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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to All Tibetans

April 8, 2008

Sunday, April 06 2008

While extending my warm greetings to all the Tibetans in Tibet, I would
like to share some of my thoughts.

1. Since March 10 this year, we have witnessed protests and
demonstrations in almost all parts of Tibet, even in a few cities in
Mainland China by students, which are the outburst of long pent-up
physical and mental anguish of the Tibetans and the feeling of deep
resentment against the suppression of the rights of Tibetan people, lack
of religious freedom and for trying to distort the truth at every
occasion, such as saying that Tibetans look towards the Chinese
Communist Party as the "Living Buddha", is an ultra leftist statement
and smacks of Han chauvinism. I am very much saddened and concerned by
the use of arms to suppress the peaceful demonstrations of Tibetan
people's aspirations that have resulted in unrest in Tibet, causing many
deaths, and much more causalities, detention, and injury. Such
suppression and suffering are very unfortunate and tragic which will
reduce any compassionate person to tears. I, however, feel helpless in
the face of these tragic incidents.

2. I pray for all the Tibetans as well as Chinese who have lost their
lives during the current crisis.

3. The recent protests all over Tibet have not only contradicted but
also shattered the People Republic of China?s propaganda that except for
a few "reactionaries", the majority of Tibetans enjoy a prosperous and
contented life. These protests have made it very clear that Tibetans in
the three provinces of Tibet, U-tsang, Kham and Amdo, harbor the same
aspirations and hopes. These protests have also conveyed to the world
that the Tibet issue can no longer be neglected. These protests
highlight the need to find a way to resolve the issue through "finding
truth from facts". The courage and determination of those Tibetans who
have, for the greater interests of Tibetan people, demonstrated their
deep anguish and hopes by risking everything is very commendable as the
world community has acknowledged and supported the spirit of these Tibetans.

4. I deeply appreciate the acts of many Tibetan government employees and
Communist Party cadres who have, without losing their Tibetan identity,
shown grit and sense of what is right during the present crisis. In
future, I would appeal to the Tibetan Party cadres and government
employees not to look always for their personal benefit, but to work for
safeguarding the larger interests of Tibet by reporting the real
sentiments of the Tibetan people to their superiors in the Party and try
to give unbiased guidance to the Tibetan people.

5. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Nobel Laureates,
Parliamentarians, and concerned citizens from every part of the world
have been sending clear and strong messages to the Chinese leadership to
stop the present ongoing harsh crackdown against the Tibetan people.
They have all been encouraging the Chinese government to follow a path
where a mutually beneficial solution could be reached. We should create
an opportunity for their efforts to bring out positive results. I know
you are being provoked at every level but it is important to stick to
our non-violent practice.

6. The Chinese authorities have been making false allegations against
myself and the Central Tibetan Administration for instigating and
orchestrating the recent events in Tibet. These allegations are totally
untrue. I have made repeated appeals for an independent and respected
international body to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
I am sure this independent body will uncover the truth. If the People?s
Republic of China has any basis and proof of evidence to back their
allegations, they need to disclose these to the world. Just making
allegations is not enough.

7. For the future of Tibet, I have decided to find a solution within the
framework of the People's Republic of China. Since 1974, I have
sincerely remained steadfast to the mutually beneficial Middle-Way
Approach. The whole world knows this. The Middle-Way Approach means that
all Tibetans must be governed by similar administration that enjoys
meaningful National Regional Autonomy and all the provisions in it,
self-rule and full decision-making, except for matters concerning
foreign relations and national defense. However, I have said it from the
beginning that the Tibetans in Tibet have the right to make the final
decision for the future of Tibet.

8. The hosting of the Olympic games this year is a matter of great pride
to the 1.2 billion Chinese people. I have from the very beginning
supported the holding of these Games in Beijing. My position on this
remains unchanged. I feel the Tibetans should not cause any hindrance to
the Games. It is the legitimate right of every Tibetan to struggle for
their freedoms and rights. On the other hand, it will be futile and not
helpful to anyone if we do something that will create hatred in the
minds of the Chinese people. On the contrary, we need to foster trust
and respect in our hearts in order to create a harmonious society, as
this cannot be built on the basis of force and intimidation.

9. Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People's Republic
of China and not with the Chinese people. Therefore we should never
cause misunderstanding or do something that will hurt the Chinese
people. Even during this difficult situation, many Chinese
intellectuals, writers and lawyers in Mainland China and other parts of
the world have sympathized and shown us their solidarity by issuing
statements, writing articles and offering pledges of support that is
overwhelming. I have recently issued an appeal to the Chinese people all
over the world on 28th March, which I hope you will hear and read.

10. If the present situation in Tibet continues, I am very much
concerned that the Chinese government will unleash more force and
increase the suppression of Tibetan people. Because of my moral
obligation and responsibility to the Tibetan people, I have repeatedly
asked the concerned leadership of the PRC to immediately stop their
suppression in all parts of Tibet and withdraw its armed police and
troops. If this brings result, I would also advise the Tibetans to stop
all the current protests.

11. I want to urge my fellow Tibetans who live in freedom outside Tibet
to be extra vigilant as they voice their feelings on the developments in
Tibet. We should not engage in any action that could be even remotely
interpreted as violent. Even under the most provocative of situations we
must not allow our most precious and deeply held values to be
compromised. I firmly believe that we will achieve success through our
non-violent path. We must be wise to understand where the unprecedented
affection and support for our cause stems from.

12. As Tibet is currently virtually closed and no international media is
allowed there, I doubt my message will reach the Tibetans in Tibet. But
I hope through media and by word of mouth, it will be passed on to the
majority of you.

13. Finally, I want to reiterate and appeal once again to Tibetans to
practice non-violence and not waver from this path, however serious the
situation might be.

The Dalai Lama

April 6, 2008

(N.B. Translated from the Tibetan original)
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