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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Campaign for the Adoption of Tibetan Towns Launched in France

February 13, 2010

Bureau du Tibet, Paris
February 11, 2010

On 10th February 2010 in the morning, at the
French National Assembly, the campaign for the
adoption of Tibetan towns was launched
officially.  Originally initiated by the French
Tibet Support Group, France-Tibet, the campaign
actually began last year, when for the first
time, the mayor of Salles sur Garonne in southern
France, Mr Jean Louis Halioua and his
municipality council voted for an adoption of
Lhatse.  On the top of the two major campaigns
that have been successfully launched in France --
adoption of Tibetan political prisoners and Tibet
flag hoisting, this is the third major campaign
which the Tibet friends hope will have national
impact.  Mr Lionnel Luca, President of Tibet
Group at the National Assembly, welcome this
initiative which he said, he and his colleagues
fully support.  He said, some twenty years ago,
when Romania was under the dictatorship of
Nicolae Ceaucescu, similar campaign has been
launched in France in order to save the
historical and cultural heritage of that country,
and the campaign has been effective.  Mr Jean
Louis Halioua, mayor or Salles sur Garonne
presented the project and why and how he has
adopted this motion. He said that as per rule,
his municipal authority, after its deliberation,
has duly submitted it to the Prefect (
representative of the central authority of the
French Interior Ministry) of the region which
accepted the decision. Therefore, both Mr Halioua
and Mr Lionnel Luca argued there is now
absolutely no reason that repetition and
multiplication of similar adoptions are rejected
elsewhere by the Government authoriries.

Mr Tashi Wangdi, Representative of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama, thanked all Tibet friends and
especially those involved in this campaign which
he said, will help highlight the on going
dramatic situation of the Tibetan people.  He
said beyond its symbolic value, such non violent
action will help save the Tibetan people’s
identity, culture and spiritual heritages and the
fragile environment of the plateau of Tibet ( see
the following enclosed Message). Mrs Marcelle
Roux presented an action file and explained how
it all started.  Longtime activist of Tibet and
founder of the TSG France-Tibet, and involved in
many Tibet related actions in France, she said
this campaign is felt necessary in the current
context of the Tibetan situation ( See
France-Tibet’s website : www.tibet.fr)  In the
upcoming months, coordinated actions will be
launched through members of the Parliament,
networks of mayors, Senators, and Tibet Support
Groups.  A comprehensive list of the places of
cultural, historical and spiritual importance, as
well as important ecological and geographical
landmarks of Tibet will be compiled alongwith
their details to be proposed for an
adoption.  Since the standard Twin City
procedures will not be possible in view of the
current occupied situation of Tibet, the campaign
leaders have decided to officially call this an
“adoption” of the Tibetan places. Members of the
Parliament present have all agreed to relay the
information and join in this action.

MESSAGE

I welcome the Town Adoption initiative by our
friends here in France to encourage towns in
France to adopt towns in Tibet. I believe this
initiative is more than just a symbolic gesture
of concern and support. I hope it will be taken
up by the worldwide network of the Tibet Support
Groups. The problem of Tibet is basically about
the survival of a people with their distinctive,
rich and ancient cultural and spiritual
traditions and saving the fragile eco system of
the vast Tibetan plateau, Roof of the World.

Over the last six decades 1.2 millions Tibetans
died as a result of oppression and nearly all the
institutional bodies of learning and repositories
of rich cultural and profound spiritual knowledge
were destroyed. When the first group of foreign
journalists were allowed to visit Tibet in 1980
they described what they saw as a graveyard of
civilization. This was a graphic description of
the state of ruins to which Tibet was reduced in less than two decades.

In the case of Tibet much of these destructions
took place before the Cultural Revolution.

Since then there has been much propaganda by the
Chinese government about reconstruction and
development. However, for the ordinary Tibetans
this meant further marginalization and loss of
identity under the ever increasing influx of
people coming from other parts of China in search of economic opportunities.

A senior Chinese official was reported to have
said in an internal meeting in 2000 that the new
Western Development Program the government had
initiated will "accelerate the process of natural
selection", which in the case of Tibet would mean Sinisation.

This Town Adoption campaign will be a powerful
message for Tibetans inside Tibet that the people
in the free world have not forgotten them. This
will provide our friends in France an opportunity
to visit towns they have adopted in Tibet to see
the actual situation for themselves. This may
also provide an opportunity for them to contact
with Tibetans exile coming from these towns. This
human connection is important.

Hopefully through the prism of this town adoption
program the larger human dimensions of the
tragedy of Tibetan people will be brought closer
to the people here in France and elsewhere. This
will definitely help to bring about greater
international focus and attention to the actual
situation in Tibet against the Chinese
government's denial and massive propaganda.

It is important for the international community
to hold the Chinese authorities accountable for
their actions. This will have some restraining
influence on their policies of Sinisation
threatening to reduce the Tibetans to an
insignificant minority in their own land and
short-sighted development programs causing
irreparable damage to the natural environment on
the Tibetan plateau which will have unimaginable
consequences for millions of people in the Asian subcontinent including China.

Tashi Wangdi
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Paris.
10th February 2010.
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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