His Holiness The Dalai Lama
March 10th 2006 Statement
Statement of His Holiness The Dalai Lama
on 10 March 2006 on the 47th Anniversary
of The Tibetan National Uprising Day
Today, as we commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, I extend my warm greetings to my fellow Tibetans in Tibet and in exile, as well as to our friends around the world. I also pay homage to the brave men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their lives, and who continue to suffer, for the cause of Tibetan people.
From around 1949, Tibet had witnessed a series of unprecedented events, marking the beginning of a new era in its history. As stated in the documents, the issue of Tibet was purportedly decided in 1951 through an agreement between the central and local governments, taking into consideration the special status of Tibet and the prevailing reality. Since then, I have made every possible effort to secure implementation of the policy to allow self-rule and genuine autonomy to Tibetans within the framework of the People's Republic of China, thus helping to create conditions for our people to coexist in harmony and unity as a member of the big family of the Chinese nation.
In 1954-55, I visited Beijing as a representative of the Tibetan people. I took the opportunity of that visit to discuss the future of the Tibetan people with Chairman Mao Zedong and senior leaders of the Party, government and military. These discussions gave me a lot hope and reassurances. So I returned to Tibet with optimism and confidence. However, from late 1955 ultra-leftist excesses began to assail parts of Tibet. By 1959, the whole of Tibet was plunged in deep crisis. As a result, I and over a hundred thousand Tibetans were compelled to go into exile. We have been in exile for 46 years now.
Sometime in 1974, we formulated the basic principles of our Middle Way approach for resolving the issue of Tibet, trusting that a time must surely come when we would have the opportunity to engage in talks with the Chinese leadership. In 1979, we were able to interact directly with the leadership in Beijing. At that time, Deng Xiaoping said that "except for independence all issues could be resolved through negotiations." Since then, I have pursued the Middle Way approach with consistency and sincerity.
I have of course made criticisms whenever I saw unbearably sad developments in China, Tibet and the world over. But my criticisms were confined to addressing the reality of each individual case. I have never departed from my commitment to the Middle Way approach at any time and in any given circumstance. This is clear to the world. Unfortunately, Beijing still seems unable to overcome doubts and suspicions regarding my intention; it continues to criticize me of nursing a hidden agenda of separatism and engaging in conspiracy to achieve this.
Since the re-establishment of direct contact between us and the People's Republic of China in 2002, my envoys and the Chinese counterparts were able to engage in a series of frank and extensive discussions during which they were able to explain each other's position. This kind of discussion, I hope, will help to clear the doubts and suspicions of the People's Republic of China so that we can move on to settle the differences in our views and positions, and thereby find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet. More particularly, in the fifth round of talks held a few weeks ago, the two sides were able to clearly identify the areas of major differences and the reasons thereof. They were also able to get a sense of the conditions necessary for resolving the differences. In addition, my envoys reiterated my wish to visit China on a pilgrimage. As a country with a long history of Buddhism, China has many sacred pilgrim sites. As well as visiting the pilgrim sites, I hope to be able see for myself the changes and developments in the People's Republic of China.
Over the past decades, China has seen spectacular economic and social development. This is commendable. The Tibetan areas have likewise seen some infrastructural development, which I have always considered positive.
Looking back at the past five decades of China's history, one sees that the country saw a great many movements based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. That was during Mao's era. Then Deng Xiaoping, through "seeking truth from facts", introduced socialist market economy and brought huge economic progress. Following this, based on his theory of the "Three Represents", Jiang Zemin expanded the scope of the Communist Party of China to include not just the peasants and workers, but also three other elements, namely the advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the majority. Today, President Hu Jintao's theory of "The Harmonies" envisages peaceful coexistence and harmony within China, as well as with her neighbours and the international community. All these initiatives were undertaken in accordance with the changing times. As a result, the transition of political power and the development of the country have continued unabated. And today China is emerging as one of the major powers in the world, which she deserves considering her long history and huge population.
However, the fundamental issue that must be addressed is that in tandem with the political power and economic development, China must also follow the modern trend in terms of developing a more open society, free press and policy transparency. This, as every sensible person can see, is the foundation of genuine peace, harmony and stability.
Tibetans—as one of the larger groups of China's 55 minority nationalities—are distinct in terms of their land, history, language, culture, religion, customs and traditions. This distinctiveness is not only clear to the world, but was also recognized by a number of senior Chinese leaders in the past. I have only one demand: self-rule and genuine autonomy for all Tibetans, i.e., the Tibetan nationality in its entirety. This demand is in keeping with the provisions of the Chinese constitution, which means it can be met. It is a legitimate, just and reasonable demand, that reflects the aspirations of Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet. This demand is based on the logic of seeing future as more important than the past; it is based on the ground realities of the present and the interests of the future.
The long history of the past does not lend itself to a simple black and white interpretation. As such, it is not easy to derive a solution from the past history. This being the case, I have stated time and again that I do not wish to seek Tibet's separation from China, but that I will seek its future within the framework of the Chinese constitution. Anyone who has heard this statement would realize—unless his or her view of reality is clouded by suspicion—that my demand for genuine self-rule does not amount to a demand for separation. The convergence of this fact with a gradual progress in freedom, openness and media will create conditions, I hope, for resolving the Sino-Tibetan problem through negotiations. Therefore, I am making every effort to perpetuate the present contact and thus create a conducive atmosphere.
The Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration has made a number of appeals to Tibetans and our international supporters to work toward the creation of a conducive environment for negotiations. Today, I would like to emphasize that we leave no stone unturned to help the present process of dialogue for the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan problem. I urge all Tibetans to take note of this on the basis of the Kashag's appeal. I make the same request to Tibet supporters and those sympathetic to the Tibetan people.
By the same token, I would like to tell the People's Republic of China that if it sees benefit in sincerely pursuing dialogue through the present contact, it must make clear gestures to this effect. I urge the Chinese leadership to give serious thought to this. A positive atmosphere cannot be created by one side alone. As an ancient Tibetan saying goes, one hand is not enough to create the sound of a clap.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to the international community for their consistent support to us. I would also like to express once again the Tibetan people's appreciation and immense sense of gratitude to the people and the Government of India for their unwavering and unparalleled generosity and support to us.
With my thoughts on the situation and feelings of the Tibetans inside Tibet, I pray for all of them. I pray also for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.The Dalai Lama
10 March 2006
2. Statement of the Kashag
on the 47th Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day
Today is the 47th anniversary of the Tibetan people's peaceful uprising for freedom in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. On this momentous occasion, the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration pays tribute to the heroic men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their lives for our spiritual, political and people's cause. The Kashag also expresses its solidarity with the Tibetans who continue to suffer oppression in Tibet.
In the past 10 March statements of the 12th Kashag since it assumed office in 2001, we have taken stock of and reviewed the positive and negative aspects of past developments. In these statements we explained our policy on the implementation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Middle-Way Approach for resolving the issue of Tibet through negotiations, empowering the Tibetan people, and the recent re-establishment of Sino-Tibetan contacts and the creation of a conducive environment by the exiled Tibetan community for negotiations. Apart from these, we have also explained the Middle-Way Approach, which was specifically meant for the leadership of the People's Republic of China. Moreover, we have made necessary clarifications on the past visits to China by the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In these statements we have also articulated the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
This is the last 10 March statement of the present Kashag. Therefore, we will not repeat here what has already been said in the past statements. We will, instead, present a brief account of the status of the process of Sino-Tibetan dialogue concerning the future of the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet, and our future plans.
Under the wise guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have been making every possible effort to find a negotiated solution to the Tibetan problem. This process was formulated under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in accordance with the inspiration of the Tibetans in and outside Tibet and was unanimously supported through a democratic process by Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies. In the process, the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have already conducted five rounds of serious talks with the leaders of the People's Republic of China. They have also reiterated His Holiness the Dalai Lama's desire to visit sacred pilgrim sites in China. The Kashag, therefore, considers that the time has come when we need to work more than ever before on the Sino-Tibetan contacts and the current dialogue process.
Recently the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama returned from their fourth visit to China between 15-23 February 2006 and the fifth round of talks. In the latest round of talks, both sides were able to further identify the differences in their views and thinking and the reasons for these differences and the means to resolve them.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has adopted and pursued the Middle-Way policy in which he does not seek independence for Tibet. This is in accordance with Deng Xiaoping's assurance that except for independence all issues could be resolved through negotiations. Therefore, we believe that the fundamental differences between the two sides have already been resolved. Thus the present differences in views and perspectives are not fundamental issues. They are rather details regarding how to implement and carry forward our efforts. If the People's Republic of China still sees any differences in the fundamental issue and implementation, it is contrary to reality. The People's Republic of China must review this.
The Middle-Way Approach is a flexible and mutually beneficial policy and the two sides can discuss this based on the situation and the needs of the people. As mentioned in last year's statement, we reiterate that the essence of the Middle-Way Approach should be understood and grasped. One side remaining rigid by attaching too much importance to a few words in background documents is similar to holding on to branches and offshoots rather than the root and is a means of finding excuse.
In essence, we have always said that the need to have genuine autonomy for the three provinces of Tibet or the entire Tibetan people is the basic principle. We cannot compromise on this principle. This has also been clearly understood by the leaders of the People's Republic of China. Therefore, it is important to make sure that both sides are not deceived by a few who try to distort things for their personal gain.
According to Marxism and Leninism, the nationality issue is the foundation of strength and stability. It is also regarded as an important principle for the progress of socialism. Therefore, Marx and Lenin formulated a new ideology that calls for the equality and unity of nationalities. This should be achieved, according to them, by completely eradicating the chauvinism of the majority nationality and local nationalism so that the system of suppressing nationalities practised under imperialism could be prevented. Based on this ideology, the constitution of the People's Republic of China has inserted a provision that grants to all minority nationalities the status of national regional autonomy. The only aim of this provision is to protect the unique characteristics of the minority nationalities, including their language and culture. Tibetans are also one of China's 55 minority nationalities. Moreover, before 1951 they all lived together in small, compact groups in a contiguous chain throughout Tibet. As a result, today they are either scattered or live in these areas with a majority nationality. Therefore, should they are reduced to minority in their own areas, it is not possible to protect their unique characteristics. Moreover, the complete eradication of chauvinism of the majority nationality and local nationalism will not be possible under such circumstances. Therefore, if things go in this direction it would be nothing but similar to the system of "divide and rule" practised under imperialism. Because of these reasons, we have proposed the need to have unification of all the Tibetans, with the status of genuine autonomy. This demand is in accordance with Marxist and Leninist principles and the provisions of the Chinese constitution. Therefore, this demand can be met. Moreover this has the possibility to establish a strong base on which genuine equality and unity of nationalities can be achieved, proving it the best way to prevent separatism.
We have been able to sustain Sino-Tibetan relations for the past four years. The continuing round of talks has given us the opportunity to clear up a lot of issues and gradually identify the differences that exist between the two sides. Needless to say these are the results of contacts and discussions held between the two sides.
At present it is extremely important for both sides to put more efforts to resolve the Sino-Tibetan problem as soon as possible by strengthening and improving the present contacts. This is also necessary to realise the wish of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit China for pilgrimage in the near future. Therefore, in order to achieve this, the Kashag once again urges Tibetans in and outside Tibet and Tibet supporters not to undermine the atmosphere.
This is well known to all that as long as we are committed to the Middle-Way policy there is no other way by which we can achieve our future goals, except through the dialogue process.
It is but natural that contacts and discussions can take place only through co-operation and harmony and not in an atmosphere of enmity and confrontation, and we would like to emphasise once again that this must be understood by all.
Finally, we pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the fulfilment of all his wishes. We also pray that the truth of the Tibetan issue prevails soon.
10 March 2006
WTN-L World Tibet Network News