The Statement of the Kashag on the Occasion of the 73rd Birthday Celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On this very special occasion of the 73rd birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration – on behalf of the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, as well as all of his followers across the world – makes its obeisance to His Holiness and prays that he may live for hundreds of aeons as the true protector and saviour of humanity, plagued with the “Five Degenerations, or Impurities” of this Samsaric world.

While remembering the great services that His Holiness has been making to the people living in this age of “Five Degenerations”, the Kashag would like to implore him to continue to shower his compassion and loving kindness on all humanity, and particularly on the people of his adopted Land of Snows, until they are all led to the path of enlightenment.

In our previous statement on this very occasion, the Kashag emphasised the need for enhancing the Tibetan people’s collective merit and strengthening the power of non-violent principle. The Kashag also emphasised that we cannot afford to lose heart, or be lethargic, in our struggle towards the resolution of the issue of Tibet – even if this struggle were to drag on for hundreds of years. The Kashag, in particular, suggested 11-point constructive programmes or actions to be undertaken by the Tibetans in general, and the exiled Tibetans in particular. While reiterating all these points, the Kashag would like to emphatically urge all Tibetans to not only heed these important requests, but also put them into real practice.

Since 10 March this year, in all the three traditional provinces of Tibet, Tibetans have been courageously protesting against the ultra-leftist policies of the People’s Republic of China at great personal risks. These have not only reflected the inner strength and unity of the Tibetan people, but have also demonstrated before the international community the fact that the Tibetan struggle will continue generation after generation. It is indeed a source of great encouragement for us Tibetans that all the justice-and peace-loving governments and peoples across the globe have been showing their support to, and solidarity with, the Tibetan people. Today, while once again expressing our sincere appreciation to all the Tibetan people in Tibet for making great sacrifices for the common cause of Tibet, the Kashag would like to inform them that their sacrifices will never go in vain. It will, certainly, achieve a great result that will be of universal benefit.

The recent peaceful protests that rocked the plateau of Tibet were brutally crushed by the Chinese government, leading to many thousands of Tibetan people being arbitrarily arrested, incarcerated, beaten, injured and killed. This is not only a cause of great disappointment for us Tibetans, but has also brought to the fore the ugly face of Chinaïž’s Tibet policy. We are, moreover, greatly concerned about what fate will befall on the Tibetan people in the future. Therefore, the Kashag would like to appeal to all the governments and peoples of the world that they should – while supporting the Tibetans inside Tibet as before – continue to urge, or impress upon, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China to exercise utmost restraint.

In a crisis situation like this, it is important for all the exiled Tibetans to initiate solidarity actions that are both proper and law-abiding. As such, on the request of the Kashag, the Tibetan Solidarity Committee has been set up under the leadership of the highest Tibetan legislative body – the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. Under its guidance, most of the campaigns or activities undertaken by the Tibetan diasporic community were not only effective, but were also carried out in a manner that reveals the unity of the Tibetan people. Therefore, the Kashag would like to express its appreciation to all those who are involved in these activities. Similarly, as we have reiterated to the Solidarity Committee, these mass movements or activities, aimed at the realisation of the cause of Tibet, must be continued for a long time to come. And for this, peaceful demonstrations and sloganeering alone will not suffice; it is important for us to come out with numerous constructive programmes or actions. The Kashag believes that the time has come for us to give a serious thought over it. The Kashag would like to, however, emphasise that whatever actions the Tibetans in and outside Tibet may initiate, the nature and form of these actions must not go against the principle of non-violence as well as the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is to reiterate that if anybody – be it an organisation or an individual person – undertakes any activities that go against the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kashag will express its all-out opposition to it. For, we recognise that these activities will not, in any way, help resolve the issue of Tibet.

Even during the most critical times in the wake of the recent protests in Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was kind enough to send a personal communication to Hu Jintao, the president of the People’s Republic of China. To save Tibet from the crisis situation it is facing, he also dispatched his envoys to Shenzhen (4 May 2008) for an informal discussion with the concerned officials of the People’s Republic of China. As agreed during this informal meeting, the seventh round of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue was held in Beijing for two days from 1 to 2 July 2008. Unfortunately, the seventh round of talks – as we have suspected from the very beginning – did not at all go in accordance with our hopes and expectations. Moreover, the Chinese government has indulged in a selfish act of spewing one-sided propaganda on Tibet. Greatly disturbed by these negative developments, we are doubtful, more than ever before, whether the leaders of the People’s Republic of China have the determination and sincerity to work towards achieving a reconciliation on the issue of Tibet.

It is universally known that His Holiness the Dalai Lama – being an undisputed champion of global peace – would not agree to, or support, violence in any form. It is also a universal knowledge that he has always pursued a mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy of seeking a solution to the Tibet issue within the constitutional framework of the People’s Republic of China and that he has consistently supported China’s hosting of the Olympic Games. Therefore, to demand that His Holiness should not support – or rather stop initiating – activities aimed at separating Tibet from China, creating violence, and sabotaging the Olympic Games is not a statement that a person with sound state of mind makes. Even a child would know this fact. Therefore, we do not find it necessary to respond, or offer our explanations, to these statements. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle-Way policy is a transparent policy that is still being pursued without undergoing a slightest changes. Under this right policy, we will unswervingly pursue these three commitments of not seeking separation, not engaging in violence, and availing of the opportunities at hand to find a solution to the issue of Tibet through dialogue.

As far as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan diasporic community are concerned, we have made every possible effort towards the continuation of the dialogue process and the creation of conducive environment for it. We have also made greatest efforts – even during the most difficult period of the recent unrest in Tibet – to restore stability, and to alleviate the sufferings of the Tibetans living, there. If the Chinese side is sincere about the current process of engagement, then it must lend us a helping hand in creating a conducive environment for dialogue between the two sides. Therefore, the Kashag would like to urge the leaders of the People’s Republic of China to do the following, so that stability and harmony could be restored in Tibet:

# Stop immediately all acts of repressing, beating, torturing, arresting and incarcerating Tibetan people for peacefully expressing their views;

# Conducting excessive, or rather extreme, political “education” among the Tibetan clergy and making undue, or unnecessary, interference in religious affairs should be stopped immediately. For, these are the root cause of instability in the monasteries and nunneries; and

# Stop immediately all those activities – carried out in the name of progress and development – which harm the land and environment of Tibet. Excessive exploitation of natural resources, changing forcefully the traditional lifestyles of the Tibetan peasants and nomads, as well as the policy of flooding Tibet with non-Tibetan migrants, etc., should also be stopped immediately.

During the latest, seventh round of talks, both sides agreed to hold the eighth round of talks before the end of October, this year. During that time – it was also agreed – both sides will deliberate on how the provisions of the National Regional Autonomy as enshrined in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China are being implemented in Tibet. This, we consider, is a positive step in the present moment or circumstances. We will make our preparations for the next round of talks, keeping in view not just the statements coming out from the People’s Republic of China, but also the way they conduct themselves with us.

However, as we have already emphasised many times before, the main issue of contention between China and Tibet is only the welfare of the six million Tibetan people. It is not at all related to the personal status of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; nor is it related to the status of a few Tibetans who are close to him. We would like to once again make it very categorical that concerning them, we do not have a single issue to be discussed with the People’s Republic of China.

In May this year, Sichuan province of the People’s Republic of China have been hit by earthquake, causing enormous sufferings to millions of Chinese and Tibetans living in that part of the world. With heavy heart, we express our deep condolences to all of them. As a way of expressing our solidarity with the quake victims, we the Tibetan exiles – led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – have been able to make our share of contribution by organising prayer meetings and making donations toward relief activities through various channels.

Finally, we pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for an immediate end to the sufferings of those Tibetans who are facing Chinese suppression and torture. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon!

The Kashag
6 July 2008

N.B. This is an English translation of the original statement in Tibetan. If there is any difference between this and the Tibetan version, please treat the latter as authoritative and final.