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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."

World must find out truth on Tibet

March 23, 2008

The Deccan Chronicle - Editorial
Saturday March 22 2008

It must rankle many Indians, and particularly those at the forefront of
every campaign for democracy and human rights, that it took a visiting
Speaker of the US House of Representatives to spell out the obvious
truth — from Indian soil — that the developments of the past week in
Tibet were a challenge to the “conscience of the world.” The silence of
our own leadership, which refused to go beyond expressing some
“distress”, is almost deafening. India, to its enormous credit, has over
the past half-century given refuge to Tibetans fleeing oppression in
their homeland — just as this land throughout history has never shut its
doors in the face of those seeking sanctuary. India thus has a vital
interest in what happens in Tibet, but even if this were not so the
pusillanimity of our leadership is unconscionable. That Chinese Prime
Minister Wen Jiabao recently went out of his way to praise India’s
“correct” stand on Tibet should be a badge of shame for New Delhi. It is
argued that since India recognises Tibet as a part of China, whatever
happens there is its “internal matter”. That kind of logic might appeal
to totalitarian societies and dictatorships, for the world’s largest
democracy it is simply unacceptable.

There is ample evidence to indicate that Beijing has over decades
pursued a ruthless policy of turning Tibetans into a minority in their
own homeland, by flooding the sparsely-populated Tibetan plateau with
hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese: this is at the core of the
“cultural genocide” charge the Dalai Lama levelled against the Communist
leadership. China, in turn, has accused the Tibetan spiritual leader,
based in exile at Dharamsala, of masterminding the current unrest, but
the so-called “proof” it has offered is specious. Ms Nancy Pelosi, in
Dharamsala, insisted that the world must know the truth of what is
happening in Tibet. Only an international panel of some standing which
is given free access to Tibet will be able to investigate this with some
credibility. If China is correct in its claims it should welcome the
opportunity to have its accusations corroborated. We in India
traditionally distrust any kind of outside involvement, always worrying
what such a precedent might spell for us in Kashmir. This does Indian
democracy a disservice: our people and our free press are the first to
rise up in arms whenever any human rights violations are reported in
this country. People living in Tibet and China are not so privileged; it
is for their sake that the world must always keep the spotlight switched on.
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