By Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, March 10, 2013 (Dharamsala)
Today marks the day when 54 years ago the government of the People’s Republic of China, pursuing a devious stratagem to seize Tibet, unleashed in the country’s capital Lhasa actions that included a vicious threat to the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And it also marks the day when the Tibetan people staged an uprising against these designs of the Chinese government in a spontaneous unity of thought and action. From this year onwards, we will be observing this day not only as the Tibetan National Uprising Day but also, simultaneously, as the Tibetan Martyr’s Day to symbolically commemorate the heroic Tibetan men and women who have given up their lives for the Tibetan national cause.
During the about 64 years that have gone by since it began its invasion of Tibet, the government of China has brought about the untimely deaths of more than one million Tibetans and obliterated thousands of Tibetan religious places. With actions such as these, it carried out the destruction, plunder, and robbing of Tibet and its internal riches, leaving the land in pitiful ruins. Besides, it was unrelenting in its continuous initiation of policies of cruelty aimed at the obliteration of the Tibetan religion, culture, language and so on which are the very embodiment of the identity of the Tibetan people. This policy continues to this day and its objective is to transform the historical Tibetan land into a land of Chinese people. As a result, the situation in Tibet today has reached a highly critical juncture. Besides, far from entertaining any thought about resolving the problems concerning the issue of Tibet, the leaders of China resort to unmitigated lying, using it as a tool to deceive and practice subterfuge for the purpose of concealing from both the people of China and the outside world the real situation in Tibet. This is, however, a fact all too well known to everyone.
Concerning the issue of Tibet, ever since the world of human existence came into being, until its occupation by the People’s Republic of China, the politics, administration, and the legal system of the nation were supervised and controlled only by the Tibetan people themselves. No outside power had any kind of say in its affairs, for it was an independent country throughout. And its status as an independent country was fully in conformity with today’s universally recognized meaning of a nation and of the citizenry by which it is constituted. Besides, it has a history which dates back much longer than that of many of the independent countries of today. However, in the period after the Second World War, when many countries struggling under imperialist colonization regained their independence, the People’s Republic of China, seizing the opportunities provided by the political situation and a multitude of other circumstances prevailing at that time, launched an armed invasion of Tibet. This eventually led to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and more than 80,000 other Tibetans to flee their homeland and to live in exile.
Today, the situation in Tibet has become extremely tragic and critical, with the Chinese government pursuing a policy of colonialism whereby in all the economically profitable cities and towns, Tibetans are continuously being pushed to the fringe of the society, to live a marginalized existence of a neglected minority community. The Tibetan people are not only devoid of any kind of political freedom but are also subjected to very tight restrictions with regard to the exercise of their human rights, freedom of religious practices, freedom of movement, and linguistics freedom. And the natural environment of Tibet has been subjected to such severe ravages that it would be very hard to restore them again. For these reasons the Tibetan people in Tibet have, without any concern for their own lives and with displays of utmost courage and conviction, carried out numerous kinds of peaceful protest actions on successive occasions. With such courses of actions, they made clear their rejection of the policies of the Chinese government which are repressive and not at all in keeping with the desires and aspirations of the Tibetan people. And the situation in Tibet kept getting especially serious and worsened considerably after the widespread, large scale demonstrations of the Earth-Mouse Year in 2008.
It is undoubtedly owing to the kindness flowing from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that there are in every part of the world people who show concern for the Tibetan people and lend support to us; and their numbers continue to increase. Motivated solely by his concern for the current and long term interests of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, based on his assessment of the reality of the situation today, proposed a middle way approach for resolving the issue of Tibet. Rather than being designed to benefit oneself at the expense of the other side, this is an approach which is mutually beneficial to both China and Tibet. And through a democratic process, this was unanimously adopted as the policy of the Central Tibetan Administration. It is strange that the leaders of China have so far not accepted this proposal with the proper attention it deserves.
Through the commemoration of this anniversary today, we would like to express our heartfelt obeisance and gratitude to our compatriots in Tibet for their patriotic courage and ethnic loyalty.
Everyone knows how seriously the situation in Tibet today keeps going from bad to worse and we, therefore, do not deem it necessary to explain the situation again. Facts reported and authenticated show that so far a total of 107 patriotic Tibetan men and women in Tibet have immolate themselves in the cause of the Tibetan religion, nation, and people. Of them, 89 have died. In exile too, not a small number of Tibetans have given up their lives for the sake of the fundamental cause of Tibet. In Tibet, the Chinese government has been arresting Tibetans for their alleged links with the people who had carried out self-immolations. And it subjects them to legal punishments and so on as a means to tighten control over them, to persecute them, and to torture them without any kind of limit or restraint. This makes it clear that the Chinese government has absolutely no desire to fulfill the genuine desires and aspirations of the Tibetan people on the basis of their supposed policy of seeking truth from facts. Rather, for the purpose of concealing the true situation in Tibet, it bars foreign journalists as well as delegates from foreign governments and non-governmental organizations from visiting Tibet for the purpose of carrying out unbiased investigations. And with absolutely no sense of shame, Chinese leaders continue to try to deceive the world by invariably hiding the truth and keeping on telling lies. They thereby render the situation highly gloomy, giving no cause for any kind of optimism. Worse, in order to conceal their own mistakes, the leaders of the Chinese government direct their criticism at others, reverse-painting themselves as the good people and the others as the bad ones. In the course of doing so, they present distorted explanations of Buddhism on the issue of self-immolation and also fabricate false propaganda information to allege that the self-immolations are being instigated and coerced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration. In addition, the Chinese government puts out all sorts of numerous new documents, including suggestions of opinions on the ways in which cases concerned with the self-immolations occurring in the Tibetan areas should be dealt with in a legal manner through the judicial process without due processes of law. Such kinds of actions cannot, however, deceive the people of the world. They also cannot deceive the people within China. And by keeping on alleging that the Central Tibetan Administration campaigns for Tibet’s independence even while knowing fully well that it does not seek any such solution, and by calling it a separatist group and criticizing it in all sorts of manners, the government of China itself lays the foundation for the country’s eventual disintegration.
In Tibet, there is absolutely no opportunity of any kind for the Tibetan people to stage peaceful demonstrations like in a free country. That is why in an effort to seek a resolution to the just cause of the Tibetan people, in order to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Tibet, with a hope to see a halt to the repressive policies of the government of China, and so on, the people of Tibet find themselves in a situation of having no other choice but to take recourse to immolating themselves without causing even an iota of harm to others. Nevertheless, the government of China has so far responded only with continuously increased repression, without taking recourse to any kind of approach designed to alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people. Besides, the international community too has done little beyond expressing concerns and sympathies on these latest developments in Tibet. It is a matter of great sadness to the Tibetan people that none in the international community has been able to make any productive move to address the harrowing, very tragic and critical situation in Tibet today – a situation which is unprecedented in world history.
It is the unavoidable duty of the Tibetan people in exile to give the people in the outside world all the details about every development that is taking place in Tibet. And if that is to be cited as suggestive of a reason showing that the self-immolations in Tibet are being encouraged thereby, why does not the same logic apply to the reporting all the other news throughout the world through the various media channels? Based on the foundation of the duty of all the Tibetan people living in exile, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile led several major campaign actions in the last one year. One of them was the international Flame of Truth relay which continued for more than five months. This was followed by a month-long campaign covering all the states of India, with the objective of creating awareness about the situation in Tibet today and of garnering support for the Tibetan cause. And for four days from the end of January to the beginning of February this year, a Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign was successfully held in New Delhi jointly organized by the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. Everyone concerned with the campaign showed solidarity in facilitating and supporting it, contributing to its successful conclusion, and we take this opportunity to express our thanks to them all. The government and the people of India, in particular, provided strong support for the campaign and we take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to them too. In future too, so long as there is no negotiated settlement to the current tragic situation in Tibet, and the Sino-Tibetan dispute remains unresolved, it is inevitable that we will have to carry out numerous more campaign actions. In view of this prospect, we look forward to continuous support from everyone concerned.
Given the fact that this year’s 10th March anniversary coincides with the change of leadership in the People’s Republic of China, we would like to propose the following mutually beneficial suggestions for consideration by the new leaders of China:
1) Accept that the Sino-Tibetan dispute deserves to be, needs to be, and can be solved and begin at once peaceful negotiations on the basis of the mutually beneficial middle way approach.
2) Concerning the critical situation in Tibet today in general and, especially, in order to save the Tibetan people whose precious lives are still being lost in self-immolations, the government of China should carry out an investigation on the basis of seeking truth from facts and with impartiality. Besides, people from the international media as well as from governments and non-governmental organizations should be allowed to visit Tibet.
3) The government of China should change the hardline, violent, and oppressive policies it is currently pursuing in Tibet, for if it fails to do so, there is no doubt that the hostility between it and the Tibetan people will increase. Hence, China must forthwith end its policies of violence and repression against the Tibetan people.
4) On the basis of a clear understanding of the gravity of the highly critical situation in Tibet today, the government of China should protect the Tibetan people’s human rights, their religion and culture, their linguistic heritage, and their natural environment. It should end the ethnic discrimination, violent repression, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment against the Tibetan people. In this milieu, it should also release forthwith all the Tibetan political prisoners, including the young reincarnate Panchen Rinpoche.
The international community also should not maintain a distant view of the ongoing violent repression being carried out against the Tibetan people. Rather, leaders of nations and officials of governments should adopt a clear stand and intervene in whatever fruitful ways they are able to, for the time to act in this way is overdue and we would like to make an emphatic appeal in this regard.
Within the Tibetan people ourselves, efforts should be directed at seeking to achieve a just solution to the Tibet issue, acting with a sense of fraternity and unity. With this end in view, the Tibetan people should pool whatever capabilities they may have for the purpose of achieving the common goal. They should not resort to speaking, writing articles, and propagating information through the various communication channels without any sense of responsibility. Rather, we emphatically appeal that everyone stand together, turn in the same direction, and direct their efforts at achieving the common desires of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile.
Finally, we pray, remembering the gratitude we owe to him for all his enormous sacred deeds of body, speech, and mind, that His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for a hundred eons for the sake of all the sentient beings of this world in general and, especially, for the benefit of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile as the common embodiment of their sacred savior. On that basis, may His Holiness the Dalai Lama be able, in all speediness, to set foot on the Land of Snows, his appointed realm of spiritual teaching, and the Tibetans left behind in Tibet and in exile be reunited.