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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 Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Ninth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

March 11, 2008

The Dalai Lama
10 March 2008

On the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan people's
peaceful uprising in Lhasa on 10 March 1959, I offer my prayers and
pay tribute to those brave men and women of Tibet who have endured
untold hardships and sacrificed their lives for the cause of the
Tibetan people and express my solidarity with those Tibetans presently
undergoing repression and ill-treatment.-I also extend my-greetings to
Tibetans in and outside Tibet, supporters of the Tibetan cause and-all
who cherish justice.

For nearly six decades, Tibetans in the whole of Tibet known as
Cholkha-Sum (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo) have had to live in a state of
constant fear, intimidation and suspicion under Chinese
repression.-Nevertheless, in addition to maintaining their religious
faith, a sense of nationalism and their unique culture, the Tibetan
people have been able to keep alive their basic aspiration for
freedom. I have great admiration for the special characteristics of
the Tibetan people and their indomitable courage. I am extremely
pleased and proud of them.

Many governments, non-governmental organisations and individuals
across the world, because of their interest in peace and justice, have
consistently supported the cause of Tibet. Particularly during the
past year, governments and peoples of many countries made important
gestures that clearly expressed their support to us. I would like to
express my gratitude to every one of them.

The problem of Tibet is very complicated. It is intrinsically linked
with many issues: politics, the nature of society, law, human rights,
religion, culture, the identity of a people, the economy and the state
of the natural environment. Consequently, a comprehensive approach
must be adopted to resolve this problem that takes into account the
benefits to all parties involved, rather than one party alone.
Therefore, we have been firm in our commitment to a mutually
beneficial policy, the Middle-Way approach, and have made sincere and
persistent efforts towards achieving this for many years. Since 2002,
my envoys have conducted six rounds of talks with concerned officials
of the People's Republic of China to discuss relevant issues. These
extensive discussions have helped to clear away some of their doubts
and enabled us to explain our aspirations to them. However, on the
fundamental issue, there has been no concrete result at all. And
during the past few years, Tibet has witnessed increased repression
and brutality. In spite of these unfortunate developments, my stand
and determination to pursue the Middle-Way policy and to continue our
dialogue with the Chinese government remain unchanged.

A major concern of the People's Republic of China is its lack of
legitimacy in Tibet. The principal way to lend weight to their
position is for the Chinese government to pursue a policy that
satisfies the Tibetan people and gains their confidence. If we are
able to achieve reconciliation by treading a path of mutual consent,
then, as I have already stated many times, I will make every effort to
win the support of the Tibetan people.

In Tibet today, due to the Chinese governments numerous actions,
driven as they are by a lack of foresight, the natural environment has
been severely damaged. And, as a result of their policy of population
transfer the non-Tibetan population has increased many times, reducing
native Tibetans to an insignificant minority in their own country.
Moreover, the language, customs and traditions of Tibet, which reflect
the true nature and identity of the Tibetan people are gradually
fading away. As a consequence, Tibetans are increasingly being
assimilated into the larger Chinese population. In Tibet, repression
continues to increase with numerous, unimaginable and gross violations
of human rights, denial of religious freedom and the politicisation of
religious issues. All these take place as a result of the Chinese
governments lack of respect for the Tibetan people. These are major
obstacles the Chinese government deliberately puts in the way of its
policy of unifying nationalities which discriminate between the
Tibetan and Chinese peoples. Therefore, I urge the Chinese government
to bring an immediate halt to such policies.

Although the areas inhabited by Tibetan people are referred to by such
different names as autonomous region, autonomous prefectures and
autonomous counties, they are autonomous in name only; they actually
have no real autonomy. Instead, they are governed by people who are
oblivious of the regional situation, and driven by what Mao Zedong
called Han chauvinism. As a result, this so-called autonomy has not
brought the concerned nationalities any tangible benefit. Disingenuous
policies that are not in tune with reality are causing enormous harm
not only to the respective nationalities, but also to the unity and
stability of the Chinese nation. It is important for the Chinese
government, as advised by Deng Xiaoping, to seek truth from facts in
the real sense of the term.

The Chinese government severely criticises me when I raise questions
about the welfare of the Tibetan people before the international
community. Until we reach a mutually beneficial solution, I have a
historical and moral responsibility to continue to speak out freely on
their behalf. However, it is common knowledge that I have been in
semi-retirement since the political leadership of the Tibetan Diaspora
has been directly elected by the general Tibetan populace.

China is emerging as a powerful country due to her great economic
progress. This is to be welcomed, but it has also provided China an
opportunity to play an important role on the global stage. The world
is eagerly waiting to see how the present Chinese leadership will put
into effect its avowed concepts of "harmonious society" and "peaceful
rise". For the realisation of these concepts, economic progress alone
will not suffice. There must be improvements in observance of the rule
of law, transparency, and right to information, as well as freedom of
speech. Since China is a country of many nationalities, they must all
be given equality and freedom to protect their respective unique
identities if the country is to remain stable.

On 6 March 2008, President Hu Jintao stated: The stability in Tibet
concerns the stability of the country, and the safety in Tibet
concerns the safety of the country. He added that the Chinese
leadership must ensure the well-being of Tibetans, improve the work
related to religions and ethnic groups, and maintain social harmony
and stability. President Hus statement conforms to reality and we
look forward to its implementation.

This year, the Chinese people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the
opening of the Olympic Games. I have, from the very beginning,
supported the idea that China should be granted the opportunity to
host the Olympic Games. Since such international sporting events, and
especially the Olympics, uphold the principles of freedom of speech,
freedom of expression, equality and friendship, China should prove
herself a good host by providing these freedoms. Therefore, besides
sending their athletes, the international community should remind the
Chinese government of these issues. I have come to know that many
parliaments, individuals and non-governmental organisations around the
globe are undertaking a number of activities in view of the
opportunity that exists for China to make a positive change. I admire
their sincerity. I would like to state emphatically that it will be
very important to observe the period following the conclusion of the
Games. The Olympic Games no doubt will greatly impact the minds of
the Chinese people. The world should, therefore, explore ways of
investing their collective energies in producing a continuous positive
change inside China even after the Olympics have come to an end.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my pride in and
appreciation for the sincerity, courage and determination of the
Tibetan people inside Tibet. I urge them to continue to work
peacefully and within the law to ensure that all the minority
nationalities of the People's Republic of China, including the Tibetan
people, enjoy their legitimate rights and benefits.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Government and
people of India, in particular, for their continuing and unparalleled
support for Tibetan refugees and the cause of Tibet, as well as
express my gratitude to all those governments and peoples for their
continued concern for the Tibetan cause.

With my prayers for the well-being of all sentient beings.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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