I am very happy that a special meeting of the Tibet Support Groups from different parts of the world is taking place in India. I would like to thank all the participants who have come from great distances to discuss how the Tibet movement can be advanced so that the suffering of the Tibetan people can be ended.
The Tibetan issue is a moral and just issue and, as I always maintain, we do not consider you all as being pro-Tibet. Rather, you are all pro-justice. The Tibetan issue is also not merely the issue of rights of the Tibetan people, but has an international aspect to it. Tibet’s cultural heritage is based on Buddhism’s principles of Ahimsa and Karuna. Thus, it concerns not just the six million Tibetans, but the over 13 million people in the world who share this culture, which has the potential to contribute to a peaceful and harmonious world. Secondly, the Tibetan issue is also related to the issue of Tibet’s fragile environment, which, scientists have concluded, has an impact on the broader region involving billions of people. Thirdly, the Tibetan issue has implication on the normalization and progress in the relationship between the two large countries of India and China. A meaningful solution of the Tibetan issue will help bring peace between these two countries, which together have over one-thirds of the world population.
Our democratically-elected political leadership will brief you on the outcome of the Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People that was held recently. I had suggested the convening of such a meeting so that our elected leadership is fully briefed on the diversity of the thinking of the Tibetan people, particularly in view of the deteriorating situation in Tibet and the present international scenario, as well as on the different ways to bring progress in the cause of the Tibetan people. I hope you will all have a frank and candid discussion on the future course of action of the Tibet movement, based on the recommendations made by the Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People. I would like you to provide suggestions to our elected leadership on the best possible course for the realization of the Tibetan people’s fundamental aspirations.
Your meeting is taking place when the Tibetan people and society in Tibet are passing through a very challenging period. The Tibetan people courageously expressed their discontentment with and vented their long-simmering resentment against the policies of the government of the PRC from March this year. Any government that puts the interest of all its people first would have realized the gravity of the issue and come up with measures to remedy the situation on the ground in Tibet. However, rather than taking such a step, the Chinese government completely ignored the Tibetan cries for justice and equality, and cracked down upon the Tibetan people as a whole. The situation in Tibet continues to be grim with a huge presence of police and military in many towns and cities. In fact, in several parts of Tibet, a de facto martial law rule has been in force and Tibetans are living in a state of siege. Thus, the life of the Tibetan people in Tibet today has become very critical and they need all the assistance our supporters can render.
As you are all aware I have made sincere efforts to find a mutually satisfactory solution on the Tibetan issue with the Chinese leadership. My envoys have categorically conveyed to the Chinese leadership my commitment to the Middle Way Approach that takes into consideration the aspirations of the Tibetan people as well as the concerns for the unity and stability of the People’s Republic of China. I had hoped that the renewed contact that we had with the Chinese leadership since 2002 would lead to such a solution. My envoys presented the Chinese leadership at the latest eighth round of talks earlier this month with a clear outline of the basic needs of the Tibetan people, rights that are enshrined in China’s own Constitution and statutes. Unfortunately, my envoys have come back clearly finding doors to any possible reasonable talks being closed. The Chinese Government only wants to talk about my personal well being.
The Tibetan issue concerns the welfare of the Tibetan people as a whole and not at all about my person. As such the Tibetan people collectively should think over the issue of the common good of Tibet and decide accordingly. But it is becoming clear that the voice of the Tibetan people alone is not sufficient to persuade the Chinese leadership to change its rigid position and policies. I would like to seek continued effort by the international community to help alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people. In this effort, our support groups all over the world have a key role to play.
I want to conclude by expressing my profound gratitude to all members of the Tibet support groups who have stood steadfast by the Tibetan people in our time of need. You have been a significant source of support to us and I have no doubt that you will not just continue, but even strengthen, your efforts in the coming months.
25 November 2008