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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Letter: The Rights of Tibetans

August 10, 2008

The New York Times
August 8, 2008

To the Editor:

I do not wish to respond to the entirety of Nicholas D. Kristof's
Aug. 7 column, "An Olive Branch From the Dalai Lama." Mr. Kristof
himself says that both sides will surely flinch at some terms, and he
is correct about that.

The one point that needs immediate clarification is on the autonomous
rights of the Tibetan people. The way it is presented, the reader may
get the impression that the Tibet issue is only one of education,
culture and religion.

Even according to Chinese law as spelled out in the White Paper on
the Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet issued by the Chinese
government in 2004, Tibetans are entitled to the following rights:
full political right of autonomy; full decision-making power in
economic and social development undertakings; freedom to inherit and
develop their traditional culture and to practice their religious
belief; and freedom to administer, protect and be the first to use
their natural resources, and to independently develop their
educational and cultural undertakings.

Lodi Gyari

Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama
Washington, Aug. 7, 2008

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