Official Resolution of Solidarity*
In the fifth decade of the 20th century, the so-called People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China launched what was the beginning of an armed invasion of Tibet. With it, the land of Tibet and its natural and human resources were both subjected to immense destruction. In particular, using the pretexts of democratic reform and suppression of insurgency, the Tibetan people were, under allegations of being guilty of all sorts of criminal offences, subjected to massacres, imprisonment, beating, and starvation. These have resulted in the untimely loss of life for at least more than 1.2 million Tibetan people; the obliteration of more than six thousand places of religious worship, practice and study; the trucking away to China of huge quantities of highly invaluable treasures of Tibet; and the setting on fire of countless items of Tibetan cultural items, including especially copies of the teachings of the Buddha and commentaries thereon. Likewise, during its campaign of ‘quelling the rebellion’ in Tibet over the past 60 years, tens of thousands of Tibetans have been executed. And the Tibetan people left behind in their occupied homeland, being driven to a situation that rendered them utterly unable to bear the suffering anymore, were forced to their own lives in all sorts of ghastly manners. Some stabbed themselves to death; parents and children, holding hands together, jumped into swift flowing rapids to drown themselves. Yet others hanged themselves with ropes to end their lives. Whole families and ancestries were wiped out in these manners. These were results of nothing but the government of communist ruled China’s steadfast adherence to a merciless hardline policy of great brutality towards the Tibetan people.
Under its policy of colonialism, the government of China has encouraged its people to migrate to Tibet in great numbers. As a result, people from China outnumber the original Tibetan inhabitants across the land today. And the Tibetan people have become a minority on their own historical land. In the name of maintaining stability in the country, Tibetan people have been branded with all sorts of criminal labels and punished in various ways, including with imprisonments. Religiously devoted monks and nuns have been expelled from their monasteries and nunneries. A large number of centres of religious practice and study, large and small, have been destroyed, including the likes of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy. Besides, China has set out to obliterate the Tibetan culture and embarked on a destruction of the natural environment of the land. It is pursuing a policy of marginalizing the Tibetan language. It continues to transport to China Tibet’s rich and precious natural mineral resources. Besides, under its so-called poverty-alleviation campaign – a policy inconsistent with the nature-friendly traditional Tibetan practices, way of life and state of coexistence with nature – China has been transforming the Tibetan nomadic land into urban sprawls. Tibetan architectures have been changed into Chinese building structures. Traditional Tibetan costumes too have been fashioned to resemble Chinese. Even Tibetan traditions and customs have been sought to be rendered to resemble Chinese. To sum up, a vicious policy of transforming a land that is historically identifiable as Tibetan into one that is recognizable as Chinese is being actively pursued.
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the great Earth-Mouse Year uprising protests which was carried out across the Tibetan land for the purpose of regaining Tibet’s freedom. At that time the government of China launched a crackdown of such inhuman brutality and bloodshed on the Tibetan people that many of them were killed. The extent of the brutal violence of it has inflicted such a wound in the hearts of the Tibetan people that it could never be healed. A section of the Tibetan people imprisoned during the peaceful protests at that time died in jail. Many others still remain in jail while there are others as well whose whereabouts continue to remain unknown to this day.
Tibetan people who make known their concern and love for their ethnic religion, culture, and language are being jailed and persecuted on allegations of being guilty of the crime of inciting the overthrow of state power. When a Tibetan wishes to travel to a place within Tibet, he or she needs to obtain some four types of documents permitting it. Still, pretexts of the slightest kinds are being used to humiliate, ill-treat, beat, and imprison Tibetans who otherwise had obtained all those four documents. And as a result of the Chinese government’s policy, Tibetans who travel to cities and towns in China, big or small, finds it extremely difficult to check into hotels, enter restaurants, get treatment in hospitals, and so on. On the other hand, an ethnic Chinese can travel to any part of Tibet, armed only with his personal ID card. This nakedly exposes the fact that there is no proper implementation of the government of China’s claimed policy of equality among the different nationalities.
By imposing limits on the numbers of enrolments at monasteries and nunneries, interfering in normal religious activities, and carrying out so-called Love for Religion, Love for Nation campaigns, Tibetans are being forced against their will to blaspheme their spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Under its newly introduced administrative controls over monasteries and nunneries, some religious centres are being held up as harmonious exemplary monasteries and a section of monks and nuns praised as being patriotic and law-abiding. Using the announcement of these as pretexts, tens of thousands of Chinese cadres are stationed on permanent basis in monasteries across Tibet in diverse roles – as members of Monastery Management Committees, as resident Work Team members, as resident Public Security Bureau officers, as resident Fire Brigade officers, and as resident People’s Armed Police Force personnel. All this has turned the monasteries in Tibet into semblances of war zone, army camps. Not only that, the religious routines and practices of the monks and nuns in the monasteries and nunneries have been changed and the study halls of these people of religion made to resemble classrooms for listening to and studying the Communist ideology propagated by the government of China. During this year’s Great Chotrul Monlam Festival marking the 15th day of the first Tibetan month at the Je Kumbum Jampaling Monastery, when the traditional Tibetan Buddhist butter sculpture offering of flowers was opened for public viewing, an enormous deployment of Chinese troops was made, interfering with the devotees’ exercise of their religious freedom and intimidating them beyond all limits.
The natural environment of Tibet continues to be devastated beyond all limits, including specially through reckless exploration for and extraction of mineral ores. These have, in recent times, included the extraction of white diamond from Dzatoe, copper from Lhathog Yulung, coal from Themchen County, marble from Serchen County, and so on. Many different types of mineral ores are being extracted in an utterly irresponsible manner from places across the Tibetan Plateau. Besides, factories for producing aluminum and a type of electrical equipment called Laten have been built in Tibet and the waste materials discharged from them are being thrown away indiscriminately. In the name of carrying out economic development projects, the government of China allows Chinese entrepreneurs to make huge investments in Tibetan inhabited areas where rich natural mineral resources have been discovered. The result of these have been that not only have Tibetans been denied the right to develop themselves, but also even the opportunities to receive employment at project, including at road building sites, have been snatched away from them, for they are all being wrested by Chinese entrepreneurs. As a result, many Tibetan businesspeople have been left without any gainful economic opportunity. To sum up, under its South-North Water Transfer Project and new railway line building works, many traditionally sacred hills and mountains of Tibet have been targeted for being razed, and the territory of Tibet and its natural and human resources are both being subjected to devastating destruction.
Independent news media persons as well as official investigation delegations from the United States of America, Europe and other countries continue to be banned from visiting Tibet. Even in the case of those who do manage to make it to Tibet somehow, there is close supervision by accompanying Chinese government minders who control their movement and meetings, ensuring that they visited only those places and met with only those people prepared in advance for the purpose while the real situation is thereby kept hidden from them. As a result, such visitors are rendered unable to notice the actual situation in Tibet today in any detail. On the 28th of January in 2018, a man named Sogkhar Lodoe shouted slogan on the Potala Palace square in support of peace in this world. In his case too, we have come to learn only that he was at once arrested and taken away to his home county of Sog in Nagchu Prefecture. No information could be obtained on what happened to him after that. Likewise, the situation of the political prisoners and detainees in Tibet remains ever more serious than before.
The mutually beneficial Middle Way Approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is meant to resolve the dispute between China and Tibet. And the Central Tibetan Administration continues to adhere to and seek to carry forward this Middle Way Policy to its logical conclusion. However, the government of China has not only turned against it but has also called the Middle Way Approach a disguised campaign designed to seek independence for Tibet. Besides, the government of China recently issued in Tibet a circular containing 22 articles of prohibited activities, saying it was meant to strike hard and so on against alleged underworld criminal gangs stated to be acting at the instance of the so-called Dalai Clique and overseas enemy forces. But no matter how much the government of China distorts facts and makes false publicity claims, the international community continues to highly admire and praise His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his great deeds, support the Middle Way Policy, and, likewise, show concern for the real situation concerning language rights and the state of the environment in Tibet and lend support for the issue of Tibet accordingly.
In the Tibetan schools in Tibet too, the education campaign emphasizes love for the Communist Party of China while the teaching materials are subjected to ideological controls. Thus, while making propaganda claims of carrying out a bilingual education system in Tibet, requisite teaching materials in the language of the minority community are not being published, nor are teachings being conducted in that language. Tibetan language is not even being used in routine conduct of official businesses. This indicates a policy course for a gradual eradication of the Tibetan language in both its written and spoken forms. Apart from that, Tibetans who campaign for the protection of the Tibetan language are arrested and imprisoned, accused of being guilty of engaging in the crime of splitting the country. In its recent report, the US-based human rights organization Freedom House found that among all the countries of the world, China was among the worst in the area of violations of human rights. It also found the situation in China to be among the worst in the areas of both political freedom and civil liberties. Likewise, the European Parliament, the United States Congress and other lawmaking bodies, the head of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, as well as other eminent personalities have expressed concern on China’s violations of human rights of the Tibetan people. They have adopted resolutions and issued official statements which also called for the immediate release of the Tibetan language activist Mr. Tashi Wangchuk.
It goes without saying that by carrying out massive deployment of troops and People’s Armed Police Force units, as well as stationing resident Work Teams of investigating cadres, and other such actions on a routine basis across the length and breadth of Tibet, severe restrictions, including even on movement, have been imposed on the Tibetan people. During the month of March, Tibetans mark their 10th of March National Uprising Day and also the Earth-Mouse Year uprising protests of 2008. Besides, China holds in its Capital Beijing at this time of the year its so-called two national sessions. Citing these anniversaries and events, leaders of the so-called Autonomous Region of Tibet have held meetings at the prefecture and County administrative levels. At these meetings it has been emphasized that responsibility must be taken up to ensure stability during the two national sessions and throughout the month of March and victory must be scored in the war to fight the obstacles to it, that there should be resolute opposition to separatism, and so on. With this, armed troops and People’s Armed Police Force units have been mobilized in ever greater numbers and they have staged daily flag marches through the market streets and wherever else people gather in numbers. In that way, the Tibetan people have been subjected to all manners of intimidation.
The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, a living witness to Tibet’s history and a repository of thousands of items of national treasures of all kinds got engulfed in a serious incident of fire on the second New Year day of the Tibetan Royal Year 2145, corresponding to the 17th of February 2018. But the government of China has never bothered to explain with any clarity what caused the fire. The temple normally had Chinese troops deployed by the government of China as firefighters and security maintenance units in numbers larger than the number of monks in it. But they did not act in a timely manner to put out the blaze. Given our knowledge that the government of China constantly looks to find ways to ultimately obliterate the religion and culture of Tibet, it is only natural to draw the very obvious conclusion that the fire at the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred place of worship to the Tibetan people – it being the home of the Jowo Rinpoche statue – was in all likelihood seemingly deliberately plotted by it. It is our perception that the government of China had at least three designs behind this plot. Firstly, it may have been in order to set a limit on the otherwise tens of thousands of Tibetan pilgrims from across the land who visit the Jokhang Temple every day to offer worship and/or to turn away worshippers. Secondly, the plan may have been to use the excuse of damages caused by the fire to commit theft of invaluable cultural relics housed in the Jokhang Temple. Thirdly, the fire may have been planned to be used as a pretext to make a large-scale deployment of troops in the temples and monasteries of Tibet.
Since monk Tabey-la of Ngaba Kirti Monastery set himself on fire on the 27th of February in 2009 in protest against Chinese rule, there have been a total of 152 Tibetans – monks and nuns as well as laypeople – who are known and verified to have torched themselves for the same reason. Among them, 130 have died, four of them ended up being rendered handicapped, while the fate – including whether dead or alive – of the remaining 18 is still unknown. For the selfless, courageous, and truly admirable deeds of the patriotic Tibetan men and women who had stayed back in their homeland, whether since deceased or still alive; in the knowledge that the aspirations of these Tibetans have only been totally ignore by the government of China thus far; and for the reason that over the last six decades of the Chinese occupation rule, Tibetans left behind in Tibet have been – and still continue to be – subjected to all manners of persecution, the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile sees it as important to adopt a resolution of solidarity during its fifth session today.
- Expressing admiration for the courage of the patriotic Tibetan men and women who have sacrificed their all, including their very lives, thus far for the sake of the religion, nationhood, and people of Tibet, with prayers that those who have passed away may be reborn in the Snowland of Tibet in their pursuit of the sacred abode’s divinely designated saviour deity, the supreme Bodhisattva Chenresig, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile expresses condolences to the surviving kith and kin of all the deceased Tibetan martyrs.
- Since monk Tabey-la of Ngaba Kirti Monastery set himself on fire on the 27th of February in 2009, until the 7th of March this year, when Tsekho-la of the Namtso clan in Village Number Four of Meuruma Township in Ngaga County immolated himself, a total of 152 Tibetans – monks and nuns as well as laypeople both men and women – are known and fully verified to have acted similarly in protest against Chinese rule and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile reiterates its reminders that the government of China heed and adopt a responsible response to their cries of aguish, last words, and aspirations.
- As still being continuously striven for by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration, seeking genuine autonomy for the entirely of the Tibetan population on the basis of the Middle Way Policy which is mutually beneficial to China and Tibet, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile calls on the leadership of the Government of China to take recourse to a liberal approach of a mutually beneficial coexistence between the two sides and accordingly start Sino-Tibetan contacts and dialogue at the very earliest.
- The Tibetan Parliament in Exile calls on the government of China to at once put an end to the violent repression and brutal ill-treatment of the Tibetan people under its policy of colonialism in pursuit of which it makes large-scale and continuously increasing transfers of Chinese population into Tibet, tramples on the human rights of the Tibetan people, imposes limits on the freedom of religious faith of the Tibetan people, continues to devastate the natural environment of Tibet, marginalizes the Tibetan people’s learning and use of their own language, imposes severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Tibetan people and so on.
- Since it inclusion as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in the year 2000, the Jokhang Temple in Tibet’s capital Lhasa came under the protection of the relevant international law and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile requests with great earnestness that there be a thorough investigation of the tragic incident of fire which recently hit the site by both governmental and non-governmental bodies concerned with the protection of global cultural sites, including the United Nations, especially regarding the condition of the more than 6,500 cultural relic items being housed in the Tsuglakhang.
- The Tibetan Parliament in Exile appeals to governments, parliaments, leaders of nations across the world, and impartial non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, and Amnesty International, to make additional efforts to send an independent international investigation team to Tibet with an agenda to investigate the current tragic situation there; to make efforts to win immediate release for Tibetans who continue to suffer persecution and torture in Chinese government prisons there; to impress the government of China to bear full responsibility for the health condition of those who have since been released from prison; and to pressure the government of China to enable the Tibetan people to enjoy their freedoms and rights like any other human being.
- The Tibetan Parliament in Exile remembers with utmost sense of gratitude nations across the world where Tibetan refugees live in exile, especially the central and state governments and the people of India, who have to this day extended to us every kind of held and support by direct, indirect and every other means of indefinable magnitudes.
Adopted unanimously by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on this the 14th day of March 2018.
The above resolution was adopted unanimously by the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile during its 5th session
15 March 2018
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* In case of any discrepancy between this English translation and its Tibetan original, the latter should be considered authoritative and final for all purposes.