Statement of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Today, the 10th of December 2020, is the 31st anniversary of that day of momentous importance when the world’s most distinctly outstanding prize for peace, the Nobel Peace Prize, was conferred on His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama, the apex ornamental adornment over the spheres of both the cyclic existence (samsara) and peace (nirvana) including those of the Gods in the heavens, the spiritual lord of the three realms (of desire, form and formless), a leader of world peace, the master on this earth of the entire corpus of Buddhist teachings, the destined patron-deity of the people of the Snowland of Tibet, the most exalted of Bodhisattva, the lord-protector of the world who has emanated in human form, the protective refuge of all Tibetan people, their incomparable leader. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama continues to carry out beyond all imaginations His oath-bound secret body, speech and mind deeds by not allowing himself to be constrained by any time-bound limits, thereby becoming a source of limitless joy to all sentient beings that are scattered as widely as the expanse of the space. And so on behalf of all Tibetans in Tibet and those living in exile, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to express greetings borne of limitless feelings of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama with joy, faith and gratification on this momentous occasion.
This day, which also marks the world human rights day, is observed by the Tibetan people in general as well as, in particular, by all people across the world who cherish democracy, freedom, and peace as the day on which His Holiness the Dalai Lama was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in order to thereby hold in joy and in highest regard, respect and admiration for His incomparable deeds. It is hence a golden age moment of great nobility. The religiously immersed cultural heritage and traditions of Tibet have emerged and developed from the midst of the unrivalled philosophical ideology and practice of the immaculate teachings of the Buddha. And in order to revive and promote the culture and traditions of the Tibetan people of such outstanding heritage in their diverse aspects in a world plunged into the darkness of an extremely degenerate period, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has envisioned a profound plan to transform Tibet into a zone of peace in this vast world. His Holiness thereby led and committed the Tibetan people to a resolute path of non-violence. And it is a great deed of immensely noble sagacity that His Holiness has opened a path towards a mutually beneficial middle way approach for solving the Sino-Tibetan dispute. On the basis of the appreciation of the fact of fundamental significance that all sentient beings are alike in desiring to live a happy life while being averse to finding themselves subjected to pain and suffering, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has sought to promote a sense of ethics among people across the world. This in turn is the basis on which His Holiness has immersed himself in efforts of unimaginable significance, inspired by His sense of universal responsibility and directed at such noble causes as protecting the natural environment of the world, promoting harmony among the followers of the different religious traditions, settlement of wars and disputes by peacefully negotiated settlement, and so on, that He has set out to contribute to the development of peace across the world. All people having the intelligence to discern the immensity of His contributions have exalted him for His efforts and it also eventually led to the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Him. And it was for the sake of being able to contribute further to the wellbeing of all sentient beings that His Holiness very graciously and gladly accepted the award which led to Him being accorded recognition as a leader of world peace. And true to this aim, His Holiness has continued to carry out secret deeds of body, speech and mind that are unimaginable as much in their ambit as in their help to all sentient beings. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to extend its immense gratitude countless times to His Holiness for the continuing efforts in such noble endeavours.
While presenting the Noble Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its presentation speech that “His Holiness the Dalai Lama had staked all His authority as Dalai Lama to resolutely prevent any use of violence on the part of the Tibetans” in the efforts to resolve the issue of Tibet; that “His aim was to arrive at a solution of the conflict that would be acceptable to both parties to the dispute, based on mutual respect and tolerance in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage” of the people of Tibet; and that, moreover, His Holiness had “developed His philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living and upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature.”
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “I believe the prize is a recognition of the true value of altruism, love, compassion and non-violence which I try to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet. I accept the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace. I accept it as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of non-violent action for change Mahatma Gandhi whose life taught and inspired me. And, of course, I accept it on behalf of the six million Tibetan people, my brave countrymen and women inside Tibet, who have suffered and continue to suffer so much. The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated.” With the knowledge of what His Holiness had said at that time, all Tibetan people who share the commonality of our tsampa-diet heritage should direct our efforts towards fulfilling the objectives set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the time He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. While striving at all times to contribute towards the achievement of these goals, we should ensure that the means we adopt for this purpose are scrupulously non-violent, based on the foundation of the principles of altruism, love and compassion. And this is also the basis on which we should also study the four principal oath-bound commitments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama so that we all could contribute towards ensuring the success of their implementation. This is the true and genuine way in which we can repay our debt of gratitude to His Holiness. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile accordingly appeals to the entirety of the Tibetan public to firmly bear this in mind.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the World Food Programme, an organ of the United Nations Organization, and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to express its congratulations to the winner as well as compliments to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the announcement of the award to it. It is through the World Food Programme that all problems of hunger inflicted on humanity by natural calamities as well as by human conflicts are sought to be fully solved in efforts directed at the realization of a happy human society. We remain hopeful and also earnestly pray that its efforts will continue with diligence and without interruptions.
In efforts to realize a vision of a human society marked by peace, freedom, and happiness, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has assumed innumerable responsibilities with considerable amounts of efforts. These have led His Holiness travel to numerous countries across the world where He sought to inculcate the spirit of kindness and love, tolerance, altruism, non-violence, and secular ethics. In particular, His Holiness directed His efforts at ensuring a harmonious and fraternal coexistence of peoples with different religious faith systems. The profoundness of His messages delivered with lucid simplicity has afforded ready understanding, appreciation and admiration by those who have flocked to listen to Him and have benefited from hearing Him speak. The number of times His Holiness had delivered such messages and the venues where He delivered them cannot bear counting. Recently, from the beginning of this year, the world was plagued by a novel coronavirus which caused the Covid-19 infection after it broke out from the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The ever worsening global pandemic severely affected the movement of people across the world due to the unavoidable imposition of lockdowns. Given such a situation, His Holiness held online interactions with prominent personalities, students, organizations, private individuals and others located across the world, giving them religious teachings and empowerments, contributing His thoughts as well as giving public talks. His Holiness spoke to them on ways to cope with physical problems and emotional distress and anxiety caused by the lockdown with a view to inculcate in them a sense of optimism. And also gave online talks and took part in online discussions with people across the world. These have focused on subjects directed at educating the people to enhance their ethical behaviour and to protect the natural environment. In particular, His Holiness interacted in a mind and body conference of experts in the related fields and also on ways to preserve the ancient Indian cultural heritage concerned with the subjects of compassion and non-violence. These remain continuing endeavours of His Holiness which have immensely benefited both the Tibetans and others across the world.
It is thanks to the profound and edifying guidance provided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the embracing the ideology of non-violence and the policy of Middle Way that is mutually beneficial to both the Tibetan and the Chinese sides that discussions about the issue of Tibet have reached the international forum. Not only that, both the houses of parliament in numerous countries, including, in particular, in the United States of America, Europe, Canada, and the United Kingdom have held discussions on the issue of Tibet from time to time, tabled numerous motions and passed resolutions thereon. For example, recently, Representative Mr. Ted Yoho tabled “A resolution affirming the significance of the advocacy for genuine autonomy for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China and the work His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has done to promote global peace, harmony, and understanding” in the US House of Representatives. This was later unanimously approved by the Lower House of the US legislative body.
Likewise, Senator Josh Hawley introduced a resolution in the US Senate “condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of forced labor and other coercive measures to destroy religious freedom in Tibet.”
And on the 14th of October this year, the United States Secretary of State Mr. Mike Pompeo appointed Assistant Secretary of State Mr. Robert A Destro of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor as the United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Especially inviting the honourable Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration to the White House made clear the strong support from the United States government on the issue of Tibet.
Again, on the 17th of November this year, the 2020 Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief was organized by the State Department of the United States at which the country’s Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Mr. Sam D. Brownback, expressed strong opposition to the interference of China in matters concerned with the determination of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Also on the 17th of November this year, in a meeting on Tibet by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, Mr. Shawn Steil, Executive Director of Greater China Policy and Coordination, Global Affairs Canada, spoke on the issue of Tibet at length. He also expressed continued support and push for efforts to resume the Sino-Tibetan dialogue.
Former Vice-President Mr. Joe Biden and Senator Ms. Kamala Harris have recently been elected as the President and Vice-President of the United States of America and it is certain that they will assume their responsibilities shortly. We offer our congratulations and at the same time wish to convey the ardent wishes of the Tibetan people for them to continue their support, as promised being leaders of the new US government, until the just cause of the Tibetan people prevails.
With the aim to bring a permanent cessation to the production or use of particularly terrifying weapons of destruction in this world, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a leader of global peace, has delivered edifying talks and messages on a series of numerous occasions. Therefore, on the 24th of October this year, a new chapter for nuclear disarmament began when the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was set on course to come into force on the 22nd of January 2021 after Honduras became the 50th Member State to ratify it. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to welcome and praise for the achieving this milestone. We remain ardently hopeful that through this treaty, all nuclear arms will be seen permanently eliminated from this world so that a good aeon will dawn when all the sentient beings in it will be able to live in genuine peace and leisure and with a sense of fraternity.
The path chosen for the efforts to resolve the issue of Tibet and the characteristics imbibed with ethical values and honesty by the Tibetans under the excellent guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have won appreciation from many countries of the world. This in turn has won widespread support for the protection of the freedom and the cultural identity of the Tibetan people in whatever way we have sought it. Still the government of China has held on to its position on the issue of Tibet that is the very opposite of such appreciations, continuing with a relentless implementation of its hard-line policy. The government of China has failed to show any positive record of having respect for human rights of the peoples under its rule. China remains in continued implementation of a policy of trampling on human rights that is marked by extreme brutality and the absence of any sense of conscience or remorse both within China itself and, in particular, in the ethnic minority populated territories such especially as Tibet. For example, on the 10th of March in 2008, Tibetans in hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands carried out peaceful uprising protests that gradually engulfed most of the places across the three traditional provinces of undivided Tibet. And then since 2009, a total of 154 heroic Tibetan men and women in Tibet from both the lay and clergy have sacrificed even their most cherished possessions of their very lives by setting themselves on fire in grim peaceful protests against the brutally violent hard-line policy of the government of China. The story of the developments that have led to this tragic situation is still fresh in our memory and is open for anyone to read. Again, in June this year, the so-called people’s Court of Sangchu County in Kanlho Prefecture of Gansu Province tried ten Tibetan people and deprived them of money in the name of penal fines. Moreover, the court convicted them on false charges of “extortion” and “forced trading” and imposed on them jail terms ranging from 9 to 14 years. Likewise, Tenzin Tharpa, a 39-year-old male and a 36-year-old female, his cousin Lhamo – who were residents of Uelung Village in Chagtse Township of Driru County in Tibet’s Nagchu City –were arrested by Chinese authorities on false criminal accusations and put behind bars. More tragically, Lhamo died as a result of interrogation beatings by the Chinese security personnel while in detention. This only makes clear the current situation of human rights in Tibet today. More recently, Adrian Zenz, a research scholar on East Turkestan and Tibet, brought out a report saying that a total of 500,000 Tibetans in Tibet had been put through military-style mass coercive labour camps by the government of China. The report showed how the human rights situation in Tibet had kept deteriorating considerably. Nevertheless, on the 13th of October this year, when alongside the holding of the 75th annual General Assembly session of the United Nations Organization, staggered voting for four seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council was held, it was four countries in the Asia and Pacific Region with the most repressive records on human rights which got elected. And one of them was the People’s Republic of China. This has been a source of immense grief to us. We wish to make it known in clear terms to the governments which voted for China in that election that they should know that they too have to bear responsibility for the protection of the human rights of the peoples of Tibet, Inner Mongolia, East Turkestan, Hong Kong and other like regions who are presently continuing to suffer repression under the rule of the government of China. Along with it, we wish to remind the government of China that after having become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it has the responsibility to implement the international human rights instruments of the world body. In that way, it also has the responsibility to protect the human rights of the ethnic minorities of the People’s Republic of China in the true spirit of the avowed undertaking it has made as well as in terms of its legal obligations. Not only that, we also wish to appeal to the international community to subject the government of China to strict scrutiny to ensure its adherence to its human rights responsibilities.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to express its appreciation and compliments to the Tibetan people in Tibet for their unwavering courage and the indefatigably immaculate spirit of Tibetan-ness with which they have continued to this day to face the brutal evilness of the Chinese government policies. And it is a matter of great importance that the Tibetan people living in exile should remain true to the calls made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to maintain Tibetan’s ethnic unity and on that basis to strive to accomplish results that are for the common good of all Tibetans and the fundamental cause of Tibet by strictly adhering to non-violent means. The wishes and aspirations as well as the issues of general wellbeing and matters pertaining to the tragic situation in the land expressed by the Tibetan people in Tibet in their protests against the government of China could never be forgotten by the Tibetan people living in exile. It is on this basis that the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to make it clear that our avowed determination to continue to strive towards realizing in all speediness the day when our final goal will be reached like the emergence of the sun from behind the clouds into a clear blue sky will never ever diminish.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to the governments across the world, especially India, their general public, parliaments, civil society groups and others for taking keen interest, assuming responsibility, showing solidarity, and extending high level of support in response to our appeals directed at reaching a solution and at garnering ever growing support for the cause of Tibet. At the same time, we ardently request them to continue their support with even greater amount of vigour in future.
The Covid-19 pandemic disease which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year continues to wreak havoc on lives, livelihoods, and the economic wellbeing of people across the world to this day. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to express our empathy and solidarity to all of them. In order to ensure an effective prevention of the spread of the disease, everyone must faithfully follow the guidelines issued by the health departments of the governments of their concerned countries. We earnestly pray that the pandemic will come to an end as early as possible.
In conclusion, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile wishes to offer earnest prayers that His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live for a hundred aeons, that all His sacred wishes may be seen fulfilled with utmost spontaneity, and the just case of Tibet may prevail at the earliest possible moment to usher in a day when Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile will be able to reunite so that a new era of utmost joy and wellbeing may dawn on all of us.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
10 December 2020
* In case of any discrepancy between this English translation and its Tibetan original, the latter should be considered authoritative and final for all purposes.