The Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, has talked about the different initiatives taken by the Tibetan leadership in exile to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiations with China to resolve the Tibetan issue.Addressing the Fourth World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in Edinburgh on November 18, 2005, Rinpoche said, “On our part, during the talks we have both in writing and verbally explained to the PRC leadership all the concerns raised by them. Much to the anger of the worldwide Tibet movement, the Kashag has taken the extremely unpopular decision of requesting the Tibet Support Groups, the Tibetan people in exile and NGOs to avoid provocative actions and slogans and not to engage in personally confronting the visiting Chinese leaders abroad with agitation. Much to the dismay of a section of the Tibetan, at official functions, we have banned the singing of songs that fuel nationalistic anger and anti-Chinese sentiments. These are some of the measures that we have taken to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiations. They are an indication of both our seriousness and sincerity in peacefully resolving the protracted issue of Tibet and in restoring to the long-suffering people of Tibet the dignity and happiness they so richly deserve.”
Following is the full text of the Tibetan leader’s remarks as released by the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India, on its website www.tibet.net.
Address of Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche at the 4th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, Edinburgh
18-19 November 2005
On behalf of the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I would like to welcome and thank you all for sparing your precious time to attend this convention.
This convention comes at a critical period in the history of the Tibetan people. His Holiness the Dalai Lama often describes the present period as the one that will make or break the spirit of the Tibetan people and that of Tibet?s spiritual and cultural heritage. This is because the Tibetan people are presented with new opportunities and daunting new challenges.
On the bright side, since 2002 we have managed to re-establish contacts with the Chinese authorities. On our part, we are making every effort to maintain and expand these contacts in our sincere attempt to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully on the basis of His Holiness the Dalai Lama?s Middle-Way Approach.
The Middle-Way Approach recommends that the whole of Tibet be granted genuine autonomy. In return the six million Tibetan people will be happy to live within the constitutional framework of the People?s Republic of China (PRC). This is the position of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the aspiration of the vast majority of the Tibetan people.
In order to resolve the issue of Tibet on the basis of His Holiness the Dalai Lama?s Middle-Way Approach, the Central Tibetan Administration has made every effort within our power to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiations and taken a series of confidence-building measures. We are pleased that the Chinese authorities have taken note of these positive steps. We will continue to take these steps till the issue of Tibet is resolved through a negotiated settlement.
Though Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen, a senior member of His Holiness the Dalai Lama?s delegation engaged with the PRC leaders, will brief you in detail on our contacts with the PRC leadership, I would like to acknowledge the open and frank attitude of the PRC representatives. We especially appreciate the comments made by them during the last round of talks held in Berne in Switzerland in July 2005 that the PRC central leadership attached great importance to the contact with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
On our part, during the talks we have both in writing and verbally explained to the PRC leadership all the concerns raised by them. Much to the anger of the worldwide Tibet movement, the Kashag has taken the extremely unpopular decision of requesting the Tibet Support Groups, the Tibetan people in exile and NGOs to avoid provocative actions and slogans and not to engage in personally confronting the visiting Chinese leaders abroad with agitation. Much to the dismay of a section of the Tibetan, at official functions, we have banned the singing of songs that fuel nationalistic anger and anti-Chinese sentiments. These are some of the measures that we have taken to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiations. They are an indication of both our seriousness and sincerity in peacefully resolving the protracted issue of Tibet and in restoring to the long-suffering people of Tibet the dignity and happiness they so richly deserve.
We believe PRC has an historic opportunity to grasp the hand of friendship extended by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The ability of PRC to view His Holiness the Dalai Lama as its most effective ally and a trusted partner in its continuing search for social peace and legitimacy in Tibet will rebound enormously in enhancing China?s international image. This will especially be true in the eyes of those millions in Asia whose lives and the lives of their ancestors have been enriched by Tibetan civilization and now in the eyes of millions around the world who look to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for guidance and inspiration.
We hope to accomplish this with the continuing support, guidance and commitment of our friends in the legislative bodies around the world. The fact that PRC has renewed its contacts with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is due to the counsel offered to the PRC leaders by government and legislative leaders around the world. We hope your support and commitment on this critical area of our contacts with the PRC leaders will continue.
We feel that the aspiration of the Tibetan people as articulated in the Middle-Way Approach are most reasonable and within the constitutional provision of the People?s Republic of China. PRC?s willingness to settle the issue of Tibet on the basis of the Middle-Way Approach will contribute to peace and stability and will enhance the image of PRC.
At this point it is important for us to clarify one fundamental nature of the Tibetan people?s struggle, which is a struggle for the future of the six million Tibetan people. It is not a struggle for the restoration of the lost privileges of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his traditional government.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated that once he returns to Tibet in a manner that meets the aspirations of the majority of the Tibetan people, he would hand over his inherent powers to a duly elected local government of Tibet. Once this happens, the Central Tibetan Administration in exile would automatically be dissolved and the affairs of Tibetan will be looked after by the same Tibetan officials who are currently working in Tibet.
In his latest interview which appeared in an Indian national daily, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “When the day comes for our return with a certain degree of freedom, then I will hand over all my authority to the local Tibetan government. Hopefully, that local government should eventually be an elected government.”
Friends, I must once again remind you in a nutshell the objectives and the nature of our struggle. We do not perceive the problem of Tibet as an isolated problem for the Tibetan people alone or a struggle between just two nations, namely China and Tibet. The Chinese and Tibetans lived as neighbors since time immemorial. Our relations had been fluctuating all the time, as friends, as relatives, as enemies, but at not time such deep problem as we are facing for the last more than fifty years, had never happened. The present problem, as we see it, is a symptom of a larger human malady which perpetuated in the modern world. It is therefore we shall have to search the remedy also at a larger plan, at the level of all human societies. Our conflict is neither a conflict of political ideology nor for political powers. It is neither fight for territory nor a struggle between nationalities. The Tibetan people do not ask neither separation nor larger share of political or economic power. Our soul objective is to retain the identity of Tibetan people as non-violent society in order to preserve and promote the unique Tibetan cultural and spiritual heritage in order to share it with all human beings. The essence of Middle-Way Approach is to achieve the required basic freedom and human dignity for all the Tibetan nationalities in order to enable them to perform efficiently their universal responsibility which is impossible under the present situation.
If PRC authorities have a political will, our above-mentioned aspiration can be easily fulfilled by implementing the provision enshrined in the Constitution of PRC for National Regional Autonomy with all sincerity. By this the people of Tibet will able to contribute their part for the humanity and emotionally integrated with PRC, by which will make real unity and stability for the PRC.
To achieve this objective, we are fully committed to non-violence means. The present major problems of humanity including problems facing PRC are of ‘Violence’. Unless the violence is eradicated, none of the human problems, national or international, can be resolved on a sustainable basis. Keeping in view the objectives and the methods mentioned above, our struggle is a struggle between truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, violence and non-violence. The world community has well recognized the nature of our movement and therefore supported it voluntarily without any expectations. In spite of that we are not yet able to convince the PRC leadership and they always accuse us and His Holiness for being “Separatist”. In spite of our consistent policy of Middle-Way adopted for last 26 years, PRC continues to accuse us of being “Separatist”. Sometimes, we begin to doubt that the PRC leadership wants us to remain “Separatist” and want us to continue to work for “separation” in order to meet some of their internal political requirements.
My one-pointed request to you all, Ladies and Gentlemen, is that through your legislative bodies, through your government and through the individual friends of PRC leadership, to kindly educate, persuade and encourage to give up the unfounded doubts and suspicion upon His Holiness and his administration. And to begin a meaningful negotiation with His Holiness without losing any time.
The marginalisation of Tibetan inside Tibet, demographically, economically and politically has endangered the very survival of the Tibetan identity. Each passing day, the marginalisation increases by leaps and bounds. Therefore, time is running out. Tibet must be saved before its extinction.
In conclusion, my colleagues in the Kashag join me in expressing our deep appreciation to your presence and participation in this convention. It is an indication of your support to and solidarity with the just and non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people.
I am particulary encouraged by the strong Indian delegation from All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. In fact, the inception of WPCT is brainchild of the All Parliamentary Group of Indian Parliament in 1994. Today, when I am in your midst, the memory of the late Shri Madhu Limay comes to my mind again and over again. He took great personal interest in organising All Party Parliamentary Group in the Indian Parliament and also in convening the first WPCT in New Delhi. I also remember the hard work done by Shri George Fernandes and Shri Mohan Singh, who were conveners of WPCT at that time.
In fact, the issue of Tibet as well as the cultural heritage of Tibet still survived in exile is mainly due to generous and continued support of government and the people of India. I would urge all the participants of this Convention as well as all the sympathisers of Tibet all over the world to recognise and acknowledge it.
I would also like to thank the Assembly of the Tibetan People?s Deputies for initiating this fourth World Parliamentarians? Convention on Tibet. The Central Tibetan Administration would like to express our deep appreciation to the Government of United Kingdom for permitting us to hold this convention. We would also like to express our gratitude to both the Scottish Cross Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and the UK Parliamentary Group for Tibet for stepping in to actually organise this convention at such a short time.