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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

The Statement of the Kashag on the Special Meeting

November 21, 2008

Central Tibetan Administration
November 19, 2008

Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speaker,

The Kashag extends warm greetings to all the participants who have
come to this Special Meeting, as well as members of the press.

At the outset, the Kashag on behalf of all the Tibetans would like to
pay our sincere reverence to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and express
our gratitude for convening this first Special Meeting, after giving
due consideration to number of things. The Kashag would also like to
thank all the participants, who represent various sections of exile
Tibetans, for making it convenient to attend this meeting. And more
importantly, many Tibetans from Tibet have sent in their opinions for
this Special Meeting for which the Kashag expresses its heartfelt gratitude.

The Kashag appreciates the opportunity for making this statement.

We need not further explain the seriousness of the situations in
Tibet and the unspeakable sufferings of Tibetans in Tibet since March
this year. Everyone is aware of the various challenges and obstacles
before the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in its effort to find
solution to the issue of Tibet. Under such critical stage, it is
inevitable that we must contribute and come together to closely
discuss about the views of the Tibetan masses on what future action
needs to be taken on Tibet. Therefore to convene this meeting today
is very timely and is the need of the hour. We believe this meeting
will be considered an important event in our history. For such
important event as this meeting, there have been many speculations
and misconceptions.  I will not try to clarify all of them. But I
will clarify a few, which were told to me in person or through letters.

Some people say this Special Meeting is a political strategy and
tactic to pressure the PRC before the eighth round of talks to
extract some results. Some says this Meeting is convened so that the
Central Tibetan Administration to shirk the responsibility of the
failed talks or pass the blame to others. It is also said that this
meeting is called because the Central Tibetan Administration had
decided to change its current policy, or at least, one mentions that
the CTA hopes that this meeting could bring about a change in the
CTA's current stance. And some says the CTA had convened this meeting
to seek popular backing from Tibetan people for its current policy,
and because of this reason, many of the participants at the meeting
are CTA officials or those who are under the CTA's influence. Those
who made such speculations are not aware of real facts. I think they
are oblivious to the decision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in
convening this Special Meeting in accordance with democratic norms.
Under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the CTA has
always followed the principle of truth and has always remained
transparent in all our dealings, without indulging in any double
standards. The CTA has never adopted the policy of pressurizing
others, nor will we do so in the future. We have briefed the media,
the Parliament-in-Exile and the Tibetan public on the unsatisfactory
outcome of the talks whenever necessary. We have been very
transparent about the process and status of the talks and take full
responsibility for the outcome, or lack thereof. Therefore, we don't
have to look for somebody else to blame. Regarding the question of
changing the basic policy, this will be decided by the Tibetan people
based on their collective aspiration. It is not the case of the CTA
coming to decision, beforehand, and then later going to the people
for consultation. This has not happened in the past and the CTA will
never think of doing something like this in the future.  A change in
policy need not come from this meeting. The Parliament-in-Exile,
through a unanimous resolution adopted on 18 September 1997, offered
His Holiness the Dalai Lama full mandate to decide on the policy and
direction of the Tibetan struggle, from time to time, keeping the
global trend and other factors into consideration. Therefore if a
change in basic policy is considered necessary, there is a way that
is democratic and which has the mandate of Tibetan people. Likewise,
the present policy has public mandate and therefore there is no
reason to seek further public support for it. The participants for
this meeting are constituted through a resolution of the parliament
and the Administration has no comments on this. Customarily in the
past annual meetings, the CTA officials were included. Other than
that, there is no plan to overwhelm this conference with the position
of the CTA. In fact, the Kashag has clearly instructed the CTA
officials attending this meeting to freely raise their concerns and
express their views, irrespective of the CTA's standpoint and policy.
As such this meeting is an opportunity for the Kalons to listen
rather than voice its thoughts. The Kalons requested that they be
excused from attending the group discussions. However, permission was
not granted and the Kalons will join the group discussions but will
not speak out the Kashag's view and its policies at the group
discussions. Based on these reasons, we would like to say that all
the speculations mentioned above are not true.

Also few good-intentioned people have pointed out that today, the
beginning of this Special Meeting, is an ominous day according to
Tibetan calendar and that we should have been little more careful
about finding the suitability of the day by consulting our own system
of astrology. There are, however, remedies to reduce or reverse any
adverse effects, especially when, on certain occasions, you need to
perform important tasks within stipulated timeframe, with no time to
find out whether a particular day is auspicious or not. Today is not
particularly a bad and ominous day, except that you should avoid work
related to water and to keep livestock indoor. Other than that, today
is pretty good day with no obstacles as such. Nonetheless, the
Tibetan Parliament has taken all corrective measures.

The reasons why this Special Meeting was called are as follows. Since
March this year, in most parts of Tibet, Tibetans, irrespective of
whether they were young or old, monks, nuns or lay people, male or
female, spontaneously and courageously came together to demonstrate,
with full knowledge of imminent dangers to their lives, expressing
their anguish and dissatisfaction at the oppressive and brutal
ultra-leftist policies of the PRC and to protest the total lack of
freedom of speech and thought. This resentment has been building up
for the last sixty years. However the peaceful and lawful manner in
which the Tibetans demonstrated their long pent-up sentiments were
crushed with brute force and merciless killings, torture, detentions
and injury. Under such dire circumstances, Tibetans in Tibet pinned
all their hopes on fellow Tibetans in the free world. It is needless
for us to mention that, at such times, we cannot be insensitive to
their cries. We must show solidarity with our brethrens and we must
do whatever in our means to improve their situation. In this regard,
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made tremendous efforts in this
direction, including appealing to important world leaders and the
international community, and specifically appealing to Tibetans,
Chinese, and Chinese Buddhists. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has also
written directly to President Hu Jintao and has send his envoys for
an informal meeting in Shenzhen on 4 May and for the seventh round of
talks in Beijing in July. However it is difficult to conclude if such
tremendous efforts by His Holiness have brought any positive results.
But the PRC's repression and hardline policies towards Tibet and
Tibetans have worsened and there is no sign of positive change.
During the eighth round of talks in Beijing on 4th and 5th of this
month, our act of submitting a memorandum about implementation of
national regional autonomy provisions for all the Tibetans to enjoy
autonomous status in accordance with law for national regional
autonomy as enshrined in the constitution of People's Republic of
China was considered a 'splittist' act. We were accused of seeking
independence in disguise. There was no positive response. Now the
time has come for all the Tibetans to discuss their concerns and
share opinions.

Generally, the members of parliament represent the masses and it is
well known practice that any policy that has been passed in the
parliament by resolution is assumed to have the mandate of the
people, unless it is revised or changed by the parliament itself.
This is most appropriate for a free country but this is not so for
the exile Tibetan community. In a democratic country with a
multi-party political system, the party with majority forms the
government and it will use all its influence to safeguard the party's
interests. But we are a party-less democratic system in which the
members of Parliament are elected from different religious schools
and traditions and from Tibet's traditional region rather than being
elected from a specified constituency and representing people of that
constituency. As a result, our Parliament members have limited
contacts with the general public on a daily basis. For this reason,
we have in our charter, unlike other democratic countries, a
provision to call Special Meetings at times of emergency and for
matters of great importance on which the general public opinion is needed.

The process of directly voting for the post of Kalon Tripa by Tibetan
exiles is not so old. While voting for the Kalon Tripa, one should
vote for his political stand and policy rather than voting for the
candidate as a person. I have been told that it is a sign of failure
on the part of an elected leader if he, enjoying the mandate of the
people, consults the general public from time to time, instead of
leading and giving political guidance to the people during his
tenure. As mentioned above, our situation is not only urgent and
pressing which cannot be compared with situation of other free
countries, but also, under occupied situation, many day-to-day
changes might possibly take place. So consulting the general public
for their support on matter of special importance is exercising key
democratic feature which should be followed not only by us but other
elected leadership as well. For these reasons, this Special Meeting
is not out of place with our charter and it conforms to the democratic process.

At this Meeting, by taking into account the urgent situation in
Tibet, the current world situation and the behavior of the PRC's
leadership, we should able to understand the views and aspiration of
the common Tibetans on what would be the best course of future
actions beneficial to the Tibetan cause. The Kashag appeals to all
the participants to use their intelligence and come together to
contribute to an open and frank discussion. This meeting should not
turn into a debate between political organizations and rigid
political ideologies. And this must be stressed that the CTA has no
hidden agenda and plan behind this Meeting. The Kashag will not make
a statement about the works and programmes of the CTA thus far.  The
Kashag will neither say a single word about what is right or wrong on
the agendas of this meeting. We do this because it may be viewed as
influencing the views of participants. The Kashag has full faith in
the wisdom of the public.

The statistic of opinions gathered from Tibetans in Tibet, concerning
this Special Meeting, has been submitted to the Honorable Speakers.

The main objectives of this Special Meetings are;

1. To have open and frank discussion on the issue of Tibet by the
general Tibetan masses at this critical point in time.

2. To invite views and comments on the CTA's policies and strategies
that are being expressed in media and on forums, and specially to
provide official platform to receive the critical views and opinions
regarding the CTA's policies.

3. Whatever stand may be decided for the future of Tibet, it should
have clear mandate of the people. The united efforts of Tibetans
should be visible on the international stage.

Lastly, our prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and may His wishes be fulfilled. May the truth prevail on the issue of Tibet.

The Kashag
17 November 2008

NB: This is translated from Tibetan. If there are any discrepancies,
consider the Tibetan version as original and authoritative.
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