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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Genuine autonomy possible

January 23, 2009

News Today
Thu, 22 Jan, 2009
 
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama expressed hope that with the emergence of a new working class in People’s Republic of China and its president Hu Jintao’s call for developing harmonious society, the demand of genuine autonomy in Tibet would be fulfilled.
But at the same time, he warned using brutal force to suppress the aspirations of Tibetans would only be counter-productive and stability could be achieved through developing trust with a realistic vision.
 
Speaking to mediapersons at University of Madras on the occasion of delivering a guest lecture on Wednesday, he noted that ever since the March 2008 uprising of Tibetans, there were more than 300 articles in the official media by Chinese scholars on the need for reconsidering the government’s tough policy of not yielding any ground to the on-going talks with the Tibet Government in-Exile.
 
‘More Chinese intellectuals and scholars have come to realise the need to accommodate our interests and some of them are even critical of the stubborn policy of the Communist regime,’ he said. Now the Tibetan cause was being led by the next generation with strong commitment, he said.
 
Claiming that he has been a keen watcher of Communist Party of China (CPC) for over 60 years, Dalai Lama said there was marked change in the mindset of the working class and scholars in the mainland compared to previous decades.
 
‘As a Buddhist monk I am only trying to promote the values of my religion which are in fact the ancient tradition of India like ahimsa which means act of compassion and sense of concern for others. Secondly, it is my responsibility to spread religious tolerance as practised in India,’ he said.
 
Further, he said if the Tibetans really felt that the institution of Dalai Lama was not necessary or redundant in the present context, they could very well dissolve such a traditional practice. ‘The struggle for Tibetan autonomy has to rest on the shoulders of people living in Tibet and when time comes to return the privileges of Dalai Lama, this authority would be passed on to the local government there,’ he said and recalled his statement made in 1992 for such a transfer of authority.
 
Since 2001 he was in semi-retirement mode, but was committed to modernise Tibetans with the ushering in of temporal and duly elected governance at Dharamshala, the headquarters of the Government in-Exile for the refugees, he said.
 
Reiterating that Tibetans were seeking only autonomy from China, he said the non-violent struggle was being carried on by the locals in Tibet. ‘But 90 per cent of Tibetans including elders, youth and children feel resentment due to pain and suffering and CPC should accept this reality,’ he said. He clarified that CPC has a rigid, military control over Tibet and was quite stubborn during the talks with his representatives.
 
On the claim of China that northeastern State of Arunachal Pradesh was part of Southern Tibet and hence, rightfully belonged to them, he said the 1914 tripartite agreement between British India and 13th Dalai Lama in Simla had clearly demarcated the claimed territory as part of Indian Union.
 
‘China should be realistic and accept the reality today to find a mutual solution to the border dispute with India instead of taking a rigid stand on their own historical claims,’ he explained.
On the India’s support to Tibetan cause, Dalai Lama felt the Central government has taken an ‘overcautious approach’.
 
But he profusely thanked the government for its maximum support in the rehabilitation and education of Tibetan refugees for over 50 years. Since he came to India as a homeless refugee 50 years ago, his people were being given all help from the government and ‘now India has become a real home for me,’ he said.
 
Political crisis in Sri Lanka
 
When asked specifically if he would call upon the Buddhist government in Sri Lanka to show restraint in the on-going war with LTTE as innocent Tamils have become victims, Dalai Lama said a peaceful resolution was necessary through political dialogue.
 
‘Ethnic people are being manipulated and even religious issues are also being used to further create enmity. But using force alone will not solve the ethnic problem in Lanka,’ he said.
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