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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."

Tibetans and Chinese in Australia form Harmonious Association

July 8, 2008

July 7, 2008

Canberra - Tibetan and Chinese people living in Australia took the
initiative to form a 'Harmonious Association' between the two
communities, following suggestions put forward by His Holiness the
Dalai Lama during his visit to Australia in June this year.

The association was formed to bring harmonious relationship and
better understanding between the two communities.

It will be headed under the joint presidency of Ms Mei Leech, a
famous artist from China and Tenzin Gaden, members from Chinese and
Tibetan community respectively.

The inception of the association was announced on Sunday, 6 July,
during the function commemorating the 73rd birthday of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama. Tenzin Phuntsok Atisha, representative of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia, made the declaration.

Speaking on the occasion, Mei Leech, on behalf of the Chinese,
tendered an apology to the Tibetans for their sufferings, and pledge
to work hard to bring the two communities closer.

She said: "As a Han Chinese, I would like to express my genuine
sorrow for the misunderstanding between Han Chinese and Tibetan
people, as well as for the anguish the Tibetan people are suffering,
due to the ill-minded policies of the Chinese Communist government."

Representative Atisha, on behalf of the Tibet Information Office in
Australia and the Tibetan community NSW, presented a traditional
Khata (scarf) to the eight new executive members of the association,
and wished the association for success in building strength and
harmony to the relationship between the two communities.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has underlined that Chinese people living
outside China must have a clear understanding about the situation of
Tibet, emphasising that the issue of Tibet has to be ultimately
resolved only between the Tibetans and Chinese people.

The full text of the Ms Mei Leech's opening speech follows:

Today, I am very pleased to be with our Tibetan brothers and sisters
to discuss the solutions of building a bridge of reconciliation
between the Tibetans and the Han Chinese.

In common with the majority of Chinese people, I used to have a lot
of prejudices and misunderstandings on Tibetan issues. These views,
however, changed drastically one year ago. In June 2007, I had the
great honour of meeting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I talked
with him for two hours, as well as listening to his public address to
the Chinese Diaspora. After this three-hour event, my previous view
was wiped out entirely.

First of all, I was fascinated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
calmness and wisdom. I realized I had been wrong and misled once I
saw him. I therefore gave a positive response that I would try my
best to do something to for Han-Tibetan reconciliation when the Dalai
Lama appealed for assistance.

Over the past year, I have spared no effort to explain the opinion
and stance of the Dalai Lama to as many as possible, no matter if
they were in mainland China, Australia or UK, in order to try to
persuade them to abandon their misunderstandings.

I did manage to change the view of many. Once they were told that the
Dalai Lama did not, and does not, seek Tibetan independence, most of
them shifted their stance immediately, which was really magnificent.

However, I eventually came to the conclusion that my personal effort
was to co-operate and fulfill this reconciliation.

I propose that we act together to eliminate the misunderstanding of
the Chinese majority, and to dissolve their resentment and
adversarial sentiments. Only in this way can Han Chinese and Tibetans
co-exist harmoniously in peace, which is the basis of worldwide
harmony between different nations.
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