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Last update06:25:38 AM GMT

Tibetan leadership urges China to open ‘earnest dialogue’

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay with His His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Photo: Media File
Kelsang Gyaltsen says Tibet is not seeking independence, but is concerned only with preserving the “distinct Buddhist cultural heritage, language and natural environment of the Tibetan plateau”.

On 12 June 2012, the EU high representative Catherine Ashton called on China “to address the deep-rooted causes of the frustration of the Tibetan people”.

 

She also called for Beijing to ensure that Tibetans’ “civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights are respected…” and encouraged all parties concerned “to resume a meaningful dialogue”.

Two days after Ashton’s announcement, the European parliament voted through a resolution that endorsed “the principles set out in the memorandum on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people, proposed by the envoys of his holiness the Dalai Lama to their Chinese counterparts in 2008, which provide the basis for a realistic and sustainable political solution to the issue of Tibet”.

Meanwhile, tragically, 86 more Tibetans have resorted to self-immolations to protest against Chinese policies – increasing the total number to 130. Moreover, the talks between the Tibetan leadership in exile and the Chinese government have been stalled since January 2010.

Consequently, today there is a political imperative for members of the international community to engage in a concerted effort to encourage and urge the Chinese leadership to enter into an earnest dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

The policy of the Tibetan leadership in exile on a mutually acceptable solution is straightforward. We are not seeking separation and independence. What we are seeking is genuine self-rule for the Tibetan people within the framework of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

Our main concern is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people with our distinct Buddhist cultural heritage, language and natural environment of the Tibetan plateau. This approach is called Umaylam – the middle way approach – and was conceived by his holiness the Dalai Lama in the spirit of non-violence, dialogue and reconciliation.

The basic features of the middle way approach are:

A fundamental belief in non-violent approach as the only human, sensible and intelligent way to overcome clashes of interests and conflicts in the 21st century;

The pursuit of dialogue and negotiations as the principal means to resolve conflicts and the exercise of political moderation and restraint from maximalist positions in the process of negotiations;

The conduct of dialogue and negotiations in the spirit of reconciliation aiming for mutual agreement and mutual benefit;

The belief in the political necessity of peaceful co-existence of different cultures, religions and ethnic groups without separation and segregation in today’s highly interconnected and interdependent world;

This requires the spirit of pluralism and cooperation and of solutions with no victor and no vanquished.

In June this year, the democratically elected Tibetan political leader Lobsang Sangay reiterated unequivocally that his administration stands ready to resume the dialogue anytime, anywhere.

Against this background the EU can play a leading role in urging for the resumption of dialogue between the representatives of his holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership and thus in promoting a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Tibet.

About the author

Kelsang Gyaltsen is special representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama in Europe