The Statement of the Kashag on the Forty-eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan Democracy Day

2 September 2008: On this special occasion of the 48th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s extraordinary efforts to transform the Tibetan polity into a genuine democracy, the Kashag – as a way of expressing its immense gratitude to His Holiness – makes obeisance to him. The Kashag also extends its affectionate greetings and Tashi Deleg to all Tibetans living in and outside Tibet, as well as to the governments, parliaments, governmental and non-governmental organisations, Tibet support groups and the people of the international community who are supportive of Tibet and the Tibetans.

In our previous statements, the Kashag has dwelled – among other things – on the status of the Tibetan democratic polity and its weaknesses; the responsibilities that Tibetans in general and particularly the Tibetan exiles must shoulder; and the role of the Tibetan civil society, which is inclusive of the Tibetan NGOs. While reiterating all these points, the Kashag would like to emphatically state that all Tibetans should – at this very critical and crucial period – give more importance to their democratic duties than rights; that they should give more importance to the national and community’s benefits than individual’s and organisation’s; and that they should, in order to challenge the forces of division, strive towards combining their collective energies.

The principal reason why the Tibetans inside Tibet have had to endure continuous sufferings for the last almost 60 years – and as a result of it the very survival of the Tibetan people is at stake today – is due to the Chinese autocratic government’s ultra-leftist policies. Under these policies, the basic rights of the Tibetan people, including their political, social, religious and cultural rights are trampled upon by the Chinese government. Therefore, until and unless the nature of the People’s Republic of China’s polity does not become more open, free and transparent, it is difficult for China to be able to resolve the problem of Tibet. Taking cue from this fact, the Tibetan people living in the free world should also work towards cultivating a culture of openness, freedom and transparency.

In order to establish a true democratic society, it is very important to have gender equality in general, and particularly women should equally partake in the administrative and political work of a country. Since ancient times until now, no gender discriminations of any kind have taken place in our society. However, going by the ratio of the Tibetan men and women taking part in administration and politics, there is a difference with women lagging far behind men. It is very important to bridge this difference in the future. The Kashag will soon come out with a policy to strengthen women’s power in our society, and we request all of you to co-operate with us in this regard.

One of the difficulties of a democratic system when it comes to implementation – and particularly a problem often faced by the Asian countries – is the inability to make a choice when differences emerge between one’s political ideology and the policies adopted by the government of the day, as well as the difficulty in evolving a consensus among the contesting parties when it comes to the fundamental interest of the country and people. All these occur due to an inadequate level of education, or intellectual disposition, among the citizens. The Tibetan community is also undergoing the same kind of problems. Therefore, it is indispensable for the individuals and organisations to heed that in addition to upholding their respective ideological leanings, they should – as and when required – ensure the unity and cohesive force of the Tibetan people without letting it diminish the slightest.

For nearly 60 years, we have endured the oppression of a foreign country. Over these years, many heroic Tibetan men and women have sacrificed their every possession, including their precious lives, for the sake of Tibetan religion, culture, national identity and freedom. Paying homage to all these brave souls, the Kashag would like to request all Tibetans to learn from their sacrifices and continue the rightful and non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people until the issue of Tibet is resolved once and for all.

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!

The Kashag

Note: Translated from the Tibetan original.