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Hope for quick resolution of Tibetan issue: Dalai Lama

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS,

Dharamsala : Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said Tuesday there were reasons to hope for a quick resolution of the Tibetan issue and that he had “full faith in the Chinese people” although his trust in the communist leaders in China was getting “thinner and thinner”.

Addressing a gathering of hundreds of Tibetans at the Tsuglag Khang or main temple at Mcleodganj, his headquarters-in-exile near here, on the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama said in Tibetan language: “We are not against the Chinese people. I have full faith in the Chinese people though the Chinese leaders have let us down. Peaceful Tibetans are being treated like criminals.”

“I always say that we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Whether we look at it from the global perspective or in the context of events in China, there are reasons for us to hope for a quick resolution of the issue of Tibet.

“However, we must also prepare ourselves well in case the Tibetan struggle goes on for a long time,” the Dalai Lama said.

Hundreds of Tibetans, most of them young ones who were born in exile in India and have never seen their homeland Tibet, listened to him in rapt attention as he spoke. The Tibetan youth, mostly carrying “Free Tibet” banners, posters, headbands and the Tibetan flag, were to march till Dharamsala to mark the anniversary of the failed uprising.

Interacting with the media here later, the Dalai Lama elaborated upon reasons why he felt “confident” about the resolution of the Tibet issue.

“Firstly, the spirit of the Tibetan people is very strong now. Fifty to 60 years have passed under Chinese rule and we have a whole new generation of Tibetans but their spirit has not been bent by the lure, torture and suffering given by the Chinese.

“Secondly, more Chinese now acknowledge the Tibet issue. China needs respect from the rest of the world to become a superpower. The policy to handle these issues (like Tibet) is very important for China,” the Dalai Lama stated.

He added that even Chinese Buddhists had started showing interest in Tibetan Buddhism which gave hope to Tibetans.

Reading out his statement in Tibetan, which was also released in English by his office, the Dalai Lama said he would continue to pursue the “middle path” approach despite China’s crackdown on Tibetans.

“Our middle way approach is not a reaction to the policies of the PRC (People’s Republic of China). It is not aimed at the victory of one and defeat on another side,” he told the media later.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country, is based in this hill town in Himachal Pradesh.

The Dalai Lama’s statement accused China of unleashing repression on peaceful Tibetans who rose against Chinese policies in March last year.

“The past 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet. Even today, Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear and the Chinese authorities remain constantly suspicious of them.

“Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction. In short, the Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death,” he added.

The Dalai Lama accused China of trying to see Tibet and China’s history from its perspective.

“Since the re-establishment of contacts in 2002, we have followed a policy of one official channel and one agenda and have held eight rounds of talks with the Chinese authorities.

“The Chinese insistence that we accept Tibet as having been a part of China since ancient times is not only inaccurate but also unreasonable. We cannot change the past no matter whether it was good or bad. Distorting history for political purposes is incorrect,” he pointed out.

The Dalai Lama said the Tibetan proposals did not come in the way of the Chinese constitution and much of these had been acknowledged as “reasonable” by Chinese leaders like Zhou Enlai in the past.

“We need to look to the future and work for our mutual benefit. 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,” he said.

The Dalai Lama said: “Looking back on 50 years in exile, we have witnessed many ups and downs. However, the fact that the Tibet issue is alive and the international community is taking growing interest in it is indeed an achievement.

“Seen from this perspective, I have no doubt that the justice of Tibet’s cause will prevail if we continue to tread the path of truth and non-violence.”