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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetans Commemorate Uprising Amid Growing Repression

March 10, 2000

Dalai Lama accuses Chinese authorities of "cultural genocide"

Montreal, March 10, 2000: The Dalai Lama today said that the situation in Tibet has returned to an "atmosphere of intimidation, coercion and fear, reminiscent of the days of the Cultural Revolution".

In his annual March 10 statement commemorating the 1959 Lhasa Uprising, the Tibetan leader highlighted events of the past year - among them, six known cases of deaths in detention, the expulsion of 1, 432 monks and nuns from their monasteries and nunneries and the continuing detention of the 10 year-old child, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima.

"The bilateral dialogue strategy of western governments, including Canada, has not produced the results it promised" said Thubten Samdup, President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "Chinese authorities have learned that the lure of market access allows them to commit gross human rights violations with impunity. Meanwhile the soft-talk process favoured by Canada has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for so-called human rights and judicial reform initiatives which have yielded no practical results for Tibetans living under the Chinese occupation."

Last week, the Canada Tibet Committee joined 10 other Canadian human rights organisations in criticism of Canada's "dialogue-only" strategy on human rights in China and Tibet. The NGOs urged Canada to return to stronger criticism of China by co-sponsoring a resolution at the upcoming UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The NGOs have also requested a meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chretien in order to make their case.

In 1999, Canada's bilateral approach to relations with China and Tibet was expanded beyond human rights to include trade and development; a bilateral agreement on WTO accession was concluded in November, and CIDA announced a $5 million dollar project for the Tibet Autonomous Region in December. These initiatives were put in place despite findings of a Canadian government delegation to Tibet, headed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Global and Human Issues Bureau). In its visit report, the Canadian delegation acknowledged that there were "no strategies in place to encourage greater partcipation by Tibetans in the middle-class economy of Lhasa" despite the fact that "Tibetan socio-economic position is declining relative to Han".

"The increased repression of cultural expression and religion in Tibet coupled with a two-track system of economic development based on race, are both components of a systematic campaign directed by Beijing and aimed at destroying the Tibetan people", Samdup says. "In a situation like this, dialogue alone will never work. A stronger approach is needed."

The Dalai Lama was equally clear in his statement, ".... there is an attempt to destroy the integral core of the Tibetan civilization and identity. New measures of restrictions in the fields of culture, religion and education coupled with the unabated influx of Chinese immigrants to Tibet amount to a policy of cultural genocide."

On March 10, Tibetan-Canadians and their supporters will hold a rallies and demonstrations at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa and its consulates across the country. For details and for the full text of the Dalai Lama's statement, please see

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For information: Thubten Samdup (cell) 514-867-6770

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