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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."

The Statement of the Kashag on the Forty-Ninth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

March 11, 2008

The Kashag
10 March 2008

Today, 10 March 2008, is the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan people's
peaceful uprising for their freedom. On this occasion, the Kashag pays
its tribute to those heroic men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed
their lives for the cause of the Tibetan people, as well as express
our solidarity with those Tibetans who are presently suffering under
Chinese repression. The Kashag also extends its greetings to all the
Tibetans in and outside Tibet

In the previous 10 March statement of the 13th Kashag, we have
dwelled, among other things, on the status of the Tibetan people, the
structure of the exile Tibetan administration, plans to sustain the
Tibetan struggle should it drag on for a long time, the role of
Tibetans in and outside Tibet and on the status of the Sino-Tibetan
dialogue. While reiterating all these points, the Kashag would like to
express its appreciation for those Tibetans who have, in the recent
period, undertaken numerous activities in Tibet activities that are
both peaceful and law-abiding with sincerity and courage for the
benefit and the protection of the Tibetan religion and culture. All
Tibetans be it monks, lay people, young or elderly and particularly
the majority of the communist party cadres and civil servants in Tibet

who are always in a state of great fear, intimidation and suspicion
have been able to keep alive, with great courage, the Tibetan spirit
and their ultimate hope for the resolution of the Tibetan issue. While
acknowledging and appreciating this remarkable quality, the Kashag as
well as the entire exile Tibetan community firmly believe that this
Tibetan spirit will continue to remain so in the future as well.

Similarly last year, many governments and countries across the world
who have great faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and who are
concerned about the issue of Tibet have carried out a number of
activities which reflected their support to us Tibetans. The Kashag,
on behalf of all the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, would like to
express heartfelt thanks to all of them.

The mutually beneficial Middle-Way Approach, which is envisioned by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has been framed into a policy with the
support of the great majority Tibetans in and outside Tibet. This was
further unanimously supported by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. On
the basis of this policy, dialogue with the Chinese government is on
going. Subsequently six rounds of talks have been conducted since
2002. These talks have been helpful to us in clarifying our respective
positions. These talks have also benefited the international community
and Tibetans in Tibet. However, no concrete results have been achieved
on the fundamental issue of Tibet. Moreover there is, today, a
heightened repression in Tibet and stepped up vilification campaign
against His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We are extremely disappointed by
these unfortunate developments.

In the course of these exchanges, we have categorically stated to the
Chinese government that we do not have any hidden agenda, or issues
other than the basic demand that they should implement the conditions
for National Regional Autonomy as set forth in the constitution of the
People's Republic of China by granting a meaningful self-rule for all
Tibetans under a single administration. We have also made it very
clear that this demand is in line with the legitimate rights of all
the minority nationalities. Based on the present reality, this demand
is only a means to accomplish the aspiration of both Tibet and China;
it is not something that is based on the past history of Tibet.

History is a set of records of past happenings that cannot be amended.
However, no independent countries or autonomous regions have remained
in the same status as in the past. There is also no reason to remain
so. For example, the current scope of the sovereign power and
territorial boundary of the People's Republic of China is something
that never happened in its history spanning some centuries prior to
1949. Insisting on history to decide the prospects of the future is
simply indulging in a blame game, or finding excuses. It is not at all
in tune with the reality. Since we are not stubbornly clinging to the
idea that the future of the Tibetan people should be based only on our
version of history, the gap in the Tibetan and Chinese viewpoints on
this issue is not unbridgeable.

Since the status of National Regional Autonomy is a condition by which
the individual minority nationalities are benefited, it should be
uniformly granted to all Tibetans. There is no reason for scattering
them. There is also no need to follow a historical basis on this
matter. In a nutshell, if the future of the Tibetan people were to be
decided on the basis of its past history, then there is no way that
the Middle-Way policy can be adhered to.

The problem of Tibet is neither related to the personal issue of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama nor concerned with the benefit of the Tibetans
in exile alone. This is universally known. Currently the situation of
the Tibetan people inside Tibet is not at all satisfactory. Anybody
can see this. Therefore, for the happiness of all Tibetans and for the
preservation of their national identity, language, customs, culture
and the traditional sciences, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the
organisational set-up of the Tibetan Diaspora both based in a free
country have the responsibility to act as the spokespersons of the
Tibetans in and outside Tibet. To do so is, in fact, their historical
responsibility. Due to the reasons cited above, although there may not
exist an issue of Tibet's sovereignty, both the Tibetan and Chinese
sides have to accept the truth about the existence of the main issue
concerning the welfare of the Tibetan people.

Since the restoration of direct contact with the Chinese government in
2002, no positive change has taken place in Tibet. Moreover the
Chinese authorities have taken, and are continuing to take, many
actions that can be described as inhuman behaviour. Beside the fact
that there has been a heightened repression and brutality in Tibet
since 2006, baseless accusations are being hurled against His Holiness
the Dalai Lama. The innocent Tibetans in general, and particularly the
monks and nuns are exposed to unlimited restrictions and harassment
under the pretext of patriotic re-education. In spite of being an
atheist state, the Chinese government interferes in the religious
affairs by issuing a decree on the recognition of Trulkus. It also
uses a section of the Dholgyal propitiators as a tool to separate the
Tibetan people. And those who express their honest views in a
non-violent and peaceful manner are beaten and incarcerated. These
actions are the true behaviour of separatists that uproots the
co-operation between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. Harmony and
unity should be created through mutual trust by unifying the minds.
There is no historical precedence that a unity enforced through
repression has sustained. Neither will it be sustained in the future.
The recent developments in Tibet have greatly harmed the environment
of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. The Chinese government's assertion that
it attaches importance to the current process of dialogue also appears
to be nothing more than empty talk. Consequently, it has made it more
difficult for the exile Tibetan administration to guide the Tibetans
in and outside Tibet to abide by the Middle-Way policy.

So far the Chinese government has not given a definite response to the
demands put across by the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during
the sixth round of talks. Therefore, it is doubtful whether the
Chinese side is really willing to resolve the current problems of
Tibet. However, the Kashag will not change the current policy of the
Middle-Way Approach, irrespective of whether the dialogue with the
present leadership of the People's Republic of China will lead to any
solution on the issue of Tibet or not. We are firmly committed to the
continuance of the ongoing dialogue process with the Chinese
government.

Employing numerous channels, the different agencies of the Chinese
government have been sending various signals and gestures to us.
However, unless we receive a clear and unambiguous message through a
recognised official channel, there is no way that we can respond to
these signals and gestures.

Following the objections raised by many highly-realised and recognised
spiritual masters of the earlier period including the Great Fifth
Dalai Lama, Trichen Ngawang Chokden, Changkya Rolpai Dorjee, the
Thirteenth Dalai Lama, etc., His Holiness has very kindly advised us
against the propitiation of the Dholgyal on numerous occasions.
However few monastic institutions of the Gelug tradition have still
not clarified their positions on this issue, as a result of which the
propitiators and non-propitiators of Dholgyal live together under the
same roof. A broad section of the enlightened monks has, therefore,
expressed their views through a number of campaign activities that
this matter must be resolved once and for all. As such, during his
recent visit to Mundgod, South India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has
suggested to the Gelug monastic institutions that for the future
convenience of all concerned a referendum among the monks be
conducted. The responsible authorities of the monastic institutions
have unanimously supported this idea and a referendum was conducted by
relying on the Buddhist Vinaya system of voting by administering
Tsul-shings (Sangha voting sticks). Subsequently, most of the Gelug
monastic institutions, including the three Great Monastic Seats, have
disassociated themselves completely from the Dholgyal propitiators.
While expressing our appreciation for this, the Kashag would like to
urge the monastic world that they should not be negligent on this
matter in the future as well. There is, still, a tiny number of monks
who are not able to stop the propitiation of Dholgyal. Since they
cannot live within the compounds of the Great Monastic Seats, they
should move out to make a separate living elsewhere. Towards this end,
the Central Tibetan Administration will provide them necessary
assistance as we provide to all other Tibetans.

The Kashag would like to express its heartfelt thank you to the
government and people of India for providing unmatched assistance and
shelter to all the Tibetan exiles over the last almost fifty years.
The Kashag would like to urge that, as a way of expressing our
gratitude, the Tibetan exiles should contribute to, and assist in, the
religious and cultural spheres of the host country as much as they
can. Similarly, the Kashag would like to take this opportunity to
express its gratitude to the justice and peace-loving governments and
peoples across the world for supporting the issue of Tibet.

Finally, the Kashag prays for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and the immediate resolution of the issue of Tibet. The Kashag
also prays that the day may dawn soon, when the Tibetans in and
outside Tibet will join in a celebration of their re-unification.

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