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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

The Dalai Lama's Statement issued at Tezpur 18th April, 1959

March 14, 2011

http://www.claudearpi.net

1- It has always been accepted that the Tibetan people are different from the
Han people of China. There has always been a strong desire for independence
on the part of the Tibetan people. Throughout history this has been asserted
on numerous occasions. Sometimes, the Chinese Government have imposed
their suzerainty on Tibet and, at other times, Tibet has functioned as an
independent country. In any event, at all times, even when the suzerainty of
China was imposed, Tibet remained autonomous in control of its internal
affairs.

2-In 1951, under pressure of the Chinese Government, a 17-Point Agreement
was made between China and Tibet. In that Agreement, the suzerainty of
China was accepted as there was no alternative left to the Tibetans. But even
in the Agreement, it was stated that Tibet would enjoy full autonomy. Though
the control of External Affairs and Defence were to be in the hands of the
Chinese Government, it was agreed that there would be no interference by the
Chinese Government with the Tibetan religion and customs and her internal
administration. In fact, after the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese armies, the Tibetan Government did not enjoy any measure of autonomy even in internal
matters, and the Chinese Government exercised full powers in Tibet's affairs.
In 1956, a Preparatory Committee was set up for Tibet with the Dalai Lama as
Chairman, the Panchen Lama as Vice-Chairman and General Chang Kuo Hun as
the Representative of the Chinese Government. In practice, even this body had
little power, and decisions in all important matters were taken by the Chinese
authorities. The Dalai Lama and his Government tried their best to adhere to
the 17 Point Agreement, but the interference of the Chinese authorities
persisted.

3- By the end of 1955 a struggle had started in the Kham Province and this
assumed serious proportions in 1956. In the consequential struggle, the Chinese Armed Forces destroyed a large number of monasteries. Many Lamas
were killed and a large number of monks and officials were taken and
employed on the construction of roads in China, and the interference in the
exercise of religious freedom increased.

4- The relations of Tibetans with China became openly strained from the early
part of February, 1959. The Dalai Lama had agreed a month in advance to
attend a cultural show in the Chinese headquarters and the date was suddenly
fixed for the 10th of March. The people of Lhasa became apprehensive that
some harm might be done to the Dalai Lama and as a result about ten
thousand people gathered round the Dalai Lama's summer palace,
Norbulingka, and physically prevented the Dalai Lama from attending the
function. Thereafter, the people themselves decided to raise a bodyguard for
the protection of the Dalai Lama. Large crowds of Tibetans went about the
streets of Lhasa demonstrating against the Chinese rule in Tibet. Two days
later, thousands of Tibetan women held demonstrations protesting against
Chinese authority. In spite of this demonstration from the people, the Dalai
Lama and his Government endeavoured to maintain friendly relations with the
Chinese and tried to carry out negotiations with the Chinese representatives as
to how best to bring about peace in Tibet and assuage the people's anxiety.
While these negotiations were being carried out, reinforcements arrived to
strengthen the Chinese garrisons in Lhasa and Tibet. On the 17th March, two
or three mortar shells were fired in the direction of the Norbulingka Palace.
Fortunately, the shells fell in a nearby pond. After this, the Advisers became
alive to the danger to the person of the Dalai Lama and in those difficult
circumstances it became imperative for the Dalai Lama, the members of his
family and his high officials to leave Lhasa. The Dalai Lama would like to state
categorically that he left Lhasa and Tibet and came to India of his own free will
and not under duress.

5- It was due to the loyalty and affectionate support of his people that the
Dalai Lama was able to find his way through a route which is quite arduous.
The route which the Dalai Lama took involved the Kyichu and the Tsangpo rivers and making his way through Lhoka area, Yarlung Valley and Tsona
Dzong before reaching the Indian Frontier at Kanzey Mane near Chuthangmu. I

6- On the 29th March, 1959, the Dalai Lama sent two emissaries across the
Indo-Tibetan border requesting Government of India's permission to enter
India and seek asylum there. The Dalai Lama is extremely grateful to the
people and Government of India for their spontaneous and generous welcome
as welt as the asylum granted to hint and his followers. India and Tibet have
religious, cultural and trade links extending over a thousand years and for
Tibetans it has always been the land of enlightenment, having given birth to
Lord Buddha. The Dalai Lama is deeply touched by the kind greeting extended
to him on his safe arrival in India by the Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru,
and his colleagues in the Government of India. The Dalai Lama has already
sent reply to this message of greetings.

7- Ever since the Dalai Lama entered India at Kanzey Mane, near Chuthangmu,
he has experienced in full measure the respect and hospitality extended to him
by the people of the Kameng Frontier Division of the North East Frontier
Agency and the Dalai Lama would like to state how the Government of India's
officers posted there had spared no efforts in making his stay and journey
through this extremely well administered part of India as comfortable as
possible.

8- The Dalai Lama will now be proceeding to Mussoorie which he hopes to
reach in the next few days. The Dalai Lama will give thought to his future plans
and, if necessary, give expression to them as soon as he has had a chance to
rest and reflect on recent events. His country and people have passed through
an extremely difficult period and all that the Dalai Lama wishes to say at the
moment is to express his sincere regrets at the tragedy which has overtaken
Tibet and to fervently hope that these troubles would be over soon without any
more, bloodshed. 9- As the Dalai Lama and the spiritual head of all the Buddhists in Tibet, his foremost concern is the well-being of his people and in ensuring the perpetual flourishing of his sacred religion and freedom of his country.

10- While expressing once again thankfulness at his safe arrival in India, the
Dalai Lama would like to take this opportunity to communicate to all his
friends, well-wishers and devotees in India and abroad his sincere gratitude for
the many messages of sympathies and concern with which they have flooded
him.

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