lead to peaceful resolutions of all outstanding issues between People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.
Today is also World Human Rights Day and the 67th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, Tibetans inside Tibet have nothing to celebrate as the human rights situation inside Tibet is continuously deteriorating. The Chinese government’s white paper claims a ‘golden age for Tibet’ but in reality, neither economic benefit nor basic freedom is granted to the Tibetan people. Tibetan people continue to suffer political repression, economic marginalization, social discrimination, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction under China’s authoritarian rule. The self-immolation by 142 Tibetan men and women since 2009 is clearly a protest against Chinese government’s repressive policies and denial of the fundamental freedom of the Tibetan people. Mr. Chen Quanguo, party chief of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region recently said that the party members and cadres secretly practicing religion and following the “Dalai Clique” must be identified and subjected to severe punishment. Similarly, Mr. Zhu Weiqun, an official of the self-declared atheist communist party of China claimed that Chinese government has the right to approve reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. No rational person will accept such blatant lies. The final authority based on both history and religious traditions in selecting the next Dalai Lama rests solely on the present Dalai Lama. Neither the muscle nor money of the Chinese government will change the belief of the Tibetan people in His Holiness the Dalai Lama to appoint the next Dalai Lama.
We call on the international community for their support and demand the Chinese government for the release of the Panchen Lama, Jadrel Rinpoche and thousands of other Tibetan political prisoners. We also urge the release of Mr Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Protection of Tibet’s environment is a matter of utmost importance. Coinciding with global climate change summit – COP 21 – attended by leaders from various countries, Tibet’s spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has urged them to save Tibet’s environment. He said, “This blue planet is our only home and the Tibetan plateau is its roof. Globe’s third pole is as vital as the two poles. Therefore, the Tibetan plateau needs to be protected for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.” The environmental destruction in Tibet is immense, with major deforestation, extraction of mineral resources worth billions of dollars, damming of rivers in unscientific ways and rapid melting of glaciers causing negative impact on the environment particularly in Asia. Our environment delegation has successfully created awareness on Tibet’s environment and exchanged views with NGOs at the climate change summit in Paris. We also would like to thank all those who participated in the COP21 awareness campaign organised by Tibetans and friends of Tibet.
As we all know, Tibetan Democracy is a gift of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his people. Since the devolution of political authority by His Holiness in 2011, this year’s Sikyong and TPiE elections has an added significance. Demonstrating their maturity, the Tibetan exiles have increased their participation in the democratic process. Freedom of speech is a right and social media is a means. However, both should be utilized responsibly for the unity of the Tibetan movement. By and large, Tibetan people are exercising their free speech and using their democratic rights in a mature way. However, regardless of the immense contribution His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made and the reverence with which the Tibetan people hold him, few individuals have made baseless allegations. The Kashag would like to categorically state that these individuals are wrong.
As we all are aware, the year 2014 was observed as the year of gratitude in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Similarly, this year is being celebrated by Tibetan people and the Central Tibetan Administration as the year our most revered leader attained eighty-years of age. The contribution which His Holiness the Dalai Lama made to the political cause of Tibet and the revival of Tibetan culture outside Tibet will forever be etched in the memories of the people of Tibet and in history. On behalf of the Tibetan people, the Kashag would like to express our deepest reverence and prayer of respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Decades of help and assistance so generously provided by people of India, Central and State Governments can never be forgotten. Availing the present opportunity, the Kashag would like to offer profound gratitude to India. A special thanks to the people and Government of Himachal Pradesh for hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration in the beautiful hill town of Dharamshala. We feel grateful for the opportunity to partake in the International Himalayan Festival hosted in honor of Tibet’s leader. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Governments, Parliaments, Leaders, Tibet Support Groups, NGOs etc. for their solidarity and support to the Tibetan people.
Finally, we offer our prayers for the healthy and long-life of our most revered leader His Holiness the Great Dalai Lama of Tibet. May all his wishes be spontaneously fulfilled, and peace and happiness prevail for the benefit of all humankind. Above all, may the day for the union of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet emerge swiftly.
Central Tibetan Administration
December 10, 2015
N.B. This translation is based on the original statement available in Tibetan language. Should there be discrepancies, please treat the Tibetan text as final and authoritative.