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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibet Support Groups Decide on Common Strategy at Sixth Conference

November 9, 2010

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
November 7, 2010

Surajkund, Haryana, Nov. 7 -- The Sixth
International Conference of Tibet Support Groups
concluded with a moving farewell address by Kalon
Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche and analytical remarks by
the Chief Guest, Mr. Kanwal Sibal, former Indian
Foreign Secretary, highlighting why resolution of
the Tibetan issue was important to the world. It
also saw encouraging remarks from Mr. Chin Jin,
Vice Chair of Federation of a Democratic China,
and suggestions from Mr. Penpa Tsering, Speaker
of the Tibetan Parliament, activities that the
TSGs could undertake to strengthen parliamentary
and governmental support for Tibet.

Earlier, the conference unanimously passed the
Surajkund Statement and Action Plan on Tibet
expressing the TSGs commitment to work together
to forge a strong international coalition that
will pursue a common strategy for alleviating the
plight of the people of Tibet and encouraging a
political solution to the Tibetan issue. The
statement applauded the extraordinary and
continued support rendered by the government and
the people of India to the Tibetan people that
has enabled them to establish a firm foundation
for the preservation and promotion of Tibetan identity in exile.

The conference welcomed the increased
participation by Chinese delegates in the
conference and regarded this as a measure of the
growing realization and support among the Chinese
people about the reality of the Tibetan people
and their future involvement towards a solution
for Tibet. It also welcomed the noticeable
increase in delegates from Southeast Asia.

The action plan included several campaigns
planned relating to Tibetan environment, human
rights and above all on garnering political
support for the Tibetan issue in countries throughout the world.

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche was requested to address
the gathering, since he cut short his scheduled
speech on the inaugural day on account of the
shortage of time then. Rinpoche expressed his
gratitude to the TSGs for their cooperation
saying he greatly valued them. He then reiterated
two suggestions that had been made in his written
statement that was circulated to the
participants. First, he referred to a
distinction, made by Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi
during the Indian freedom movement, between
constructive and agitative activities.
Emphasizing the need to undertake activities that
are constructive, Rinpoche said that if some
activities of an agitation nature cannot be
undertaken, it will not be of any big harm. But
if constructive work to achieve justice for the
Tibetan people are not undertaken, there will be
hurdles in the resolution of the Tibetan problem.

Secondly, he suggested that TSGs should choose
one specific day, apart from the usual days that
are being observed, on which all Tibet supporters
observe silence, fasting and prayer. He added
that the prayer should not just be for the
suffering people of Tibet, but for all the people
in the People's Republic of China who have
wisdom. He said the prayers should also be for
those people who are suffering under totalitarian
regimes adding that such an event will result in
some significant results. When the Kalon Tripa
finished his remarks, he was given a lengthy
standing ovation by the participants.

Speaker Penpa Tsering, in his address, offered
the greetings of the Tibetan Parliament to all
the participants. He stressed the importance of
the TSGs dealing with their governments and
parliaments. He talked about the World
Parliamentarian groups on Tibet and the
establishment of the International Network of
Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPat) and urged the
TSGs to work closely with the International
Campaign for Tibet-Europe, which has been
designated as INPaT secretariat, to strengthen parliamentary support for Tibet.

Speaker Tsering also suggested that the TSGs
think of establishing a new platform, consisting
of Tibet supporters in state and provincial
governments and legislatures.  He said such a
platform was already established in Italy.

Chief Guest Kanwal Sibal talked about his deep
attachment to the Tibetan cause, not merely
because of political and geopolitical reasons.
Referring to the fact that this conference was
taking place during the time of the Indian
festival of lights, Diwali, he hoped that we may
see the light at the end of the tunnel on Tibet soon.

Mr. Sibal said that  the tibetan issue needs to
be supported for several reasons. First, it is a
non-violent struggle, he said adding that this is
a moral force that makes the issue unique. He
said that in the Tibetan struggle, there is no
extremism, no radicalism, no jihad, and no
suicide bombers. When there are so many problems
around the world today and indiscriminate force
is  being used by some to solve them, he said
that the Tibetan struggle that uses non-violent should be supported.

Secondly, the Tibetan issue is a just cause and
the world is convinced of this, he said. Therefore, it needs to be supported.

Thirdly, Tibet embodies the principle of respect
for diversity, ethnic, cultural and religious
differences, Mr. Sibal said, adding that these
values give stability to the world order.

Mr. Sibal said the Tibetan issue is an issue of
human rights. The Tibetan issue represents the
most important issue in international human
rights concerns because the entire people is
affected, he added. He said that the Tibetan
issue is a litmus test of change in China. He
said those who advocate a policy of reaching out
to China have believed in that this will help in
integration of China to the world and that there
will be democratization in China. He said China
needs to be a society that has tolerance of
dissidence, that respects diversity, differences
in culture and religion. So how China deals with
the Tibetan issue will indicate how China will change for the future.

 From Indian viewpoint, Mr. Sibal said the
Tibetan issue is a key to India-China friendship.
He said it is Tibet that continues to divide
India and China for no fault of ours. China uses
Tibet to make territorial demands, he said. Once
the Tibetan issue is resolved within the
framework of Chinese sovereignty, a solution to
India-China relationship can be envisaged, he said.

Mr. Sibal praised His Holiness the Dalai Lama
saying he embodies the greatest spiritual
tradition of India. He also said the institution
of the Dalai Lama has changed greatly over the
years saying His Holiness is democratic, open and
had an eclectic approach and thinking.

He said while the Tibetan leadership has changed,
in contrast there is a recent assertiveness among
the Chinese leadership. He said the way China has
become more demanding is beginning to cause
concern and people are no longer believing that
China's rise will be peaceful. He said that
despite economic and other tremendous
developments in China, you don't see the kind of
change there in the political system.

Referring to His Holiness and the Tibetan in
exile, Mr. Sibal said here is a leadership that
is non-violent, a people that is peaceful, and
their country being more and more militarized.

He talked about the importance of the Tibetan
environment saying it is a major issue with its
impact not just in the region but in the world.

Mr. Sibal concluded that if the Tibetan cause
succeeds, it will not only be for the better
future of Tibetans, but for the better future of the region and the world.

Mr. Chin Jin, Vice Chairman of the Federation for
a Democratic China, spoke next. He said that
Tibet is historically a nation state currently
under political control of Communist China. He
added that as a Chinese he respects any political
choice Tibetans decide to make. Seeking
independence is a right of Tibetans, he said,
adding that  seeking autonomy is also their right
and that he supports any decision that Tibetans make.

He added that both Chinese and Tibetans have a
common goal for human rights and liberty. He
talked about the Tibetans having three options,
1) becoming a neutral state like Switzerland; 2)
China becoming a democracy with Tibet achieving a
status like that of Hong Kon; and 3) Tibet
becoming culturally dominated by Han Chinese. He
said the third option was something that will be
detrimental as Tibet would then follow in the
footstep of Manchuria. He added that Tibetans and
Chinese have jobs to do together and need to undertake joint campaigns.

Kalon Kesang Y. Takla of the Department of
Information & International Relations then
thanked everyone who had contributed in the
organizing of the conference and officials then
offered scarves to all the participants on behalf
of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Prior to the scheduled morning session, Mr. Kai
Mueller, Executive Director of International
Campaign for Tibet, Germany, gave a briefing on
the International Parliamentarians Network on
Tibet. Dr. Anand Kumar, National Co-Convener of
the Core Group of Tibetan Cause-India, was the
Master of Ceremony for the concluding session.
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