On this auspicious occasion of the 27th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Kashag, on behalf of Tibetans across the world pay obeisance and bow down in gratitude to our most revered leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We joyously extend our heartfelt greetings to the Tibetan people, friends and well-wishers around the world.
In 1989, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, His Holiness said: “I feel honoured, humbled and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special. But, I believe the prize is a recognition of the true values of altruism, love, compassion and nonviolence which I try to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet. I accept it on behalf of the six million Tibetan people, my brave countrymen and women inside Tibet, who have suffered and continue to suffer so much.”
On the celebration of this momentous occasion, we take the opportunity to congratulate all the Nobel laureates, and especially the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr. Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, for his resolute efforts to bring peace to his country.
Today marks the 68th year since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the serious human rights violation in Tibet doesn’t leave much for the Tibetan people to celebrate.
China’s total disregard for human rights is currently demonstrated by the on-going massive demolition at Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Institute in the world founded by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, is home to thousands of Tibetans and Chinese devotees from Mainland China. It is estimated that the institute housed more than 10,000 devotees and, after the demolition, the number will be reduced to 5000 monks and nuns. Saddened by the Chinese government’s destructive action, three nuns of the institute – Rigzin Dolma, Tsering Dolma and Semgha – committed suicide.
Similar evictions were also imposed on Yachen Gar, another major monastic institute in Tibet. Human Rights Watch has reported that since about April 2016, up to 1,000 nuns at Yachen Gar, another major monastery in Tibet, have been compelled to leave the institution and return to their homes. The families of nuns were threatened with punishment, including withdrawal of government aid, if they failed to bring home any of their relatives from the monastery. They are also barred from attending nunneries in their home areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
Video footages received despite the communications crackdown have caused deep distress in Tibetans and friends around the world. Nuns in Larung Gar are seen wailing helplessly watching the send-off of their fellow nuns who were being shoved into buses and sent back to their hometown. Another video shows Tibetan nuns dressed in military uniform, forced to sing a song praising the communist regime…”Chinese and Tibetans are Children of One Mother.” There are some reports that they are believed to be nuns undergoing patriotic education exercise after facing forced eviction from Larung Gar. Another disturbing video shows the nuns performing on stage to songs of Cultural Revolution. This is not only a violation of their monastic vows but the highest level of humiliation a nun can face.
Although this year is the 40th year since the end of the Cultural Revolution but the disturbing developments in Larung Gar and Yachen Gar are reminiscent of the bitter experiences of the Cultural Revolution. In 1960s, the three great monastic universities of Tibet – Sera, Drepung and Gaden – were destroyed and downsized from several thousand monks to a few hundreds now. The current destruction of Larung Gar indicates that the other major monasteries in Tibet could face the same tragic fate. We fear that the Cultural Revolution is reviving in Tibet.
The recent China’s Religious Affairs Regulations Draft Revision issued a new directive for religious affairs stating that religion should serve national interests. This regulation which restricts religious schools, subdues monasteries, controls number of monks and nuns and represses Tibetans practicing their religion points to the sheer trampling of religious freedom in Tibet.
The 2016 annual report of the US Congressional Executive Commission re-designated China among the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The report also mentions about China’s strict inspection over Buddhist institutions and how this amounts to major manipulation of monasteries in Tibet with communist doctrines.
Stringent measures are being taken to restrict Tibetans from moving freely within Tibet. Pilgrims travelling to Lhasa from eastern Tibet are kept under strict surveillance. Pilgrims travelling to India and Nepal are facing numerous obstacles and are summoned back to Tibet. Compared to other nationalities in China, Tibetans face severe restrictions in availing travel documents. As recent as last month the
Chinese government has been confiscating passports of Tibetans in Eastern and North-Eastern Tibet in a bid to block their travel.
Since 2009, 145 brave Tibetans have committed self-immolation of which sadly 125 have died. Recent reports emanating out of Tibet suggest that the Chinese police have detained and tortured Tibetans protesting against mining activities in Dechen district in Kham. The whereabouts of the two young women who staged a protest in Ngaba town, carrying photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and raising slogan such as “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama” and the young boy in a solo protest in Kardze remain unknown. Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan man was labelled a splittist after a video by the New York Times that documented his journey to Beijing in 2015 in which he filed a lawsuit against Yushu officials for not properly implementing the bi-lingual education policy of the Chinese government. Also, according to a recent report from Tibet, 10 Tibetans, both monks and lay people in Barkham, Ngaba prefecture has been sentenced to varying terms of five to 14 years in prison. They were arrested for, among other reasons, taking part in the 80th birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Ngaba.
Given the Cultural Revolution situation in Tibet with the destruction of Larung Gar and forced eviction of monks and nuns, we urge our Chinese brothers and sisters to raise their voice against the injustices inflicted on Tibetans inside Tibet and call on your government to respect religious freedom in Tibet.
Today, we remember the imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who along with 350 Chinese intellectuals and activists signed and issued Charter 08, a manifesto in favor of democratic reforms in China and a federation for Tibet. We call for the immediate release of the first Chinese Noble Peace Laureate.
The Central Tibetan Administration hope that the Chinese leadership will realize that their policies in Tibet are flawed and have failed in winning the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people. Chinese people needs to realize that Tibet remains one of the biggest challenges that becomes the litmus test for China’s rise as the global power. Given Tibet’s past status as a historically independent nation and the current repression under Chinese occupation, the resolution to the Tibet issue is possible only through constructive dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the representatives of the Chinese leadership. Therefore, the Middle Way Policy is the way forward.
We express our gratitude to the outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for his leadership in improving the human rights situation in the world and towards the protection of the global environment.
We congratulate Mr. Antonio Guterres for being elected as the Secretary-General of the UN. We trust that Mr. Antonio Guterres will champion the cause of freedom and pay heed to all those who are deprived of their basic human rights. We laud Mr. Antonio Guterres for making the recent statement in Beijing that “UN needs to make effective combination of human, civil and economic rights in a world where many rights are not respected,” and urge him to make Tibet a top priority after taking office in January 2017.
We urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, as announced, to visit Tibet to assess the human rights situation and particularly the pressing situation in Larung Gar and Yachen Gar. We also request him to raise the critical human rights situation in Tibet in the opening statement at the forthcoming 34th UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva in March next year.
Despite strong pressure from the Chinese government, Mongolia extended a warm welcome to His Holiness the Dalia Lama enabling him to bless millions of followers in Mongolia. The Indian government has announced that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure and an honored guest and is free to visit any place in India.
We extend our deepest gratitude to the citizens and Government of India for their continued hospitality and unflinching support for the Tibetan people. We also thank the governments, parliamentarians, friends of Tibet and freedom-loving people across the globe who support the just cause of Tibet.
At the recent long-life prayer offering made to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the Phenpo and Pema-koe Tibetan communities, His Holiness has re-assured us that he will live for more than a hundred years. This has brought much joy and hope not only among Tibetans but also among his admirers around the world.
With immense respect, we pray for his long life. The Kashag once again express deepest gratitude to His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet for his benevolent presence amongst us. We reaffirm our unwavering loyalty and devotion to him. May all his wishes be fulfilled. May the non-violent cause of Tibet prevail. May freedom be restored in Tibet.
December 10, 2016
Note: This is a translation of the Tibetan statement. Should any discrepancies arise, please treat the Tibetan version as final and authoritative.