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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."

Kalon Tripa's Address to the Inaugural Session of the International Sino-Tibetan Conference

August 9, 2009

Central Tibetan Authority (CTA)
August 7, 2009

6 August 2009

While making obeisance to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama, the supreme religious and political leader
of the Tibetan people as well as an apostle of
world peace, I would like to extend my
affectionate greetings to the Chair of the
conference, Mr. Jonathan Sisson, Dr. Tashe
Thaktsang, Mr. Yan Jiaqi, distinguished guests,
conference participants, media people and to my
colleagues from the Central Tibetan Administration.

First and foremost, I would like to express my
heartfelt thanks to the International Fellowship
of Reconciliation and the Swiss-Tibetan
Friendship Association for holding this historic
meeting in the famous city of Switzerland —
Geneva. In this crucial and critical period, if
the Chinese and Tibetan peoples remain mired in
perennial suspicion and do not engage with each
other to create better understanding between
themselves, then this will not only be a great
loss to both Chinese and Tibetans but will also
help in fulfilling the objective of those who are
bent on separating the two peoples. Therefore,
organizing this conference is in keeping with the need of the hour.

Switzerland is a neutral country that has, for a
long time now, relinquished warfare as a tool of
state policy. It is also a unique country that
has a long history of having contributed to
resolving many international conflicts. Moreover,
Switzerland is -- aside of being a place where
the largest number of Tibetans in Europe live --
a favourite tourist destination for many people,
whether we consider the scenic beauty of its
landscape, its geography or its climate.
Therefore, the choice of the venue of this
conference is perfect. The organisers of the
conference are also perfect, in that both the
International Fellowship of Reconciliation and
the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association are
bodies dedicated to promoting harmony and
friendship in human societies. Moreover, the
participants are perfect as they are all people
with great intellect and experience; people who
cherish justice; and people who possess liberal
outlook that shuns narrow parochial feelings or
holding one’s own view as supreme and who
believes in seeking truth from facts.
Furthermore, this conference has perfect guidance
in the form of a keynote address delivered by no
less a person than His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
who has kindly consented to grace this inaugural
session of the conference. So, I have no doubt
that this important gathering with four
“perfections” as I explained before, will bring
about a great outcome that will go a long way in
fulfilling the short- and long-term benefits of
the Chinese and Tibetan peoples.

All of you participants have taken the trouble to
come from distant places or countries across the
world to attend this conference, sparing your
precious time and money. We are greatly moved and
encouraged by this gesture of yours, as it
clearly shows how much importance you attach to
the unity between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples
and how much responsibility you shoulder upon
yourselves to actually bring about this. While
welcoming all of you to this conference, I -- on
behalf of the entire Tibetan people -- would like
to express our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to each one of you present here.

As every one gathered here knows, Tibetans and
Chinese have lived in friendship as brothers and
sisters for the most part of their long
histories, although occasionally they fought wars
against each other. On the whole, however, they
continued to remain as close neighbours in the
past. Since the 7th century onwards, relations
began to develop between these two peoples on
religious front as well. In the later years of
the 13th century, a special relationship called
the Priest-Patron relationship was forged between
the Chinese Yuan emperors and Tibetan rulers.
This unique relationship was replicated even
during the period of the Manchu rule over the
Chinese nation. The 20th century saw a great
change -- political, economic and social --
taking place across the length and breadth of the
planet we live in. Under this global trend for
change, the Chinese Communist Party took over the
rein of its country and since then, both the
Chinese and Tibetan peoples have had to undergo
untold sufferings and difficulties. 50 years have
elapsed since the flight of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama and over 80,000 of his Tibetan
followers to exile [in 1959]. The six million
Tibetan people living in Tibet continue to suffer
as it has been over these long and gloomy years;
their situation has not changed even to this day.
However, His Holiness the Dalai Lama —
recognising very clearly that these sufferings
are caused by the myopic and narrow Tibet policy
framed by a small number of Chinese political
leaders and not by the Chinese people -- has
always made every possible effort to see to it
that the Tibetan and Chinese peoples are not
separated in their hearts and minds. Seen from
the Chinese world also, there are a countless
number of people who know the truth showing great
respect and reverence to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and sympathising with the Tibetan people.
And this community of Tibet sympathisers is today
becoming ever more prominent or conspicuous in
terms of voicing their support to the Tibetan
people. For example, all of us know of the many
Chinese nationals from within the Mainland China
— and outside it — writing honest articles or
opinion pieces on the true situation inside Tibet
since the massive and peaceful protests that
shook the World’s Roof, beginning March 2008.
These articles reflect the viewpoint of the
Chinese people at the grassroots level.

Earlier, the Chinese authorities used to describe
all Tibetans to be happily reposing trust and
confidence in the Chinese government after their
having achieved “liberation” from the past
“feudal serfdom” and blame a small number of
separatist "Dalai Clique" for creating all the
troubles. Since last year’s popular March
incident, however, it has been engaging in a
systematic, well-planned activities and
propaganda to split the Tibetan and Chinese
peoples by portraying the entire Tibetan protests
as being anti-Chinese. It seems that there were,
among the general Chinese populace, a
considerable number of people who harboured
animosity towards the Tibetans as a result of
their having been deluded by these Chinese
official propaganda. But more and more Chinese
people are, now, beginning to understand what the
reality is with the gradual unfolding of the
truth. The recent report on last year’s Tibet
protests, published from Beijing, is a clear
evidence of the fact that there are many Chinese
who do not always let themselves to be befooled
by the lies spewed out by the Chinese state
propaganda machinery. In this regard, His
Holiness the Dalai Lama has said many times:
“Although my trust in the Chinese leadership is
growing thinner and thinner, my trust in the
Chinese people is always intact, without undergoing any changes.”

Whereas the unity among nationalities is the
basis of a country’s stability, China’s stability
is the basis of peace throughout the world.
Nobody can take this issue lightly. The exile
Tibetan Administration led by His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, serves as an independent spokesperson
of the six million Tibetan people. This
Administration has now and again made it amply
clear to the relevant authorities of the People’s
Republic of China (PRC) that it firmly holds on
to the mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy,
which seeks to resolve the problem of Tibet along
the line of the existing constitutional
provisions of the PRC. The envoys of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama have, in particular, made this
very clear -- both verbally and in writing -- to
the heads of China’s Central United Front Work
Department in the course of the eight rounds of
formal talks and one round of informal talk they
have had with them since 2002. That we are
committed to finding a solution to the Tibet
problem within the Chinese political framework
can also be gleaned from the contents of the
Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for All Tibetans
(this memorandum has already been made public
now) the Tibetan interlocutors presented to the
PRC during the latest, eighth round of talks.
 From our side, because we are committed to
pursuing an approach that does not seek
estrangement of the Tibetan and Chinese peoples,
there is no change whatsoever in our thinking
that in the future also, we should engage in
dialogue with the Chinese leadership on the memorandum we submitted last year.

The People’s Republic of China is a
multi-nationals country. Those in the governance
should, therefore, fulfil the aspirations of all
nationalities under its jurisdiction. Should it
succeed in doing so, then the unity and equality
of nationalities as enshrined in the Chinese
constitution will also be realised.

Regarding the ideology, policy and the conduct of
works of the current political leadership in
China, people have adopted various and sundry
means to express their dissatisfaction or
disagreement with — and opposition to — these in
the past and will, probably, do so in the future
as well. What is of utmost importance, however,
is that we should see to it that these do not
lead to the deterioration of harmonious
relationship between the Tibetan and Chinese
peoples. I would like to urge the participants of
this conference to kindly explain to the general
Chinese populace the real thinking and position
of the Tibetan people, particularly Tibetan
exiles, and of the exile Tibetan administration
led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama -- and thereby
bringing about a stable harmonious relationship
between the two peoples. I would also like to
urge all of you to provide us suggestions or
guidance on the future course of action we should take.

I would like to take this opportunity to express
our utter dismay over the recent sad turn of
events in East Turkestan(Xinjiang). In solidarity
with all those who have lost their lives and
sustained injuries during that time, as well as
the great loss of properties that accompanied it,
I offer my condolences and prayers for all of them.

To conclude, I pray for the long life of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama and the fulfilment of all
his wishes. I also pray that the unity between
the Tibetan and Chinese peoples may last for
thousands of years and that the Tibetans inside
and outside Tibet may be reunited soon. May this
conference bring about a meaningful outcome! Thank you.
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