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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?"

`The world should try for a change inside China`

March 24, 2008

OPINION: Dalai Lama

Business Standard / New Delhi March 23, 2008

A major concern of the People's Republic of China is its lack of
legitimacy in Tibet. The principal way to lend weight to their position
is for the Chinese government to pursue a policy that satisfies the
Tibetan people and gains their confidence. If we are able to achieve
reconciliation by treading a path of mutual consent, then, as I have
already stated many times, I will make every effort to win the support
of the Tibetan people.

In Tibet today, due to the Chinese government?s numerous actions, driven
as they are by a lack of foresight, the natural environment has been
severely damaged. And, as a result of their policy of population
transfer the non-Tibetan population has increased many times, reducing
native Tibetans to an insignificant minority in their own country.
Moreover, the language, customs and traditions of Tibet, which reflect
the true nature and identity of the Tibetan people are gradually fading
away. As a consequence, Tibetans are increasingly being assimilated into
the larger Chinese population. In Tibet, repression continues to
increase with numerous, unimaginable and gross violations of human
rights, denial of religious freedom and the politicisation of religious
issues.

All these take place as a result of the Chinese government’s lack of
respect for the Tibetan people. These are major obstacles the Chinese
government deliberately puts in the way of its policy of unifying
nationalities which discriminate between the Tibetan and Chinese
peoples. Therefore, I urge the Chinese government to bring an immediate
halt to such policies. Although the areas inhabited by Tibetan people
are referred to by such different names as autonomous region, autonomous
prefectures and autonomous counties, they are autonomous in name only;
they actually have no real autonomy. Instead, they are governed by
people who are oblivious of the regional situation, and driven by what
Mao Zedong called Han chauvinism.

As a result, this so-called autonomy has not brought the concerned
nationalities any tangible benefit. Disingenuous policies that are not
in tune with reality are causing enormous harm not only to the
respective nationalities, but also to the unity and stability of the
Chinese nation. It is important for the Chinese government, as advised
by Deng Xiaoping, to seek truth from facts in the real sense of the
term. The Chinese government severely criticises me when I raise
questions about the welfare of the Tibetan people before the
international community. Until we reach a mutually beneficial solution,
I have a historical and moral responsibility to continue to speak out
freely on their behalf.

However, it is common knowledge that I have been in semi-retirement
since the political leadership of the Tibetan Diaspora has been directly
elected by the general Tibetan populace. China is emerging as a powerful
country due to her great economic progress. This is to be welcomed, but
it has also provided China an opportunity to play an important role on
the global stage. The world is eagerly waiting to see how the present
Chinese leadership will put into effect its avowed concepts of
"harmonious society" and "peaceful rise". For the realisation of these
concepts, economic progress alone will not suffice.

This year, the Chinese people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the
opening of the Olympic Games. I have, from the very beginning, supported
the idea that China should be granted the opportunity to host the
Olympic Games. I have come to know that many parliaments, individuals
and non-governmental organisations around the globe are undertaking a
number of activities in view of the opportunity that exists for China to
make a positive change. I admire their sincerity. The world should,
therefore, explore ways of investing their collective energies in
producing a continuous positive change inside China even after the
Olympics have come to an end. I would like to take this opportunity to
express my pride in and appreciation for the sincerity, courage and
determination of the Tibetan people inside Tibet.

(Exceprts from the statement of the Dalai Lama on the 49th Tibetan
National Uprising Day, March 10, 2008)
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