Samdhong Rinpoche

Samdhong Rinpoche

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 forthese 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.

The Kashag
10 March 2006