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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

An Appeal to the Chinese People from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

March 28, 2008

Please note Chinese version included.

Today, I extend heartfelt greetings to my Chinese brothers and sisters round 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 to make a personal appeal to you all.

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 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 rift between the Chinese people and myself, 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 other times 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 Communist Party also had such a hope. After my return to Lhasa, I made every possible effort to seek genuine 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.

Unfortunately, tensions, 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's 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 - 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 "separatist". 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,

Dalai Lama

March 28, 2008

Note: translated from the Tibetan original

(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.)

 

十四世达赖喇嘛对全球华人的呼吁

 

今天我首先向全球华人同胞,尤其向中华人民共和国境内的所有汉族同胞

们表示真诚友好的问候!同时针对近期在西藏发生的事件,以及相关的汉藏

民族关系等问题发表我的想法,并以我个人的身份对大家做出一些呼吁.

这次在西藏发生的不幸事件造成许多人员的死伤是极其不幸的,得知其中有少

数汉人也丧生.为此,我感到万分的同情和悲伤在这里.我要向所有的死难者及

其家属表示沉痛的哀悼和慰问同时也为死难者的亡灵进行做法祈祷.

这次事件不仅表明了西藏境内的紧张局势同时也表明了通过和谈寻求实现和解的紧迫性.为了扭转目前这一情势继续恶化的局势我已向中国领导人表

达了为实现和平与稳定而愿共同配合的意愿.

在这里,我向汉族同胞们保证我绝对没有分裂西藏或是在汉藏民族间制

造矛盾的图谋相反地,我时常为寻求西藏问题在汉藏民族长久互利的基础获得

解决而进行努力.正如我多次阐明的那样我关注的是西藏民族独特的文化,语言文字以及民族特性,并使之得以延续与保护的问题做为一个如法守戒的佛教

比丘,我保证我的愿望是真诚的.我的动机是诚恳的.

今天我要呼吁中国领导人,重新审视你们对我的评价,实事求是地解决存在

的问题并希望能够运用智慧与藏人展开有实质意义的和谈为了促使国内实现稳定与和谐避免在民族之间制造矛盾.中国官方媒体在报道这次事件时采用

编造和歪曲事实真相的宣传方式,其可能引发的难于预测的后果,乃至给未来的

民族冲突埋下祸根等现象.对此,我感到万分的焦虑例如,为了在我和汉族同胞

之间制造矛盾,中国政府不顾我一直支持北京举办奥运会的事实居然宣称我在

破坏北京举办奥运会.然而,有部分汉族有识之士和学者对中国领导人的行为

以及由此可能导致未来民族关系难于逆转的恶果等现象表现出极大的关注,这令人鼓舞.

藏汉两个民族自古以来毗邻而居,在两千多年的历史岁月中,我们之间曾有

过联姻的亲密,也有过战争的硝烟.佛教从印度传入中国的时间早于西藏,因此,

汉族被藏人视为兄长而受到尊敬,在海外,与我有过接触的汉人,包括从大陆来

的朝圣者都了解这一点.这一切鼓舞着我,并使我相信这将有助于藏汉人民的相

互理解和信任.

 

在二十世纪整个世界发生了一系列的巨变西藏也未能例外.1949年中华人民共和国成立之后,人民解放军就进入西藏,最终于1951年5月签订了"十七条

协议,尤其是我在1954,55年间参加全国人大会议期间认识了以毛主席为首的

大多数中央领导人并成为朋友.特别是在很多问题上得到毛主席的许多教导并

就西藏的未来得到他本人的许多承诺由于受到这些承诺的鼓舞,加上受当时大

部分中国革命领导人的决心和激情的影响我满怀期望和信心地返回了西藏.一

些藏族的共产党领导人也抱有相同的期望.返回拉萨后,我竭尽全力地为雪域西

藏在中华人民共和国大家庭中实现名副其实的民族区域自治而进行了努力,我

坚信这是实现藏汉两个民族长远共同利益的最好途径.

然而令人遗憾的是,大约从1956年起,西藏局势开始动荡不安,到1959年3

月10日拉萨发生和平起义我本人也被迫流亡他国.在以后的岁月里,诚如前世

班禅喇嘛与1989年1月份的讲话中指出的那样:“在西藏虽然有许多建设和发展,但同时也遭受巨大的破坏和镇压”从根本而言,西藏人民处于惟恐不安之

中,中国政府对藏人处在疑惧与提防的状态中,即使如此,我在1960年写的祷

词中祈求:"愿愚顽群体能识取合 ,共具慈爱友好之福泽.其中我并没有将刚刚残酷无情地镇压的西藏人民的中国政府视为敌人而是祈祷能够化敌为友,友

好相处,现在,这篇祈祷词已经成为在校学生为主的藏人每天必诵的功课。

1974年,我与噶厦,议会的正.副议长等经过深入思考和讨论之后,决定寻求一个汉藏共同和平发展,而不需要分裂的解决途径,当时中国还处于文化大

革命的动乱中,我们与中国政府之间也没有任何联系渠道,但我们认为,西藏

问题迟早要通过和谈得到解决,西藏留在中国,至少在经济发展和现代化建设方面可以受惠。因为西藏尽管有着悠久的历史和丰富的文明,但经济建设落后,

西藏高原是亚洲诸大河流的发源地,因此保护西藏高原的生态环境是至关重要

的,我们最焦虑的是如何保护以慈悲为核心之藏传佛教文化,以及如何保护和

延续西藏的语言文字和民族特性等,因此,我们非常真诚地为整个藏民族寻求

名副其实的民族区域自治,关于西藏等各民族的这些权利,在中华人民共和国

《宪法》中已有明确规定。

1979年,当时的中国最高领导人邓小平对我的代表提出:“只要不谈独立,

西藏的其他问题是可以协商解决的.”由于我们已经对西藏问题在中华人民共

和国宪法框架范围内寻求解决有了一个明确的认识,因此,我们已经做好充分

的准备,其后,我的代表们曾多次与中华人民共和国的有关人员接触,从2002

年恢复接触以后,至今虽已进行了六轮会谈,却均无实质突破。虽然如此,正

如我已多次声明的那样,我要再次重申,:我对中间道路的立场没有任何的改

 

变,并愿继续保持接触与商谈,

今年将在北京举行的奥林匹克运动会,是中国人民期待已久的盛会,我从

一开始就支持给予中国主办奥运会的机会,现在仍然坚持这一立场,中国是世

界上人口最多且具有悠久历史和灿烂文明的国家,随着经济的发展而正在日益

凸显其大国的气魄,这是值得欢迎的,但与此同时为了赢得国际社会的重视和

尊敬,必须要创造出透明,自由,法制,宽容与和谐的社会:例如因为对天安

门事件没有得到合理公正的处理,致使很多汉人遭受痛苦,当前,在一些乡村 腐

败的地方干部对成千上万受到不公正对待的平民百姓的依法诉求要么不予理

睬,要么采取各种强制手段来压制,我对这一切的感受是基于作为人类的一员。

同时作为愿意成为中华人民共和国大家庭一员的,我认同和支持中华人民共和

国主席胡锦涛先生提倡的“和谐”政策,但“和谐社会”需要言论自由,法制

以及在对个人自由得到保障的基础才能产生,如果实现这一切,我坚信,包括

西藏,新疆和内蒙等许多的重大问题都可以得到解决,虽然内蒙的蒙古族之战内蒙古自治区总人口2400万的20%不到,

最近,听胡锦涛先生说西藏的稳定关系到全国的稳定之讲话后,我对开启一个解决西藏问题的新时代充满了期待,然而,令人遗憾的是 ,不论我如何诚心实意的为避免汉藏分离而进行努力,有些中国领导人仍继续对我进行毫无根

据的指责和批判,尤其是从今年的3月10以来,为发泄长期积累的怨恨和不满,

在以拉萨为主的西藏三区许多地方爆发了民众自发的和平抗议示威,而中国政

府则竟然马上就指责是我挑动制造了这些事件。对此,我呼吁组成具有公信力

的独立调查组织,对事件进行彻底的调查,澄清事实,查明真相,在此我要呼

吁全球所有的汉族同胞们,不论你们身处何地,请关心我们两个民族间存在的

问题,尽心尽力的去消除彼此间没有必要的疑虑和猜忌。为了促成和谈,在宽容理解的基础上解决西藏问题而做出贡献“

祈愿世界和平安乐!

释迦比丘 十四世达赖喇嘛 丹增嘉措

于西元2008年3月28日

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