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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 Senator Barack Obama on the situation in Tibet

March 15, 2008

Chicago, IL, March 14-- "I am deeply disturbed by reports of a
crackdown and arrests ordered by Chinese authorities in the wake of
peaceful protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks. I condemn the use of
violence to put down peaceful protests, and call on the Chinese
government to respect the basic human rights of the people of Tibet,
and to account for the whereabouts of detained Buddhist monks.

These events come on the 49th anniversary of the exile of the
spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama. They
demonstrate the continuing frustration of the Tibetan people at the
way in which Beijing has ruled Tibet. There has been an informal
dialogue between Chinese leaders and the Dalai Lama's representatives
over the past six years. It is good that they have been talking, but
China has thus far shown no flexibility on the substance of those
discussions. Indeed, it has delayed in scheduling the latest round,
despite the willingness of the Tibetans to continue dialogue.

If Tibetans are to live in harmony with the rest of China's people,
their religion and culture must be respected and protected. Tibet
should enjoy genuine and meaningful autonomy. The Dalai Lama should be
invited to visit China, as part of a process leading to his return.

This is the year of the Beijing Olympics. It represents an opportunity
for China to show the world what it has accomplished in the last
several decades. Those accomplishments have been extraordinary and
China's people have a right to be proud of them, but the events in
Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of
China. Now is the time for Beijing to take steps that would change the
image people have of China later this year by changing the reality of
how they treat Tibet and Tibetans. Now is the time to respect the
human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet."
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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