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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?"

The Dalai Lama's March 10 message to Tibetans - "Truth will prevail."

March 12, 2010

ICT report, March 10, 2010

His Holiness the Dalai Lama today delivered his annual March 10 statement to
the Tibetan people from Dharamsala, India, stressing openness, transparency
and the free flow of information within China as the means for building
greater understanding of the true situation in Tibet and greater trust
between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples, and among Tibetans themselves.

In what appears to be a new initiative, the Dalai Lama invited Tibetan
officials in Tibet to visit Tibetan communities "in the free world" to
understand the aspirations of Tibetans in exile. Calls for first-hand
observation in Tibet to ascertain the truth are frequently used by the
Chinese government as a way of defending its policies in Tibet.

On March 7, just days before the Dalai Lama's statement, China's Xinhua news
agency reported that, Jampa Puntsok, Chairman of the People's Congress in
the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), told a press conference on the sidelines
of the National People's Congress in Beijing: "As always, we welcome
tourists, journalists and government officials to visit Tibet and take a
look there to better understand Tibet. Seeing is believing."

However, the reality on the ground is that this is not possible due to
censorship and heavy surveillance, restrictions on travel, lack of
diplomatic access in Tibet and the continuation of a security crackdown,
including a significant military presence in most Tibetan areas.

In his statement, the Dalai Lama stressed that the Tibet issue was not the
result of a dispute between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples, but rather was
the result of the "ultra-leftist policies of the Chinese Communist
authorities." He therefore urged "Tibetans everywhere to build closer
relations with the Chinese people," and to inform them about the situation
in Tibet.

In March 2008, the Tibetan plateau erupted in overwhelmingly peaceful
demonstrations in what was widely interpreted as a popular reaction to
decades of Chinese misrule in Tibet, including the imposition of central
government policies that threatened the survival of the distinct Tibetan
identity such as "patriotic education" campaigns and a model of economic
development that has marginalized large sections of the Tibetan population.
The Dalai Lama cautioned Tibetans against placing "our hopes in material
progress alone" and urged vigilance against progress that could "damage our
precious culture and language and the natural environment of the Tibetan
plateau." He added that Tibetans "both inside and outside Tibet should
broaden their modern education hand-in-hand with our traditional values."

The Dalai Lama specifically referenced in his March 10 statement the
decision by the Chinese government at the Fifth Tibet Work Forum held in
Beijing on January 18-20, 2010 "to implement their policies uniformly in all
Tibetan areas" - a departure from the previous approach which developed
Tibetan policies uniquely for the TAR.

The Dalai Lama's statement included a mention of his "Middle Way Approach,"
which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the People's Republic of
China. A resolution through the Middle Way Approach would be "of benefit to
us both," [the Chinese and Tibetan people] the Dalai Lama stated.

The Dalai Lama cited support for the Middle Way from President Obama, which
was also echoed in the official White House statement at the conclusion of
their February 18 meeting. He characterized the lack of a positive response
from the Chinese government to his proposals as "disappointing," but he
noted changes in the perspective among the Chinese people - "There will be a
time when truth will prevail. Therefore, it is important that everyone be
patient and not give up."

In Lhasa, the Chinese authorities have been carrying out pre-emptive
detentions amid tightened security in the build-up to March 10. More than
400 people were detained and questioned by police in a systematic sweep of
Lhasa. ("Tibet strike hard crackdown shows good initial results, 435
suspects interrogated," March 4, 2010, www.chinatibetnews.com.)

The full text of the Dalai Lama's March 10 statement can be seen at
www.dalailama.com  and the full text of an additional statement by the
cabinet (Kashag) of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala can be
seen at www.tibet.net .
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