Press statement Friday, 18 April 2008, 2:18 p.m. by Kalon Tripa, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, on the Situation in Tibet
Deteriorating situation in Tibet and fear of worse to come in days ahead
Since 10th March 2008, there have been widespread protests in all areas of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo, including in various cities of China where Tibetans live. These protests are the outburst of dissatisfaction and deep-rooted resentment perpetuated in the hearts of the Tibetan people for the last five decades by excessive repression and mishandling of peaceful protests by small number of monks and lay people in several places in and outside “TAR” on 10th March 2008.
10th March is a historic day for the Tibetan people. Every year there is some kind of peaceful demonstration, which does not continue beyond that day. But this year protests continued in the succeeding days due to unnecessary repressive measures and use of force.
If the objective of using force by the Chinese authorities is to maintain peace and order in Tibet, they could have achieved it within a day. But normalcy did not return even after more than five weeks and more protests and repressive measures are happening day after day. This arouses the suspicion about the intentions of the Chinese authorities. Among the many suspicious incidents, the following are conspicuous:
- On 14th March, unusual unrest was allowed in Lhasa for several hours without the authorities taking any preventive measures.
- Most of protesters involved in violent acts on that day were unfamiliar to the local people. In particular, there are cases where people have seen Chinese policemen in Tibetan dress and in monks’ robes taking the leading role during the protests.
- The Chinese authorities claim that they have found guns and bullets at some Tibetan monasteries. This claim is based on recovering some unserviceable country-made guns and swords, which were offered to the chambers of the protective deities (Gonkhang) of monasteries. And in some other cases, the military personnel themselves brought arms and ammunitions to monasteries. Later they claimed to have found these in the monasteries and blame the Tibetans for harbouring arms and ammunition in the monastic compounds.
- Chinese authorities also claim that Tibetan independence forces are planning to launch suicide attacks.
- They accuse some monks of exploding a bomb that damaged a building in Chamdo in east Tibet. The authorities are yet to produce any convincing evidence.
- Patriotic re-education campaign is re-launched and monasteries and households are ordered to fly the Chinese national flag on their buildings.
- Anti-Dalai Lama campaigns are being rigorously carried out everywhere. This hurts the sentiments of the Tibetan people most.
- The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is carrying out a systematic and vigorous effort to create a rift between the Tibetans and the Chinese people. This is being done by a huge propaganda to fan nationalism and hatred of the “Dalai clique” amongst the Chinese people.
These acts do not help in restoring mental peace and social order in Tibet. On the contrary, these acts are considered highly provocative by the Tibetans because they hurt them the most. All these acts appear to be aimed to undermine the Tibetan people’s tolerance and provoke them into violent retaliation. They also indicate that various agencies of the PRC have plans to carry out more bombing and other destructive activities and put the blame on the innocent Tibetans for such actions.
We are deeply concerned by the ongoing repressive action such as brutal beatings, torture, killings, deprivation of essential foods and drinking water, which lead to the starvation of concerned Tibetans. We are also very much concerned that such repressive action may continue for many more months to come.
Tibet is virtually sealed off and in a short period, the Chinese authorities will destroy all evidence by executing the innocent Tibetans. The international community must intervene immediately and persuade the PRC authorities to end these atrocious acts.
The vexed situation in Tibet has lingered because of the ultra leftist policies adopted by PRC authorities during the year 1957/58, which led to the popular uprising on 10th March 1959. Since then the Tibetans have suffered immensely. Over a million Tibetans perished and the situation remains troubled. These policies were recognised as wrong and reversed in Mainland China. But no change in policy has taken place for the Tibetan nationality. Even now, unless the basic policy of PRC towards the Tibetan nationality is changed, no amount of force can keep the Tibetan people under control.
The PRC leadership on one hand demand that His Holiness the Dalai Lama use his influence to restore normalcy in Tibet. On the other hand they have not created any space or channel to allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to use his influence in Tibet. On the contrary, the Chinese leadership have stepped up their anti – Dalai Lama campaign throughout Tibet.
The PRC leadership refuse to find out the root cause of unrest in Tibet and make efforts to remove the cause. On the contrary they are aggravating the problem by various means. This is a clear indication that they do not want to have peace and stability in Tibet.
We, therefore, urgently appeal to the international community to take effective and immediate actions to prevent the PRC from indulging in such brutal acts against the Tibetan people and to stop their policy of systematic cultural genocide in Tibet.
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche