Statement of the Kashag on the 42nd Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Day, 10 March 2002
Today,10 March, is an unforgettable day for the people of Tibet. Forty-three years ago, on this day, the peace and justice-loving people of Tibet staged a peaceful Uprising against the Chinese occupation of our country. To them-the brave men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their lives for the spiritual and political cause of Tibet-I pay my tribute. Similarly, I extend my loving greetings to the courageous and innocent people in Tibet who continue to suffer persecution and repression.
The past forty-three years have seen a series of tragic developments in Tibet. At the same time, there has been a number of encouraging events. Needless to say that every Tibetan has a responsibility to study and take stock of these in order to chart out a future of peace and stability.
The Chinese government has implemented a number of policies and campaigns in Tibet with the ultimate aim of Sinicizing our country. Anti-Rebellion Campaign, Class Struggle, Cultural Revolution, Collectivization, Liberalization, Economic Development, and Western Development Program are some of them. These campaigns and policies have brought unending suffering and hardship to Tibetans, three generations of whom have lived under Chinese rule. However, their faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and determination to toil for the cause of Tibet have remained undiminished. Their sacrifice and courage will remain an indestructible milestone in the history of Tibet. We, the Tibetans in exile, pay our respect to them.
As for the Tibetans in exile, initially we faced a lot of hardship in terms of unfamiliar climate, language barrier, and poor livelihood. However, we were soon able to establish settlements, cultural institutes and schools, thanks to the efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Today, the Tibetans in exile lead a fairly decent life and are able to preserve our religion, culture and identity. We have also been able to democratize our exile political system. So much so that our political system now compares favourably with those of highly developed democracies in the world. This is indeed a matter of pride.
Following the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetans in Tibet and exile have consistently conducted our freedom struggle on the plane of non-violence. Beleaguered, as the world today is, by acts of violence and terrorism, more and more people are beginning to recognize and appreciate the fact that violence is not the answer to the problem of violence. At a time like this, our non-violent struggle becomes all the more pertinent, for it serves as an example of peaceful conflict resolution for the whole world. Needless to say that it will go down in the world history as Tibets most important contribution.
Over the past 23 years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has steadfastly pursued liberal and open-minded approach for resolving the problem of Tibet. His Middle Path approach envisages negotiations, leading to a mutually-beneficial solution so that the Tibetan and Chinese peoples can co-exist in harmony and friendship. As a part of this policy, he announced the Five Point Peace Plan and Strasbourg Proposal, which have won strong support from governments, parliaments and the general public the world over. It is now becoming increasingly clear that, sooner or later, the Chinese leadership will have to resolve the problem of Tibet through negotiations. I am convinced that one day we will definitely be able to start dialogue with the Chinese leadership.
At the same time, I must state that meaningful negotiations can come about only if the two contracting parties are equally powerful. No doubt, we cant be the equal of China in terms of population, military might, economy and international political relations. Nevertheless, we have a unique source of strength, which puts us in a position to negotiate with China on equal terms. We have the strength of truth and non-violence, which, if anything, makes us more powerful than China. The day we succeed in realizing the full potential of truth and non-violence will be the day when we are able to bring China to the negotiating table and also find a mutually-beneficial solution. I have absolutely no doubt about that.
Presently, the Tibetan peoples sense of forgiveness and compassion toward the Communist China is not complete in the full sense of the word. This is exactly the reason why Beijing is able to treat us with nonchalant disdain. Now, whether we are able to resolve the problem of Tibet through negotiations or not will depend on how well we are able to internalize the values of non-violence and peace. The Tibetans, who long for a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue, must overcome anger and hatred, and make ceaseless efforts to realize the full potential of our non-violent values. As this is extremely important for our cause, the Kashag would like to take this opportunity to emphatically request all Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet, to endeavour toward this end.
A prayer composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama states:
“Drunk with demonic delusions, they engage in harmful deeds, Thus, bringing ruin both upon themselves and others. Grant this cruel multitude the wisdom eye to discriminate between the right and wrong.”
Now, if we Tibetans wish to see the realization of our prayer for others to be endowed the wisdom to discriminate between the right and wrong, it is essential that we must first cultivate this quality in ourselves. If we have this quality in ourselves, there is no doubt that the above prayer will come true. I think it is not enough to blame the Chinese leadership for the failure to start negotiations; it is more important to develop our own ability and inner strength.
Another source of our strength is unity among ourselves. It is unfortunate that a small number of narrow-minded Tibetans in the exile community go out of their way to mix petty, personal differences with the issues relating to our national interests. In doing so, they foment factional infighting, thus undermining the unity of Tibetans. As a matter of fact, it is the emotion of attachment and hatred that drive their action. Worse still, our adversary manipulate the action of these individuals to spread rumours and create estrangement in our community. Using our wisdom to discriminate between the right and wrong, we should be able to see through such insidious designs. I take this opportunity to call upon all Tibetans to work for our unity and to see to it that we do not mix personal differences with the issues relating to our national interests.
Generally speaking, there is every reason to be optimistic regarding our cause. Nevertheless, we will do well to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, as His Holiness said. Even if our issue remains unresolved for a long time, we must persevere steadfastly, no matter how many generations it takes, to preserve our culture, spiritual tradition, ways of life, and our language, which is the foundation of our civilization. The movement of Tibet should not be dependent on a few individuals; every Tibetan must take responsibility in this matter. Presently, the Tibetan culture is suffering setback both in Tibet and in exile: in Tibet, due to the Chinese coercion and repression, and in exile, due to our own laxity and the pressure of modernization. I call upon all Tibetans to view this situation with utmost seriousness. More particularly, I would like to urge the Tibetan exiles to desist from pursuing the goal of migrating to western countries as the be-all and end-all of life. I urge them, instead, to shoulder their responsibility for the cause of our nation and people. On this momentous day, let us all do earnest soul-searching and re-dedicate ourselves to our national cause.
The Kashag, on behalf of the Tibetan people, would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to the governments, parliamentarians, Tibet Support Groups, and individuals who have supported us in our efforts to secure our short-term welfare as well as to achieve our ultimate goal of freedom and justice in our homeland. More particularly, for 43 years now, the government and people of this Arya Land, India, have served as the saviour and refuge of nearly 100,000 Tibetan refugees. In addition, this country has created an ideal condition for laying a firm foundation for our non-violent freedom movement (Satyagraha). In short, the immensity of this Arya Lands help and support to us have been such that all generations of Tibetans will remain forever grateful to her.
Recently, His Holiness the Dalai Lama became ill for a while, sparking off a great deal of concern and anxiety among the Tibetan people. I would like to reassure all that His Holiness is now in good health. At the same time, I pray that he may never suffer from any ailment in the future. The health and long life of His Holiness depends on the Tibetan peoples collective merit and pure relationship. Therefore, I urge all Tibetans to concentrate on your spiritual practice, act on His Holiness advice, and also pray for his long life.
Finally, I pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. May the truth of Tibets cause prevail! May the Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile be reunited so that all Tibetans can enjoy the good fortune of receiving spiritual teaching directly from His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama!