Statement by Dalai Lama on Tibetan National Uprising Day

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Mar 11 13:09:51 UTC 2007

Posted by Matt Browner Hamlin

The Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on ?the Forty-Eighth
Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day
10 March 2007

On the occasion of the forty-eighth anniversary of the Tibetan peoples
peaceful uprising in Lhasa in 1959, I offer my prayers and tribute to all
those Tibetans who have suffered and sacrificed their lives for the cause
of the Tibetan people. I also express my solidarity with those who are
presently suffering repression and imprisonment. In 2006, we witnessed
both positive and negative changes in the Peoples Republic of China. On
the one hand, the hard-line position was intensified with a campaign of
vilification against us, and more disquietingly, heightened political
restriction and repression in Tibet. On the other hand, in China itself,
we saw some improvement with regard to the freedom of expression. In
particular, there is a growing feeling among Chinese intellectuals that
material development alone is not sufficient and that there is a need to
create a more meaningful society based on spiritual values. Views that the
present system is inadequate to create such a society are gaining ground,
as a result of which belief in religion in general, and particularly
interest in Tibetan Buddhism and culture, is growing. Moreover, there are
many who express their wish that I make a pilgrimage to China and give
teachings there.

President Hu Jintaos continued call for a harmonious society is laudable.
The basis for the realization of such a society is to foster trust among
the people, which can take place when there is freedom of expression,
truth, justice and equality. Therefore, it is important that officials at
all levels not only take heed, but also implement these principles. With
regard to our relations with China, since around 1974, realizing the
inevitability of an opportunity to engage some day in dialogue with China,
we have made preparations to achieve genuine, unified, autonomy for all
Tibetans, as enshrined in the Chinese constitution.

In 1979, Chinas paramount leader Deng Xiaoping proposed that except for
independence, all other issues regarding Tibet could be resolved through
negotiations. As this was in accord with our thinking, we adopted a
mutually-beneficial Middle-Way policy. Since then, for twenty-eight years,
we have consistently and sincerely pursued this policy, which was
formulated as a result of thorough discussion and analysis, based on the
broad objectives of addressing the immediate and long-term interests of
both Tibetans and Chinese, peaceful co-existence in Asia and protection of
the environment. This policy has been endorsed and supported by many
pragmatic Tibetans in and outside Tibet and by many countries. The most
important reason behind my proposal to have genuine national regional
autonomy for all Tibetans is to achieve genuine equality and unity between
the Tibetans and Chinese by eliminating big Han chauvinism and local
nationalism. This will contribute to the countrys stability through mutual
help, trust and friendship between the two nationalities and to the
maintenance of our rich culture and language based on a proper balance
between spiritual and material development for the benefit of the whole of

It is true that the Chinese constitution guarantees national regional
autonomy to minority nationalities. The problem is that it is not
implemented fully, and thus fails to serve its express purpose of
preserving and protecting the distinct identity, culture and language of
the minority nationalities. What happens on the ground is that large
populations from the majority nationalities have spread in these minority
regions. Therefore, the minority nationalities, instead of being able to
preserve their own identity, culture and language, have no choice but to
depend on the language and custom of the majority nationality in their
day-to-day lives. Consequently, there is a danger of the languages and
rich traditions of the minority nationalities becoming gradually extinct.
There is nothing wrong with infrastructural development such as railway in
itself. However, it is a source of deep concern that ever since the
railway line became operational, Tibet has seen a further increase in
Chinese population transfer, deterioration of its environment, misuse and
pollution of its water, and exploitation of its natural resources, all
causing huge devastation to the land and all those who inhabit it.

Although there has been a certain number of educated and capable communist
party members among the people of minority nationalities, it is
unfortunate that very few of them have attained leadership positions at
the national level; and some of them have even been given different labels
such as separatists. In order to provide real benefits for both the
majority and minority nationalities as well as the central and local
governments, a meaningful autonomy should be put into place. Since this
particular autonomy is for the minority nationalities, the demand for a
single administration of the Tibetan nationality is sincere, just and
transparent. It is clear to the world that we have no hidden agenda. As
such it is the sacred duty of all Tibetans to continue our struggle
towards fulfilling this reasonable demand. No matter how long it takes,
our courage and determination shall remain unchanged until we fulfill our
aspirations. The struggle of the Tibetan people is not about the struggle
for the status of a few Tibetan individuals; it is the struggle of a
people. We have already transformed the exile Tibetan administration and
community into a genuine democratic system, with a succession of leaders
elected for the people by the people themselves. We have thus set up a
deeply-rooted, vibrant social and political institution that will carry
forward our struggle from generation to generation. In the end, the
ultimate decisions will be made democratically by the people themselves.

Since the resumption of direct contacts between the Tibetans and Chinese
in 2002, my representatives have conducted five rounds of comprehensive
discussion with concerned officials of the Peoples Republic of China. In
these discussions both sides were able to express in clear terms the
suspicions, doubts and real difficulties that exist between the two sides.
These rounds of discussion have thus helped in creating a channel of
communication between the two sides. The Tibetan delegation stands ready
to continue the dialogue anytime, anywhere. The Kashag will provide the
details in its statement. I greet all those Tibetans in Tibetcommunist
party members, leaders, officials, professionals and otherswho have held
on to the Tibetan spirit by continuing their efforts to work for the
genuine interest of the Tibetan people. I express my deep admiration for
their immense courage to do whatever they can in the service of the people
of Tibet. I also express my deep admiration to the Tibetans in Tibet who,
against all odds, have made efforts to preserve the Tibetan identity,
culture and language, and for their steadfast courage and determination in
realizing the aspirations of Tibetan people. I am confident that they will
continue to strive for our common cause, with renewed dedication and
commitment. I urge all Tibetans in and outside Tibet to work unitedly for
a secure future based on equality and harmony of nationalities.

I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank the people
and Government of India for their unwavering and unparalleled generosity
and support to us. I also express my gratitude to all those governments
and people in the international community for their concern and support to
the Tibetan issue. With my prayers for the peace and wellbeing of all
sentient beings,

The Dalai Lama 10 March 2007

(Translated from the original in Tibetan)


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