Statement of His Holiness Dalai Lama on the 47th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day
(Dharamshala. March 10, 2006)
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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 of 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 forty-six 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
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 circumstances. This is clear to the world. Unfortunately,
Beijing still seems unable to overcome doubts and suspicions regarding
my intention; it continues to criticise 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 to 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 "Three
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 recognised 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 realise, 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 Sino-Tibetan problem through
negotiations. Therefore, I am making every effort to perpetuate the
present contacts 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 emphasise 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 gesture to this effect. I urge the
Chinese leadership to give a 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 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 also pray for the wellbeing of all
my prayers for the well-being of all sentient beings.
(10 March 2006)
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