I would like to take this opportunity to express
my deep gratitude to world leaders and the international community for
their concern over the recent sad turn of events in Tibet and for their
attempts to persuade the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint in dealing
with the demonstrations.
Since the Chinese Government has accused me of
orchestrating these protests in Tibet, I call for a thorough investigation
by a respected body, which should include Chinese representatives, to look
into these allegations. Such a body would need to visit Tibet, the traditional
Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, and also the Central
Tibetan Administration here in India. In order for the international community,
and especially the more than one billion Chinese people who do not have
access to uncensored information, to find out what is really going on in
Tibet, it would be of tremendously helpful if representatives of the international
media also undertook such investigations.
Whether it was intended or not, I believe that
a form of cultural genocide has taken place in Tibet, where the Tibetan
identity has been under constant attack. Tibetans have been reduced to
an insignificant minority in their own land as a result of the huge transfer
of non-Tibetans into Tibet. The distinctive Tibetan cultural heritage with
its characteristic language, customs and traditions is fading away. Instead
of working to unify its nationalities, the Chinese government discriminates
against these minority nationalities, the Tibetans among them.
It is common knowledge that Tibetan monasteries,
which constitute our principal seats of learning, besides being the repository
of Tibetan Buddhist culture, have been severely reduced in both in number
and population. In those monasteries that do still exist, serious study
of Tibetan Buddhism is no longer allowed; in fact, even admission to these
centres of learning is being strictly regulated. In reality, there is no
religious freedom in Tibet. Even to call for a little more freedom is to
risk being labeled a separatist. Nor is there any real autonomy in Tibet,
even though these basic freedoms are guaranteed by the Chinese constitution.
I believe the demonstrations and protests taking
place in Tibet are a spontaneous outburst of public resentment built up
by years of repression in defiance of authorities that are oblivious to
the sentiments of the local populace. They mistakenly believe that further
repressive measures are the way to achieve their declared aim of long-term
unity and stability.
On our part, we remain committed to taking the
Middle Way approach and pursuing a process of dialogue in order to find
a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibetan issue.
With these points in mind, I also seek the international
communityís support for our efforts to resolve Tibet's problems through
dialogue, and I urge them to call upon the Chinese leadership to exercise
the utmost restraint in dealing with the current disturbed situation and
to treat those who are being arrested properly and fairly.
March 18, 2008
Published: 18th of March 2008 - 06:03:22
Modified: 18th of March 2008 - 06:02:02