Today, I extend heartfelt
greetings to my Chinese brothers and sisters around the world,
particularly to those in the People's Republic of China.
In the light of the recent developments in Tibet, I would
like to share with you my thoughts concerning relations between
the Tibetan and Chinese peoples, and make a personal appeal
to all of you.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life in the recent tragic events in Tibet. I am aware that some Chinese have also died. I feel for the victims and their families and pray for them. The recent unrest has clearly demonstrated the gravity of the situation in Tibet and the urgent need to seek a peaceful and mutually beneficial solution through dialogue. Even at this juncture I have expressed my willingness to the Chinese authorities to work together to bring about peace and stability.
Chinese brothers and
sisters, I assure you I have no desire to seek Tibet's separation.
Nor do I have any wish to drive a wedge between the Tibetan
and Chinese peoples. On the contrary my commitment has always
been to find a genuine solution to the problem of Tibet that
ensures the long-term interests of both Chinese and Tibetans.
My primary concern, as I have repeated time and again, is
to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people's distinctive
culture, language and identity. As a simple monk who strives
to live his daily life according to Buddhist precepts, I assure
you of the sincerity of my personal motivation.
I have appealed to the
leadership of the PRC to clearly understand my position and
work to resolve these problems by "seeking truth from
facts." I urge the Chinese leadership to exercise wisdom
and to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan people.
I also appeal to them to make sincere efforts to contribute
to the stability and harmony of the PRC and avoid creating
rifts between the nationalities. The state media's portrayal
of the recent events in Tibet, using deceit and distorted
images, could sow the seeds of racial tension with unpredictable
long-term consequences. This is of grave concern to me.
Similarly, despite my repeated support for the Beijing Olympics,
the Chinese authorities, with the intention of creating a
rift between the Chinese people and myself, the Chinese authorities
assert that I am trying to sabotage the games. I am encouraged,
however, that several Chinese intellectuals and scholars have
also expressed their strong concern about the Chinese leadership's
actions and the potential for adverse long-term consequences,
particularly on relations among different nationalities.
Since ancient times, Tibetan and Chinese peoples have lived as neighbors. In the two thousand year old recorded history of our peoples, we have at times developed friendly relations, even entering into matrimonial alliances, while at others we fought each other. However, since Buddhism flourished in China first before it arrived in Tibet from India, we Tibetans have historically accorded the Chinese people the respect and affection due to elder Dharma brothers and sisters. This is something well known to members of the Chinese community living outside China, some of whom have attended my Buddhist lectures, as well as pilgrims from mainland China, whom I have had the privilege to meet. I take heart from these meetings and feel they may contribute to a better understanding between our two peoples.
The twentieth century
witnessed enormous changes in many parts of the world and
Tibet too was caught up in this turbulence. Soon after the
founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the People's
Liberation Army entered Tibet finally resulting in the 17-point
Agreement concluded between China and Tibet in May 1951. When
I was in Beijing in 1954/55, attending the National People's
Congress, I had the opportunity to meet and develop a personal
friendship with many senior leaders, including Chairman Mao
himself. In fact, Chairman Mao gave me advice on numerous
issues, as well as personal assurances with regard to the
future of Tibet. Encouraged by these assurances, and inspired
by the dedication of many of China's revolutionary leaders
of the time, I returned to Tibet full of confidence and optimism.
Some Tibetan members of the Chinese Communist Party also had
such a hope. After my return to Lhasa, I made every possible
effort to seek genuine regional autonomy for Tibet within
the family of the People's Republic of China (PRC). I believed
that this would best serve the long-term interests of both
the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
which began to escalate in Tibet from around 1956, eventually
led to the peaceful uprising of March 10, 1959, in Lhasa and
my eventual escape into exile. Although many positive developments
have taken place in Tibet under the PRC's rule, these developments,
as the previous Panchen Lama pointed out in January 1989,
were overshadowed by immense suffering and extensive destruction.
Tibetans were compelled to live in a state of constant fear,
while the Chinese government remained suspicious of them.
However, instead of cultivating enmity towards the Chinese
leaders responsible for the ruthless suppression of the Tibetan
people, I prayed for them to become friends, which I expressed
in the following lines in a prayer I composed in 1960, a year
after I arrived in India: "May they attain the wisdom
eye discerning right and wrong, And may they abide in the
glory of friendship and love." Many Tibetans, school
children among them, recite these lines in their daily prayers.
In 1974, following serious
discussions with my Kashag (cabinet), as well as the Speaker
and the Deputy Speaker of the then Assembly of the Tibetan
People's Deputies, we decided to find a Middle Way that would
seek not to separate Tibet from China, but would facilitate
the peaceful development of Tibet. Although we had no contact
at the time with the PRC' which was in the midst of the Cultural
Revolution ' we had already recognized that, sooner or later,
we would have to resolve the question of Tibet through negotiations.
We also acknowledged that, at least with regard to modernization
and economic development, it would greatly benefit Tibet if
it remained within the PRC. Although Tibet has a rich and
ancient cultural heritage, it is materially undeveloped.
Situated on the roof
of the world, Tibet is the source of many of Asia' major rivers;
therefore, protection of the environment on the Tibetan plateau
is of supreme importance. Since our utmost concern is to safeguard
Tibetan Buddhist culture - rooted as it is in the values of
universal compassion ?ˇěC as well as the Tibetan language
and the unique Tibetan identity, we have worked whole-heartedly
towards achieving meaningful self-rule for all Tibetans. The
PRC's constitution provides the right for nationalities such
as the Tibetans to do this.
In 1979, the then Chinese
paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping assured my personal emissary
that "except for the independence of Tibet, all other
questions can be negotiated." Since we had already formulated
our approach to seeking a solution to the Tibetan issue within
the constitution of the PRC, we found ourselves well placed
to respond to this new opportunity. My representatives met
many times with officials of the PRC. Since renewing our contacts
in 2002, we have had six rounds of talks. However, on the
fundamental issue, there has been no concrete result at all.
Nevertheless, as I have declared many times, I remain firmly
committed to the Middle Way approach and reiterate here my
willingness to continue to pursue the process of dialogue.
This year, the Chinese
people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the opening of the
Olympic Games. I have, from the start, supported Beijing's
being awarded the opportunity to host the Games. My position
remains unchanged. China has the world's largest population,
a long history and an extremely rich civilization. Today,
due to her impressive economic progress, she is emerging as
a great power. This is certainly to be welcomed. But China
also needs to earn the respect and esteem of the global community
through the establishment of an open and harmonious society
based on the principles of transparency, freedom, and the
rule of law. For example, to this day victims of the Tiananmen
Square tragedy that adversely affected the lives of so many
Chinese citizens have received neither just redress nor any
official response. Similarly, when thousands of ordinary Chinese
in rural areas suffer injustice at the hands of exploitative
and corrupt local officials, their legitimate complaints are
either ignored or met with aggression. I express these concerns
both as a fellow human being and as someone who is prepared
to consider himself a member of the large family that is the
People's Republic of China. In this respect, I appreciate
and support President Hu Jintao's policy of creating a "harmonious
society", but this can only arise on the basis of mutual
trust and an atmosphere of freedom, including freedom of speech
and the rule of law. I strongly believe that if these values
are embraced, many important problems relating to minority
nationalities can be resolved, such as the issue of Tibet,
as well as Eastern Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia, where the
native people now constitute only 20% of a total population
of 24 million.
I had hoped President
Hu Jintao's recent statement that the stability and safety
of Tibet concerns the stability and safety of the country
might herald the dawning of a new era for the resolution of
the problem of Tibet. It is unfortunate that despite my sincere
efforts not to separate Tibet from China, the leaders of the
PRC continue to accuse me of being a "eparatist".
Similarly, when Tibetans in Lhasa and many other areas spontaneously
protested to express their deep-rooted resentment, the Chinese
authorities immediately accused me of having orchestrated
their demonstrations. I have called for a thorough investigation
by a respected body to look into this allegation.
Chinese brothers and
sisters ' wherever you may be ' with deep concern I appeal
to you to help dispel the misunderstandings between our two
communities. Moreover, I appeal to you to help us find a peaceful,
lasting solution to the problem of Tibet through dialogue
in the spirit of understanding and accommodation.
With my prayers,
The Dalai Lama