Bill for Official Resolution of Solidarity*
Ever since the period of the successive Tsenpo kings, and through the gradual advancement of its history, until the advent of the system of rule by successive Dalai Lamas as the spiritual leader and temporal head, the country known by the epithet of Purgyal Tibet has been a dominant independent country of comparable power and influence in Central Asia in a trio of nations that also included China and Mongolia. Nevertheless, immediately after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, its governing founder, the communist Party of China, set out for a gradual annexation of the country through armed invasion and occupation. Although the occupation rule has continued for nearly 70 years, there has never been any change in the occupying power’s policy of violent repression and brutality.
Today, when Tibetan people wish to travel within their country for such purposes as visiting their kith and kin and other close acquaintances, for purposes of pilgrimage, and so on, they are required to produce all sorts permits at a series of checkpoints that render their journey much more arduous than the procedure faced by people in other parts of the world, whether in the East or West, in their international travels. In particular, without permits issued by the local resident Work Team leadership of monasteries, townships and others, local Tibetan inhabitants are banned from undertaking any travel even to nearby counties, cities and towns. With restrictions such as these, China has rendered Tibet a vast prison camp in every sense of the term without calling it as such. And in that vast prison camp the Tibetan people do not have even a wisp of human rights that they can assert.
In most other parts of the world, there is recognition of the sanctity of the right of the people to build their own places of worship, temples, and places of religious study such as monasteries, hermitages and so on in keeping with the requirements of their respective different religious traditions which are the fundamental source of their sense of well-being. Likewise, people in those countries can freely undertake pilgrimages and visits for religious worship, for pursuit of religious education with teachers of their choice, to travel to join one of the great monastic seats of learning in far off places in keeping with their respective historical traditions, to pursue meditative practices in cave dwelling in remote slate, snow, and rocky mountain places, as the case may be, and to enroll in other types of monasteries and nunneries as per the local traditions of the desiring would-be novice monks and nuns. There is no system of exercising controls and restrictions on such religious pursuits. However, the atheist government run by the Communist Party of China exercises all sorts of controls and has imposed every kind of restriction on the Tibetan people’s religious practices, setting an age limit for newly enrolling as monks and nuns in monasteries and nunneries, as the case may be, and ceilings on the number of enrolments allowed for each such place of religious study and practice. It imposes all sorts of education in communist ideology on the otherwise religious devoted monks and nuns. Ban has been imposed on visiting and studying under religious masters of renown and learnedness living in places far off from one’s hometown. Recognition and enthronement of reincarnations of lamas and tulkus require approval from the atheist communist government. Restrictions have been imposed on the religious practices and activities of the believing Tibetan public as well as the Tibetan student community. Work Teams of communist party members and Chinese government officials have been stationed to reside in monasteries. Restrictions have been imposed even on the types of prayers services that the monasteries could hold, including especially with a ban on those for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. These have resulted in effective deprivation of all aspects of religious freedom of the Tibetan people. Preeminent religious figures to whom generations of Tibetans owe great debts of gratitude such as the 10th Kunsig Panchen Lama, as well as the eminent abbot Jigme Phuntsog, Tulku Tenzin Deleg, and others, have passed away in untimely manners without any credible explanation from the government of China under whose oversight they took place. In particular, the fate or whereabouts of the young reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama and Jadrel Jampa Trinley who had undertaken his discovery have been rendered untraceable even after more than 20 years of their disappearances.
We owe debts of gratitude to the late 10th Kunsig Panchen Lama and as well as numerous other learned scholars and elders in all the three traditional provinces of Tibet that in the trio of the aspects of learning, use, and promotion of the Tibetan language, there was a fairly substantial progress over a period of time. Nevertheless, this was afterwards followed by the government of China imposing an emphasis on the learning and use of Mandarin Chinese, with the result that many subjects taught in schools were changed into that Chinese national language from Tibetan. The Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China mandates that Tibetan language be the main basis for the conduct of official businesses in terms of official documents, in the conduct of official meetings and in other aspects of administration in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures, the Tibetan Autonomous Cities, and the Tibetan Autonomous Counties throughout the People’s Republic of China. However, all this has since been brought to an end and, instead, emphasis has come to be placed on the learning, use, and promotion of Mandarin Chinese. By this means the government of China has sidelined and thereby effectuated a decline in the use of Tibetan language in those ethnically Tibetan areas. And this also led to the Tibetan people to stage peaceful protest rallies and even to feel so cornered as to carry out protest self-immolations. The Chinese government did have a manner of saying: Let a hundred flowers Bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend. Nevertheless, when it comes to practicing it, the Tibetan people have no way to put out learned views on their traditional system of governance based on equitable emphasis on religion and politics, nor, likewise, to hold any discussion on the rights that are supposedly guaranteed under the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law of the People’s Republic of China. In particular, there is no way for the Tibetan people to contend about their language and script rights under that law, for all their rights to freedom of speech and expression stand banned. This has emerged as particularly clear from the false charges that have been brought against the Tibetan language rights activist Mr Tashi Wangchuk and the jail sentence that has been imposed on him.
The government of China claims that it has brought what amounts to earth shaking progress to Tibet. It also now speaks about making Tibet something of an Asian centre for its One Belt, One Road infrastructure projects. What the claims like these have amounted to mean, in reality, is large scale transfers of Chinese population to Tibet, exploitation of Tibet’s rich mineral ore resources, and establishing permanent Chinese military bases in the border areas in a strategic counter against countries in the neighbourhood of India. It is only to implement its own nationalistic priorities that China has been carrying out projects in Tibet in these names. As regards projects and improvements that are genuinely designed to be directly beneficial to the Tibetan people in terms of addressing their day to day problems, nothing is being done even to this day. On the contrary, it has destroyed without trace more than six thousand temples and monasteries as well as tens of thousands of forts, estate buildings, mansions, and other structures in which treasuries of centuries-old precious arts and artifacts had been stored or kept. There treasures have all been already taken to China. Likewise, in places across Tibet, China has been relentless in exploring for and extracting all kinds of mineral ores and clearing up forests to extract timber. It is also actively engaged in implementing a South-North Water Transfer project (or South-to-North Water Diversion) project, the world’s largest water transfer project, from Tibet to China. It is all too obvious that China has never compensated Tibet for even a tiny fraction of these large-scale plunders. The fact that powerful countries like the United States of America and India have not endorsed China’s One Belt, One Road initiative also makes it obvious that this globally ambitious undertaking is nothing but a strategy of economic deception.
It has now been ten years since Tibetans across the Three Cholkhas staged the great Earth-Mouse Year uprising protests in 2008. And since the year 2009, a total of 152 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in peaceful protests against the Chinese government for the sake of realizing the just cause of Tibet. Most of these Tibetans did not survive their fiery protests. Nevertheless, the government of China has not taken any step to address the concerns that had been raised by these protesters in their slogans or messages left behind, or by their protest actions. Rather, it deployed ever more body of troops across the land on a war footing, which has made the entire territory of Tibet to resemble a vast battlefield of Central Asia. All types of modern weaponry and equipment were deployed to carry out the repression in which Tibetan people were slaughtered, beaten, taken into custody, and subjected to all manners of repression and persecution. Any flash of incident of recollecting any of these bloody events makes one to tremble with such mortal fears as to strike any observer with heart-wrenching sympathy. The gaping mental scars of these incidents will endure from generation to generation and could never be forgotten. Mr. Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister of China at that time, claimed that the peaceful protests by Tibetans in those uprising protests as well as the self-immolations and related incident were all instigated, directed and so on by overseas based separatists. But he has so far never been able to prove and verify any of his allegations.
Recently, at the end of July, Premier Li Keqiang of China visited some parts of the so-called autonomous region of Tibet. There was no timely announcement of the visit and, what is more, the real purpose of the visit was also never explained. Again, at the end of August, the head of the Central Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr. Wang Yang, visited parts of what is called the autonomous region of Tibet and said: “The work regarding religious affairs is significant to the social stability and prosperity of Tibet in the long term. There should therefore be better preparedness and precautions for danger in times of safety. The Party’s basic principles in the work and the direction of the ‘sinicization’ of religions in China should be fully adhered to. There should be better cultivation of legal talent in carrying out religious work in efforts to further integrate Tibetan Buddhism into the socialist society. The religious circle should firmly uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China, inherit and promote patriotism, and be courageous to be able to battle all separatist elements, in order to further protect the national reunification, ethnic unity and social stability.” With remarks such as these, the Chinese leader made clear his government’s intentions to further strengthen control and restrictions on matters concerned with religious issues, and to never pay heed to the demands and aspirations of the protesting Tibetan people. Besides, the real reason why two of the top leader of China visited Tibet one after another still remains unclear.
Today, there is a decline in the credibility of China in the international community on what it says about the situation in Tibet. Besides, China has become suspicious about what impression the large number of ethnic Chinese visiting Tibet as tourists might have gained regarding the territory’s sovereign identity. Hence, the government of China has taken to dispatch to foreign countries delegates of ethnic Tibetan leaders of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region with briefings to speak about Tibet being part of China and so on. Chinese tourists visiting Tibet’s capital Lhasa have been compelled to begin their tour by watching a propaganda film depicting the Tang Chinese Princess Wencheng, wife of Tibet’s ancient king Songtsen Gampo. Although the government of China thus continues to carry out all sorts of deceptions by various means such as these, it is obvious that such distortions cannot erase the truth.
Likewise, at the commencement of the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly criticized the human rights record of the government of China. Besides, she drew global attention to the fact that over the last five years, the government of China had not permitted any United Nations human rights monitor to visit the country to examine the situation there. And she explained how the human rights situation in Tibet and other regions was continuing to deteriorate severely under the current government leadership.
Again, In July this year, during the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom organized by the State Department of the United States government in Washington, DC, Vice President Michael Pence made it clear that the holding of the ministerial demonstrated the Donald Trump Administration’s unwavering commitment to religious freedom and its recognition that religious freedom is a fundamental liberty. He remarked that Tibet had continued to suffer immensely on account of religious persecution under close to 70 years of Chinese rule and went on to criticize the leadership in Beijing for it. He said the government and the People of the United States of America stood in solidarity with the people who had endured such suffering. He noted that the US State Department had consistently designated China as a country of particular concern over religious freedom since 1999 in its annual international religious freedom reports and had also made numerous other criticisms.
During its meeting in New Delhi in August this year, the All Party Indian Parliamentarians’ Forum for Tibet expressed resolute opposition to the policy of the government of China under which brutal violations of human rights are being carried out in Tibet. The resolution adopted at the meeting also called on China to end the policies under which the violation were being carried out. The resolution also appealed to the entire world to extent support towards achieving a negotiated resolution to the Sino-Tibetan dispute. Likewise, in order that the Tibetan people in Tibet may be saved from the gravity of their present critical situation, the Sino-Tibetan dispute resolved and so on, the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetans living in exile on countries across the world, as well as the Tibet Support Groups have presented – and still present – appeals on successive occasion to governments, parliaments, human rights organizations and others to seek their support and influence. And as a result of these initiatives, the Tibet issue came to be discussed or raised and resolutions on it adopted – as they continue to be raised, discussed and acted on even now – on a number of occasions by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the government and Congress of the United States of America, and the European Union, besides a large number of other governments and parliaments.
Recently, on the 4th of September, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance released its 4th annual report in Brussels, marking China as one of the countries with the label of “severe violations”, the worst possible ranking in the report, which was released in Brussels. The report expressed serious concern on a series of issues, noting that under China’s grossly unjust policies the Tibetan people and other ethnic minorities had been deprived of opportunities in such areas as of housing, livelihood, businesses, and so on; that, in addition to it, they had been neglected and marginalized, subjected to ethnic discrimination, violent repression, arrests, and imprisonments. In that latest report, the situation concerning the state of religious freedom and the extent of violation of that freedom in 34 countries were scrutinized and it was found that the restrictions were the severest in the People’s Republic of China. In that respect, while carrying out a thorough investigation, the researchers have found that the restrictions on religious freedom were the most severe in all the Tibetan inhabited regions but especially in the regions within the Tibet Autonomous Region. The report noted that Tibetans had been deprived of the freedom to pray to or revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or to carry out exchanges of religious ideas. Besides, it continued that government actions like the destruction of the residences of monks and nuns at the Serta Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, whether already carried out or still underway, showed that China was out to implement a policy of wholesale destruction of Tibet’s Buddhist religion and the centres for its study. Likewise, there were discussions in the European Parliament on such grossly inhuman actions of the government of China as the harvesting of internal organs of executed Tibetan political prisoners for commercial purposes.
To sum it all up, under the occupation and repressive rule of the Chinese government, the Tibetan people in Tibet are forced to endure a life of fear, terror and anxiety that hangs over them at all times, day and night. Nevertheless, for more than three generations, they have, at various times and on different occasions, continued to carry out peaceful protests without any let up to this day. But the government of China has never ever listened to their voices of protests, demands, and appeals. Far from it, the Chinese leaders simply labelled them as splittists, as subversives bent on overthrowing the state power, and as beaters, destroyers, plunderers, and arsonists. And on these pretexts, the government of China subjected the Tibetan people to arrests, detentions, movement restrictions, trials and imprisonments, unrestrained beating and torture, violent repression and slaughter and so on, in an accumulation of repressive actions that include every kind of evil from which Tibetans have been rendered impossible to get away for all time to come. This continuing heart-wrenching situation of the Tibetan people in Tibet, defying all possibilities for escape, makes it imperative for this sixth session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile to adopt an official resolution of solidarity with these fellow-Tibetan brethrens and is accordingly proposed herewith.
- Expressing admiration for the courage and determination of the patriotic Tibetan men and women for their heroic sacrifices of their very lives and all material conditions of living for the sake of the Tibetan nation and people, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile makes an emphatic call on the government of China to take up for consideration the appeals for addressing the grievances made and demands raised by these Tibetan people and thereby definitely change all aspects of its existing hardline policy on the issue of Tibet so as to establish in the Snowland of Tibet a situation of peace and calm, and where the people can live a carefree life in an atmosphere of liberalism, and in which the Tibetan people will be able to exercise all kinds of freedoms that are fundamental to the sustenance of a human life.
- If it is desired that what is called the People’s Republic of China be seen to emerge as a nation respected by the international community for its dignity and commitment to justice, let there be full clarity on the situation of the Panchen Rinpoche who had been taken away and continues to remain in detention under the repressive rule in Tibet of the government of China; that, in addition, let there be immediate release of all innocent Tibetans who continue to remain imprisoned and suffer beating and torture; let there be an end to the existing massive deployment of Chinese troops which keep watch over the Tibetan people at all times, day and night, and which has made the whole of Tibet to resemble a field of battle; and let there be an end to all the projects in Tibet that bring no practical benefits to the local Tibetan people and which have potential to be highly destructive of the natural environment of Tibet. The Tibetan Parliament in Exile is emphatic in calling on the government of China to take these remedial actions accordingly.
- The Central Tibetan Administration has been adhering to a Middle Way Policy that is mutually beneficial to China and Tibet so that its implementation will lead to the entire Tibetan population enjoying a meaningful regional ethnic autonomy, winning support from the international community for its stand which, in addition, accords with both the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the previous assent of the late paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The Tibetan Parliament in Exile accordingly reiterates its call on the leadership of the government of China to unequivocally and forthwith start peace talks with representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- In order to find out what has led to the Tibetan people to carry out an endless series of protest campaigns, large and small, over the last nearly 70 years since the Communist Chinese government invaded and occupied Tibet, in order to understand the real situation in Tibet today in terms of the desperateness of the conditions under which the Tibetan people hang on to their existence there and so on, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile appeals to leaders and relevant officials of governments, parliament members, authors, journalists and others from across the world who covet peace and who are committed to acting with fairness, to constitute an unbiased and independent team to undertake an inspection visit to Tibet.
- The Tibetan Parliament in Exile hereby expresses its debts of gratitude to all the countries, groups and associations, as well as private individuals who have thus far extended support to the issue of Tibet and who continue to do so to this day. At the same time, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile fully understands that it is upon the Tibetan people themselves that the real duty of working to realize the just cause of the Tibetan people lie and that, accordingly, each and every Tibetan person should bear a sense of duty and on that basis pool their efforts towards realizing the fundamental cause in keeping with their capabilities without any let down. The Tibetan Parliament in Exile accordingly reminds all concerned persons accordingly.
Adopted unanimously by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on this the 18th day of 2018.
Above resolution was adopted unanimously by the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile at its 6th session.
Dated: 18 September 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.