Today is the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising against the Chinese authorities in 1959 and the third anniversary of the peaceful protests throughout Tibet in 2008. On this special occasion, the Kashag would like to pay homage to all the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet, those who are still suffering and particularly we would like to express our solidarity with Tibetan intellectuals such as writers, poets, musicians and environmentalists, who have been arrested and incarcerated in recent years. We praise their courage and conviction.
During the last nine years, from 2002 to 2010, the twelfth and the thirteenth Kashag considered the 10 March anniversary as the most important occasion to inform the Tibetan people, both in and outside Tibet, about issues concerning Tibetan politics and the administration. The Kashag has transparently informed the Tibetans about developments, policies, course of actions, principles and future plans regarding the issue of Tibet and its origins, Tibetan people’s strength and weaknesses, opportunities and risks, achievements and failures, and the status of Sino-Tibetan talks and the international situation. Particularly, in 2009 during the 50th anniversary of our being in exile, the Kashag commemorated and thanked the extraordinary achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which spans across the globe and the great accomplishments of the Tibetan people, in and outside Tibet.
Since this is the last 10th March statement of the present Kashag, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the general public and reiterate some issues as a reminder. As it was mentioned in our 10th March statement of 2009, for more than half a century, Tibet has been subjected to a series of repressive campaigns under various forms and names to annihilate the Tibetan people and its culture. This has pushed Tibet to the brink of extinction. However, at the same time, the strength of Tibetan people’s unity and solidarity has gone undiminished, which has enabled us to sustain our struggle from one generation to the next.
Moreover, with the phenomenal accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama throughout the world, Tibetan Buddhism, culture, tradition and values have gained renewed recognition and interest. Consequently, the number of Tibet supporters and followers of Tibetan Buddhism and culture, both in the West and East, have grown many fold. Lately efforts to translate Kangyur and Tengyur into various Western languages were initiated, and the speed at which contact and discussions between Tibetan Buddhism and science is taking place today are a matter of great pride and constitute positive changes. Irrespective of the absence of any concrete change in the political situation, the fact that Tibetan religion, culture and tradition are developing paves great prospects for the future. When future generations look back at our times, they may consider our contemporary times as an era of expansion and spread of the Tibetan culture.
Furthermore, the nonviolent struggle of the Tibetan people and the transformation of the nature of Tibetan polity into a democratic system are two achievements that are source of pride and the strength for the Tibetan people. As a result, the issue of Tibet has been able to be sustained around the world and these have become reasons why the People’s Republic of China is unable to ignore the issue of Tibet.
As this miracle the Tibetans have achieved in exile is a result of the profound accomplishments of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. We express our deepest gratitude to him.
Since the PRC occupied Tibet, the Tibetan people have had not even a fleeting moment of peace and joy. Furthermore, policies were implemented that aimed to annihilate not only Tibetan religion and culture and natural resources, but even the trace of Tibetan identity as well. Since repression across Tibet worsened in 2008, the Tibetan people have been languishing in an environment of constant fear and suspicion. The recent campaign, targeted at Tibetan intellectuals, scholars, writers, artists and environmentalists, has resulted in their arbitrary incarceration on concocted charges. This further validates the existence of a definite objective to wipe out Tibetan identity and heritage. As Tibetan language is the bedrock of Tibetan identity and culture, the recent move to phase out Tibetan as the main medium of instruction in schools also constitute an aspect of the strategy towards the objective of annihilation of Tibetan identity. Under such circumstances, the people in Tibet have been struggling for the preservation and promotion of Tibetan language and culture by disregarding even at the risk of losing their lives. For this, they deserve our heartfelt gratitude.
The Tibetan and the Chinese people are neighbours and share close social, economic and commercial relations. However, if enmity between the two people grows and the relationship is strained due to manipulations by the Communist leaders then this is highly undesirable. Tibetans living in exile are trying their best to create a good relationship with the Chinese people. Likewise, the Kashag wish to request the Tibetans inside Tibet to maintain friendly relations with Chinese and other nationalities. Particularly, we would like to urge Tibetans not to engage in any violent act with other nationalities.
A series of recent peaceful people’s protests in the Middle East and North Africa to move towards freedom and democracy is a source of inspiration for us. We offer our solidarity for all those who take part in these protests and extend our support and stand with them in unity as long as their actions remain non-violent. These events prove the fact that suppression by authoritarian regimes anywhere cannot last forever.
Presently, a major cause of concern for Tibetans in and outside Tibet is that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will relinquish his role as the political leader of Tibetan people, and transfer his political and administrative responsibilities to the elected leadership. As a result, a great number of Tibetans in exile from the various settlements, organisations, monastic institutions and individuals and particularly many Tibetans from inside Tibet collectively and individually have been ardently supplicating His Holiness the Dalai Lama not to take such a step. We, the Kashag, would like to make the same request in the strongest terms. Since the institution of the Dalai Lama, as an emanation of Avalokitesvara, and the inhabitants of the Land of Snows, the spiritual domain of Avalokitesvara are intimately connected by a pure karmic bond, the Tibetan people must make all efforts to ensure that this relationship continues to last forever without change. The Tibetan people need to make great efforts to keep this bond between the successive Dalai Lamas and Tibet. In order for this to happen, we request the Tibetan people to make even more efforts to increase their collective merits.
To fulfil His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wish to relinquish the temporal responsibilities, His Holiness will issue a message to the coming session of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. And all future course of action will depend on how the members of the legislative body intelligently formulate legislation regarding this. The Kashag would like to urge the members of the exile parliament to consider this a matter of utmost importance and accordingly think carefully to take the right path.
Even though there are no major achievements during the tenure of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Kashag for the last nearly 10 years, we have been able to complete our tenure without any major failures and controversy. This has been achieved because of the kind guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the sincere hardwork of the officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, the cooperation and support of the general public. I and all my fellow members of the Kashag deeply thank and extend our gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At the same time, with deep regret we offer our sincere apology for our inability to work in accordance with your vision during our tenure. We beseech His Holiness to continue to lead us until we attain liberation. Similarly, we wholeheartedly thank the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet for their consistent cooperation and support. Likewise, we profusely thank all the officials of the Central Tibetan Administration who have worked with sincerity and devotion for the exile Tibetan administration only because of their commitment to the cause inspite of inadequate salary and facilities.
Taking this opportunity, we thank and extend our gratitude to all the Tibet Support Groups, heads of the governments and members of parliaments across the world who support the just struggle of the Tibetan people, and especially the general public, the leadership of central and state governments of India, for their unwavering support for the welfare of Tibetans, the preservation and promotion of Tibet’s cultural and spiritual heritage and for the realization of the Tibetan people’s aspiration.
Finally, the Kashag prays for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the spontaneous fulfilment of all his wishes. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon!
10 March 2011