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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."

Chinese and Tibetan Scholars, writers, journalists and advocates gather in Geneva

July 28, 2009

Press release:
Switzerland, July 27, 2009 - A unique conference on Tibet, participated
solely by Tibetan and Chinese scholars, writers, journalist, advocates
and social workers, will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on 6 August
2009. Convened by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association, the conference will be attended by
over 100 Chinese and Tibetan delegates from all over the world.

"The objective of the conference is to create a better understanding
between the two communities and to explore ways for a peaceful solution
of the Tibetan issue," said Mr. Jonathan Sisson of the International
Fellowship of Reconciliation. "This is in the interest of both the
Chinese and the Tibetan peoples," said Dr. Tashe Thaktsang of the Swiss
Tibetan Friendship Association. "In addition, it will serve the
long-term development of China and contribute to peace and stability in
Asia," he added.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give the keynote address. Mr. Yan
Jiaqi, a leading Chinese liberal scholar who had served in the Political
Reform Commission under the leadership of then Chinese Communist Party
General Secretary Zhao Ziyang in the 1980s, will be a guest speaker. Mr.
Yan Jiaqi also served as Director of the Institute of Political Research
of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and has written several
books, including "A Ten Year History of the Cultural Revolution".

For centuries, the Chinese and the Tibetan peoples have lived in close
interaction with each other, collaborating and benefiting from one
another - spiritually, socially, and economically. For the last fifty -
sixty years, however, these relations have been overshadowed by serious
political disputes.

As the demonstrations throughout Tibet in 2008 showed, there is
widespread discontent among the Tibetan population toward the policies
of the Chinese government in Tibet. To interpret these events as
"anti-Chinese" agitation orchestrated by the "Dalai clique", as Chinese
authorities have done, is to misunderstand the reasons of the

On numerous occasions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said the Tibetans
are not making any demands based on history. In his 10 March 2009
statement he said, "We need to look to the future and work for our
mutual benefit. 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."

Therefore, the path towards the realization of those rights, however,
does not lay in increased strife, but will require the cooperation of
all the concerned parties. To this end, His Holiness has been calling
for initiatives to increase the mutual understanding between the Tibetan
and Chinese peoples.

Irrespective of where one stands on the political issue of Tibet, all of
those who care about the future of China are concerned about the
increased tension between Tibetans and Chinese. As primary stakeholders,
representatives of Chinese and Tibetan civil society have an important
role to play in the efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the
Tibet question. In the recent past, concerned Chinese and Tibetan
individuals have taken steps to encourage a better mutual understanding.
This has had a positive impact and a need was felt to have a larger
gathering to be held in Switzerland given its history of hosting
numerous reconciliation events.

There will be a Meet the Press opportunity with His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and the conference organizers on August 6, 2009 at the Hotel
Intercontinental, Geneva. For more information and accreditation click

 Press Contact:

for English: Mr. Chompel Balok Phone +41 78 638 79 90 Email:

for Chinese & Tibetan: Mr. Kunga Tashi Phone +1 917 482 1393, Email:

 International Fellowship of Reconciliation was founded in 1919 in
response to the horrors of war in Europe, IFOR has taken a consistent
stance against war and its preparation throughout its history.
Perceiving the need for healing and reconciliation in the world, the
founders of IFOR formulated a vision of the human community based upon
the belief that love in action has the power to transform unjust
political, social, and economic structures.

Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association was founded 25 years ago to
supports the Tibetan issue - cultural and social but more and more in
political aspects. Supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
non-violent policy and advocating Tibetan people's right for religion,
culture, language and identity according to international Human Rights
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