Statement of the Kashag on the 46th Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Day, 10 March 2005
Today, on this occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Tibetan peoples peaceful uprising against the Chinese occupation, the Kashag pays tribute to the brave men and women of Tibet who sacrificed their lives for the spiritual and political cause of Tibet. The Kashag also pledges its solidarity with the innocent Tibetans who continue to suffer torture in Tibet.
In the Kashag’s 10 March statements of 2002 and 2003, we offered a clarification to the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet by reviewing the Tibetan political developments, outlining the implementation policy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle-Way Approach, the means of reinforcing the strength of the Tibetan people, the re-establishment of our contacts with the Chinese leadership and the creation of a conducive environment for a successful negotiation. In the statement of 2004, aimed at the Chinese leadership, we explained the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the policy of the Central Tibetan Administration, and the need for an immediate resolution of the Tibetan problem through dialogue. Since the 10 March Statement is an important declaration of the Kashag’s policies and future plans, which are of historical and political significance, we hope that the Tibetans in and outside Tibet will pay a close attention to it.
Since the conclusion of the 17-Point Agreement in 1951–irrespective of the conditions under which it was signed, and whether the provisions of the agreement fulfilled the aspirations of the Tibetan people–His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government and people sincerely abided by it in letter and spirit for the sole purpose of the peaceful co-existence between the Tibetan and Chinese people. However, after some years, as China’s military might increased in Tibet, they deliberately violated the terms of the agreement. Unable to endure this, the Tibetan people voluntarily, and in unison, rose up against the Chinese government on 10 March 1959. Even during that time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made every possible effort to settle the issue peacefully but failed due to the forceful clampdown by the Chinese government. As a result, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Kashag were forced to seek refuge in India and announced that the agreement had been invalidated. There is a clear evidence that all these happened due to the lack of understanding and flexibility on the part of the then Chinese leaders and their continued repression of the Tibetan people by force. The Tibetan people had done nothing that could be described as inappropriate at the time.
Since then, the problem of Tibet aggravated and more than hundred thousand Tibetans had to flee the country. The fact that the majority of the Tibetan refugees were ordinary people–children and elderly people, nomads, peasants, monks and nuns, etc.–with no affiliation to any particular class or political group, clearly reflects the nature of the Tibetan problem. Due to the non-implementation of the 17-Point Agreement which was already accepted by the Tibetan people, the Tibetans had to take part in the movement for the restoration of Tibetan independence, and the justice-loving people of the international community could no longer ignore the issue of Tibet.
In 1979, soon after receiving a proposal from the then Chinese leaders to resolve the issue of Tibet through negotiations, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, without any hesitation, agreed to negotiate with the Chinese government based on his Middle-Way Approach. Since then, he has not only made every possible effort to sincerely pursue this policy but also stood firmly by this policy irrespective of the vicissitudes in our relations during the last 26 years. Moreover, he has been able to raise the understanding of and support for this policy in both the Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies and amongst the Tibetans in and outside Tibet. However, due to the various internal and external obstacles such as engaging in some trivial issues, misunderstandings or differences in the ways of working, we have already squandered 26 years without any success in achieving actual negotiations. This is indeed an irreparable loss for both the parties, and will leave an indelible mark in the annals of history.
In the last three years, the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have been able to visit China and some parts of Tibet for three times. The free and frank discussions they had with the Chinese leaders were very helpful to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan leadership in deepening our understanding on several issues. We believe that it has also helped the Chinese leadership to better understand the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the views of the Central Tibetan Administration. It has become clear to us, in particular, from the third round of discussions last year that the Chinese leaders have many doubts and suspicions which are baseless in nature. For these, we intend to provide convincing clarifications, and we hope that we will be able to clear their doubts and suspicions.
Deng Xiaoping’s conclusion that “anything but independence can be resolved through negotiations”, has a profound and pervasive connotation. Pursuant to this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s great decision of not seeking independence has resolved the basic differences between the two sides and laid down a mutually acceptable foundation for dialogue. Therefore, if the either party, instead of resolving the outstanding issues through dialogue, tries to avoid it by laying down preconditions or entertaining baseless doubts and suspicions, this will clearly go against the promise of Deng Xiaoping. Moreover, it will not be considered a wise policy.
The Five-Point Peace Plan and the Strasbourg Proposal of His Holiness the Dalai Lama outline the major issues concerning the aspirations of the Tibetan people. These are proposals for resolving the details of the issue through dialogue. His Holiness the Dalai Lama did not issue them as a non-negotiable and ultimate decision. As for the preambles, it is clear that they are just background information and not part of the agenda. The Five-Point Peace Plan, in particular, is a future vision that, irrespective of the resolution of the status of Tibet, needs to be pursued for the benefit of entire humanity, including the Tibetan and Chinese people. It is, therefore, very clear that this is also not directly related to the political status of the Tibetan people and the agenda for negotiation. In essence, the entirety of the Tibetan population having legitimate rights within the constitutional framework of the People’s Republic of China to enjoy genuine national regional autonomy is the legitimate requirement of the Tibetan people. Therefore, the need of such an autonomy, equally and uniformly practised amidst all the Tibetan people, has already been emphasised; not just once but many times. We would like to once again state that this basic principle can not be changed at all.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform all the Tibetan people that the Middle Way policy is not a policy newly formulated by the 12th Kashag. Since 1979, it has been a policy adopted by the Kashag, the Assembly and the general Tibetan public through a democratic procedure. Therefore, we must put all our efforts to implement this policy in all sincerity. As for the Tibetan administration, we feel that so long as this policy does not change through a democratic process, our failure to implement this policy would mean that the Kashag has not been responsible to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Assembly and the general public. The Kashag would also be committing a historical blunder of being indifferent to the cause of Tibet. We have, therefore, done our level best to channel all our energies towards pursuing this policy. The Kashag would like to thank the Assembly, Tibet Support Groups and the general Tibetan public for their co-operation in this regard.
After the return of the third visit of His Holiness’s envoys last year, and carefully studying the minutes of their discussions, we have decided to put more efforts towards negotiations. The meeting of the Task Force on negotiations was convened and the advice of the consultants sought on the expansion of the Task Force and the creation of its new permanent office. We are also making efforts to respond to and draw lessons from the suggestions made by the People’s Republic of China according to the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We cannot afford to jeopardise our efforts for creating a conducive atmosphere for negotiation in fear of criticism and opinions from a section of Tibetan organisations or individuals. Therefore we are determined to move forward in our efforts to create a congenial climate for negotiation without any hesitation. Learning from the experiences of the past two decades, we want to make sure that we ourselves do not become the cause for the failure of negotiations.
In a democratic society, there can be, and should be, many different ideologies and approaches. Moreover, the freedom to vigorously promote one’s ideological leanings and approaches among the general public by the means of the dissemination of information, appealing to the public and advising them, etc. is the fundamental benefit of a democracy. Therefore the Tibetan administration would like to once again appeal to all of you to support the Middle Way policy and work towards creating an atmosphere conducive for dialogue. We will very soon make a similar appeal to the Tibetan NGOs and the Tibet Support Groups, both verbally and in writing. In short, you are well aware that since we are at the moment committed to the Middle Way policy for resolving the Tibetan issue through non-violence as the only means to achieve that, the Kashag strongly appeals to all concerned that when we initiate any activity for the cause of Tibet, it is very important that our actions do not go against the very policy and approach we are committed to.
The Kashag would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Tibetan people, our heart-felt gratitude to the governments, parliaments, Tibet Support Groups and individuals for their co-operation and assistance in our quest for the well-being of the Tibetans in exile and the eventual resolution of the Tibetan cause. The people and Government of India, in particular, have been very generous for the last 45 years in providing livelihood to about hundred thousand Tibetans and facilitating the creation of a strong foundation for the Tibetan struggle for truth. This is something that the Tibetan future generations will never forget and will remain ever grateful.
For the truth of the issue of Tibet to prevail, it is essential to enhance the collective merit of the Tibetan people. The Kashag would like to thank all Tibetans within and without Tibet for acting upon our request and participating in a series of merit-accumulating activities last year. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is turning 70 this Wood-Bird Year. Therefore, the Kashag would like to request all of you once again to carry out merit-earning activities in general, and in particular, recite as many White Tara mantra as possible for the longevity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Finally, I pray for the good health and long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I also pray for the spontaneous fulfilment of all his great wishes. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon.
The Kashag 10 March 2005
N.B. Translated from the original statement in Tibetan