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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."

CTA's Response: II

October 30, 2009

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
October 29, 2009

CTA’s Response to Beijing's Comments that His
Holiness the Dalai Lama does not represent the Tibetan people:

The official Chinese claim that His Holiness the
Dalai Lama "does not represent the Tibetan
people" seems to be a simplistic remark aimed to
undermine the popularity of the Tibetan Nobel
Peace Laureate. Not only the Tibetans in and
outside occupied Tibet regard His Holiness as
their spiritual and temporal leader but also many
Chinese through better awareness and information
are showing respect for His Holiness and commend
his efforts at seeking an amicable resolution of
the issue of Tibet keeping into consideration the
long-term interest of both the Tibetan and
Chinese peoples.  More importantly, because of
the Tibetan people's faith and trust in him, His
Holiness the Dalai Lama also considers himself
the free spokesperson for the Tibetan people.

History is witness to the fact that following
Communist China's invasion of Tibet in 1949, His
Holiness the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume
full political power by the Tibetan National
Assembly.  It was as a leader of the Tibetan
people that His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1954
went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Zedong
and other Chinese leaders, including Deng
Xiaoping and Chou Enlai.  So for the Chinese
government authorities to now claim that His
Holiness does not represent the Tibetan people
falls flat even on past historical facts relating
to Sino-Tibetan relations.  As for the Tibetan
people, wherever His Holiness the Dalai Lama
lives, that place automatically becomes the seat
of the Tibetan government headed by the Dalai Lama.

The distinctive feature of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama as the leader of the Tibetan people is that
in most parts of the world people shed blood and
sacrifice their lives to get democratic rights
from their leaders. In the case of the Tibetan
cause His Holiness, who enjoys unqualified
support from the people, has tried many times to
give up all his legitimate powers to the Tibetan
people and parliament but they in turn have been
requesting him to continue being their undisputed leader!

Since coming into exile as early as in 1963, His
Holiness presented a draft democratic
constitution for Tibet that was followed by a
number of reforms to democratise the Tibetan
administrative set-up in exile.  In 1992 His
Holiness issued guidelines for future Tibetan
polity wherein he announced that when the
Tibetans, including himself, are able to return
to Tibet with a certain degree of freedom, he
will give up all his political authority.  He has
also expressed the hope that Tibet, comprising of
the three traditional provinces of U-Tsang, Amdo
and Kham, would be federal and
democratic.  Currently with the blessings of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama the democratic
administration in exile is headed by the Tibetan
Kashag, which is led by the Kalon Tripa who is
democratically elected by the Tibetan
people.  The Tibetan democratic set up, with an
elected parliament in exile is admired by many
governments, parliaments and people in the free
world and even many Chinese admire the openness
with which the Tibetan set up in exile under the
leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
headquartered in Dharamsala in northern India functions.

Another example to show how His Holiness
represents the Tibetan people is when Tibetans
held peaceful demonstrations all over Tibet last
March, the key slogans included, "Long Live the
Dalai Lama" and "We want return of the Dalai
Lama".  The Tibetans inside Tibet raised these
slogans even of being arrested and imprisoned.

It is encouraging to note that more and more
Chinese, especially intellectuals, are refusing
to succumb to the official Chinese propaganda.
For example on 22 March 2008 in the wake of the
demonstrations in Tibet, a group of Chinese
intellectuals petitioned the Chinese leadership
in Beijing. They urged the Chinese leaders to
resolve the Tibet issue by entering into a
dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They
also urged the Chinese government to "show proof"
of their claim that the alleged riots that took
place in Lhasa on 14 March 2008 "was organized,
premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by
the Dalai clique." The Chinese intellectuals
said, "We hope that the government will show
proof of this. In order to change the
international community's negative view and
distrustful attitude, we also suggest that the
government invite the United Nation's Commission
on Human Rights to carry out an independent
investigation of the evidence, the course of the
incident, the number of casualties, etc."  So far
the Chinese government has yet to allow any
independent international investigation in occupied Tibet.

The Institution of the Dalai Lama

If we start with the first Dalai Lama, Gyalwa
Gendun Drub, the institution of the Dalai Lama is
some 600 years old. If we start with the third
Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, on whom was conferred
the title of the Dalai Lama by Altan Khan, the
Tumed Mongol chieftain, the institution of the
Dalai Lama is more than 450 years old. If we
start with the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang
Lobsang Gyatso who combined in his person both
spiritual and political authority of all Tibet in
1642, the institution of the Dalai Lama is
exactly 367 years old as of 2009. There are very
few governments in the world today, which can
trace their institutional and legal origins so
far back in history. The institution of the Dalai
Lama has survived Ming, Manchu and Republican
China and, in our considered opinion, is
competing the marathon of longevity very well with Communist China.

China and CCP

Compared to this illustrious lineage, the Chinese
Communist Party was founded in the early 1920’s.
After a devastating civil war, amid famine,
dislocation and the WW II, the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) emerged victorious to found the
People’s Republic of China in 1949. This year on
1 October, the CCP gave itself a grand party to
commemorate its 60 years in power. This is not to
deny the achievement of the CCP. This achievement
is made more remarkable by the fact that this was
preceded by a prolonged period of warlordism.
During the period of warlordism, Beijing or
Nanjiang pretended to rule the whole of China and
the whole of China pretended to be ruled from
these two capitals. But the warlords were very
much on their own, sometimes leading the two
capitals by their noses. The 1949 achievement of
a unified China has been squandered by the CCP in
the past 60 years. Ideology took precedence over
good governance, political campaigns over the
economy and personality cult over collective
decisions. A great nation was nearly reduced to its knees.

Then came Deng Xiaoping. He put the economic
development over everything else. Thus came about
the current transformation of China into the
world’s fastest growing economy. However, this is
being done within a legal vacuum. With no rule of
law and institutional checks and balances,
China’s economic miracle is a free-for-all.
China’s economic miracle is being achieved at the
expense of the welfare of the toiling masses.
Their labours are exploited for personal gain by
the growing collusion between party and
government officials who provide protection to
rapacious businessmen who provide bribes to their
official protectors. Certainly, people are
getting richer. However, the source of this
wealth is based on this fundamental injustice of
the current Chinese social system. Some
commentators call this system a “predatory state.”

What the Tibetans Have Done in Exile

Against the background of the CCP’s diminishing
legitimacy, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet has
transformed the Dalai Lama institution into a
global one. The Dalai Lama institution began as a
Tibetan institution. The third Dalai Lama
converted the whole of Mongolia to Tibetan
Buddhism. The fourth Dalai Lama was born a
Mongol. With these two events, the institution of
the Dalai Lama became a Central Asian
institution. The Great Fifth Dalai Lama made it
into a Central Asian plus Himalayan institution
with deep roots into Buddhist China. The
Fourteenth Dalai Lama has made it into a global
one. On top of this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
has set his people free. He has given them the
gift of democracy and choice. This explains the
vitality of the Tibetan exile community.

The Arrogance of Empire: When Rome Ruled the World

Jesus Christ said, "Render unto Ceasar what’s
Ceasar’s. Render unto God what God’s" when asked
whether it was right for ordinary people within
the empire to pay taxes to Rome. Despite this
Middle-Way Approach in dealing with political
problems, Jesus was crucified, his followers
persecuted throughout the empire. Many were
thrown into lions’ dens. All these were done to
suppress new ideas from affecting the stability
of the empire. At the end of the day, the once
mighty Roman Empire crumbled and Christianity
spread throughout the world. The Pope,
Christianity’s grandest lama, was installed in
the Vatican in Rome. And Jesus Christ started on
his mission of peace, goodwill and tolerance with
just twelve disciples. In the end his teachings subdued an empire.

In term’s of endurance and relevance, no empire
can compete with religion and the power of the
human heart.  This is what the Manchu emperor
K’ang-si understood. In his message to the
seventh Dalai Lama, he said, “The Dalai Lama is
like a ray of sunshine, which is impossible for
any one group of people to obscure. The ray of
Buddhist faith will shine on everyone through
him.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on
the eternal message of the Buddha and the
personal example he sets on how to lead
individual lives has changed and touched the
lives of millions across the globe. Most
importantly, this message of hope, tolerance and
goodwill is creeping into China through Chinese
translations of his teachings. Ordinary Chinese
are coming to India to attend his teachings. The
final document of the Sino-Tibetan Conference,
Finding Common Ground, held in Geneva from 6-8
August this year declared, "The undeniable right
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to his
homeland must be respected." The document also
recommended to the Central Tibetan Administration
"to create favourable conditions for His Holiness
the Dalai Lama to promote his values to the
Chinese community as a contribution to the
renewal of spiritual values amongst the Chinese people."

The power of religion was poignantly shown in
2006. That year His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave
a Kalachakra teaching in Amravati in south India.
It was attended by Tibetans and Buddhists from
all over the world, including more than 8,000
Tibetans from Tibet and about 250 Chinese from
the Mainland. His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged
the Tibetans from Tibet not to wear clothes
trimmed with animal skins and asked those
gathered on the occasion to pass this message to
Tibetans in Tibet. Within a week of this request,
Tibetans in all parts of Tibet made bonfires of
clothes trimmed with animal skins. This is a
measure of Tibetans' devotion to His Holiness the
Dalai Lama. Even if this is not considered proof
positive that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the
legitimate representative of the Tibetan people,
then the simple way to resolve the issue is for
the Chinese authorities to conduct a plebiscite
amongst the Tibetan people to let them decide who their legitimate leader is.
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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