Tibetan-Han Relations Like An Owner and His Pet

In the aftermath of the “Tibetan Incident” in March this year, one of the most significant changes has been the relationship between the Han and Tibetan ethnic groups, in other words the question of the status of Tibetans in China.

It can be said that relations between Hans – who make up the majority of Chinese society - and Tibetans have never been so clearly revealed than after the "Tibetan Incident" last March. In the past, it was as though a veil separated the two and this not only made things unclear but also produced a very beautiful effect similar to looking at a flower through the fog. Moreover, many Tibetans used to sing their own praises and believed that amongst the 55 minorities in China, their status was the highest, their minority was the one most likable to the Han people, and they in particular meant much more to Chinese people than Uighur people. Tibetan reincarnated lamas and Tibetan monks, for instance, often come and go between Tibetan and Han areas, have numerous Han disciples and feel proud to serve as Hans’ Lamas. However, among the Chinese people there are many so-called “Tibet fans” and some of them call themselves "drifters in Tibet". Hardly have they spent a few years in Tibet than they find life has no taste. In 2006 when the train entered Lhasa, it seemed that the whole of China started feeling excited about the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and nearly everyone wanted to climb to the Potala. It can be said that it has been a very long time since Hans and Tibetans, I mean the relationship between the common people of the two people, have been permeated by tender feelings that cannot endure the truth.

And after the events in Tibet last March, this veil was lifted. It turns out what many of the Tibetans are satisfied with is just their status of finding favor with the Han among the fifty-five ethnic minorities. Many Han people, be it their love for Tibetans before the events or their hate for Tibetans after the events, have clearly shown that the feelings they nurtured were similar to the feelings of an owner towards its pet. This can be compared to the Tibetan mastiff, the most famous animal living on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It seems so rare and so valuable that some Chinese tycoons or those who pose as lovers of culture spend vast amounts of money in a rivalry to purchase the mastiff which they also have to feed with lots of meat every day. But one day, the Tibetan mastiff all of a sudden gets angry and bites the person who has become its owner, and the animal is beaten to death on the spot. Chinese newspapers often relate this kind of story. And it perfectly illustrates the relationship between Tibetans and Chinese. This is actually the real and fundamental relations between ethnic groups in Chinese society. If Tibetans are content with being pets, the Han people will maintain the tender feelings they once had towards Tibetans; and just like they are willing to feed cats or dog they like, those Hans will keep on “loving” Tibet. But human beings are not pets: pets do not have a volition of ego, whereas human beings do. Tibetans do not want to be pets, for the consequence of being a pet involves the loss of self, and ultimately the loss of Tibet. Therefore, as long as Tibetans are not content with being pets, or not content with accepting their fate of being pets, and bravely fight for the their being human beings and being Tibetans, then this is what brings trouble. In fact, trouble is already there; Tibetans are sometimes arrested, detained, tortured or even massacred. These are punishments inflicted by the country’s regime. To the Han people who evolve in the non-government sphere, the fact that some Han people changed sides so quickly allowed the truth to surface. And the truth is that Tibetans cannot act as humans. As soon as they do, they are exposed to fatal risks.

Actually, Uighur people obtained the same kind of result a long time ago. The bottom line is that Tibetans and Uighurs are the same: they have not been able to secure a status equal to the Hans in a Chinese society mostly made up of Hans. And this is what was revealed through the events that unfolded last March in Tibet. For many simple-minded and easily satisfied Tibetans, this was like a hit in the face or from another angle, a very significant lesson.

Kunming, 2nd June 2008

© Copyright 2008 by Boxun News

C100 cosponsors 23rd Annual Tibet Day

23rd Annual Tibet Day in San Francisco Held Successfully

Hundreds of people attended the 23rd Annual Tibet Day fair held at Ft. Mason, San Francisco on Saturday, December 6 organized by the Bay Area Friends of Tibet and cosponsored by the Tibetan Association of Northern California. Highlighting the day were cultural performances by Tibetan child-star Tenzin Kunsel and Friends of Tibet speakers, authors Jane Bay and Patrick Mahoney. The authors donated their books, Love and Loss, and Tibet: Lamplight Unto a Darkened World respectively, to the Bay Area Friends of Tibet and spoke eloquently about the preciousness of the Tibetan people and culture.

The event was graced by representatives from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's and Congresswoman Jackie Speier's offices who read statements from these US public officials. Speaker Pelosi statement noted that the "Chinese government has not lived up to its promises to improve human rights." and that the "United States has a special responsibility to promote values of liberty, equality, and human rights that we hold dear. "I look forward to working with President Barack Obama on behalf of human rights and religious freedom of the people of China and Tibet."

Congresswoman Jackie Speier's statement noted that the "deplorable condition and treatment of the Tibetan people shocks our global sensibilities...It is absolutely at the forefront of our U.S. foreign policy on human rights that we continue , with fierce determination, to promote a free Tibet." Their full statements are copied below. San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly also spoke and reiterated his support for right of the Tibetan people to self-determination. Supervisor Daly had been instrumental earlier in the year to sponsor a human rights resolution critical of the Chinese government in the lead up to the Beijing Olympic Torch relay that came to San Francisco on April 9 and was a strong vocal supporter and demonstrator for the Tibetan people during the protests that ensued. The San Francisco city official was warmly welcomed at Tibet Day 2008.

All day there were several entertaining musical and dance performances by members of the Tibetan Association of Northern California and a screening of Rosemary Rawcliffe's A Quiet Revolution. Hundreds of people sampled Tibetan momos and Tibetan and human rights activists tabled information about various facets of the just cause of Tibet. Over 30 local Tibetan business or Tibetan and human rights organizations were represented at the event. The event also included a 30 minute presentation celebrating 25 years of Bay Area Friends of Tibet's service to the just cause of Tibet.

Founding BAFoT member Jigme Yugay Raptentsetsang spoke about the early days in 1983 when BAFoT was formed after the Chinese had committed some atrocities in Tibet. Founder Philip Ladenla spoke about three important conferences that BAFoT had organized in the first decade of the organization including in 1988: Five Point Peace Plan, 1990: Endangered Tibet, and in 1992 and important conference, Tibet: The Road to Independence. Julia Shepardson gave a detailed account on the Tibetan resettlement project of the 1990s in which BAFoT resettled 67 Tibetans and their families to the San Francisco bay area, often with much media coverage. Bonnie McCalla was president of BAFoT during the 1990s and recalled the numerous Tibet Day cultural fairs, Tibetan National Uprising Day commemorations and several other events that BAFoT had organized such as a conference that hosted three Nobel Peace Prize winners including the Dalai Lama and Rigoberto Menchu.

Former BAFoT President Diane Hume explained a lot of her volunteer work for Tibet including providing much digital artwork for Tibetan events. Finally, current BAFoT president Giovanni Vassallo reviewed the successes of 2008 Olympics campaign. But first he recalled BAFoT's 25 Years of Service including organizing 23 Tibet Days, 24 Tibetan National Uprising Day Commemorations, 13 Observances of the Missing Panchen Lama's Birthday, 24 Himalayan Fair tabling and presence at numerous community fairs, co-organizing visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, other numerous protests and candlelight vigil and letter writing campaigns, continued support for local Tibetans and and local San Francisco Bay Area Government outreach. Then he spoke about his attendance and results of the Special International Tibet Support Group meeting that was convened in India 29 November - 1 December that he attended. Further, he spoke about the way forward for the Bay Area Friends of Tibet in the context of the International Tibet Support Network's post-Olympics strategic plan. The plan calls for the public to

1. Put Tibetans first,

2. Radically increase government pressure on China to provide concrete support for Tibet,

3. Put the spotlight on key Chinese officials responsible for policy in Tibet, and

4. targeted Chinese outreach. The proposals received a warm reception from the crowd of Tibetans and non-Tibetan supporters.

Proceeds from the event were marked to help BAFoT continue its mission to educate the public about Tibet as well as to the Tibetan Community Center of Northern California's capital campaign. Lucasfilm, Ltd., Committee of 100 for Tibet, Third Eye Travel, and the Dalai Lama Foundation were fiscal sponsors of the day-long event. The organizers thanked the sponsors and the many volunteers for their important contributions. More information about Tibet Day and the Bay Area Friends of Tibet's 25 years of service to the just cause of Tibet can be found at www.friends-of-tibet.org.

Chinese court sentences seven Tibetans between 8 years to life Imprisonment

16 December 2008 [Press Release]

Chinese court sentences seven Tibetans between 8 years to life Imprisonment

In the past couple of months, Lhasa Intermediate People's Court sentences seven Tibetans for their involvement in the so called "March 14" Riot. The sentences of indicted range between 8 years to life imprisonment, according to the confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The information was further corroborated by the Lhasa Evening News (Ch: Lasa Wen bao) dated 8 November. According to the report, five Tibetans were sentenced by the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court on 27 October. The same court sentenced two other Tibetans on 7 November 2008 respectively for their involvement in the "March 14 Riot".

The report cited that on 27 October 2008, five Tibetans were sentenced between 8 years to life imprisonment and deprivation of political rights on charges of "endangering state security" to committing crimes of "treason" or illegally offering information to people outside China. The Lhasa Intermediate People's Court convicted and sentenced the following Tibetans to varying prison terms.

Wangdue, in his 40's was sentenced to life imprisonment and deprivation of political right for life on charges of "endangering state security,"
Migmar Dhondup was convicted on same charge of "endangering state security" and was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment and five years deprivation of political right,
Phuntsok Dorjee was sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment and five years deprivation of political rights on charges of "treason" or illegally offering information to people outside China,
Tsewang Dorjee was sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment and five years deprivation of political rights on charges of "treason" or illegally offering information to people outside China,
Sonam Dakpa, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and five years deprivation of political rights on charges of "treason" or illegally offering information to people outside China.

Yeshi Choedon
Whereas the same court on 7 November sentenced Yeshi Choedon, in her 50's and retired health worker to 15 years in jail and deprivation of political rights for five years on charges of "endangering state security" and Sonam Tseten was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment with deprivation of political rights for five years on charges of treason or illegally offering information to people outside China.

Wangdue, now in his early 40s, a former political prisoner and HIV/AIDS activist whereabouts remains unknown until his court trial on 7 November 2008. The Lhasa City Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials arbitrarily detained him from his home on 14 March in Lhasa.

The bald comments made earlier by the Chinese official on the number of Tibetans having sentenced so far were devoid of any details about names, charges, jail terms, dates of court trials and other details. Mr. Li Boadong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in a response to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) expert during a hearing told, "After judicial proceedings, 69 had been sentenced to imprisonment for committing crimes of arson, robbery, theft, obstructing government functions, trouble-making in the streets, gathering to disrupt public order or attacking State organs; seven had been sentences for committing crimes of treason or illegally offering information to people outside China, and eight were still under investigation by the judicial organs." The authorities had earlier said no Tibetans had so far been sentenced to death, raising the possibility of such punishment in the future trials.

In the absence of any independent media and monitoring agencies in Tibet, the nature of the court proceedings without legal representation of their choice obviously bring forward the questions of competency of the court. TCHRD expresses its concern at the sub-standard legal proceedings in Chinese occupied Tibet and fears the worst scenarios for the Tibetan protesters who exercised their fundamental human rights of freedom of opinion and expression. The sentencing is a clear mockery of law and due process.

The Centre expresses its deepest shock and is outraged by these bogus trials and the harshness of the sentences handed down on those seven Tibetans. We are extremely concerned about the eight Tibetans whom the Chinese official told are being under judicial investigation. Any prison sentence can amount to a death sentence in Tibet where torture and inhumane treatments of political prisoners is well documented. The Centre questions the transparency of the legal proceeding as trials were held behind the closed door and many of the convicted were held incommunicado and disappeared since their arbitrary detention by the law enforcement agencies.



The Kashag welcomes the remarks made by Mr. Ban-ki Moon, the Secretary-General of the UN, saying that "I hope the Chinese authorities will continue to resolve all these issues through dialogue. The dialogue started some time ago between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government. I hope this will continue in a sincere manner so that all the concerns coming from Tibet will be resolved smoothly and harmoniously."

These forthright remarks by the Secretary General of the world body indicate the concerns of the international community as whole on the current sad state of Tibet. We believe that such remarks will serve as an impetus for the Chinese authorities to resolve the issue of Tibet to the satisfaction of the Tibetan and the Chinese people.

At the same time, we are dismayed by the remarks made in response to the Secretary General's comments by the Chinese foreign ministry's statement saying that the door to dialogue is still open while reiterating many pre-conditions that make it impossible for the dialogue process to move forward.

The statement said, "The key is whether the Dalai Lama examines and corrects his political stance, abandons his wrongful position on 'Tibetan independence' and genuinely matches his words with actions."

In fact, this attitude of the Chinese authorities is the real obstacle to the advancement of the dialogue process. This attitude is the one that firmly closes the door for further dialogue.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has committed himself to the Middle-Way Approach since 1979. His Holiness is not seeking Tibet's separation from China. Therefore His Holiness has no reason to correct his political stance. All his actions absolutely match his words. The whole world knows His Holiness the Dalai Lama's position of not seeking Tibetan independence for last three decades. Therefore, the PRC's assertion about wrong position on Tibetan independence is absolutely baseless and unsustainable. Their imagination about His Holiness' position on Tibetan independence shows either they want to distort His Holiness the Dalai Lama's intention for their political purpose or their lack of will to address the problem of Tibet. Nothing is farther from truth in saying that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is seeking Tibetan independence or semi-independence or independence in disguise. However, we are confident that such obvious untruthful statement can not mislead or fool the enlightened international community.

During the latest round of talks held in Beijing in November, the two envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr. Lodi Gyari and Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen, presented, at the instance of the Chinese counterpart during the earlier meeting, a memorandum on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people. The memorandum puts forth the Tibetan position on genuine autonomy and how the specific needs of the Tibetan nationality for autonomy and self-government can be met through application of the principles on autonomy of the constitution of the People's Republic of China. On this basis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama felt confident that the basic needs of the Tibetan nationality can be met through genuine autonomy within the constitution of the PRC. Now that the memorandum has been made public, any sensible person can verify from the document whether His Holiness the Dalai Lama is seeking independence or semi-independence or independence in disguise.

This is to reiterate that we are sincere in our commitment to the dialogue process and are serious that the issue of Tibet be resolved within the framework of the Chinese constitution for the benefit of both Tibetans and Chinese people. Therefore, we are always ready to have dialogue with PRC at anytime, anywhere if the PRC authorities wish to do so.

December 18, 2008

Tsewang Phuntso
Liaison Officer - Latin America
241 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 213 5010 extn. 11

To learn more about Tibet and the Tibetan culture in Spanish language, subscribe our quarterly newsletter, "Noticias del Tibet" or visit our website, www.tibetoffice.org/sp


Dalai Lama's address to European Parliament

Your Excellency, Mr. President, Honorable Members of the Parliament, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to speak before you today and I thank you for your invitation. Wherever I go, my main interest or commitment is in the promotion of human values such as warm heartedness – this is what I consider the key factor for a happy life at the individual level, family level and community level. In our modern times, it seems that insufficient attention is paid to these inner values. Promoting them is therefore my number one commitment.
My second interest or commitment is the promotion of inter-religious harmony. We accept the need for pluralism in politics and democracy, yet we often seem more hesitant about the plurality of faiths and religions. Despite their different concepts and philosophies, all major religious traditions bear the same messages of love, compassion, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. They are also similar in having the potential to help human beings lead happier lives. So these two are my main interests and commitments.
Of course the issue of Tibet is also of particular concern to me and I have a special responsibility to the people of Tibet, who continue to place their hope and trust in me during this most difficult period in the history of Tibet. The welfare of the Tibetan people is my constant motivation and I consider myself to be their free spokesperson in exile.
The last time I had the privilege to address the European Parliament (EP), on October 24, 2001, I stated, “despite some development and economic progress, Tibet continues to face fundamental problems of survival. Serious violations of human rights are widespread throughout Tibet and are often the result of policies of racial and cultural discrimination. Yet, they are only the symptoms and consequences of a deeper problem. The Chinese authorities view Tibet’s distinct culture and religion as the source of threat of separation. Hence as a result of deliberate policies an entire people with its unique culture and identity are facing the threat of extinction".
Since March this year, Tibetans from all walks of life and across the entire Tibetan plateau demonstrated against the oppressive and discriminatory policies of the Chinese authorities in Tibet. With full awareness of the imminent danger to their lives, Tibetans from all across Tibet known as Cholka-Sum (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo), young and old, men and women, monastic and lay people, believer and non-believers, including students, came together to spontaneously and courageously express their anguish, dissatisfaction and genuine grievances at the policies of the Chinese government. I have been deeply saddened by the loss of life, both Tibetan and Chinese, and immediately appealed to the Chinese authorities for restraint. Since the Chinese authorities have blamed me for orchestrating the recent events in Tibet, I have made repeated appeals for an independent and respected international body to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, including inviting them to Dharamsala, India. If the Chinese government has any evidence to support such serious allegations, they must disclose it to the world.
Sadly, the Chinese authorities have resorted to brutal methods to deal with the situation in Tibet, despite appeals by many world leaders, NGOs and personalities of international standing to avoid violence and show restraint. In the process, a large number of Tibetans have been killed, thousands injured and detained. There are many whose fate remains completely unknown.  Even as I stand here before you, in many parts of Tibet there is a huge presence of armed police and military. In many areas Tibetans continue to suffer under a state of de-facto martial law. There is an atmosphere of angst and intimidation. Tibetans in Tibet live in a constant state of fear of being the next to be arrested. With no international observers, journalists or even tourists allowed into many parts of Tibet, I am deeply worried about the fate of the Tibetans. Presently, the Chinese authorities have a completely free hand in Tibet. It is as though Tibetans face a death sentence, a sentence aimed at wiping out the spirit of the Tibetan people.
Many honorable members of the EP are well aware of my consistent efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibet problem through dialogue and negotiations. In this spirit, in 1988 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg I presented a formal proposal for negotiations that does not call for separation and independence of Tibet. Since then, our relations with the Chinese government have taken many twists and turns. After an interruption of nearly 10 years, in 2002 we re-established direct contact with the Chinese leadership. Extensive discussions have been held between my envoys and representatives of the Chinese leadership. In these discussions we have put forth clearly the aspirations of the Tibetan people. The essence of my Middle Way Approach is to secure genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the scope of the Constitution of the PRC.
During the seventh round of talks in Beijing on 1st and 2nd July this year, the Chinese side invited us to present our views on the form of genuine autonomy. Accordingly, on 31st October 2008 we presented to the Chinese leadership the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People. Our memorandum puts forth our position on genuine autonomy and how the basic needs of the Tibetan nationality for autonomy and self-government can be met. We have presented these suggestions with the sole purpose of making a sincere effort to address the real problems in Tibet. We were confident that given goodwill, the issues raised in our memorandum could be implemented.
Unfortunately, the Chinese side has rejected our memorandum in its totality, branding our suggestions as an attempt at “semi-independence” and “independence in disguise” and, for that reason, unacceptable. Moreover, the Chinese side is accusing us of "ethnic cleansing" because our memorandum calls for the recognition of the right of autonomous areas "to regulate the residence, settlement and employment or economic activities of persons who wish to move to Tibetan areas from other parts of the PRC."
We have made it clear in our memorandum that our intention is not to expel non-Tibetans. Our concern is the induced mass movement of primarily Han, but also some other nationalities, into many Tibetan areas, which in turn marginalizes the native Tibetan population and threatens Tibet’s fragile natural environment. Major demographic changes that result from massive migration will lead to the assimilation rather than integration of the Tibetan nationality into the PRC and gradually lead to the extinction of the distinct culture and identity of the Tibetan people.
The cases of the peoples of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and East Turkestan in the PRC are clear examples of the devastating consequences of a massive population transfer of the dominant Han nationality upon the minority nationalities. Today, the language, script and culture of the Manchu people have become extinct. In Inner Mongolia today, only 20% are native Mongolians out of a total population of 24 millions.
Despite the assertions by some hard-line Chinese officials to the contrary, from the copies of our memorandum made available to you it is clear that we have sincerely addressed the concerns of the Chinese government about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the PRC. The memorandum is self-explanatory. I would welcome your comments and suggestions.
I take this opportunity to appeal to the European Union and the Parliament to use your good offices, sparing no efforts, to persuade the Chinese leadership to resolve the issue of Tibet through earnest negotiations for the common good of the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
While I firmly reject the use of violence as a means in our struggle, we certainly have the right to explore all other political options available to us. In the spirit of democracy, I called for a Special Meeting of Tibetans in exile to discuss the state of Tibetan people and the state of the issue of Tibet and the future course of our movement. The meeting took place from November 17-22, 2008 in Dharamsala, India. The failure of the Chinese leadership to respond positively to our initiatives has reaffirmed the suspicion held by many Tibetans that the Chinese government has no interest whatsoever in any kind of mutually acceptable solution. Many Tibetans continue to believe that the Chinese leadership is bent on the forceful and complete assimilation and absorption of Tibet into China. They therefore call for the complete independence of Tibet. Others advocate the right to self-determination and a referendum in Tibet. Despite these different views, the delegates to the Special Meeting unanimously resolved to empower me to decide the best approach, in accordance with the prevailing situation and the changes taking place in Tibet, China and the wider world. I will study the suggestions made by about 600 leaders and delegates from Tibetan communities around the world, including views we are able to gather from a cross section of Tibetans in Tibet.
I am a staunch believer in democracy. Consequently, I have consistently encouraged Tibetans in exile to follow the democratic process. Today, the Tibetan refugee community may be among the few refugee communities that have established all three pillars of democracy: legislature, judiciary and executive. In 2001, we took another great stride in the process of democratization by having the chairman of the Kashag (cabinet) of the Tibetan Administration in exile elected by popular vote.
I have always maintained that ultimately the Tibetan people must be able to decide the future of Tibet. As Pundit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, stated in the Indian Parliament on December 7, 1950: “The last voice in regard to Tibet should be the voice of the people of Tibet and nobody else.”
The issue of Tibet has dimensions and implications that go well beyond the fate of six million Tibetans. Tibet is situated between India and China. For centuries Tibet acted as a peaceful buffer zone separating the two most populated countries on earth. However, in 1962, only a few years after the so-called “peaceful liberation of Tibet” the world witnessed the first ever war between the two Asian giants. This clearly shows the importance of a just and peaceful resolution of the Tibet question in ensuring lasting and genuine trust and friendship between the two most powerful nations of Asia. The Tibetan issue is also related to Tibet’s fragile environment, which scientists have concluded, has an impact on much of Asia involving billions of people. The Tibetan plateau is the source of many of Asia’s greatest rivers. Tibet’s glaciers are the earth’s largest ice mass outside the Poles. Some environmentalists today refer to Tibet as the Third Pole. And, if the present warming trend continues the Indus River might dry up within the next 15-20 years. Furthermore, Tibet’s cultural heritage is based on Buddhism’s principle of compassion and non-violence. Thus, it concerns not just the six million Tibetans, but also the over 13 million people across the Himalayas, Mongolia and in the Republics of Kalmykia and Buryat in Russia, including a growing number of Chinese brothers and sisters who share this culture, which has the potential to contribute to a peaceful and harmonious world.
My maxim has always been to hope for the best and to prepare for the worst. With this in mind, I have counseled the Tibetans in exile to make more rigorous efforts in educating the younger generation of Tibetans, in strengthening our cultural and religious institutions in exile with the aim of preserving our rich cultural heritage, and in expanding and strengthening the democratic institutions and civil society among the Tibetan refugee community. One of the main objectives of our exile community is to preserve our cultural heritage where there is the freedom to do so and to be the free voice of our captive people inside Tibet. The tasks and challenges we face are daunting. As a refugee community, our resources are naturally limited. We Tibetans also need to face the reality that our exile may last for a longer time. I would therefore be grateful to the European Union for assistance in our educational and cultural endeavors.
I have no doubt that the principled and consistent engagement of the EP with China will impact the process of change that is already taking place in China. The global trend is towards more openness, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. Sooner or later, China will have to follow the world trend. In this context, I wish to commend the EP for awarding the prestigious Sakharov Prize to the Chinese human rights defender Hu Jia. It is an important signal as we watch China rapidly moving forward. With its newfound status, China is poised to play an important leading role on the world stage. In order to fulfill this role, I believe it is vital for China to have openness, transparency, rule of law and freedom of information and thought. There is no doubt that the attitudes and policies of members of the international community towards China will impact the course of the change taking place in China as much as domestic events and developments.
In contrast to the continued extremely rigid attitude of the Chinese government towards Tibet, fortunately among the Chinese people – especially among the informed and educated Chinese circles – there is a growing understanding and sympathy for the plight of the Tibetan people. Although my faith in the Chinese leadership with regard to Tibet is becoming thinner and thinner, my faith in the Chinese people remains unshaken. I have therefore been advising the Tibetan people to make concerted efforts to reach out to the Chinese people. Chinese intellectuals openly criticized the harsh crackdown of Tibetan demonstrations by the Chinese government in March this year and called for restraint and dialogue in addressing the problems in Tibet. Chinese lawyers offered publicly to represent arrested Tibetan demonstrators at trials. Today, there is growing understanding, sympathy, support and solidarity among our Chinese brothers and sisters for the difficult situation of the Tibetans and their legitimate aspirations. This is most encouraging. I take this opportunity to thank the brave Chinese brothers and sisters for their solidarity.
I also thank the European Parliament for the consistent display of concern and support for the just and non-violent Tibetan struggle. Your sympathy, support and solidarity have always been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to the Tibetan people, both in and outside of Tibet. I would like to express special thanks to the members of the Tibet Inter-Group of the EP, who have made the tragedy of the Tibetan people not only a focus of their political work but also a cause of their hearts. The many resolutions of the EP on the issue of Tibet have helped greatly to highlight the plight of the Tibetan people and to raise the awareness of the issue of Tibet amongst the public and in governments here in Europe, and all around the world
The consistency of the European Parliament’s support for Tibet has not gone unnoticed in China. I regret where this has caused some tensions in EU-China relations. However, I wish to share with you my sincere hope and belief that the future of Tibet and China will move beyond mistrust to a relationship based on mutual respect, trust and recognition of common interest – irrespective of the current very grim situation inside Tibet and the deadlock in the dialogue process between my envoys and the Chinese leadership. I have no doubt that your continued expressions of concern and support for Tibet will, in the long run, have a positive impact and help create the necessary political environment for a peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet. Your continued support is, therefore, critical.
I thank you for the honor to share my thoughts with you.


By His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV

Brussels, 4 December 2008

New York Times editorial: Beijing’s Blind Spot

Despite rising calls for Tibetan independence, nearly 600 Tibetan exiles from Buddhist monasteries and the diaspora in India, Europe and America have wisely reaffirmed the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” of nonviolence toward China and autonomy for Tibet. China’s leaders are unwisely refusing to seriously pursue a compromise.

Tibetans, especially younger Tibetans, are increasingly frustrated. Eight rounds of talks since 2002 between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and Chinese officials have yielded no progress. Beijing has invested heavily to improve the quality of life in Tibet. But it continues to restrict Tibetans’ rights, while seeking to dilute their power by encouraging Han Chinese to migrate to the region.

During the latest round of talks, the Tibetans offered a memorandum that proposes to protect Tibet’s culture, religious and educational traditions within the autonomy provisions of China’s Constitution.

Beijing spurned the memorandum, and it continues to claim that the Dalai Lama’s real plan is to break Tibet away from China. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly endorsed autonomy. And the memorandum could not have been plainer: “We remain firmly committed not to seek separation or independence.”

In an interview this summer with Nicholas D. Kristof, a Times columnist, the Dalai Lama made clear his acquiescence to another of Beijing’s demands — that Tibet accept the socialist system under Communist Party rule. If China’s leaders doubt his sincerity, they should test him with good-faith negotiations.

Time is running out. Anti-Chinese riots in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in March showed that many Tibetans already have lost all patience. According to official Chinese reports, 18 civilians and one policeman died in a rampage that burned 120 houses and looted nearly 1,400 shops. Exile groups say Chinese security forces killed scores of Tibetans in the crackdown that followed. Governments and organizations around the world protested Beijing’s brutality and obstinacy.

Beijing remains obstinate. China has now called off a summit with the European Union, scheduled for Monday, after the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made clear that he planned to meet with the Dalai Lama later in the week.

It is in Beijing’s clear interest to pursue serious negotiations while the revered, 73-year-old Dalai Lama is still able to persuade his followers to accept a peaceful compromise. Instead, China’s leaders seem to be betting that the problem will go away when the Dalai Lama dies. That is a cynical and dangerous gamble.

November 27, 2008

China and Tibet
To the Editor:

In “Beijing’s Blind Spot” (editorial, Nov. 27), you wonder why China’s rulers will not accept the Dalai Lama’s “middle way,” which seems so obviously “in Beijing’s clear interest,” since many Tibetans, especially among the young, would be more radical.

You would certainly be right to say the Dalai Lama’s offer is in the interests of the Chinese people as a whole. But the interests of Beijing’s rulers need to be looked at differently. If any one of them were to appear “weak” on the issue of “splitting the motherland,” he could be attacked by rivals and suffer a loss of power. Hence none are willing to.

Moreover, for the ruling group as a whole, trouble with the Dalai Lama is not entirely a bad thing. In recent years Chinese people having been protesting in increasing numbers over corruption, land seizures, environmental destruction, a growing gap between rich and poor, and other issues that specifically raise questions about the government’s performance.

For the government to be able to make an issue of the “jackal-hearted” Dalai Lama who would split the motherland not only diverts attention from these complaints but also positions the rulers as heroes of Chinese nationalism.

Eyewitnesses to the Lhasa riots last March noted a strange “hands off”’ posture of the police during the first half day of the disturbances. During those same hours, though, journalists from the government-controlled media were making videotapes of rioting “splittists,” and the tapes were then shown around the clock on television, in every corner of China, for several days to follow.

There are reasons China’s rulers do these things, but it is hard to call them a blind spot.

Perry Link
Riverside, Calif., Nov. 27, 2008

The writer is professor emeritus of Chinese studies at Princeton University and is now at the University of California at Riverside.


Communique of the Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting

The Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting, held in India, the second home of the Tibetan people, concluded today with a strong call to action, condemnation of the PRC’s intransigent approach on Tibet, and an expression of solidarity with the Tibetan people at a time of crisis.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama had asked Tibet supporters attending the Special International TSG Meeting, called by the Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India, to “provide suggestions to our elected leadership on the best possible course for the realisation of the Tibetan people’s fundamental aspirations”. The gathering followed the Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People held in Dharamsala, base of the Tibetan government in exile, from 17-22 November.

The Special TSG meeting opened with one minute’s silence for those who have died in Tibet, particularly since the uprising from 10 March 2008 onwards, and for those killed in the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

More than 100 delegates from over 30 countries expressed a sense of urgency due to the brutal crackdown in Tibet and the Chinese government’s recent propaganda offensive following talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. Continued commitment to a non-violent approach and support for the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination was agreed.

Outrage was expressed at the Chinese government’s hardline stance against the Dalai Lama, with particular reference to lack of progress in talks with Chinese officials. Participants pledged to support Tibetans in seeking a new framework for engagement. They welcomed the fact that the Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy had been made public by the Dalai Lama’s representatives prior to the Special Meeting in Dharamsala in November.

During lively and intense debate, many delegates pressed for the Tibetan government in exile to reassess the Middle Way approach (which currently seeks genuine autonomy within the framework of the PRC) in favour of independence if there is no substantive improvement in the Tibetans’ situation in the near future and sincere engagement from the Chinese side.

Delegates to the Special International TSG Meeting reaffirmed their commitment to putting the needs and wishes of Tibetans in Tibet first. They expressed heartfelt admiration for the great courage of the Tibetan people in their peaceful resistance across the plateau since March. The protests are a rejection by the Tibetan people of Chinese rule in Tibet, expressing a resentment that has built up over nearly 60 years since China’s invasion and reached a breaking point. Through their dissent, Tibetans are conveying the message that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile represent their interests, and not the Chinese government. The meeting expressed profound concern over the continuing suffering of the Tibetan people, now under de facto martial law, and the delegates’ solidarity with political prisoners and the families of the hundreds of disappeared.

The meeting welcomed the recent Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People, which provided opportunities for diverse opinions from the Tibetan community to be openly expressed and discussed. This was an important democratic forum that should be continued in order to strengthen Tibetan institutions and civil society in exile. Delegates noted that while the meeting was held in exile, efforts were made to ascertain the views of Tibetans in Tibet, despite an intense climate of fear and Chinese government restrictions. The Special General Meeting re-affirmed the solidarity of Tibetans from across the Tibetan plateau, just as Tibetans in Tibet from all three provinces (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo) have demonstrated strong unity in their assertions of Tibetan national, cultural and religious identity.

Delegates highlighted the 21st century relevance to the world of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual tradition and culture, especially in terms of offering alternative ways forward for conflict resolution.

The meeting re-affirmed TSG recognition of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile as the pre-eminent and legitimate representatives of the Tibetan people. Delegates agreed to continue to work to achieve formal recognition of the Tibetan government in exile in the international community.

Delegates recognised the importance of preserving the institution of the Dalai Lama, and acknowledged that the Dalai Lama’s leadership extends to millions of Buddhists worldwide and peoples of many different countries in the Himalayas, Mongolia and beyond.

Delegates agreed to intensify their efforts in order to bring an end to the injustices in Tibet. Advocacy work with stake-holder governments in the region was discussed, including protection of vulnerable Tibetans in Nepal at a time when the Chinese government has stepped up its influence in the region. Tibet is of tremendous geopolitical significance. Delegates also agreed that awareness must be raised, particularly in Asia as a matter of urgency, about Tibet’s critical importance as the earth’s ‘third pole’ and a watershed of Asia’s great rivers affecting millions of people.

It was noted that the Chinese political campaigns have led to further unrest and increased tensions between Chinese and Tibetans. There is a risk that this could intensify further in the build-up to the 50th anniversary of the 10th March uprising in 2009. There was particular commitment at the meeting for developing new strategies for targeted outreach to the Chinese people, particularly given the upsurge in anti-Tibetan sentiment and Chinese nationalism as a result of distorted representations of the situation in Tibet by the Chinese government.

Specific suggestions and recommendations on advocacy, monitoring, campaign action, Chinese outreach and the dialogue process will be presented to the Tibetan government in exile following the meeting.

Monday, 1 December 2008, 12:15 p.m.