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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."

Dharamsala Mourns For Chinese And Tibetan Victims; Denounces China's Double-standard Treatment

May 21, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
May 19, 2008

Central Tibetan Administration instructs all Tibetans to put off all
protests in front of PRC Embassies until May end.

Dharamsala, May 19: Under the aegis of the Tibetan Solidarity
Committee, its regional Dharamsala committee today organized a mass
prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglagkhang) for the victims of
last week's earthquake in China's South Western Sichuan province and
Tibetan victims of the Chinese government's violent crackdown since
March this year. The special prayer was led by monks of the Namgyal Monastery.

The latest report by China's central state news agency says more than
32,000 people have been confirmed dead following a 7.8 magnitude
earthquake that rocked several areas in Sichuan Province in the
afternoon of May 12. The report also said the death toll was expected
to climb up higher in the following days. There are other reports
that speculate that the final death toll will surpass the government
estimate of 50-thousand.

"Central Tibetan Administration and all Tibetan people in exile
convey their heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of
Sichuan earthquake and stands in solidarity with the Chinese people
in this hour of grief and sadness," Speaker of the Tibetan
Parliament-in-exile Mr Karma Choephel said at the prayer meet this morning.

The devastating earthquake proved disastrous for China at a time when
it was struggling to contain growing unrest in Tibet before the 2008
Olympics begins in Beijing in few months.

Protests against Chinese rule in Tibet broke out in the capital Lhasa
on March 10 and subsequently spread to other vast Tibetans areas
outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Chinese government
responded swiftly with violent crackdown deploying thousands of
military troops and tanks.

Tibetan Government-in-Exile, based in Dharamsala, says as many as 203
Tibetans have been killed and about 1,000 injured in the Chinese
crackdown. It also says several more being arrested and held under
detention "continue to suffer daily hardships and torture at the
hands of the Chinese authorities."

Tibetans have been offering occasional mass prayers and candle light
vigils for the victims of two distinctively separate tragedies. They,
however, point out that the Chinese government's policy of dealing
with the two situations has been fundamentally discriminative and
called on China to immediately stop all repressive measures in Tibet.

"People's Republic of China's policy dealings with the recent two
incidents of widespread Tibetan protests and the devastating
earthquake in neighbouring Sichuan province is fundamentally
distinct," says the statement released by the Solidarity committee on May 17.

"Tt is also imperative that the Government of People's Republic of
China immediately halt all repressive measures in Tibet respecting
the lives and sentiments of the Tibetan people and adopt a realistic
approach by recognizing and reviewing the past mistakes of its
policies on Tibet," the statement said.

The statement pointed out that while the "catastrophic earthquake" in
Sichuan "drew immediate attention of the highest echelons of the
Communist Party government with both Premier Wen Jiabao and President
Hu Jintao visiting the affected areas," it said "On the contrary, in
Tibet, hundreds of Tibetans have lost their lives as a result of the
government crackdown on Tibetan protesters."

The statement also criticizes the Chinese Government's arbitrary
handling of the media coverage of the two tragedies.

"The information about the quake was disseminated without any
government restriction and, foreign journalists and reporters were
allowed to report freely from the quake affected areas, showing great
openness," it said. "Whereas in Tibet," during the protests, "it was
only the state-sponsored Chinese media that one-sidedly reported
about the incidents," committee's statement pointed out.

The largely hit areas by the May 12 quake include Tibetan-inhabited
Lungu county (Ch: Wen Chuang), Tashi Ling county (Ch: Lixian),
Sungchu county (Ch: Song Pan), Trochu county (Ch: Xiao Jing) and
Maowen county (Ch: Mao Wen) under Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture (TAP) in Sichuan Province.

Mr Karma Choephel said the committee was facing difficulty to
ascertain if there were any Tibetan victims of earthquake and the
exact scale of its destruction.

Saying there is "reason to doubt whether PRC has effectively carried
out relief efforts without leaving out Tibetans" Speaker Karma
Choephel said, "In this hour of tragedy, we hope and appeal to the
Central Government of the People's Republic of China to deliver
timely rescue and relief to all the affected areas, without any
distinction of people and place."

He said the "Special prayers" were being held "in memory of those
killed and injured" in the deadly quake "irrespective of Chinese and
Tibetans, if any, victims". "We are not against Chinese people" he
said adding "they have also been constant victims of Chinese
Communist Government's wrong and oppressive policies."

Mr Choephel said the Tibetans Solidarity Committee, in a show of
solidarity with Chinese people, had also "instructed all Tibetans to
put off all protests in front of PRC Embassies until May end."

Mr Choephel said the prayers would also embrace other victims of
disasters, including the victims of Cyclone Nargis that struck in
Myanmar on May 3 leaving death toll of over 100,000 and the bomb
blasts in the Indian city of Jaipur that claimed 70 lives.
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