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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 Will Continue To Demand their Legitimate Rights from China'

November 23, 2008

Tibet Custom
November 20, 2008

Dharamshala -- The Tibetan people will continue to demand their
legitimate rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the People's
Republic of China, said Kasur Gyalo Thondup, who was told by China's
late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping on 12 March 1979 that 'apart from
independence, all other issues can be discussed.'

Mr Gyalo Thondup on Wednesday refuted a response from Zhu Weiqun,
executive Vice-Minister of the Central United Front Work Department
of Chinese Communist Party in China, that Deng Xiaoping has never
made such a statement.

Zhu Weiqun, in an answer to a Japanese reporter's question has said,
"Comrade Deng Xiaoping had never made such a statement. It is a
falsehood made by Gyari and is a complete distortion of Deng
Xiaoping's statement."

"I am shocked to hear such a statement from the Chinese officials
because it was myself to whom the late paramount leader, Deng
Xiaoping, said, "except independence all other issues can be settled
through discussions," Mr Gyalo said while addressing a large
gathering of national and international press reporters at the Kashag.

He said: "Deng Xiaoping is no longer with us today. But to put the
record straight I would like to clarify in front of international
media that during my first visit to China in 1979 I met the paramount
leader Deng Xiaoping on 12 March 1979. He told me "except
independence all other issues can be settled through discussions."

I am totally surprised to learn that Mr Zhu Weiqun recently denied
that Deng Xiaoping's statement that except for the issue of Tibetan
independence all other issues could be resolved through dialogue,
said Mr Juchen Thubten Namgyal, who also addressed the press conference.

"As a member of the first Tibetan exploratory mission, we met with
Vice-premier Yang Jireng, who was also the head of Central United
Front Work Department and Nationality Affairs Commission and others
on 29 April 1982. I sought confirmation from Yang Jireng whether Deng
Xiaoping had made such a statement. He did not deny this fact," Mr
Juchen added.

On 1 March 1979, Ulanfu, Chairman of the CPC's United Work Department
and Minister for Nationality Affairs Commission, told Gyalo Thondup:
" The Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in exile were welcome to return to
their home and contribute towards the development and progress of the
nation. Suitable arrangements could be made for everyone upon their
return. The Dalai Lama had not made contacts with the Soviet Union.
Therefore, apart from independence, we can solve any problem…"

A record of statements made by former Chinese leaders and official
documents authenticated the statement made by Deng Xiaoping and Ulanfu.

In an interview with Xinhua News agency on 19 May 1991, China's
former premier Li Peng said, "all matters except Tibetan independence
could be discussed". His statement was later emphasised in a
newsletter released by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China
in Washington DC, regarding the "Questions concerning negotiations
between the Central Government of China and the Dalai Lama."

During a state visit to China from 18 -- 23 May 1992, the then Indian
president R Venkataraman was told by premier Li Peng that " … we are
willing to talk to him about anything except the issue of the
so-called independence of Tibet."

Similarly, in Tibet -- Its ownership and human rights situations, a
White Paper released by the Information office of the State Council
of the PRC in September 1992 reiterated, "All matters except Tibetan
independence can be discussed".

The process of contacts with the Chinese government was established
taking into consideration the instrumental role played by Deng
Xiaoping in reunification of Tibetan nationality and reviving Tibetan
cultural heritage after two decades of unimaginable destructive
policy unleashed by the Chinese communist government in 1959.

"Tibet was completed looted and robbed," Mr Gyalo Thondup lamented,
while recounting his first contacts with China and the unimaginable
destruction of every aspect of Tibet with the onset of Chinese
communist government's rule in Tibet in 1959.

He said some hardliner communist officials, who hold high up position
in the Chinese government, treat Tibet as a 'personal belonging in
their pocket' and deliberately intent to scuttle the dialogue process
to resolve the issue of Tibet.

The Tibetan people will continue to demand their legitimate and
reasonable rights as given to other minority nationalities entitled
in the constitution of the People's Republic of China, Mr Gyalo said.

The legitimate rights of Tibetans are rights to freedom, thinking,
speech, religion, travel, to promote and preserve Tibet's culture, he added.

Expressing his optimism that positive change will take place in Tibet
in the near future, he said: " We must not lose faith and plead to
the Chinese government for our legitimate rights."

"As a Tibetan, I'm convinced that we must all live together.
Therefore it is very important for the Tibetan people not to lose
hope and to keep a good relationship with people in China. We are
sandwiched between China and India, both very important countries. I
was always critical with the Chinese face to face in Beijing, and now
I'm desperate, that's why I told people in the Chinese embassy in
Delhi that there's no choice [but to talk]. We must face the reality
that we have to deal with China. The people of China will eventually
realize that what we are asking is legitimate." he said.

He expressed his appreciation to the international press for taking
interest in the Tibetan issue. "You must pay attention to what is
going on, not only in Tibet but also in Central Asia, China and
India. China and India are very powerful and, therefore, Tibet is
very important for the future. It is necessary to pay attention to
what is going on, and very important to discover what is going on in
Tibet on the ground. So many things are going to develop over the
next 50 years. This area is still half asleep, slowly it is waking up."

Mr Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
is in Dharamsala attending the special meeting on the future of Tibet.
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