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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."

Important statement by Dalai Lama 'speaking truth to power'

October 29, 2008

ICT Report
October 27, 2008

The Dalai Lama has made an important statement about his role and
Tibet's future in which he admits that his faith in the present
Chinese government is 'thinning'. He also advances a historic
precedent for a Dalai Lama by stating that Tibet's future is "for the
Tibetan people to decide, not for me as an individual". In the
speech, made yesterday in Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama's home in
exile, the Dalai Lama confronted the Chinese government by stressing
that "We cannot continue as though we do not know that this [the
protests and suppression across Tibet since March] is happening".

The Dalai Lama's statement, which has been misquoted in some of the
international media as saying that he has 'given up' on pressing the
Chinese on Tibet's future, was made prior to the expected eighth
round of dialogue between his envoys and Chinese officials. The Dalai
Lama said: "I have not lost faith in the people of China, but my
faith in the present Chinese government is thinning and it is
becoming very difficult."

The Dalai Lama indicates in his comments that he is prepared for the
'Middle Way' approach - that accepts Chinese sovereignty over Tibet
but seeks a 'genuine autonomy' for the Tibetan people - to be
questioned if the Tibetan people do not feel it can achieve results.
He said: "Until now, we have followed a path towards finding a
mutually beneficial solution which has received much support from the
rest of the world including India, as well as increasingly more
Chinese intellectuals. But this path has had no effect on our main
objective, which is to improve the lives of Tibetans inside Tibet....
Now, at this time, there is no reason to stay the same course just
because we are on it [now]. The future of Tibet is for the Tibetan
people to decide - not for me as an individual. Secondly, I truly
believe in active democracy - I am not like the Communist Chinese who
say one thing, like democracy, and act in another way."

Last month the Dalai Lama called for a special meeting to be convened
by the Tibetan government-in-exile, along with the Tibetan community,
that will review the current strategy of engagement with the Chinese
government. Speaking about the meeting, the Dalai Lama said, "We need
to understand, analyze and together think of long term solutions
based on the real and current situations." The meeting will be held
in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile,
from November 17 - 22.

The full text of the Dalai Lama's address on Tibet's future, made in
Tibetan at the 48th anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Children's
Village in Dharamsala, is included below. Mary Beth Markey, Vice
President for Advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet, said:
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama's comments, made in the tradition of
speaking truth to power, are an unvarnished statement on the reality
of Tibet as opposed to Beijing's representations to the world. As
such they directly confront the Chinese government's intransigence on
the question of Tibet."

The Middle-Way-Approach is described by the Tibetan
government-in-exile as follows: "The Tibetan people do not accept the
present status of Tibet under the People's Republic of China. At the
same time, they do not seek independence for Tibet, which is a
historical fact. Treading a middle path in between these two lies the
policy and means to achieve a genuine autonomy for all Tibetans
living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet within the
framework of the People's Republic of China."

(http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=115&rmenuid=11)

ICT translation of the Dalai Lama's statement on Tibet's future,
October 26, 2008, Dharamsala, India

"Until now, we have been following a certain path - and in March,
Tibetans all over Tibet very courageously and clearly demonstrated
their deeply-rooted resentment and animosity. This was not just
ordinary Tibetans but included Party members, officials, students...
even students who were at the University for Nationalities in
Beijing. Without differentiation, it was men and women, lay and
robed, everyone showed their resentment.

I placed great hope in the Chinese government at this time. Having
been exposed to the reality of the situation in Tibet, I hoped that
with this understanding they would be willing to consider finding a
solution. But instead, they labeled all Tibetan demonstrators as
'political rebels' and clamped down hard on them. Now, we cannot
continue as though we do not know that this is happening.

So, until now, we have followed a path towards finding a mutually
beneficial solution which has received much support from the rest of
the world including India, as well as an increasing number of Chinese
intellectuals. But this path has had no effect on our main objective,
which is to improve the lives of Tibetans inside Tibet.

So, right from the beginning, even in my Strasbourg proposal at the
EU parliament, I said the final decision will be made by the people
of Tibet. In the 1990s - in 1993 - we lost contact with the Chinese
government and we had a general meeting at which we decided to
continue on the same path.

Now, at this time, there is no reason to stay the same course just
because we are on it [now]. The future of Tibet is for the Tibetan
people to decide - not for me as an individual. Secondly, I truly
believe in active democracy - I am not like the Communist Chinese who
say one thing, like democracy, and act another way.

We have a truly unique culture of kindness and compassion that can
benefit the whole world. Tibet's struggle for truth is not just for
the benefit of the Tibetans alone but it will benefit the whole world
and it has the potential to improve the lives of the Chinese people
as well. The destruction of Tibet's religion and culture will be a
huge loss to everyone. Therefore, our struggle is a struggle to
benefit the people of both sides. So, we need to discuss all this and
find ways in which we can take our struggle forward.

The Chinese government has blamed me for instigating the March
protests inside Tibet. Right away I invited them to come and go
through my office, paperwork and even listen to tapes of
conversations I've had with new arrivals from Tibet. But no one came
to look through anything. So, it seems as though I am a hindrance to
finding a solution for Tibet. The Tibet issue is an issue of the
Tibetan people and the Tibetan people need to decide. So, under these
circumstances, on September 14, I said that this responsibility is
becoming too difficult and there is no use in continuing it. If I
were dealing with someone who was speaking honestly, then I would
have no problem, as I can speak and understand reason. But we are not
dealing with honesty here.

So, I've been clearly saying, even to foreign journalists and others,
that I have not lost faith in the people of China but my faith in the
present Chinese government is thinning and it's becoming very difficult.

So now, we are having this general meeting as announced by the Kashag
[Tibetan cabinet] and the Tibetan Parliament. It is likely that we
will not reach any decisions immediately but we need to understand,
analyze and together think of long-term solutions based on the real,
current situation. So this is the aim of this meeting."

This report can be found online at
http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1376

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
email: press@savetibet.org

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