It is once again necessary for me to state clearly what my position is with respect to the future of Tibet. The problem of Tibet is not the question of the Dalai Lama’ s return and status. It is the problem of the rights and freedoms of the six million Tibetans in Tibet. I am convinced that this question can only be solved through negotiations. My position over the years has been consistent, but Chinese government statements create confusion by suggesting that the Chinese government is always open to negotiations but that Tibetans are not.
One such statement, made by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on 25 August 1993, repeats the position first conveyed to my emissary by Mr. Deng Xiaoping in 1979, namely, that “except for the independence of Tibet, all other questions can be negotiated.” The statement also stales that “the door to negotiations remains wide open.”
For the past 14 years since that position was first stated, I have not only declared my willingness to enter into negotiations but also made a series of proposals which clearly lie within the framework for negotiations proposed by Mr. Deng Xiaoping. The ideas put forward during discussions my representatives held with Chinese officials in , and later made public in the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet (1987) and the Strasbourg Proposal (1988), envisage a solution which does not ask for independence of Tibet. Yet, China has refused to enter into negotiations of any kind or otherwise to seriously discuss any of those proposals or to constructively respond to them. Indeed, the Chinese government has refused to discuss any question of substance, insisting that the only issues to be resolved are those pertaining to my personal return to Tibet, about which it has made a number of public statements.
As I have stated again and again, my return is not the issue. The issue is the survival and welfare of the six million Tibetan people and the preservation of our culture and civilization.
I have made it clear that negotiations must centre around ways to end China’s population transfer policy which threatens the survival of the Tibetan people; the respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms of Tibetans; the demilitarisation and de-nuclearisation of Tibet; the restoration of control to the Tibetan people of all matters affecting their own affairs; and, the protection of the natural environment. I have always emphasised that any negotiation must comprise the whole of Tibet, not just the area which China calls the “Tibet Autonomous region.”
I am releasing today the text of my most recent letter and accompanying note to Mr. Deng Xiaoping and Mr. Jiang Zemin which were delivered to them by my emissaries in Beijing in July 1993, as well as my first letter to Mr. Deng Xiaoping. They show the consistency of my approach and my determined efforts to seek a peaceful, reasonable and just solution, within the framework formulated by Mr. Deng Xiaoping. I have never called for negotiations on the independence of Tibet. There has been no constructive response by China to these letters.
I am deeply concerned about Chinese government’s intentions with regard to Tibet: Official Chinese statements are aimed at confusing the real issue and delaying any substantial discussion on the problem. While repeating the position that China is prepared to negotiate, the Chinese government continues to seek “final solution” to the question of Tibet: the flooding of Tibet with Chinese settlers so as to entirely overpower and assimilate the Tibetan people. This concern is heightened by the revelation last week of a secret meeting held on 12 May 1993 in Sichuan in which a dual strategy was agreed upon by the Chinese authorities in order to sup press Tibetan resistance:
to transfer even larger numbers of Chinese into Tibet in order to make it demographically “impossible for the Tibetans to rise up”; and, to manipulate important Tibetan religious persons, to infiltrate religious institutions and to create divisions in the Tibetan movement. If the Chinese government is sincere about negotiating a solution to the question of Tibet, it must unequivocally reverse this decision, not only in words, but in practice. I call upon the Chinese government to start negotiations without delay and without preconditions.