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OutLook Tibet: an independent News Agency

OutLook Tibet: an independent News Agency of Tibetans and non-Tibetans Abroad

Alarmed by continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet, the Outlook Tibet was founded in 2011 as an independent non-governmental News Agency of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in India and abroad. The Outlook Tibet seeks to end the ongoing destruction of the Tibetan culture, alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people, and restore Tibet to its status as an independent state within the family of nations.

Outlook Tibet is committed to the principle of non-violence and recognizes the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people.

Tibet today

Invaded by China in 1949, Tibet has suffered the loss of life, freedoms and human rights under communist Chinese domination. In March 1959, an uprising against the Chinese occupation in Tibet was crushed and the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s temporal and spiritual leader, was forced to escape into exile in India, followed by 80,000 Tibetans. The Dalai Lama now heads the Tibet Government-in-Exile in India.

* More than one million Tibetans – a sixth of the population – have died as a result of the occupation.
* Tibetans are now a minority in their own country due to the continuous influx of Chinese immigrants.
* Tibetans are imprisoned and routinely tortured for religious practice and resistance to the occupation.
* More than 6,000 monasteries have been looted and demolished.
* The Tibetan plateau ecosystem, as well as wildlife and forests, have been devastated for Chinese profit.
* Tibet has been used as a site for production of nuclear weapons.

Tibet’s legal status

When Chinese troops first entered Tibet, it was generally accepted that Tibet met the conditions of statehood under international law; there was a people, a territory and a government that functioned in that territory, conducting its own domestic affairs free from any outside authority. Foreign relations were conducted exclusively by the Government of Tibet and countries with which Tibet had foreign relations are shown by official documents to have treated it as an independent state. Tibet maintained diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Mongolia, China, British India, Russia and Japan.

Tibet's independent foreign policy is perhaps most obviously demonstrated by the country's neutrality during World War II. Despite strong pressure to allow passage of military supplies through Tibet, Tibet held fast to its neutrality, which the Allies were compelled to respect.

Tibet was a de facto independent State when, under duress, it signed the 17 Point Agreement in 1951, surrendering its independence to China. As the provisions of the agreement were subsequently violated by China, the Government of Tibet was entitled to repudiate the agreement, as it did in 1959. Tibetans are now a people under foreign subjugation, entitled under international law to the right to self-determination by which they freely determine their political status. The Tibetan people have not yet exercised this right, which requires a free and genuine expression of their will.
People, culture and religion

Even today, China sees Tibetan religion and culture as a threat to its authority. In 1994 and 2001, China called for an array of measures to wipe out the vestige of Tibetan religion. This includes the selection by Beijing of reincarnated Tibetan lamas (monks) including the Panchen Lama, the second highest religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism. The boy recognized by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama has been missing, along with his family, since 1995.

Forced to denounce the Dalai Lama, Tibetans must pledge their allegiance to the Chinese government. Failure to do so can result in imprisonment or other forms of punishment. Possessing an image of the Dalai Lama is illegal in Tibet.

Under the guise of economic development, Beijing encourages the migration of Chinese to Tibet. As a result, the remaining six million Tibetans in Tibet are outnumbered by Chinese, who receive preferential treatment in education, jobs and private enterprises.

The occupation of Tibet has seen the Tibetan language surpassed by Chinese. Local government policy is making the language redundant. Tibet’s education system is geared to the needs of the Chinese, with Tibetans suffering from prohibitive and discriminatory fees and inadequate facilities in rural areas. The deprivation of education has forced 10,000 Tibetan children and youths to escape to India for better educational opportunities.
Universal human rights

In 1998, China signed two covenants in the International Bill of Rights, but it is still far from implementing these in China and Tibet. Collective rights abuses continue to challenge the Tibetan people and the future survival of their unique cultural identity. Today, in Tibet:

* Tibetans are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention. Any expression of opinion contrary to Chinese Communist Party ideology can result in arrest and long-term imprisonment.
* Those imprisoned are often denied legal representation and Chinese legal proceedings fail to meet international standards.
* Torture still prevails in Chinese prisons despite being in contravention of the United Nations Convention against Torture.
* There are Tibetan political prisoners below the age of 18.
* Disappearances, where a person is taken into custody and the details of his or her detention are not disclosed, continue to occur. More than 70% of Tibetans in the “TAR” (Tibet Autonomous Region) now live below the poverty line.

The environment

The illegal occupation of Tibet has been devastating for its environment and that of neighbouring countries. Today, in Tibet:

* China’s economic development plans have seen over 46% of Tibet’s forests indiscriminately destroyed.
* Deforestation has led to increased soil erosion and siltation of rivers, creating major floods and landslides.
* Trophy hunting of endangered species is not monitored. As a result, there are at least 81 endangered species in Tibet.
* Unregulated extraction of minerals such as borax, chromium, copper, gold, and uranium in Tibet is increasing rapidly.
* Tibet has hosted at least 500,000 Chinese troops and up to one quarter of China’s nuclear missile arsenal.

Number of exiled Tibetans

There are approximately 120,000 Tibetans living outside of Tibet: India 91,000; Nepal 15,000; Bhutan 1,600; Switzerland 2,000; Scandinavia 110; other European settlements 640; USA 5,000; Canada 3,000; Japan 60; Taiwan 1,000; Australia and New Zealand, 220.
Head of State

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGIE)

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile was established in April 1959 in Mussoorie, India as the continuation of the independent Government of Tibet. In May 1960, the TGIE was moved to Dharamsala in northwest India. The Tibetan people, both in and outside of Tibet, recognize the TGIE as their sole and legitimate government. It is democratic, with popularly elected members of Parliament and Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa). The Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies has 46 members, 43 of whom are elected directly by the exiled population.

The Kashag (Cabinet) is the executive body of the TGIE. Its chair, Kalon Tripa, is elected directly by the exiled population for a term of five years. Under the Kashag are the main departments of Education, Finance, Religion and Culture, Home, Information and International Relations, Security, and Health.
Foreign missions

New Delhi, Kathmandu, New York, London, Paris, Geneva, Budapest, Moscow, Canberra, Tokyo, Pretoria, Taipei and Brussels
Major NGOs

Tibetan Youth Congress
Tibetan Women’s Association
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
Rangzen Alliance
Gu-chu-sum Movement

The Tibet-China negotiation
Current status of negotiations on Tibet

In 2002, representatives of the Dalai Lama travelled to China and Tibet and re-established direct contact with Chinese leadership for the first time since 1993. Although actual negotiations between the two sides have yet to begin, indications suggest that one of the world’s most neglected conflicts will soon receive international attention.

On November 23, 2003, Premier Wen Jiabao told the Washington Post that the “door to communication between the central government and the Dalai Lama is wide open.” While Wen’s overture is laden with conditions designed to extract political advantage for Beijing, observers are hopeful that the fledgling dialogue re-opened in 2002 could eventually lead to negotiations on the future of Tibet.

The renewed contact between China and Tibet took the form of two delegation visits to Beijing. The delegations, headed by the Dalai Lama’s special envoys, arrived in China on September 9, 2002 and May 25, 2003, and were officially received by government representatives there. The delegations were also permitted to travel to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) 1 and the eastern Tibetan province of Kham (ch. Sichuan). Permission to travel to a Tibetan area outside the TAR is significant because it implies that all of historical Tibet could potentially be under discussion in an eventual negotiation process.

1 Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo (now split by China into the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu & Sichuan), Kham (largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai), and U-Tsang (which, together with western Kham, is today referred to by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region).
The Dalai Lama’s peace proposals

The Dalai Lama’s non-violent approach to resolving the conflict in Tibet relies on continued dialogue with China with the objective of initiating a substantive negotiation process. Negotiations will not include the issue of his personal status but will serve the interests of the six million Tibetans living inside Tibet. The Dalai Lama has put forward two proposals on which Tibet-China negotiations could be based.

On September 21, 1987, speaking to the U.S. Congress, the Dalai Lama described his Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. The elements of the plan were:

* Transformation of Tibet into a zone of ahimsa (peace and non-violence);
* Abandonment of China's population transfer policy;
* Respect for the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people;
* Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;
* Commence earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet.

On June 15, 1988, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Dalai Lama elaborated on the Five Point plan and presented the Strasbourg Proposal in which he suggested that China could maintain responsibility for Tibet's foreign policy and a restricted number of military installations in Tibet for defense purposes.

This “Middle Path” approach calls for genuine autonomy for the six million Tibetans living in Tibetan regions of China, but not for the restoration of Tibet’s status as a fully independent state. The Middle Path position is the basis of the Dalai Lama’s efforts to establish Tibet-China negotiations.
International Response

In the European Union, response to the Dalai Lama’s proposals has included resolutions in the European Parliament and a 2002 budget allotment for the creation of a Special Representative for Tibet. Additionally, the European Commission as well as Germany, the United Kingdom and France have issued calls for negotiations to begin as soon as possible. A stronger position on the issue is expected to emerge during Ireland’s presidency of the EU, which began January 1, 2004.

Meanwhile, the United States passed the Tibetan Policy Act in 2002. Its provisions include the creation of a statutory mandate for the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in the Department of State, the adoption of principles of responsible development for economic activity in Tibet, and a policy statement reaffirming U.S. commitment to promoting dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama or his representatives. This initiative mirrored an interest by Secretary of State Colin Powell and the White House. Both had urged China to respect the cultural heritage and human rights of Tibetans. President Bush met with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Washington in 2003. A subsequent report issued by the White House emphasized the lack of resolution of the Tibetan issue, calling it “a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States and other nations.”
History of negotiations 1949 - 2004

* 1949: China invaded Tibet.
* 1959: An uprising against the Chinese occupation in Tibet was brutally crushed, resulting in the deaths of more than 10,000 Tibetans. The Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile in India, followed by thousands of Tibetans. After establishing his Government-in-Exile, he began a long and tireless effort to initiate dialogue with Beijing in order to end the conflict in his homeland.
* 1959, 1961, 1965: The United Nations passed three resolutions on Tibet in which it called for the cessation of practices depriving the Tibetan people of their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
* 1979: Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping invited Gyalo Thondup (the Dalai Lama's eldest brother and his then Envoy to China) to Beijing and told him that except for the issue of total independence, all other issues related to the situation in Tibet could be discussed and all problems could be resolved.
* 1981: The Dalai Lama sent a letter to Mr. Deng Xiaoping describing the results of three fact-finding delegations to Tibet and suggesting ways to improve the relationship between China and Tibet.
* September 1987: The Dalai Lama announced his Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet.
* October 1987: Chinese authorities delivered a message to the Dalai Lama criticizing him for the Five Point Peace Plan and accusing him of instigating the Lhasa riots on September 27,1987.
* 1988: China stated that it was willing to begin negotiations. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile proposed January 1989 in Geneva as their choice and named the members of its negotiating team.
* November 1988: China responded, rejecting Geneva and suggesting Beijing or Hong Kong as the venue. The Dalai Lama agreed on Hong Kong but then China refused to communicate any further.
* 1993: Formal contact between the Dalai Lama and Beijing was cut. Informal links were maintained.
* 1998: In November, the informal contact between the Government-in-Exile and the People’s Republic of China was severed completely by Beijing.
* 2002: Contact between the Dalai Lama and China was reestablished, with representatives of the Dalai Lama travelling to China for direct contact with Chinese leadership for the first time since 1993.
* 2003: The Dalai Lama’s envoys returned to Beijing for follow-up meetings with Chinese officials and a visit to the eastern Tibetan province of Kham (ch. Sichuan). Permission to travel to a Tibetan area outside the TAR is considered significant because it implies that all of historical Tibet, not just the TAR, could potentially be under discussion in an eventual negotiation process.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondup on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who choose to reincarnate in order to serve humanity. Lhamo Dhondup was, as the Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso – Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Eloquent, Compassionate, Learned Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as “Yeshe Norbu”, the Wishfulfilling Gem, or simply “Kundun”, the Presence.
Leadership responsibilities

In 1950, at the age of 15, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume full political power as the head of the State when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1954, he went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders. His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted by Beijing’s ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet. In March 1959, the Chinese repression ultimately ignited a popular uprising and resistance in Lhasa. After the brutal suppression of the Lhasa uprising, the Dalai Lama was forced to escape in exile. Since then, he has been living in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGIE).

His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to save the Tibetan exiles and their culture. He founded 53 large-scale agricultural settlements for Tibetan refugees to live on. He oversaw the creation of an autonomous Tibetan school system to raise refugee children with the full knowledge of their language, history and religion. He inaugurated several cultural institutes to preserve 2,000 years of Tibet’s higher arts and sciences, and helped re-establish more than 200 monasteries to keep alive the vast body of Buddhist teachings, the essence of the Tibetan spirit. Since the Chinese invasion, His Holiness has appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet. Three resolutions were adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965.
Peace initiatives

The Dalai Lama's approach to resolving the conflict in Tibet is rooted in a non-violent strategy. It emphasizes dialogue with China with the ultimate objective of initiating a substantive negotiation process. The Dalai Lama has clearly stated on numerous occasions that he is not seeking independence for his homeland, nor is he looking to resolve his personal status. Rather, he has been consistent in the promotion of a "middle path approach" for the benefit of the 6 million Tibetans living inside Tibet today. The Middle Path approach is elaborated in two formal proposals.

The first, the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet, was presented in 1987 and contains these basic elements:

* Transformation of Tibet into a zone of ahimsa (peace and non-violence);
* Abandonment of China's population transfer policy;
* Respect for the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people;
* Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment, and the abandonment of China's apparent use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste; and
* Commencement of negotiations on the future status of Tibet.

The second proposal, the Strasbourg Proposal of 1998, suggested that China could maintain responsibility for Tibet's foreign policy and a restricted number of military installations in Tibet for defense purposes.

Together these proposals have become the foundation for the Dalai Lama's "Middle Path" approach for genuine autonomy in Tibet.
Universal recognition

In 1989, His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. He has consistently advocated policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression. Peace, non-violence and service for the happiness of sentient beings are the basic principles of His Holiness’ life. He is also known for his concern for global environmental problems. His Holiness has travelled to over 50 countries and met with presidents, prime ministers, and crowned rulers of major nations. He has held dialogues with the heads of different religions and well-known scientists.

Since 1959, His Holiness has received more than 60 honourary doctorates, awards, and prizes in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion.

His Holiness describes himself as a “simple Buddhist monk.” In his lectures and tours around the world, his simplicity and compassionate nature visibly touches everyone who meets him. His messages are of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
The Dalai Lama’s message

Universal Responsibility:

“To meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his, or her, own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. Universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources, and through concern for future generations, the proper care of the environment.”

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