Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of ICT, said: “The 1959 March Uprising was an expression by the Tibetans of their loyalty to the Dalai Lama and their feelings about their relationship to China. Forty-eight years later the relationship between China and Tibet is still unresolved, but the Tibetan people’s feelings about the Dalai Lama are stronger than ever, as is his determination to reach a peaceful solution with China. In his March 10 statement this year the Dalai Lama pays tribute to the Tibetan spirit and to those who are making courageous efforts to preserve the Tibetan identity and realise the aspirations of Tibetan people.”
In the statement, the Dalai Lama says that it is the “sacred duty’ of all Tibetans to “continue our struggle towards fulfilling this reasonable demand” of a single administrative entity, adding that “our courage and determination shall remain unchanged until we fulfill our aspirations.”
Referring to the ongoing dialogue process with China, the Dalai Lama said that the Tibetan delegation “stands ready to continue the dialogue.” The last round of meetings was held in February 2006 in China. In his last March 10 statement, the Dalai Lama positioned himself directly in the discussions that have been ongoing between his envoys and Chinese officials, and expressed a wish to make a pilgrimage to China. This year, he additionally said that “there are many who express their wish that I…..give teachings there [in China].” He drew attention to the increasing awareness among Chinese people that “material development alone is not sufficient and that there is a need to create a more meaningful society based on spiritual values.”
The Dalai Lama also said that he had transformed the Tibetan exile administration into a democratic system, thus setting up a ‘deeply-rooted, vibrant social and political institution that will carry forward our struggle from generation to generation.” As vigils and demonstrations were being held all over the world by Tibetans and their supporters to remember the tens of thousands of Tibetans killed and imprisoned by Chinese troops after their protest against Chinese rule in 1959, the Dalai Lama paid tribute to the courage of Tibetans working in Tibet, including Communist Party members, leaders, officials and professionals “who have held onto the Tibetan spirit by continuing their efforts to work for the genuine interest of the Tibetan people.” He said: “I urge all Tibetans in and outside Tibet to work unitedly for a secure future based on equality and harmony of nationalities.”
In Washington DC today, House Speaker and long-time Tibet supporter Nancy Pelosi said in a statement to mark the anniversary of the March 10 Uprising: “In recent years, many of us have been encouraged by the discussions between Tibetan envoys and Chinese authorities on the status of Tibet. While open dialogue is a first step, it is clear that the Chinese government is stalling in the negotiations. It is critical for these discussions to resume as soon as possible. A negotiated agreement would ensure internal stability in Tibet and bolster China’s reputation in the world. We must heed the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as his transcendent message of peace is needed now more than ever. And we must never forget the people of Tibet in their ongoing struggle.”
The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari will testify at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday (March 13) on the status of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky (who is the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues), and the Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet’s Board of Directors, Richard Gere, will also testify at the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing.
The full text of the Dalai Lama’s statement is available here »