Saturday, March 13, 2010
As we commemorate today the thirty-seventh anniversary of the Tibetan People's uprising, we are witnessing a general hardening of Chinese government policy. This is reflected in an increasingly aggressive posture towards the peoples of Taiwan and Hong Kong and in intensified repression in Tibet. We also see rising fear and suspicion throughout the Asia-Pacific region and a worsening of relations between China and much of the rest of the world.
Within the context of this tense political atmosphere, Beijing has once again sought to impose its will on the Tibetan people by appointing a rival Panchen Lama. In doing so, it has chosen a course of total disregard both for the sentiments of the Tibetans in general and for Tibetan spiritual tradition in particular, despite my every effort to reach for some form of understanding and cooperation with the Chinese government. Significantly, the official Chinese media compares the present political climate in Tibet with that in Poland during the Solidarity years of the 1980's. This demonstrates a growing sense of insecurity on the part of the Chinese leadership as a result of which, through a continuing campaign of coercion and intimidation, Beijing has greatly reinforced its repression throughout Tibet. I am therefore, saddened to have to report that the situation of our people in Tibet continues to deteriorate.
Nevertheless, it remains my strong conviction that change for the better is coming. China is at a critical juncture: its society is undergoing profound changes and the country's leadership is facing the transition to a new generation. It is obvious too that the Tiananmen massacre has failed to silence the call for freedom, democracy and human rights in China. Moreover, the impressive democratisation in process across the Taiwan Strait must further invigorate the democratic aspirations of the Chinese people. Indeed, Taiwan's historic first direct presidential elections later this month are certain to have an immense political and psychological impact on their minds. A transformation from the current totalitarian regime in Beijing into one which is more open, free and democratic is thus inevitable. The only outstanding question is how and when and whether the transition will be a smooth one.
As a human being, it is my sincere desire that our Chinese brothers and sisters enjoy freedom, democracy, prosperity and stability. As a Buddhist monk, I am of course concerned that a country which is home to almost a quarter of the world's entire population and which is on the brink of an epic change, should undergo that change peacefully. In view of China's huge population, chaos and instability could lead to large scale bloodshed and tremendous suffering for millions of people. Such a situation would also have serious ramifications for peace and stability throughout the world. As a Tibetan, I recognize that the future of our country and our people depends to a great extent on what happens in China during the years ahead.
Whether the coming change in China brings new life and new hope for Tibet and whether China herself emerges as a reliable, peaceful and constructive member of the international community depends to a large degree on the extent to which the international community itself adopts responsible policies towards China. I have always drawn attention to the need to bring Beijing into the mainstream of world democracy and have spoken against any ideas of isolating and containing China. To attempt to do so would be morally incorrect and politically impractical. Instead, I have always counselled a policy of responsible and principled engagement with the Chinese leadership.
It became obvious during the Tiananmen movement that the Chinese people yearn for freedom, democracy, equality and human rights no less than any other people. Moreover, I was personally very moved to see that those young people, despite being taught, ?political power comes out of the barrel of a gun? pursued their aims without resorting to violence. I, too, am convinced that non-violence is the appropriate way to bring about constructive political change.
Based on my belief in non-violence and in dialogue, I have consistently tried to engage the Chinese government in serious negotiations concerning the future of the Tibetan people. In order to find a mutually acceptable solution, I have adopted a ?middle-way' approach. This is also in response to, and within the framework of, Mr. Deng's stated assurance that ?anything except independence can be discussed and resolved?. Unfortunately, the Chinese government's response to my many overtures has been consistently negative. But I remain confident that his successor will realize the wisdom of resolving the problem of Tibet through dialogue.
The Tibet issue will neither go away of its own accord, nor can it be wished away. As the past has clearly shown, neither intimidation nor coercion of the Tibetan people can force a solution. Sooner or later, the leadership in Beijing will have to face this fact. Actually, the Tibet problem represents an opportunity for China. If it were solved properly through negotiation, not only would it be helpful in creating a political atmosphere conductive to the smooth transition of Chine into a new era but also China's image throughout the world would be greatly enhanced. A properly negotiated settlement would furthermore have a strong, positive impact on the peoples of Hong Kong and Taiwan and will do much to improve Sino-Indian relations by inspiring genuine trust and confidence.
For our part, we seek to resolve the issue of Tibet in a spirit of reconciliation, compromise and understanding. I am fully committed to the spirit of the ?middle-way approach'. We wish to establish a sustainable relationship with China based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and friendship. In doing so, we will think not only about the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people, but also take seriously the consideration of China's security concerns and her economic interests. Moreover, if our Buddhist culture can flourish once again in Tibet, we are confident of being able to make a significant contribution to millions of our Chinese brothers and sisters by sharing with them those spiritual moral values which are so clearly lacking in China today.
Despite the absence of positive and conciliatory gesture from the Chinese government to my initiatives, I have always encouraged Tibetans to develop personal relationship with Chinese. I make it a point to ask the Tibetans to distinguish between the Chinese people and the policies of the totalitarian government in Beijing. I am thus happy to observe that there has been significant progress in our effort to foster closer interaction amongst the people of our two communities, mainly between exile Tibetans and Chinese living abroad. Moreover, human rights activists and democrats within China, people like the brave Wei Jingsheng, are urging their leaders to respect the basic human rights of the Tibetan people and pledging their support for our right to self-rule. Chinese scholars outside China are discussing a constitution for a federated China, which envisages a confederal status for Tibet. These are most encouraging and inspiring developments. I am, therefore, very pleased that the people-to-people dialogue between the Tibetans and Chinese is fostering a better understanding of our mutual concerns and interests.
In recent years we have also witnessed the growth of a worldwide grassroots movement in support of our non-violence struggle for freedom. Reflecting this, many government and parliaments have come forward with strong expressions of concern and support for our efforts. Notwithstanding the immediate negative reactions of the Chinese regime, I strongly believe that such expressions of international support are essential. They are vital in communicating a sense of urgency to the minds of leadership in Beijing and in helping persuade then to negotiate.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the numerous individuals, also the members of governments, of parliaments, of non-governmental organizations and of religious orders who have supported my appeal for the safety and freedom of the young Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. I am grateful for their continued intervention and efforts on behalf of this child who must be the world's youngest political prisoner. I also wish to thank our supporters all over the world who are commemorating today's anniversary of the Tibetan people's uprising with peaceful activities in every part of the globe. I urge the Chinese government not to construe such support for Tibet as anti-Chinese. The purpose and aim of these activities is to appeal to the Chinese leadership and people to recognize the legitimate rights of the Tibetan people.
In conclusion, I am happy to state that our exile community's experiment in democracy is progressing well without any major setbacks or difficulties. Last autumn, the Tibetans in exile participated in preliminary polls to nominate candidates for the twelfth Assembly of the Tibetan People's Deputies, the Parliament-in-Exile. Next month, they return to the polls to elect the members themselves. This accords with my conviction that democracy is the best guarantee for the survival and future of the Tibetan people. Democracy entails responsibilities as well as rights. The success of our struggle for freedom will therefore depend directly on our ability to shoulder these collectively. It is thus my hope that the twelfth Assembly will emerge as a united, mature and dedicated representative of our people. This will ultimately depend on every franchised member of our community. Each one is called upon to cast his or her vote with an informed and unbiased mind, with a clear awareness of the need of the hour and with strong sense of individual responsibility.
With my homage to the brave men and women of Tibet, who have died for the cause of our freedom, I pray for an early to the suffering of our people.
The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1968
The commemoration of this day has become sacred to all Tibetans and is an important landmark in the historic struggle of men to free themselves from their oppressors. For it was on this day, nine years ago, that the people of Tibet made a very brave attempt to free themselves from their Chinese rulers who in 1950 had forcibly occupied our country under the guise of an ambiguous and obsolete claim to suzerainty. Thrown against the superior size of the Chinese forces, our resistance that day was doomed and resulted in a large-scale massacre of thousands of our countrymen. But the spirit of a people who believe in the dignity of man and in the freedom of all nations large or small cannot be quelled by the might of an aggressor. It was that fateful day which united the whole country in defiance of the Chinese and redeclared our sense of nationhood in no uncertain terms to the outside world, and that struggle to assert ourselves as a people still continues today both inside and outside Tibet. For those of our countrymen remaining in Tibet the struggle is both physical and moral. The Chinese have used every ruse and force to beat down the resistance of the Tibetan people. The fact that they have not succeeded is admitted by China and evidenced by the number of Tibetans who escape into India and other neighbouring countries every year in spite of increasingly stringent border controls imposed by the Communist Chinese. Only recently almost 500 Tibetans died trying to flee to India. They knew that chances of their bid for escape were well-neigh impossible, and yet they preferred to face this risk. Is it conceivable that a people whom the Chinese Communists claim are content with the regime under which they live, would resort to such suicidal measures? With every year that passed the Chinese have successively tried to indoctrinate the thousands of Tibet children by forcibly separating them from their parents and sending them to China, where they are alienated from everything that is Tibetan and are taught the doctrines of Mao and made to deride and ridicule the Tibetan way of life. But contrary to the Chinese expectations, a great majority of these are now resisting the Chinese rule in Tibet. As long as men have the capacity to think and as long as they seek after truth, the Communist Chinese will not completely succeed in indoctrinating our children. There is no doubt that the Chinese treatment of the conquered minority nationalities is a clear case of Han chauvinism. However, far from succeeding in their aims the Chinese are only adding fuel to the flame of nationalism. It is for this reason that even young Tibetan Communists are solidly lined up with rest of the country against the Chinese. Culture and religious beliefs in our country have been one of the major targets of Chinese communist oppression. The destruction of monastic universities, cultural centres and other allied institutions which were undertaken from the very beginning of the Chinese takeover was intensified with the recent Cultural Revolution and Red Guard Movement. The remaining monks, nuns and scholars have been driven out from the monasteries and cultural institutions and, with many of the local populace, are forced to build a vast network of strategic roads linking Tibet, which has now been turned into a huge military base, with the borders of its neighbouring countries, thus posing an ever increasing threat to the peace in those regions. In 1966 drastic changes have taken place in Tibet. While the Chinese continue to suppress the Tibetan people, the Chinese themselves have been engaged in a long struggle amongst themselves. The total bankruptcy of Chinese policy in Tibet is evidenced by the fact that all the 301 so-called elected representatives of the Tibet Autonomous Region Council have been dismissed. Likewise, practically all Tibetan cadres have disappeared. Tibetans who have been trained for years in China have been accused of “regional nationalism: and removed from their posts for ‘re-education' in forced labour camps. Since September last year, the military has taken up every apparatus of the administration and the country is entirely in the hands of the Chinese occupation forces without even a semblance of civilian administration. It now remains for those of us who have been fortunate to escape from the Chinese Communists to take up the noble task for which so many of our patriots have laid down their lives on this memorable day. Our people living in exile are conscientiously striving to prepare for the day when we can return to a free Tibet. For instance, Tibetan children, whom I look upon as the future foundation of a free and independent Tibet, are being provided with the best possible opportunities of development, of growing mentally and morally into men and women, deeply rooted in their own culture, belief and living habits, as well as acquainted with modern civilization, enriched by the greatest achievements of world culture, and thus becoming sound and creative Tibetan citizens, capable of serving our nation and the whole of mankind. There are 85,000 Tibetans living in exile outside Tibet. Of these, we are in the process of rehabilitating 20,040 in agricultural settlements, animal husbandry, small-scale industries and handicraft centres in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim and Switzerland. This would not have been possible without the generous assistance, both financial and otherwise, in particular of the Indian government, of the governments of the respective countries, and of the voluntary agencies, and I take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude and that of my people to them. There are still 20,000 refugees who are yet to be rehabilitated and it is up to us to work hard to help expand and improve on what has been done so that we may not only contribute to the prosperity of our host country and our benefactors, but also that a truly Tibetan culture may take root and flourish outside Tibet until such time as we are able to return. That we will be able to return some day is a hope which will always be with us and for which we must always work. Many countries have supported our cause in the United Nations and have condemned Chinese aggression in Tibet. We are grateful to them and hopeful they will continue to support us both in the United Nations and elsewhere, for we firmly believe that the Chinese occupation of Tibet poses a threat to Asia and more particularly to those countries who share a common frontier with it. In this light as also from the humanitarian standpoint of support for a just cause, we would once again request the government of India for increased political support; for it is only the voice of India which, we believe, can lead the way in championing our cause, not only because of her position in the Asian world, but also because of its cultural and physical affinity with Tibet and its role in sheltering the thousands of Tibetans who have been forced to flee their homeland. We believe that this support must come as long as men believe in freedom. As Tibetans, let us then work for this and renew our resolve to continue the struggle for what is truly our heritage. In conclusion, I wish to offer my prayers to invoke the blessings of the Triple Gems for peace and happiness of all the sentient beings. The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1967
On this day, eight years ago, the people of Tibet rose in spontaneous uprising against the armed might of China in a heroic bid to free themselves form the mounting oppression and tyranny of the Chinese Communists. Unarmed men, women and children paraded in the streets of Lhasa calling for the restoration of Tibet's independence and the rights of the Tibetan people. In the brutal repression that followed, thousands of innocent Tibetans were massacred and countless others were imprisoned, tortured and killed or deported to forced labour camps. It is therefore fitting that we solemnly dedicate this day to the memory of these martyrs of freedom. We recall the cause for which they made their supreme sacrifice and strengthen our determination to reach the goals for which they gave up their lives.
The sixteen years of Communist Chinese armed occupation of Tibet is one long catalogue of untold miseries and sufferings. Farmers and herdsmen are deprived of the fruits of their labour. Large groups of Tibetans on a meagre ration are forced to construct military roads and fortifications for the Chinese. Countless numbers have been victims of ‘public trials' and ‘purging sessions' during which all manner of public humiliation and brutalities have been inflicted. The wealth of Tibet, accumulated over the long centuries, has been taken to China. There is a persistent campaign of ‘Hanization' of the Tibetan population by forcing the Chinese language in place of Tibetan and by changing Tibetan names into Chinese. This is ‘Tibetan Autonomy' in the Chinese Communist fashion.
Recent developments indicate that the reign of terror of Han Imperialism has, if anything, increased. The persecution of Buddhism and Tibetan culture has reached a new pitch of intensity with the advent of the so-called Cultural Revolution and its by-product, the Red Guard Movement. Monasteries, temples and even private homes have been ransacked and all religious articles found have been destroyed. Among the countless items of images destroyed was one of Avalokiteshvara built in the 7 th century. Two severed and mutilated heads of this image have been secretly brought out of Tibet and recently exhibited in the Press in Delhi. This image has not only been deeply venerated throughout the centuries but also constitutes an important and irreplaceable historical monument of the Tibetan people, and its destruction is a great loss and a source of profound sorrow to all Tibetans. The recourse to such barbarous methods by frenzied mobs of immature school children let loose an orgy of senseless vandalism instigated by Mao Tse-Tung under the so-called ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution' is a clear evidence of the depth to which the Chinese rulers have fallen in their efforts to wipe out traces of Tibetan culture. Mankind and history will surely condemn the savage onslaught by the Chinese against the enslaved people of Tibet and against their cherished cultural heritage.
The Chinese have also started dropping their former protégés and collaborators. The Panchen Lama has long since come out in open rebellion. And now lives in disgrace after being subjected to brutal treatment by the Chinese. The Tibetan students carefully trained in China to ‘act as vanguard of a new army of Tibetan Communist cadres' have soon realised the brutal treatment of their own people once they returned to Tibet and many of them have joined the foremost ranks of the national liberation front. Even the handful of prominent Tibetan collaborators who till now have proved to be faithful henchmen of Peking have been recently denounced and disgraced.
While we look with profound sorrow at the abject misery and suffering of our people in Tibet, we cannot but renew our firm determination to regain the freedom of our people. During the period of our exile in these past eight years we have made every effort to prepare ourselves for the day when we can return to a free Tibet. To this end we have drawn and promulgated a provisional constitution for Tibet based on the principles of justice, equality and democracy as laid down by Lord Buddha which was warmly received by all Tibetans, particularly by the elected representatives of the Tibetans in exile. We have also undertaken various programmes in the fields of resettlement and education made possible by the keen sympathy and extensive assistance of the government of India. Indeed my people and I are deeply grateful to the government of India for all their assistance to us not only in rehabilitation and education but also in our cultural and religious programmes. We would also convey our grateful thanks to the various Indian and international organisations which have given help without stint to us Tibetans. We still need their support and we confidently hope that it will be forthcoming as before. We are also grateful to the government of India and other governments who have supported the cause of Tibet in the United Nations. However, in view of the flagrant denial of even the smallest trace of fundamental rights to our people by the Chinese for which the United Nations appealed more than once and in view of the mounting sufferings in Tibet, we believe that the time has come when we should ask the government of India for more positive support including political support.
We firmly believe that for the lasting peace of Asia and of the world, the two great nations, India and China, should remain at peace. But we also believe that unless Tibet is restored her freedom and created into a demilitarised zone that peace will not be achieved. Above all we believe that with the important position in world affairs and the respect she enjoys in the world at large as the largest democracy and the constant champion of justice, peace and freedom, the mighty voice and support of India will hasten the day when the anguish of the people of Tibet will come to an end and freedom, dignity and peace restored to a long-suffering people.
The Dalai Lama
October 14, 2001
Madame Speaker, Honourable Members of the Parliament, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour for me to address the European Parliament. I believe the European Union is an inspiring example for a cooperative and peaceful co-existence among different nations and peoples and deeply inspiring for people like myself who strongly believe in the need for better understanding, closer cooperation, and greater respect among the various nations of the world. I thank you for this kind invitation. I consider it as an encouraging gesture of genuine sympathy and concern for the tragic fate of the Tibetan people. I speak to you today as a simple Buddhist monk, educated and trained in our ancient traditional way. I am not an expert in political science. However, my life-long study and practice of Buddhism and my responsibility and involvement in the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people have given me some experiences and thoughts that I would like to share with you.
It is evident that the human community has reached a critical juncture in its history. Today?s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate. But today, as we learn from the recent tragic events in the United States, whatever happens in one region eventually affects many other areas. The world is becoming increasingly interdependent. Within the context of this new interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others. Without the cultivation and promotion of a sense of universal responsibility our very future is in danger.
I strongly believe that we must consciously develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. We must learn to work not just for our own individual self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. Universal responsibility is the best foundation both for our personal happiness and for world peace, the equitable use of our natural resources, and, through a concern for future generations, the proper care for the environment.
Many of the world?s problems and conflicts arise because we have lost sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a human family. We tend to forget that despite the diversity of race, religion, culture, language, ideology and so forth, people are equal in their basic desire for peace and happiness: we all want happiness and do not want suffering. We strive to fulfill these desires as best we can. However, as much as we praise diversity in theory, unfortunately often we fail to respect it in practice. In fact, our inability to embrace diversity becomes a major source of conflict among peoples.
A particularly sad fact of human history is that conflicts have arisen in the name of religion. Even today, individuals are killed, their communities destroyed and societies destabilized as a result of misuse of religion and encouragement of religious bigotry and hatred. According to my personal experience the best way to overcome obstructions to inter-religious harmony and to bring about understanding is through dialogue with members of other faith traditions. This I see occurring in a number of different ways. In my own case, for example, my meetings with the late Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, in the late 60s, were deeply inspiring. They helped me develop a profound admiration for the teachings of Christianity. I also feel that meetings amongst different religious leaders and joining together to pray from a common platform are extremely powerful, as was the case in 1986 during the gathering at Assisi in Italy. The recent United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held last year was also a laudable step. However, there is a need for more of these initiatives on a regular basis. On my part, to show my respect for other religious traditions I went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem ? a site holy to three of the world?s great religions. I have paid visits to various Hindu, Islamic, Christian, Jain and Sikh shrines both in India and abroad. During the past three decades I have met with many religious leaders of different traditions and have discussed harmony and inter-religious understanding. When exchanges like these occur, followers of one tradition will find that, just as in the case of their own, the teachings of other faiths are a source of both spiritual inspiration and as well as ethical guidance to their followers. It will also become clear that irrespective of doctrinal and other differences, all the major world religions help to transform individuals to become good human beings. All emphasize love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, self-discipline and so on. We must therefore embrace the concept of plurality in the field of religion, too.
In the context of our newly emerging global community all forms of violence, including war, are totally inappropriate means of settling disputes. Violence and war have always been part of human history, and in ancient times there were winners and losers. However, there would be no winners at all if another global conflict were to occur today. We must, therefore, have the courage and vision to call for a world without nuclear weapons and national armies in the long run. Especially, in the light of the terrible attacks in the United States the international community must make a sincere attempt to use the horrible and shocking experience to develop a sense of global responsibility, where a culture of dialogue and non-violence is used in resolving differences.
Dialogue is the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations. The promotion of a culture of dialogue and non-violence for the future of mankind is a compelling task of the international community. It is not enough for governments to endorse the principle of non-violence without any appropriate action to support and promote it. If non-violence is to prevail, non-violent movements must be made effective and successful. Some consider the 20th century a century of war and bloodshed. I believe the challenge before us is to make the new century one of dialogue and non-violence.
Furthermore, in dealing with conflicts too often we lack proper judgment and courage. We fail to pay adequate attention to situations of potential conflict when they are at an early stage of development. Once all the circumstances have progressed to a state where emotions of the people or communities involved in disputes have become fully charged, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prevent a dangerous situation from exploding. We see this tragic situation repeated time and again. So we must learn to detect early signs of conflict and have the courage to address the problem before it reaches its boiling point.
I remain convinced that most human conflicts can be solved through genuine dialogue conducted with a spirit of openness and reconciliation. I have therefore consistently sought a resolution of the issue of Tibet through non-violence and dialogue. Right from the beginning of the invasion of Tibet, I tried to work with the Chinese authorities to arrive at a mutually acceptable, peaceful co-existence. Even when the so-called Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet was forced upon us I tried to work with the Chinese authorities. After all, by that agreement the Chinese government recognized the distinctiveness and the autonomy of Tibet and pledged not to impose their system on Tibet against our wishes. However, in breach of this agreement, the Chinese authorities forced upon Tibetans their rigid and alien ideology and showed scant respect for the unique culture, religion and way of life of the Tibetan people. In desperation the Tibetan people rose up against the Chinese. In the end in 1959 I had to escape from Tibet so that I could continue to serve the people of Tibet.
During the past more than four decades since my escape, Tibet has been under the complete control of the Government of the People?s Republic of China. The immense destruction and human suffering inflicted on the people of Tibet are today well known and I do not wish to dwell on these sad and painful events. The late Panchen Lama?s 70,000-character petition to the Chinese government serves as a telling historical document on China?s draconian policies and actions in Tibet. Tibet today continues to be an occupied country, oppressed by force and scarred by suffering. 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.
I have led the Tibetan freedom struggle on a path of non-violence and have consistently sought a mutually agreeable solution of the Tibetan issue through negotiations in a spirit of reconciliation and compromise with China. With this spirit in 1988 here in Strasbourg at this Parliament I presented a formal proposal for negotiations, which we hoped would serve as a basis for resolving the issue of Tibet. I had chosen consciously the European Parliament as a venue to present my thoughts for a framework for negotiations in order to underline the point that a genuine union can only come about voluntarily when there are satisfactory benefits to all the parties concerned. The European Union is a clear and inspiring example of this. On the other hand, even one country or community can break into two or more entities when there is a lack of trust and benefit, and when force is used as the principal means of rule.
My proposal which later became known as the ?Middle Way Approach? or the ?Strasbourg Proposal? envisages that Tibet enjoy genuine autonomy within the framework of the People?s Republic of China. However, not the autonomy on paper imposed on us 50 years ago in the 17-Point Agreement, but a true self-governing, genuinely autonomous Tibet, with Tibetans fully responsible for their own domestic affairs, including the education of their children, religious matters, cultural affairs, the care of their delicate and precious environment, and the local economy. Beijing would continue to be responsible for the conduct of foreign and defense affairs. This solution would greatly enhance the international image of China and contribute to her stability and unity ?- the two topmost priorities of Beijing ?- while at the same time the Tibetans would be ensured of the basic rights and freedoms to preserve their own civilization and to protect the delicate environment of the Tibetan plateau.
Since then our relation with the Chinese government has taken many twists and turns. Unfortunately, I must sadly inform you that a lack of political will on the part of the Chinese leadership to address the issue of Tibet in a serious manner has failed to produce any progress. My initiatives and overtures over the years to engage the Chinese leadership in a dialogue remain unreciprocated. Last September, I communicated through the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi our wish to send a delegation to Beijing to deliver a detailed memorandum outlining my thinking on the issue of Tibet and to explain and discuss the points raised in the memorandum. I conveyed that through face-to-face meetings we would succeed in clarifying misunderstandings and overcoming distrust. I expressed the strong belief that once this is achieved then a mutually acceptable solution of the problem can be found without much difficulty. But the Chinese government is refusing to accept my delegation till today. It is obvious that Beijing?s attitude has hardened significantly compared to the eighties when six Tibetan delegations from exile were accepted. Whatever explanations Beijing may give concerning communications between the Chinese government and myself I must state here clearly that the Chinese government is refusing to talk to representatives I have designated for the task.
The failure of the Chinese leadership to respond positively to my Middle Way Approach reaffirms the Tibetan people?s suspicion that the Chinese government has no interest whatsoever in any kind of peaceful co-existence. Many Tibetans believe that China is bent on complete forceful assimilation and absorption of Tibet into China. They call for the independence of Tibet and criticise my ?Middle Way Approach?. Others are advocating a referendum in Tibet. They argue if conditions inside Tibet are as the Chinese authorities portray it to be and if the Tibetans are truly happy, then there should be no difficulty holding a plebiscite in Tibet. I have also always maintained that ultimately the Tibetan people must be able to decide about the future of Tibet as Pandit Jawaharlal 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.?
While I firmly reject the use of violence as a means in our freedom struggle we certainly have the right to explore all other political options available to us. I am a staunch believer in freedom and democracy and have therefore been encouraging the Tibetans in exile to follow the democratic process. Today, the Tibetan refugees may be among the few communities in exile that have established all the three pillars of democracy:? legislature, judiciary and executive. This year we have taken another big stride in the process of democratisation by having the chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet elected by popular vote. The elected chairman of the Cabinet and the elected parliament will shoulder the responsibility of running the Tibetan affairs as the legitimate representatives of the people. However, I do consider it my moral obligation to the six million Tibetans to continue taking up the Tibetan issue with the Chinese leadership and to act as the free spokesman of the Tibetan people until a solution is reached.
In the absence of any positive response from the Chinese government to my overtures over the years, I am left with no alternative but to appeal to the members of the international community. It is clear now that only increased, concerted and consistent international efforts will persuade Beijing to change its policy on Tibet. Although the immediate reactions from the Chinese side will be most probably negative, nevertheless, I strongly believe that expressions of international concern and support are essential for creating an environment conducive for the peaceful resolution of the Tibetan problem. On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a mutually beneficial solution that will contribute to the stability and unity of the People?s Republic of China and secure the right for the Tibetan people to live in freedom, peace and dignity.
Madam Speaker, honourable members of the Parliament, brothers and sisters of the European Parliament, I consider myself as the free spokesman for my captive countrymen and women. It is my duty to speak on their behalf. I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes, temples, monasteries and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness, and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess. Today, our people, our distinct rich cultural heritage and our national identity are facing the threat of extinction. We need your support to survive as a people and as a culture.
When one looks at the situation inside Tibet it seems almost hopeless in the face of increasing repression, continuing environmental destruction, and the ongoing systematic undermining of the culture and identity of Tibet. Yet I believe that no matter how big and powerful China may be she is still part of the world. The global trend today is towards more openness, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. Sooner or later China will have to follow the world trend and in the long run there is no way that China can escape from truth, justice and freedom. Since the Tibetan issue is closely related with what is happening in China, I believe there is reason and ground for hope.
The consistent and principled engagement of the European Parliament with China will accelerate this process of change that is already taken place in China. I would like to thank the European Parliament for the consistent display of concern and support for the non-violent Tibetan freedom struggle. Your sympathy and support have always been a deep source of inspiration and encouragement to the Tibetan people both inside and outside Tibet. The numerous resolutions of the European Parliament on the issue of Tibet helped greatly to highlight the plight of the Tibetan people and raise the awareness of the public and governments in Europe and around the world of the issue of Tibet. I am especially encouraged by the European Parliament?s resolution calling for the appointment of an EU special representative for Tibet. I strongly believe that the implementation of this resolution will enable the European Union not only to help promote a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue through negotiations in a more consistent, effective and creative way but also provide support for other legitimate needs of the Tibetan people, including ways and means to preserve our distinct identity. This initiative will also send a strong signal to Beijing that the European Union is serious in encouraging and promoting a solution of the Tibetan problem. I have no doubt that your continued expressions of concern and support for Tibet will in the long run impact positively and help create the conducive political environment for a constructive dialogue on the issue of Tibet. I ask for your continued support in this critical time in our country?s history. I thank you for providing me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
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Address to the Members of the European Parliament Strasbourg, France June 15, 1988
We are living today in a very interdependent world. One nation's problem can no longer be solved by itself. Without a sense of universal responsibility our very survival is in danger. I have, therefore, always believed in the need for better understanding, closer co-operation, and greater respect among the various nations of the world. The European Parliament is an inspiring example. Out of the chaos of war, those who were once enemies have, in a single generation, learned to co-exist and to co-operate. I am, therefore, particularly pleased and honoured to address this gathering at the European Parliament.
As you know, my own country - Tibet - is undergoing a very difficult period. The Tibetans -particularly those who live under Chinese occupation - yearn for freedom and justice and a self-determined future, so that they are able to fully preserve their unique identity and live in peace with their neighbours. For over a thousand years, we Tibetans have adhered to spiritual and environmental values in order to maintain the delicate balance of life across the high plateau on which we live, inspired by Buddha's message of non-violence and compassion and protected by our mountains, we sought to respect every form of life and to abandon war as an instrument of national policy.
Our history, dating back more than two thousand years, has been one of independence. At no time, since the founding of our nation in 127 B.C., have we Tibetans conceded our sovereignty to a foreign power. As with all nations, Tibet experienced periods in which our neighbours -Mongol, Manchu, Chinese, British and the Gorkhas of Nepal - sought to establish influence over us. These eras have been brief and the Tibetan people have never accepted them as constituting a loss of national sovereignty. In fact, there have been occasions when Tibetans rulers conquered vast areas of China and other neighbouring states. This, however, does not mean that we Tibetans can lay claim to these territories.
In 1949 the People's Republic of China forcibly invaded Tibet. Since that time, Tibet has endured the darkest period in its history. More than a million of our people have died as a result of the occupation. Thousand of monasteries were reduced to ruins. A generation has grown up deprived of education, economic opportunities and a sense of its on national character. Though the current Chinese leadership has implemented certain reforms it is also promoting a massive population transfer onto the Tibetan plateau. This policy has already reduced the six million Tibetans to a minority. Speaking for all Tibetans, I must sadly inform you, our tragedy continues.
I have always urged my people not to resort to violence in their efforts to redress their sufferings. Yet I believe all people have a moral right to fully protest injustice. Unfortunately, the demonstrations in Tibet have been violently suppressed by the Chinese police and military. I will continue to counsel for non-violence, but unless China forsakes the brutal methods it employs, the Tibetans cannot be responsible for a further deterioration in the situation.
Every Tibetan hopes and prays for the full restoration of our nation's independence. Thousands of our people have sacrificed their lives and our whole nation has suffered in this struggle. Even in recent months, Tibetans have bravely sacrificed their lives to achieve this precious goal. On the other hand, the Chinese totally fail to recognize the Tibetan people's aspirations and continue to pursue a policy of brutal suppression.
I have thought for a long time on how to achieve a realistic solution to my nation's plight. My cabinet and I solicited the opinions of many friends and concerned persons. As a result, on September 21, 1987, at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C., I announced a Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. In it I called for a conversion of Tibet into a zone of peace, a sanctuary in which humanity and nature can live together in harmony. I also called for respect of human rights, democratic ideals, environmental protection, and a halt to the Chinese population transfer into Tibet.
The fifth point of the peace plan called for earnest negotiations between the Tibetans and the Chinese. We, have therefore, taken the initiative to formulate some thoughts which, we hope, may serve as a basis for resolving the issue of Tibet. I would like to take this opportunity to inform the distinguished gathering here on the main points of our thinking.
The whole of Tibet known as Cholka-Sum (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo) should become a self-governing democratic political entity founded on law by agreement of the people for the common good and the protection of themselves and their environment, in association with the People's Republic of China.
The Government of the People's Republic of China could remain responsible for Tibet's foreign policy. The Government of Tibet should, however, develop and maintain relations, through its own foreign affairs bureau, in the field of commerce, education, culture, religion, tourism, science, sports and other non-political activities. Tibet should join international organizations concerned with such activities.
The Government of Tibet should be founded on a constitution or basic law. The basic law should provide for a democratic system of government entrusted with the task of ensuring economic equality, social justice, and protection of the environment. This means that the Government of Tibet will have the rights to decide on all affairs relating to Tibet and the Tibetans.
As individual freedom is the real source and potential of any society's development, the Government of Tibet would seek to ensure this freedom by full adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the rights to speech, assembly and religion. Because religion constitutes the source of Tibet's national identity and spiritual values lie at the very heart of Tibet's rich culture, it would be the special duty of the Government of Tibet to safeguard and develop its practice.
The Government should be comprised of a popularly elected Chief Executive, a bi-cameral legislative branch, and an independent judicial system. Its seat should be in Lhasa.
The social and economic system of Tibet should be determined in accordance with the wishes of the Tibetan people, bearing in mind especially the need to raise the standard of living of the entire population.
The Government of Tibet would pass strict laws to protect wildlife and plantlife. The exploitation of natural resources would be carefully regulated. The manufacture, testing, stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other armaments must be prohibited, as well as use of nuclear power and other technologies which produce hazardous waste. It would be the Government of Tibet's goal to transform Tibet into our planet's largest natural preserve.
A regional peace conference should be called to ensure that Tibet becomes a genuine sanctuary of peace through demilitarization. Until such a peace conference can be convened and demilitarization and neutralization achieved, China could have the right to maintain a restricted number of military installations in Tibet. These must be solely for defence purposes.
In order to create an atmosphere of trust conductive to fruitful negotiations, the Chinese Government should cease its human rights violations in Tibet and abandon its policy of transferring Chinese to Tibet.
These are thoughts we have in mind. I am aware that many Tibetans will be disappointed by the moderate stand they represent. Undoubtedly, there will be much discussion in the coming months within our own community, both in Tibet and in exile. This, however, is an essential and invaluable part of any process of change. I believe these thoughts represent the most realistic means by which to re-establish Tibet's separate identity and restore the fundamental rights of Tibetan people while accommodating China's own interest. I would like to emphasize, however, that whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Chinese may be, the Tibetan people themselves must be the ultimate deciding authority. Therefore, any proposal will contain a comprehensive procedural plan to ascertain the wishes of the Tibetan people in a nationwide referendum.
I would like to take this opportunity to state that I do not wish to take active part in the Government of Tibet. Neverthesless, I will continue to work as much as I can for the well-being and happiness of the Tibetan people as long as it is necessary.
We are ready to present a proposal to the Government of the People's Republic of China based on the thoughts I have presented. A negotiating team representing the Tibetan Government has been selected. We are prepared to meet with the Chinese to discuss details of such a proposal aimed at achieving an equitable solution.
We are encouraged by the keen interest being shown in our situation by a growing number of governments and political leaders, including former President Jimmy Carter of the United States. We are encouraged by the recent changes in China which have brought about a new group of leadership, more pragmatic and liberal.
We urge the Chinese Government and leadership to give serious and substantive consideration to the ideas I have described. Only dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead to a viable solution. We wish to conduct discussion with the Chinese Government bearing in mind the larger interests of humanity. Our proposal will therefore be made in a spirit of conciliation and we hope that the Chinese will respond accordingly.
My country's unique history and profound spiritual heritage render it ideally suited for fulfilling the role of a sanctuary of peace at the heart of Asia. Its historic status as a neutral buffer state, contributing to the stability of the entire continent, can be restored. Peace and security for Asia as well as for the world at large can be enhanced. In the future, Tibet need no longer be an occupied land, oppressed by force, unproductive and scarred by suffering. It can become a free haven where humanity and nature live in harmonious balance; a creative model for the resolution of tensions afflicting many areas throughout the world.
The Chinese leadership need to realize that colonial rule over occupied territories is today anachronistic. A large genuine union of association can only come about voluntarily, when there is satisfactory benefit to all the parties concerned. The European Community is a clear example of this. On the other hand, even one country or community can break into two or more entities where there is lack of trust or benefit, and when force is used as the principal means of rule.
I would like to end by making a special appeal to the honourable members of the European Parliament and through them to their respective constituencies to extend their support to our efforts. A resolution of the Tibetan problem within the framework that we proposed will not only be for the mutual benefit of the Tibetans and Chinese people but will contribute to regional and global peace and stability. I thank you for providing the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
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The world is increasingly interdependent, so that lasting peace - national, regional and global - can only be achieved if we think in terms of broader interest rather than parochial needs. At this time, it is crucial that all of us, the strong and the weak, contribute in our own way. I speak to you today as the leader of the Tibetan people and as a Buddhist monk devoted to the principles of a religion based on love and compassion. Above all, I am here as a human being who is destined to share this planet with you and all others as brothers and sisters. As the world grows smaller, we need each other more than in the past. This is true in all parts of the world, including the continent I come from.
At present in Asia, as elsewhere, tensions are high. There are open conflicts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and in my own country, Tibet. To a large extent, these problems are symptoms of the underlying tensions that exist among the area's great powers. In order to resolve regional conflicts, an approach is required that takes into account the interests of all relevant countries and peoples, large and small. Unless comprehensive solutions are formulated that take into account the aspirations of the people most directly concerned, piecemeal or merely expedient measures will only create new problems.
The Tibetan people are eager to contribute to regional and world peace, and I believe they are in a unique position to do so. Traditionally, Tibetans are a peace loving and non-violent people. Since Buddhism was introduced to Tibet over one thousand years ago, Tibetans have practiced non-violence with respect to all forms of life. This attitude has also been extended to our country's international relations. Tibet's highly strategic position in the heart of Asia, separating the continent's great powers - India, China and the USSR - has throughout history endowed it with an essential role in the maintenance of peace and stability. This is precisely why, in the past, Asia's empires went to great lengths to keep one another out of Tibet. Tibet's value as an independent buffer state was integral to the region's stability.
When the newly formed People's Republic of China invaded Tibet in 1949/50, it created a new source of conflict. This was highlighted when, following the Tibetan national uprising against the Chinese and my flight to India in 1959, tensions between China and India escalated into the border war in 1962. Today large numbers of troops are again massed on both sides of the Himalayan border and tension is once more dangerously high.
The real issue, of course, is not the Indo-Tibetan border demarcation. It is China's illegal occupation of Tibet, which has given it direct access to the Indian sub-continent. The Chinese authorities have attempted to confuse the issue by claiming that Tibet has always been a part of China. This is untrue. Tibet was a fully independent state when the People's Liberation Army invaded the country in 1949/50.
Since Tibetan emperors unified Tibet, over a thousand years ago, our country was able to maintain its independence until the middle of this century. At times Tibet extended its influence over neighbouring countries and peoples and, in other periods, came itself under the influence of powerful foreign rulers - the Mongol Khans, the Gorkhas of Nepal, the Manchu Emperors and the British in India.
It is, of course, not uncommon for states to be subjected to foreign influence or interference. Although so-called satellite relationships are perhaps the clearest examples of this, most major powers exert influence over less powerful allies or neighbours. As the most authoritative legal studies have shown, in Tibet's case, the country's occasional subjection to foreign influence never entailed a loss of independence. And there can be no doubt that when Peking's communist armies entered Tibet, Tibet was in all respects an independent state.
China's aggression, condemned by virtually all nations of the free world, was a flagrant violation of international law. As China's military occupation of Tibet continues, the world should remember that though Tibetans have lost their freedom, under international law Tibet today is still an independent state under illegal occupation.
It is not my purpose to enter into a political/legal discussion here concerning Tibet's status. I just wish to emphasise the obvious and undisputed fact that we Tibetans are a distinct people with our own culture, language, religion and history. But for China's occupation, Tibet would still, today, fulfill its natural role as a buffer state maintaining and promoting peace in Asia.
It is my sincere desire, as well as that of the Tibetan people, to restore to Tibet her invaluable role, by converting the entire country - comprising the three provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo - once more into a place of stability, peace and harmony. In the best of Buddhist tradition, Tibet would extend its services and hospitality to all who further the cause of world peace and the well-being of mankind and the natural environment we share.
Despite the holocaust inflicted upon our people in the past decades of occupation, I have always strived to find a solution through direct and honest discussions with the Chinese. In 1982, following the change of leadership in China and the establishment of direct contacts with the government in Peking, I sent my representatives to Peking to open talks concerning the future of my country and people.
We entered the dialogue with the sincere and positive attitude and with the willingness to take into account the legitimate needs of the People's Republic of China. I hoped that this attitude would be reciprocated and that a solution could eventually be found which would satisfy and safeguard the aspirations and interests of both parties. Unfortunately, China has consistently responded to our efforts in a defensive manner, as though our detailing of Tibet's very real difficulties was criticism for its own sake.
To our even greater dismay, the Chinese government misused the opportunity for a genuine dialogue. Instead of addressing the real issues facing the six million Tibetan people, China has attempted to reduce the question of Tibet to a discussion of my own personal status.
It is against this background and in response to the tremendous support and encouragement I have been given by you and other persons I have met during this trip, that I wish today to clarify the principal issues and to propose, in a spirit of openness and conciliation, a first step towards a lasting solution. I hope this may contribute to a future of friendship and cooperation with all of our neighbours, including the Chinese people.
This peace plan contains five basic components:
Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace;
Abandonment of China's population transfer policy which threatens the very existence of the Tibetans as a people;
Respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms;
Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;
Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
Let me explain these five components.
1. I propose that the whole of Tibet, including the eastern provinces of Kham and Amdo, be transformed into a zone of "Ahimsa", a Hindi term used to mean a state of peace and non-violence.
The establishment of such a peace zone would be in keeping with Tibet's historical role as a peaceful and neutral Buddhist nation and buffer state separating the continent's great powers. It would also be in keeping with Nepal's proposal to proclaim Nepal a peace zone and with China's declared support for such a proclamation. The peace zone proposed by Nepal would have a much greater impact if it were to include Tibet and neighbouring areas.
The establishment of a peace zone in Tibet would require withdrawal of Chinese troops and military installations from the country, which would enable India also to withdraw troops and military installations from the Himalayan regions bordering Tibet. This would be achieved under an international agreement which would satisfy China's legitimate security needs and build trust among the Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and other peoples of the region. This is in everyone's best interest, particularly that of China and India, as it would enhance their security, while reducing the economic burden of maintaining high troop concentrations on the disputed Himalayan border.
Historically, relations between China and India were never strained. It was only when Chinese armies marched into Tibet, creating for the first time a common border, that tensions arose between these two powers, ultimately leading to the 1962 war. Since then numerous dangerous incidents have continued to occur. A restoration of good relations between the world's two most populous countries would be greatly facilitated if they were separated - as they were throughout history - by a large and friendly buffer region.
To improve relations between the Tibetan people and the Chinese, the first requirement is the creation of trust. After the holocaust of the last decades in which over one million Tibetans - one sixth of the population - lost their lives and at least as many lingered in prison camps because of their religious beliefs and love of freedom, only a withdrawal of Chinese troops could start a genuine process of reconcilitation. The vast occupation force in Tibet is a daily reminder to the Tibetans of the oppression and suffering they have all experienced. A troop withdrawal would be an essential signal that in future a meaningful relationship might be established with the Chinese, based on friendship and trust.
2. The population transfer of Chinese into Tibet, which the government in Peking pursues in order to force a "final solution" to the Tibetan problem by reducing the Tibetan population to an insignificant and disenfranchised minority in Tibet itself, must be stopped.
The massive transfer of Chinese civilians into Tibet in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), threatens the very existence of the Tibetans as a distinct people. In the eastern parts of our country, the Chinese now greatly outnumber Tibetans. In the Amdo province, for example, where I was born, there are, according to the Chinese statistics, 2.5 million Chinese and only 750,000 Tibetans. Even in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (i.e., central and western Tibet), Chinese government sources now confirm that Chinese outnumber Tibetans.
The Chinese population transfer policy is not new. It has been systematically applied to other areas before. Earlier in this century, the Manchus were a distinct race with their own culture and traditions. Today only two to three million Manchurians are left in Manchuria, where 75 million Chinese have settled. In Eastern Turkestan, which the Chinese now call Sinkiang, the Chinese population has grown from 200,000 in 1949 to 7 million, more than half of the total population of 13 million. In the wake of the Chinese colonization of Inner Mongolia, Chinese number 8.5 million, Mongols 2.5 million.
Today, in the whole of Tibet 7.5 million Chinese settlers have already been sent, outnumbering the Tibetan population of 6 million. In central and western Tibet, now referred to by the Chinese as the "Tibet Autonomous Region", Chinese sources admit the 1.9 million Tibetans already constitute a minority of the region's population. These numbers do not take the estimated 300,000-500,000 troops in Tibet into account - 250,000 of them in so-called Tibet Autonomous Region.
For the Tibetans to survive as a people, it is imperative that the population transfer is stopped and Chinese settlers return to China. Otherwise, Tibetans will soon be no more than a tourist attraction and relic of a noble past.
3. Fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms must be respected in Tibet. The Tibetan people must once again be free to develop culturally, intellectually, economically and spiritually and to exercise basic democratic freedoms.
Human rights violations in Tibet are among the most serious in the world. Discrimination is practiced in Tibet under a policy of "apartheid" which the Chinese call "segregation and assimilation". Tibetans are, at best, second class citizens in their own country. Deprived of all basic democratic rights and freedoms, they exist under a colonial administration in which all real power is wielded by Chinese officials of the Communist Party and the army.
Although the Chinese government allows Tibetans to rebuild some Buddhist monasteries and to worship in them, it still forbids serious study and teaching of religion. Only a small number of people, approved by the Communist Party, are permitted to join the monasteries.
While Tibetans in exile exercise their democratic rights under a constitution promulgated by me in 1963, thousands of our countrymen suffer in prisons and labour camps in Tibet for their religious or political convictions.
4. Serious efforts must be made to restore the natural environment in Tibet. Tibet should not be used for the production of nuclear weapons and the dumping of nuclear waste.
Tibetans have a great respect for all forms of life. This inherent feeling is enhanced by the Buddhist faith, which prohibits the harming of all sentient beings, whether human or animal. Prior to the Chinese invasion, Tibet was an unspoiled wilderness sanctuary in a unique natural environment. Sadly, in the past decades the wildlife and the forests of Tibet have been almost totally destroyed by the Chinese. The effects on Tibet's delicate environment have been devastating. What little is left in Tibet must be protected and efforts must be made to restore the environment to its balanced state.
China uses Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and may also have started dumping nuclear waste in Tibet. Not only does China plan to dispose of its own nuclear waste but also that of other countries, who have already agreed to pay Peking to dispose of their toxic materials.
The dangers this presents are obvious. Not only living generations, but future generations are threatened by China's lack of concern for Tibet's unique and delicate environment.
5. Negotiations on the future status of Tibet and the relationship between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples should be started in earnest.
We wish to approach this subject in a reasonable and realistic way, in a spirit of frankness and conciliation and with a view to finding a solution that is in the long term interest of all: the Tibetans, the Chinese, and all other peoples concerned. Tibetans and Chinese are distinct peoples, each with their own country, history, culture, language, and way of life. Differences among peoples must be recognized and respected. They need not, however, form obstacles to genuine cooperation where this is in the mutual benefit of both peoples. It is my sincere belief that if the concerned parties were to meet and discuss their future with an open mind and a sincere desire to find a satisfactory and just solution, a breakthrough could be achieved. We must all exert ourselves to be reasonable and wise, and to meet in a spirit of frankness and understanding.
Let me end on the personal note. I wish to thank you for the concern and support which you and so many of your colleagues and fellow citizens have expressed for the plight of oppressed people everywhere. The fact that you have publicly shown your sympathy for us Tibetans, has already had a positive impact on the lives of our people inside Tibet. I ask for your continued support in this critical time in our country's history.
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