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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."

Resolve the Issue of Tibet and Half a Million Careers Go Up in Smoke

August 10, 2009

www.tibet-china-conference.org
August 9, 2009

August 7, 2009 - Yesterday, the Tibetans
explained. The Chinese listened. Today, the
Chinese talked. The Tibetans listened.

In a session crafted to both soul-search and
brainstorm and rich with symbolism and resonant
with historic potency, the more than 100 Chinese
and Tibetans attending the Finding the Common
Ground conference were divided into four groups
to grapple with the challenge of moving the
Sino-Tibetan dialogue process forward and reaching out to the Chinese people.

One Chinese participant said that one major
stumbling block in this challenge is the network
of organs in the party, government and army that
constitute China’s vast anti-splittism
bureaucracy. He said China’s current
"anti-splittism rampage gives career and
livelihood to at least about 400,000 cadres
involved in the campaign. If the dialogue between
Dharamsala and Beijing succeeds, these people
will be out of jobs the next day. The speaker
said that this bureaucratic grip on policy-makers
in Beijing is the real reason why there is no
positive response from Beijing to Dharamsala
overtures and fresh ideas. Vested interests
formulate policy and their interests outweigh China’s national interests.

One participant said, "I am not for Tibetan
independence but I support the right of the
Tibetan people to their culture and religion.
I’ve been to Tibet. Chinese condescension of
Tibetans is obvious." The speaker said that this
was not helped by the distorted Chinese
government propaganda. The speaker said, "We need
to discuss how we can expose and discredit
government propaganda. We can do this by writing
on the issue of Tibet extensively and non-stop.
We need to destroy big Han chauvinism."

During the workshop session, two groups were
assigned to discuss and come up with fresh ideas
on how the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process can be
advanced. The other two were assigned to come up
with new ideas on how to strengthen the ongoing
outreach to the Chinese people. The common theme
for the four groups is Tibet-China interface: the Chinese perspective.

Given the range of issues that are being
discussed and the vigour with which ideas are
expressed and exchanged make this conference go
beyond the past Sino-Tibetan dialogue conferences
that constituted
Tibetans-have-suffered-and-Chinese-apologize
type. Both His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s
encouragement yesterday to never give up and
Kalon Tripa, Samdhong Rinpoche’s responses to the
wide-ranging questions seem to have given a new
lease of life to the interface between Tibetan
exiles and the Chinese interested in the issue of Tibet.

One Chinese participant said, "If we want to
decide the issue of Tibet, we first must decide
on the issue of the return of the Dalai Lama to
Tibet. If we manage to decide on this issue,
everything about Tibet can be easily decided."
The speaker said, "This is because the Dalai Lama
is not only the leader of the Tibetan people but
has become the leader of the Chinese. Because of
this, his return should take place without any
pre-condition, His wish to go on a pilgrimage to Wutai Shan is his right."

Another participant responded to this suggestion
by saying, "The authorities fear that even a
visit by the Dalai Lama to Tibet or China will
unleash strong latent forces which the
authorities would not be able to control and
hence no positive response from the authorities
for permission for a simple pilgrimage to
Wutai-shan." Wutai Shan is considered by Tibetan
and Chinese Buddhists alike as the abode of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom.

Another speaker said, "I have work with the
People’s Daily for more than 20 years. Then I had
no knowledge of Tibetan culture. Only thing I
knew was something vague about Shambala. Now it
is our collective responsibility to understand
and dessiminate the values of Tibetan culture to people in China."
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