On this occasion of the twenty-first anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kashag, on behalf of the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet, would like to pay our utmost respect and greetings to His Holiness.
His Holiness, who besides being the foremost proponent of the principle of non-violence around the globe by applying the philosophy of dependent origination and non-violence as shown in the teachings of the Buddha, has guided the Tibetan struggle for justice onto to the path of non-violence making it different from other national struggles in the world. His Holiness has also shown, both in principle and in practice, that all global conflicts can be solved through a non-violent approach. These qualities made His Holiness the most suitable recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thus, when His Holiness accepted the prize in 1989, it increased prestige and the value of the already esteemed Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, it has also created a widespread awareness about and interest in the just cause of Tibet around the world. Since the award was an inspiration and the trust in the non-violent method and an outstanding recognition of the Tibetan struggle for justice, we commemorate it with highest respect and fondness. On this special occasion, if the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet can reaffirm their genuine pledge for the non-violent path based on trust and understanding, then this occasion will constitute a meaningful celebration.
An important development that we should be happy about and proud of is the conferment of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Liu Xiaobo, a prominent Chinese democracy and human rights activist, who is currently in prison in the People’s Republic of China. On behalf of all the Tibetan people, we would like to congratulate Mr Liu Xiaobo, and commend the Nobel Committee for taking this decision without bowing to the Chinese government’s pressure. However, the Kashag is saddened by the Chinese authorities appalling behaviour of not releasing Mr Liu Xiaobo from prison and keeping his wife under house arrest. The Kashag strongly condemns these actions. Since the values and aspirations of all the Nobel laureates are well known around the world, keeping a few individuals in prison cannot lock up their thoughts, principles and aspirations. It is a fact of life that the authoritarian rulers who try to control people’s thought by force and suppression are the most ignorant of human beings.
Although this day is also celebrated as World Human Rights Day, it is a matter of sadness that no one has, thus far, been able to protect human rights enough to be celebrated. Moreover, the first decade of the 21st century is over and yet looking at the fact that a number of Nobel laureates are either in prison, under surveillance or in exile shows the state of human rights today.
These days the advanced nations in the West and the countries in the East who blindly follow the West use many beautiful slogans such as democracy, freedom, equality and human rights, but in actual practice they all appear empty words devoid of any meaning.
At present, a large number of people including Tibetans in Tibet are living with constant fear and torture under the oppressive regime of the People’s Republic of China, denied even their fundamental human rights. Sadly, it has been amply proven that no powerful nations or organizations have either the will or the strength to restore them their rights. In China, being in possession of a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is deemed as a criminal act warranting many years of imprisonment. Yet the United Nations, the author of the declaration, has failed to muster enough pride to even condemn such acts. Under such circumstances, it becomes almost a laughing stock for us to commemorate the World Human Rights Day. However, we celebrate it to keep up with the international norm.
Since 2008 the whole of China and especially the Tibetan areas have been witness to systematic suppression and further restrictions of basic human rights. The right to religious freedom, the right to speech and cultural and educational freedoms have been deliberate targets. The recent proclamation by Chinese government officials in many Tibetan areas ordering a change in the medium of instruction from Tibetan to Mandarin in schools is a large-scale evil plan directed at annihilating the very identity of Tibet. Such policies not only completely ignore the ideologies of Karl Marx, Lenin and Mao on ethnic minorities but are a clear and present attempt at the whole-scale destruction of a people’s language and culture. We unequivocally condemn and criticize such heinous policies. On behalf of Tibetans in exile we offer our solidarity and enthusiastic support to the leaders, students and ordinary people who legally and peacefully request the protection of our language.
Realizing the tremendous strides in exercising modern democracy in the exile Tibetan community under His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s leadership, we fervently hope that Tibetans remain united and work towards the principal cause of Tibet.
Taking this opportunity, Kashag would like to offer the wholehearted prayers of Tibetans in and outside Tibet, beseeching His Holiness to remain as ever the religious and temporal leader of Tibet. From the depth of our hearts we request Your Holiness never to consider or even talk about semi-retirement and full-retirement. At the same time, Kashag implores Tibetans to further advance our collective merit and preserve Tibetan values and ethics, which become the most gratifying offerings to His Holiness.
Finally, the Kashag prays for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lana and the spontaneous fulfilment of all his wishes. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon.