March 10, 2006
The Statement of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
on the 47th Anniversary of the
Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 47th Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising
Today, as we commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, I extend
my warm greetings to my fellow Tibetans in Tibet and in exile, as well as to our friends around
the world. I also pay homage to the brave men and women of Tibet who have sacrificed their lives,
and who continue to suffer, for the cause of Tibetan people.
From around 1949, Tibet had witnessed a series of unprecedented events, marking the beginning
of a new era in its history. As stated in the documents, the issue of Tibet was purportedly
decided in 1951 through an agreement between the central and local governments, taking into
consideration the special status of Tibet and the prevailing reality. Since then, I have made
every possible effort to secure implementation of the policy to allow self-rule and genuine
autonomy to Tibetans within the framework of the People’s Republic of China, thus helping
to create conditions for our people to coexist in harmony and unity as a member of the big family
of the Chinese nation.
In 1954-55, I visited Beijing as a representative of the Tibetan people. I took the opportunity
of that visit to discuss the future of the Tibetan people with Chairman Mao Zedong and senior
leaders of the party, government and military. These discussions gave me a lot of hope and assurances.
So I returned to Tibet with optimism and confidence. However, from late 1955 ultra-leftist excesses
began to assail parts of Tibet. By 1959, the whole of Tibet was plunged in deep crisis. As a
result, I and over a hundred thousand Tibetans were compelled to go into exile. We have been
in exile for forty-six years now.
Sometime in 1974, we formulated the basic principles of the Middle-Way Approach for resolving
the issue of Tibet, trusting that a time must surely come when we would have the opportunity
to engage in talks with the Chinese leadership. In 1979, we were able to interact directly with
the leadership in Beijing. At that time, Deng Xiaoping said that “except for independence,
all issues could be revolved through negotiations”. Since then, I have pursued the Middle-Way
Approach with consistency and sincerity.
I have of course made criticisms whenever I saw unbearably sad developments in China, Tibet
and the world over. But my criticisms were confined to addressing the reality of each individual
case. I have never departed from my commitment to the Middle-Way Approach at any time and in
any given circumstances. This is clear to the world. Unfortunately, Beijing still seems unable
to overcome doubts and suspicions regarding my intention; it continues to criticise me of nursing
a hidden agenda of separation and engaging in conspiracy to achieve this.
Since the re-establishment of direct contact between us and the People’s Republic of China
in 2002, my envoys and the Chinese counterparts were able to engage in a series of frank and
extensive discussions during which they were able to explain each other’s position. This
kind of discussion, I hope, will help to clear the doubts and suspicions of the People’s
Republic of China so that we can move on to settle the differences in our views and positions,
and thereby find a mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet. More particularly, in
the fifth round of talks held a few weeks ago, the two sides were able to clearly identify the
areas of major differences and the reasons thereof. They were also able to get a sense of the
conditions necessary for resolving the differences. In addition, my envoys reiterated my wish
to visit China on a pilgrimage. As a country with a long history of Buddhism, China has many
sacred pilgrim sites. As well as visiting the pilgrim sites, I hope to be able to see for myself
the changes and developments in the People’s Republic of China.
Over the past decades, China has seen spectacular economic and social development. This is commendable.
The Tibetan areas have likewise seen some infrastructural development, which I have considered
Looking back at the past five decades of China’s history, one sees that the country saw
a great many movements based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. That was during Mao’s
era. Then Deng Xiaoping, through seeking truth from facts, introduced socialist market economy
and brought huge economic progress. Following this, based on his theory of the “Three
Represents”, Jiang Zemin expanded the scope of the Communist Party of China to include
not just the peasants and workers, but also three other elements, namely the advanced productive
forces, the progressive course of China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests
of the majority. Today, President Hu Jintao’s theory of “Three Harmonies”
envisages peaceful coexistence and harmony within China, as well as with her neighbours and
the international community. All these initiatives were undertaken in accordance with the changing
times. As a result, the transition of political power and the development of the country have
continued unabated. And today China is emerging as one of the major powers in the world, which
she deserves considering her long history and huge population.
However, the fundamental issue that must be addressed is that in tandem with the political power
and economic development, China must also follow the modern trend in terms of developing a more
open society, free press and policy transparency. This, as every sensible person can see, is
the foundation of genuine peace, harmony and stability.
Tibetans – as one of the larger groups of China’s 55 minority nationalities –
are distinct in terms of their land, history, language, culture, religion, customs and traditions.
This distinctiveness is not only clear to the world, but was also recognised by a number of
senior Chinese leaders in the past. I have only one demand: self-rule and genuine autonomy for
all Tibetans, i.e., the Tibetan nationality in its entirety. This demand is in keeping with
the provisions of the Chinese constitution, which means it can be met. It is a legitimate, just
and reasonable demand that reflects the aspirations of Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet.
This demand is based on the logic of seeing future as more important than the past; it is based
on the ground realities of the present and the interests of the future.
The long history of the past does not lend itself to a simple black and white interpretation.
As such, it is not easy to derive a solution from the past history. This being the case, I have
stated time and again that I do not wish to seek Tibet’s separation from China, but that
I will seek its future within the framework of the Chinese constitution. Anyone who has heard
this statement would realise, unless his or her views of reality is clouded by suspicion that
my demand for genuine self-rule does not amount to a demand for separation. The convergence
of this fact with a gradual progress in freedom, openness and media will create conditions,
I hope, for resolving Sino-Tibetan problem through negotiations. Therefore, I am making every
effort to perpetuate the present contacts and thus create a conducive atmosphere.
The Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration has made a number of appeals to Tibetans and
our international supporters to work toward the creation of a conducive environment for negotiations.
Today, I would like to emphasise that we leave no stone unturned to help the present process
of dialogue for the resolution of the Sino-Tibetn problem. I urge all Tibetans to take note
of this on the basis of the Kashag’s appeal. I make the same request to Tibet supporters
and those sympathetic to the Tibetan people.
By the same token, I would like to tell the People’s Republic of China that if it sees
benefit in sincerely pursuing dialogue through the present contact, it must make clear gesture
to this effect. I urge the Chinese leadership to give a serious thought to this. A positive
atmosphere cannot be created by one side alone. As an ancient Tibetan saying goes, one hand
is not enough to create the sound of a clap.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to the
international community for their consistent support to us. I would also like to express once
again the Tibetan people’s appreciation and immense gratitude to the people and the Government
of India for their unwavering and unparalleled generosity and support to us.
With my thoughts on the situation and feelings of the Tibetans inside Tibet, I pray for all
of them. I also pray for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.
The Dalai Lama
10 March 2006
[ Source: www.tibet.net. Contents may not be altered.]