Official Resolution of mourning and Solidarity
The religious nation of Tibet is richly endowed with spirituality, culture, and linguistic heritage. In terms of power, dominion influence, and in every other aspect, it was a part of the trio of “China, Mongolia and Tibet”, the three powerful countries of Central Asia. Although the ancient Tibetan kingdom of Purgyal disintegrated after the demise of its Tsenpo Dynastic rule, it still had an uninterrupted succession of central authorities led by the Sakya, Phagdu, Rinpung, Depa Tsangpa, and the Ganden Phodang rulers. In keeping with the prevailing situation during each of those periods, cultural exchanges, relationships of “patron and priest” and so on were established with neighbouring countries. On occasions, however, there were disputes and armed conflicts at the borders. These are historical realities which could never be erased by anyone.
Nevertheless, in the year 1949, troops of the communist-ruled China launched an armed invasion and occupation of Tibet that plunged the country into a situation of a rapidly worsening tragedy. The highly critical development compelled His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama to assume full temporal power and spiritual leadership of Tibet even though he was only 16 years old at that time. Following a course of developments after that event, the People’s Republic of China in 1951 coerced the Tibetan side to acquiesce to a 17-Point Agreement on measures for a so-called peaceful liberation of Tibet. This was the beginning of a move by China to unveil its greed by engaging in a brazen move to seize the Tibetan territory. The development led His Holiness the Dalai Lama to travel to China’s capital Beijing in 1954, in an effort to reach a peaceful settlement between the two countries. Nevertheless, in 1959 China unleashed its armed forces on Tibet to forcefully seize its territory and suppress its people while also, in fact, devising a strategy which posed a grave risk to the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The developments left His Holiness the Dalai Lama with no choice but to flee into exile to India. Immediately after setting foot on Indian soil, His Holiness took up the responsibility of caring for the more than 80,000 Tibetans who had followed in his footsteps and arrived in India, including by ensuring the provision of food, clothing, and shelter for them to solve their immediate problems. He also established a Tibetan government in exile and at the same time submitted petitions on successive occasions to the United Nations and others with a design to achieve a speedy and definite realization of the just cause of the Tibetan people. From another angle, with a long term perspective founded on a broad vision, His Holiness the Dalai Lama initiated a move to lead the Tibetan people in the excellent direction of a fully democratic system of governance. In this connection he, in 1960, newly established a parliament in exile whose members were elected by the Tibetan people. In 1991, the Tibetan parliament in exile passed a Charter of Tibetans in Exile to which His Holiness the Dalai Lama granted his seal of approval, thereby ushering in a move towards a system which was fully in conformity with the modern democratic practice underlined by the rule of law. From the year 2001, the Kalon Tripa was directly elected by the Tibetan people. And in 2011, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, taking into full consideration a multitude of both immediate and long term purposes and causes for caution, devolved all his administrative and political powers to a leadership elected by the general Tibetan populace. He thereby laid down both in history and in terms of legal system a solid foundation on which a sustainable Central Tibetan Administration which was fully representative of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile rested. It is in this milieu that the Tibetan people in exile continue to pursue their fundamental cause on the path of freedom and democracy. All this is due solely to the greatness of the measures initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In particular, with a view to achieve a peaceful settlement between Tibet and China, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has steadfastly adhered to his mutually beneficial middle way policy. In this connection he has carried out a series of contacts with the government of China in an attempt to convince the latter to implement in Tibet a meaningful system of regional autonomy for ethnic minority areas as guaranteed by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. However, the authoritarian government of China keeps falsely accusing him of being a separatist and thereby denigrating him. Besides, it keeps denying Tibetans in Tibet any opportunity to hear the speeches of guidance from their root lama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They are not even allowed to put on display the picture of him as their object of worship. And the Tibetan people are deprived of any freedom of speech, freedom of religious worship, political rights, and freedom to protect and perpetuate their unique ethnic culture. Under a policy of repression as constrictive as one may imagine in such a situation, the autocratic occupying Chinese government has, in all the various parts of Tibet, violently suppressed and tortured, including by execution, imprisonment and so on in the most blatant of manners, countless numbers of Tibetans who had shown loyalty to their ethnic identity. This policy of unimaginable brutal repression continues today without any interruption and the Tibetan people have long found it impossible to endure the situation any more. As a result countless heroic Tibetan men and women, driven by their sense of patriotism, have given up their all, including their very lives, in an uninterrupted series of campaigns of peaceful resistance. This is unprecedented in the history of the Tibetan people and continues today.
This development led to the great Earth-Mouse Year Pan-Tibet protests of 2008. In particular, since the year 2009, until 23 March 2016, when a patriotically driven heroic woman named Sonam Tso died after carrying out a protest self-immolation along the circuit of the Akyi Sera Monastery in Domey Dzoege Dzong, there have been a total of 144 verified cases of Tibetans, which included people from both the religious and lay communities as well as men and women, who resorted to self-immolations. The aspirations voiced by those Tibetans as they burned included a desire that His Holiness the Dalai Lama be able to return home as soon as possible in the Snowland of Tibet and the demand that the Tibetan people be able to enjoy their freedoms as human beings. Although it was highly imperative that the government of China took into consideration the aspirations of the Tibetan people in Tibet and of the last words of those who had died, it has adopted the exact opposite stance by continuing without any change its hardline policy of repression in Tibet. This has left the Tibetan people in Tibet with no alternative but to continue to carry out various forms of non-violent resistance campaigns.
Including the 10th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the government of China had imprisoned countless innocent Tibetans with false criminal charges, subjected them to unimaginable public torture in the name of so-called class struggle and various other types of campaign terms. In addition, the government of China remains responsible for the killing or unnatural deaths of more than 1.2 million Tibetan people. These have left wounds in the hearts of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile which could never be healed.
Likewise, China continues to destroy on unimaginable scales Tibet’s fragile environment by damming its river systems, recklessly extracting its mineral resources, clearing its forest covers, building hydropower stations which drain its lakes large and small, digging its grasslands to build railway tracks, and so on. This has also tested the tolerance of the Tibetan people to such extent that they can no longer bear to live with the ever worsening situation created by the government of China. The continuous destruction of Tibet’s natural environment system has led to unimaginably grave consequences, including the speeding up of global warming. This remains a matter of very serious concern to us and the world. Even taking into consideration only recent developments, the damage to the environment has been glaring, such as in the case of the situation at a place called Lhagang in Kham Minyag where as a result of the exploitation of mineral resources by the government of China, there were environmental and water pollutions which led to the large scale death of fish and other forms of life witnessed by the local people.
On the pretext of ensuring stability within the country and security in the border areas, China has made large scale deployment of armed forces in the Tibetan regions to intimidate the local populations. And by dispatching so-called work teams of Chinese cadres to Tibet’s nomadic camps and villages, China has deprived the Tibetan people living in those areas of all their inherent rights and freedoms as human beings and subjected all aspect of their daily routines to control and supervision, thereby reducing their status to the extremely sorrowful one as slaves carrying out the dictates of their communist Chinese masters. Even for making contacts with people in the outside world, the Tibetan people in Tibet are subjected to highly intrusive controls and restrictions. And the Tibetan people in Tibet are subjected to such strict bans on meeting with and making contacts with their kiths and kins living abroad that it has become very difficult to know in proper details the gravity of the situation there.
Whenever our brethrens in Tibet carried out a campaign action, the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan organizations, and private individuals established or living here in this free democratic country have all carried out solidarity campaign actions in support of them and this remains a continuing situation. And so, on the occasion of this first session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile too, we make an effort to offer solidarity with the Tibetan people in Tibet. Along with it, we also wish to make an effort to win a strong support from governmental as well as non-governmental bodies across the world supportive of the Tibetan struggle in order that they continue to pressure the government of China to end its policy of violent repression in Tibet and also impress China with the urgency to forthwith enter into peaceful talks on the basis of the middle way approach for settling the issue which is mutually beneficial to China and Tibet.
To sum up, after its armed invasion and takeover of Tibet, the government of China initially sought to deceive the Tibetan side by trying to charm it with its so-called democratic reform campaign. Later, on successive occasions, it launched all sorts of other campaigns of deception such as the Cultural Revolution, the people’s commune system, the patriotic education campaign, the campaign of stability of the state and security of the border areas, and so on while subjecting the Tibetan people to all manners of brutal campaigns of repression of whatever kind they fancied. Under such circumstances, the government of China caused the unnatural death of more than one million Tibetans and razed to the ground thousands of places of worship while carrying out a policy of destroying Tibetan religion, culture, language and so on which are the symbols of their ethnic identity and this continues without any interruption to this day. The result of all this is that Tibet is fast being transformed from being a land of the Tibetan people to one dominated and populated by Chinese people, rendering the situation there an ever worsening tragedy. Nevertheless, far from abiding by the law on autonomy for ethnic minority regions finalized and adopted by itself, the government of China tightly controls and restricts the Tibetan people’s freedom of speech, freedom of religious belief, and even their freedom of movement. As a result, the political situation in Tibet and China in general and especially the situation of the Tibetan people living in Tibet continue to remain in a deepest pit of darkness. We therefore deem it as of utmost importance to adopt a resolution of solidarity with the Tibetan people living in Tibet in their hour of tragic sadness and accordingly adopt the following text for this purpose.
- With a sense of admiration for their indomitable valour, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile expresses condolences for the heroic Tibetan men and women who, driven by patriotism, had in the struggle for the Tibetan political, religious, and ethnic causes sacrificed their all, including their very lives, to carry out peaceful protests against the government of China with such actions as self-immolation, for those who had met unnatural death as a result of having been tortured in Chinese prisons, as well as for those who continue to this day to endure ill-treatment and hardship in prisons there. And with a sense of solidarity with their surviving families, relatives, close associates, and so on, we offer our condolences, while praying with ardent devotion that those who have lost their lives be embraced by the Lotus-Holding supreme Bodhisattva and reborn in the Snowland of Tibet after the sunshine of freedom and happiness definitely and urgently spreads over it.
- The government of China must, in keeping with its obligations under international law, forthwith release all the innocent heroic Tibetan men and women of patriotism, including especially the young Panchen Lama reincarnate, who had been arrested and jailed and who continue to be subjected to torture on false charges for political reasons.
- Although this is the 50th year since the late Chairman Mao Zedong of China oversaw the launch of what was called the Great Cultural Revolution, there has so far never been a memoriam to mourn for or recant and apologise for the devastating destruction and loss it had inflicted on China in general and especially on the totality of the land as well as the human and natural resources of Tibet in particular. Rather, a so-called Gang of Four was made the scapegoat and accused of being responsible for carrying out all the crimes committed during that period and the issue was sought to be concluded therewith in the official narratives on the decade. It bears no mentioning that in truth it was Chairman Mao himself and the other leaders at that time who were the principal perpetrators of the violence and destruction. Given this reality, the leadership of the People’s Republic of China should stop the blame game, acknowledge their mistake, and bring an immediate end to the Cultural Revolution era-like restrictions and controls that continue to be in force throughout Tibet.
- We earnestly appeal to the leadership of the People’s Republic of China that it forthwith abandon the hardline and brutal policy of colonialism on Tibet, join the global mainstream trend, give careful consideration to the real situation in Tibet, and thereby see it as imperative to make an ethically positive change which is in keeping with the aspirations of the Tibetan people and which is beneficial to both Tibet and China.
- World bodies such as the United Nations Organization, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, governments, parliaments, national political leaders, other non-governmental organizations as well as private individuals have thus far rendered as great support as they could to Tibet and its people and we offer them our deep gratitude. At the same time we appeal to them continue to gain a full and clear understanding of the characteristically evil, hardline, deceptive and brutally violent policy China has adopted on Tibet and on that basis explore every possible opportunity and option to help save the Tibetan people from the limitless inhuman suffering they continue to endure even today with greater level of support.
The above resolution was adopted unanimously at the first session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on 1 June 2016.