Press Release from the Tibetan Solidarity Committee

July 30, 2008: The People’s Republic of China recently adopted what it called “Four Non-Supports” policy in regard to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This policy emphasized to openly and explicitly promise not to support activities hampering the Beijing Olympic Games, not to support, plan or incite any criminal and violent activities, not to support and restrain the violent terrorist activities of the Tibetan Youth Congress and not to support any activities seeking independence of Tibet or to split Tibet from China.

This change of demand on the part of Chinese government comes due to the fact that the international community and particularly the Chinese intellectuals, who have been constantly following the developments with an objective insight, have come to realize the inherent nature of irrationality and unreasonableness attached with Chinese government’s earlier demand of “Three Restraints” or what China called is “Three Stops”, proposed during the May 4 informal meetings with the Representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Shezhen. Moreover, China’s blatant and unfounded allegation that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was behind the protests that rocked Tibet since March 10 is yet another point that the observers do not find convincing enough. That is why the new approach of “Four Non Supports” replacing the “Three Restraints”.

From the very beginning, when the decision on the host country of the Olympic Games was impending, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been clear in supporting the Beijing Olympics on the basis of the very fact that it represents the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people. His Holiness has since the awarding of the Olympic Games to China steadfastly and repeatedly urged the world leaders not to decide against attending the Opening Ceremony and specifically, in retaliation to what China did in Tibet since March this year. Even when China ordered a harsh security crackdown on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators that resulted in numbers of arrests, severe beatings and torture as well as killings, His Holiness maintained His position. Similarly, His Holiness the Dalai Lama strongly appealed to the Tibetans and Tibet supporters to refrain from sabotaging and obstructing as well as to stop protesting when the Olympic Torch is relayed all over the world and particularly in Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama personifies peace in its entirety and is accordingly acknowledged the world over for his consistent rejection and opposition to violent activities at all times. His embracing and promotion of peaceful reconciliation and dialogue as the means to resolve all conflicts has earned him the respect and admiration of international community. Therefore, no one whether individual or organization, needs to urge Him not to support violent activities.

By virtue of its democratic values, the exile Tibetan community allows its citizens to form different opinions and approaches towards resolution of Tibet issue, such as Middle Way Approach, Self-Rule, Truth Insistence and Complete Independence. But what is essentially common about all these approaches is its non-violent and peaceful nature. And for that matter, as opposed to any authoritarian regime, it is prohibited to “restrain” or “curb” the fundamental human rights of its people in a democratic society.

Since 1970’s, braving all the challenges and intense opposition from within and outside Tibetan Diaspora, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently promoted a mutually beneficial approach of coexistence for both China and Tibet by renouncing the independence of Tibet. In His open and pragmatic approach to seek a ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has assigned His representatives at number of occasions to China to explain the Chinese government of his position and to create conducive atmosphere for the actual dialogues to start. Let alone responding to him positively despite these overtures of earnestness and sincerity on the part of His Holiness, the Chinese leaderships, on the contrary, started to hurl Him with myriads of groundless accusations and personal attacks to the point of outlawing the Tibetan people from keeping even His photographs in Tibet.

Tibetan people now face severe restrictions and interference in their religious practices and activities and control on the usage of their language. The whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is still unknown since his abduction by the Chinese government. Still worse, the atheist Chinese communist government installed its own choice of 11th Panchen Lama who even the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the principal seat of Panchen Lamas have qualms of being a genuine reincarnation, not to speak of other monasteries.

Moreover, to ensure complete power and authority in the hands of Chinese, not to mention of the high level Tibetan officials, China has initiated plans to replace even the grass root level Tibetan officials with Chinese officials.

Under the insistence of the government, Tibetan Buddhist sites and statues as well as monks quarters such the Guru Rinpoche’s statue in Samye monastery, the monastic community of Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Sertha (Ch: Seda) and another Guru statue in Ngari (Ch: Ali) has been totally destroyed in the past.

Infamous political education campaigns aimed at indoctrinating the monastic community as well as lay people in the Tibetan areas called the “patriotic reeducation campaign” has been launched forcing the monks to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And to exploit and control the Tibetan Buddhism traditional system of reincarnation, the atheist communist regime who regard religion as poison has now opted to recognize the reincarnations of all Tibetan Buddhist lamas with the promulgation of a new rule. All these initiatives and actions of the PRC government which are opposed to the history, custom, tradition and cultural values, and particularly fundamental rights of the Tibetan people and which hit deep down into the hearts of the Tibetan people have compelled them to rise, in an unprecedented manner, against the oppressive regime that the world has witnessed since March 10 this year, spreading from Lhasa to all the three traditional provinces of Tibet.

The recent Tibetan protests are marked by its widespread and inclusiveness, with the participation of Tibetans from all walks of lives, whether it be lay or monks and nuns, farmers or nomads, party cadres or government employees, teachers or students, commoner or traders, and even the beggars. Whereas the geographical extensiveness of the protests are concerned, it encompassed almost whole swathe of Tibetan plateau, the three traditional provinces of Tibet now divided into Tibet Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAR) and nearby provinces of Qinghai, Yunnan, Sichuan and Gansu. So much so that even the students who were studying in the Universities and colleges in Mainland China held solidarity protests in their respective institutions. The protests have still not stopped since it started more than four months ago on March 10. And the slogans have been all but one and the same, calling for the Long Life and Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, Tibet is an independent nation, there is no human rights and religious freedom in Tibet and so on.

However, instead of paying attention to the grievances of the Tibetan people that stems from its own flawed Tibet policy, the Chinese government has resorted to harsh political clampdown measures in Tibet, going as far as even to expel the foreigners who were in Tibet. In addition, during the meeting of prominent officials and party cadres of TAR on March 15, the TAR authorities without any preliminary investigation into the incidents or any evidence to support their claims, declared that the peaceful Tibetan protests were violent and criminal acts of beating, smashing, looting and burning. Even more outrageously as it may seem was their accusation that the so-called ‘Dalai clique’ was behind the protests, instigating and masterminding it, precisely with an intention to transform the very nature of the peaceful protests.

While China grappled to steal the show, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile urged for an immediate mediation of the International community to independently ascertain the truth behind the causes of these protests, to ensure a fair trial of the arrested Tibetans and to ensure timely medical help to those injured. However, the Chinese government not only flatly rejected these demands but also even denied permission to the High Commissioner of UN Human Rights Council to visit Tibet. These very actions of the government of the People’s Republic of China speaks for itself that the accusations labelled against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exiles are but all unsubstantially baseless and sheer lies without an inkling of truth.

Following are some events chronicling the harsh tragedy still undergoing in Tibet:

* According to a confirmed report, till today, at least 216 Tibetans have been killed, more than 5000 arrested or detained and thousands more injured and wounded. China herself has admitted to the fact that at least 4000 Tibetans have been detained or arrested.

* Arrested Tibetans are denied the right to independent legal representations and a fair trial with many of them prosecuted on alleged charges of beating, smashing, looting and burning. Many others have even been tried secretly.

* Few of the arrested have been released on ground of their minor offences, but have been subjected to brutal torture and beatings while in detention, leaving many of them physically impaired and infirm. Some have even died within few days of their release. To name a few among them are a monk Ngawang Pelsang of Lo monastery in Taktse county under Lhasa Municipality, Paltsal Kyab from Ngaba (Ch: Aba) county in Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) province, an elderly named Kunga from Meldo Gongkar near Lhasa, a 38 year-old woman named Nechung from Charuwa in Ngaba county and a 32 year-old farmer Dawa from Dhedrong village, Jhangkha township in Phenpo county.

* Informed sources reported that all those released were charged with financial penalty ranging from Renminbi 1500 – 20,000 and some of them even higher.

* The monasteries and Tibetan households are often subjected to indefinite secretive raids and search operations and arbitrary arrests. Reports suggests of destruction and looting of invaluable religious artifacts and personal belongings during such raids and searches, particularly in Ngaba (Amdo) and Karze (Kham) areas outside of TAR in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces respectively.

* During the raids in the monasteries, many old and unusable rifles and swords adorned in the Protector’s Chapel were confiscated and photographed, and later some of them have even been used as a justification or evidence to implicate the Tibetan people of terrorism.

* Monks and nuns participating in the peaceful protests are being expelled from their monasteries and denied access to other monasteries. In some cases, where a large number of monks and nuns of a particular monastery had taken part in a protest, the monasteries have been closed down with all the inmates ordered to leave.

* Many hundreds of arrested Tibetans have been loaded in trains and taken to different prisons in nearby Chinese provinces.

* Monasteries in Tibet are subjected to intense patriotic reeducation campaigns forcing the monks and nuns to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Moreover, Tibetan people from all walks of life are now forced to sign a pledge supporting the Chinese government’s claim that recent unrest in Tibet was instigated and masterminded by the Dalai clique. Those who defy the orders are either expelled, if one happens to be a monk, from the monastery or arrested for expressing their opinion otherwise than that of the government. The monasteries and individual Tibetan households are forced to fly Chinese flags on their rooftops.

* Those found to be challenging the orders of the government are immediately arrested or detained and imprisoned without any discrimination of the individual’s social or religious position such as abbot of a monastery, a disciplinary master, chant master etc. For instances, the abbot and president of the Democratic Management Committee of Tarmo monastery in Driru (Ch: Biru) county Ngawang Gyalten, Trulku Phurbu Tsering of Karze monastery in Karze (Ch: Ganzi) county, Alak Khaso Tsang of Rongpo Gonchen monastery in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) county have been arrested so far, whereas The senior Disciplinary master of Karze monastery Ngodup Phuntsok and principal monk of Rongpo Gonchen monastery Shalngo Jigme Dawa were expelled and later detained.

* Due to so many monks and nuns being detained and expelled and the government’s ruling that no monks below the age of 18 would be permitted to enroll in a monastery, the monasteries and nunneries in Tibet are on the verge of getting empty with only few elderly and infirm monks now present in many of the monasteries.

* Following Chinese crackdown on the peaceful Tibetan protesters, many Tibetans, particularly the males, had to flee to the surrounding mountains and jungles to escape arrest and imprisonment. Among these are people of Ponkor township in Golog (Ch: Golo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Gangri Lungpa village in Bathang (Ch: Batang) county of Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

* Ensuing harsh treatment of Tibetan arrestees and unable to bear the restrictions imposed on their spiritual practices, many Tibetans were compelled to commit suicide. Among them are a 16 year-old monk Lobsang Tsultim of Kirti monastery in Ngaba, a young woman from Sershul county named Tri Lhamo, a 29 year old monk Thoesam from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, a 75 year-old monk Legtsok fromm Gomang monastery in Ngaba and so on. Many Tibetans have gone insane as a result of Chinese pressure and inhumane treatment.

* China has increased the deployment of military and armed police all over Tibet imposing a martial law like situation. In some areas such as Karze and Lithang, where anti-government protests have been continuous, the number of armed forces and military far exceeds local Tibetan populace. Only Tibetans are the one who face the brunt of these security clampdown with their movements restricted and activities monitored, whereas the Chinese nationals continue to live in peace and freedom.

* In an attempt to purge the party cadres and government officials, Chinese government has recently admitted to replacement of 15 officials and expulsion of other 13 party cadres from the party and posts in Lhasa city alone. Accordingly, in an official announcement published on July 15, 2008 in one of the Chinese government run websites, it notified the Tibetan origin party cadres and government officials to bring back their children studying in the schools and institutions (monastic included) run by the “Dalai clique” in India within two months, unless which, the announcement threatened that the offender parents would be punished according to the newly formulated regulation, by removing and expelling them from both work and the party. Besides, the announcement also emphasized on the punitive measures the government would resort to on those youths and children who return back from India after completing their studies.

* In a report recently filed by Michael Sheridan in the English language daily The Sunday Times from Hong Kong, the author drew attention of the international community to the fundamentals of China’s recent Tibet policy on the basis of a leaked communist party internal document. The report concisely said that China is gearing up for a harsh political repression in Tibet while it shows a moderate public face to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month. If we are to believe this report, we fear the Chinese oppression of the Tibetan people would continue even after the Beijing Olympic Games, but with more vigor and force, resulting in innocent Tibetans arrested, imprisoned and even executed.

In view of the ongoing critical situation inside Tibet, we urge the United Nations and the International community and organizations to the following urgent needs:

1. To immediately send an independent international fact-finding mission into Tibet

2. To exert pressure on the PRC government to allow unfettered access to free press in whole of Tibet

3. To pressure the PRC to end the brutal killings in the whole of Tibet

4. To immediately release all the arrested and imprisoned Tibetans

5. To extend immediate medical assistance to those injured Tibetans

6. To allow free movement of people and provide access to daily needs

– Tibetan Solidarity Committee