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Call to end continuing injustice in Tibet - Letter

December 11, 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/06/end-injustice-indonesia-tibet [7 December] Dai Qingli's letter (Tibetan deaths violate Buddhism, 25 November) revealed not only a woeful lack of comprehension of the crisis in Tibet but also the Chinese Communist party's failure to gain any measure of legitimacy among the Tibetan people after more than 60 years. Since February 2009, 11 Tibetan monks or former monks and two nuns in Tibet have set fire to themselves in a new and disturbing development driven by agonising oppression. It is a terrible indictment of China's Tibet policy. We do not know the last words of nun Palden Choetso, who left her nunnery on 3 November, doused herself in kerosene, and set fire to herself. But we are told that among them were prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The sense of separation from the Tibetan exiled leader has never been so acute among Tibetans in Tibet, and just as the Chinese authorities refuse to give any hope that he will return, so the dangerous cycle of despair is perpetuated. The self-immolations follow a systematic assault against the religious practices and beliefs at the core of Tibetan identity to the extent that many people cannot see how to go on living, as one Tibetan said. Contrary to Dai Qingli's claims, the Dalai Lama and other religious leaders in exile want these deaths to stop and Tibetans to be able to practise their religion and protect their cultural identity. Dai Qingli is wrong, too, on his paranoid assertions of a separatist agenda of the Dalai Lama; the exiled religious leader is urging the Chinese government to implement its own laws granting Tibetans a genuine autonomy within the People's Republic of China. It is in the interests of the Chinese leadership to listen, instead of risking the further escalation of tensions, and to engage in dialogue with this most-respected and reasonable figure, the Dalai Lama. To that end, we are optimistic of robust cross-party support in a full House of Commons debate on Tibet today (7 December), with a view to seeking a peaceful way forward as a matter of urgency. Nic Dakin MP Fabian Hamilton MP Martin Horwood MP Simon Hughes MP Cathy Jamieson MP David Steel, House of Lords
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