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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."

An Appeal To All Chinese Spiritual Brothers And Sisters

April 25, 2008

An Appeal To All Chinese Spiritual Brothers And Sisters

*Published:* Thursday, 24 April, 2008

Today I would like to make a personal appeal to all Chinese spiritual
brothers and sisters, both inside as well as outside the People’s
Republic of China, and especially to the followers of the Buddha. I do
this as a Buddhist monk and a student of our most revered teacher, the
Buddha. I have already made an appeal to the general Chinese community.
Here I am appealing to you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, on an
urgent humanitarian matter.

The Chinese and the Tibetan people share common spiritual heritage in
Mahayana Buddhism. We worship the Buddha of Compassion – Guan Yin in the
Chinese tradition and Chenrezig in Tibetan tradition – and cherish
compassion for all suffering beings as one of the highest spiritual
ideals. Furthermore, since Buddhism flourished in China before it came
to Tibet from India, I have always viewed the Chinese Buddhists with the
reverence due to senior spiritual brothers and sisters.

As most of you are aware, beginning with the 10th of March this year, a
series of demonstrations have taken place in Lhasa and across many
Tibetan areas. These are caused by deep Tibetan resentment against the
policies of the Chinese government. I have been deeply saddened by the
loss of life, both Chinese and Tibetans, and immediately appealed to
both the Chinese authorities and the Tibetans for restraint. I specially
appealed to the Tibetans not to resort to violence.

Unfortunately, the Chinese authorities have resorted to brutal methods
to deal with the development despite appeals for restraint by many world
leaders, NGOs and noted world citizens, particularly many Chinese
scholars. In the process, there has been loss of life, injuries to many,
and the detention of large number of Tibetans. The crackdown still
continues, especially targeting monastic institutions, which have
traditionally been the repository of ancient Buddhist knowledge and
tradition. Many of these have been sealed off. We have reports that many
of those detained are beaten and treated harshly. These repressive
measures seem to be part of an officially sanctioned systematic policy.

With no international observers, journalists or even tourists allowed to
Tibet, I am deeply worried about the fate of the Tibetans. Many of those
injured in the crackdown, especially in the remote areas, are too
terrified to seek medical treatment for fear of arrest. According to
some reliable sources, people are fleeing to the mountains where they
have no access to food and shelter. Those who remained behind are living
in a constant state of fear of being the next to be arrested.

I am deeply pained by this ongoing suffering. I am very worried where
all these tragic developments might lead to ultimately. I do not believe
that repressive measures can achieve any long-term solution. The best
way forward is to resolve the issues between the Tibetans and the
Chinese leadership through dialogue, as I have been advocating for a
long time. I have repeatedly assured the leadership of the People’s
Republic of China that I am not seeking independence. What I am seeking
is a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people that would ensure the
long-term survival of our Buddhist culture, our language and our
distinct identity as a people. The rich Tibetan Buddhist culture is part
of the larger cultural heritage of the People’s Republic of China and
has the potential to benefit our Chinese brothers and sisters.

In the light of the present crisis, I appeal to all of you to help call
for an immediate end to the ongoing brutal crackdown, for the release of
all who have been detained, and to call for providing immediate medical
care to the injured.

The Dalai Lama
Hamilton, NY
April 24, 2008

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