Ottawa, March 10, 2002: As Tibetan Canadians and their supporters gather today on Parliament Hill to commemorate the 1959 Lhasa Uprising, the Dalai Lama has re-affirmed his long-standing commitment to dialogue with Chinese leaders, saying that "as soon as there is a positive signal from Beijing, my designated representatives stand ready to meet with officials of the Chinese government anywhere, anytime."
The remarks, part of the Dalai Lama's annual March 10 Statement, were made from Dharmsala, India, where he is convalescing following an illness in January which resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled visit to Canada next month.
The Statement also contained strong words about the international campaign against terrorism, calling it "hypocrisy to condemn and combat those who have risen in anger and despair" while ignoring "those who have consistently espoused restraint and dialogue". He admonished governments for lacking "a long-term and comprehensive approach to deal with the root causes of terrorism".
The remarks were made at a time when the Government of China is stepping up its "strike hard" campaign against so-called minorities, under the guise of fighting terrorism. In the past year, discrimination against Tibetans has increased while reports of torture, arbitrary detention and restrictions on religious freedoms have continued unabated. China's new "development" plans for Tibet threaten to overwhelm the Tibetan way of life and destroy its fragile environment.
"The Government of China is the real terrorist", said Thubten Samdup, President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "Violations of human rights are terrorism, the imprisonment of children is terrorism, and the destruction of a culture is terrorism. If democratic countries truly believe their own rhetoric about peace and dialogue, then it's time one of them stepped forward to bring China to the negotiation table with representatives of the Dalai Lama".
On March 10, 1959, the citizens of Lhasa surrounded the Norbulinka palace to prevent the impending detention of the Dalai Lama by Chinese military forces gathered in the city. Over 10,000 Tibetans were killed, and the Dalai Lama was forced into exile in India.
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For the full text of the Dalai Lama's March 10 Statement click here.
For more information about the history of March 10 click here
For more information about the Canadian campaign in support of negotiations, please click here