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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?"

Although Chinese intelligentsias' outlook on Tibet is positive, the current repression of Tibetans is alarming, says His Holiness' envoy

October 10, 2008

Office of Tibet, London
October 9, 2008

LONDON, 9 October - The two day visit here of the Envoy of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama to Europe which concluded yesterday helped
much to generate more awareness and interest in the current sad
situation in Tibet and prospects for the next round of Sino-Tibetan
dialogue due to take place in China at the end of this month.

During his meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister's
Office as well as with Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Foreign
Affairs Spokespersons of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat
parties, Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, updated them on the ongoing plight
of the Tibetans inside Tibet and briefed them on the talks that the
Tibetan side has been having with representatives of the Chinese
government since 2002. Mr. Gyaltsen is one of the two envoys
representing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in conducting direct talks
with the Chinese government. He effectively presented the Tibetan
case and among other things clarified that the issue of Tibet,
contrary to the official Chinese misinterpretation, is not about the
welfare of the person of the Dalai Lama but concerns the happiness of
the six million Tibetan people.

Mr. Gyaltsen also elaborately explained the non-violent Middle Way
Approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama that not only guarantees the
survival of the Tibetan people with their culture intact but also
ensures the unity and stability of China. He urged the British
government and leadership to further encourage the Chinese
authorities to sincerely pursue the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process to
resolve the Tibet issue in the interest of both the Tibetan and
Chinese peoples. Envoy Gyaltsen was accompanied at these governmental
and non-governmental meetings by Mr. Tsering Tashi, the London-based
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Expressing the deep concerns especially of the Tibetans in exile for
the grave and alarming situation in Tibet, Mr. Gyaltsen said many
Tibetans inside Tibet describe the current difficult situation as
similar to the depressing days of the "Cultural Revolution" when
people were gripped with intense fear and intimidation at the hands
of the totalitarian Chinese regime.  He said through their "patriotic
re-education" campaigns, the Tibetan are being forced to declare
total loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and the State.  He said
despite the official Chinese announcement that normalcy has returned
to Tibet, the Tibetan areas are still under heavy restrictions and
access to these areas are heavily restricted.  He said Tibet is
currently a kind of "giant prison" and anyone trying to contact the
outside world is a suspect in the eyes of the Chinese authorities.

Mr. Gyaltsen said the lack of any positive initiative on the part of
the Chinese government in the dialogue process and the worsening
state of affairs in Tibet was a cause for much concern. He said it
was because of this that many Tibetans, supporters around the world
and observers feel that China's participation in the dialogue with
representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is only "to deflect
international criticism". Mr. Gyaltsen hoped that to avoid such
thinking the next eighth round of talks will be productive and that
the Chinese government representatives will seize the opportunity to
seriously discuss the "genuine autonomy" proposal that the Tibetan
side will be presenting and about which their Chinese counterparts
were made aware of during the last round of dialogue when the Tibetan
envoys made it clear that the talks were a waste of time if the
Chinese authorities were lacking in commitment and not serious.

Mr. Gyaltsen during his parleys with government officials, parliament
members and representatives of Tibet support groups also apprised
them of the special general meeting that His Holiness the Dalai Lama
has suggested the Tibetan peoples representative should hold in
November to discuss the future course of the Tibetan struggle keeping
in view the recent crisis in Tibet and the world situation in
general. This open and democratic discussion will also enable the
Tibetan public to voice their concerns for the lack of any sincerity
and positive response from the Chinese government to His Holiness'
moderate Middle Way Approach in finding a mutually agreeable solution
to the Tibet problem.

The Tibetan envoy also informed that despite the current rigid stand
taken on Tibet by the present Chinese leadership, there were many
Chinese in the government and outside who are showing a more positive
attitude toward the Tibetan problem and calling for a timely solution
and even ready to act on behalf of the Tibetans. He also said that
contrary to the official Chinese portrayal of Tibet and the Tibetans
as "underdeveloped, backward, and superstitious", more and more
Chinese through better information are showing interest in the
Tibetan Buddhist culture and even supporting their just cause. He
said the increasing Chinese intelligentsias' new outlook on Tibet is
positive and different the negative perception some twenty or thirty
years back.

Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen was assured of continued interest and support
by all those he met, including government officials, political
leaders and parliamentarians. They expressed their high sense of
respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and admiration for his
peaceful efforts not only for Tibet but also for the betterment of
the world at large.

During his brief visit, Mr. Gyaltsen spared time to address a meeting
opportunity for the press in London that was also attended by some
Chinese journalists. He also gave a couple of one-on-on interviews
and in the evening addressed the Tibetans in UK to speak at length on
the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, which, was followed by a very lively and
informed question and answer session that lasted for over two hours,
despite it being a working Tuesday. His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
Europe Envoy's two day successful trip to London was coordinated by
the Office of Tibet.

The Office of Tibet
Tibet House
1 Culworth Street
London NW8 7AF
Tel: 0207-722 5378 Fax: 0207-722 0362
Website: www.tibet.com and www.tibet.net

(The Office of Tibet, London, is the official agency of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama for Northern Europe, Poland & the Baltic Countries)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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