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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 leads worldwide fasting and prayers for Tibet

September 1, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
August 30, 2008

Dharamsala, August 30 -- Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, the home of
the Tibetan Government-in-exile, led a 12-hr mass fasting and prayer
service, in conjunction with Tibetans and supporters around the
world, to draw attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.

While observing fasting, the Tibetan exiles and supporters
simultaneously offered prayers for the wellbeing and long life of the
Dalai Lama, world peace and, for freedom from oppression in China,
Tibet and elsewhere.

Tibetan Government offices, schools and usual businesses run by
Tibetans here remained closed to observe the day-long mass prayer
service and fasting. In a massive show of strengthening their
nonviolent commitment to end China's oppression in their Himalayan
homeland, the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag-Khang),
the official venue for the peaceful action, remained packed to the
fullest. Some five thousand or more, including Tibet supporters and
people from Himalayan region, congregated since 7:00 in the morning
to take part in it.

Fasting with prayers are also being observed by Tibetans at
respective Tibetans schools, monasteries, nunneries and dharma
centres that are located around Dharamsala but could not make it to
the main Tibetan Temple here.

Many others are known to be observing the day-long fasting and
holding prayers at their homes.
Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Prof. Samdhong
Rinpoche and others members of the cabinet, Speaker and Deputy
Speaker and members of the Tibetan Parliament and other senior
government officials have taken part in the non-violent action for Tibet.

Senior leaders of the Tibet's Government-in-exile, including Kalon
Tripa (PM) and his cabinet ministers, and Speaker and Deputy Speaker
of the Tibetan Parliament took part in the day-long fasting and
prayer service in Dharamsala on Saturday

"We are immensely fortunate and grateful that His Holiness the Dalai
Lama has consented to take part in person here, but due to a slight
indisposition this could not happen," PM Prof. Rinpoche said this
morning in his official address to the gathering.

"However, His Holiness is observing the fasting and prayer from
Mumbai today and we convey our immense gratitude and respect to him," he added.

Rinpoche said this kind of activity was not a "protest led by hatred,
rancour and anger but by the teachings of the Lord Buddha in all the
vehicles to refrain from harming others and do everything to benefit
others with love and compassion, which is the essence of spiritual practice."

"Due to the consistent effort and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama to pursue non-violent methods to resolve the Tibetan issue, it
has been many years that most of the Tibetan movements remained free
from gross physical violence, he said. "This garnered immense support
from around the world for the just cause of Tibet," he added.

"Our pursuit of non-violence has not only enabled us to keep alive
the Tibetan issue but also compelled the People's Republic of China
to respond to our policy of rapprochement irrespective of their
sincerity" he said.

Rinpoche expressed hope that the sincere practice of non-violence by
Tibetan people would "ultimately help change the mind of the PRC
authorities to more compassionate" and urged all Tibetans to put
"concerted non-violent efforts to bring natural end to the torture
and persecution in Tibet."

The Tibetan PM said "We pay our condolence and homage to those who
lost their lives and those who are imprisoned, tortured and beaten in
the recent uprisings in Tibet," he said.

"We also pray and sympathise for the victims of the earthquakes in
Sichuan and the one in South-western Tibet recently and the disaster
caused by flood in some other part as well."

Speaker Karma Chophel, also the chairman of the Tibetan Solidarity
Committee, said today's non-violent action was guided to enhance
collective merits of all those people in the world in general and
Tibetans in particular who have been victims of forced oppression and
violence and deprived of fundamental human rights.

He said the non-violent action was to offer prayers for the long and
healthy life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to relieve those
Tibetan who are still enduring atrocities under the brutal Chinese oppression.

Since March this year, major anti-China unrests broke out in Lhasa
that slowly spilled out into other Tibetan regions. Chinese communist
authorities responded with military crackdown on Tibetan
demonstrations leading to deaths and arbitrary arrests of hundreds of
Tibetans, and left many more injured and missing.

The March protests in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet were among the
biggest in almost 50 years of oppressive Chinese rule.

China sent tens of thousands of troops into Tibetan regions to quash
the demonstrations. Its harsh response brought worldwide criticism,
and several world leaders even threatened to boycott the Beijing
Olympics, which ended last Sunday.

China repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan religious
leader, and his followers of instigating the unrest and trying to
derail the games. Facing strong international pressure, Beijing
agreed to hold talks with the Dalai Lama's representatives two times
after large scale unrests across Tibet.

However, Beijing has continued to vilify the exiled Tibetan leader,
most recently for a trip to France that ended last week.

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he accused
Beijing of imposing a new, long-term "plan of brutal repression" and
building new military camps in Tibetan areas.

The Dalai Lama has said that despite China's harsh crackdown on the
March demonstrations, he still supports a peaceful solution of
meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China's rule, not
independence.

Today's worldwide non-violent action campaign, initiated by Tibetan
Solidarity Committee, is to further reinforce Tibetan people's
commitment to nonviolence and strengthen its force in their struggle
for freedom under the Dalai Lama's leadership.
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