Official resolution of solidarity
Over the last nearly 67 years since China began its invasion and occupation of Tibet, more than 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed or driven to meet with untimely death. More than six thousand places of worship, held by Tibetans as more precious than their lives, were totally destroyed. These were but only two parts of the destruction wreaked by China on Tibet and its natural and human resources on a scale unprecedented in the territory’s entire history. This was not all. Even today, China continues to destroy Tibetan religion, culture, linguistic heritage and so on – these being the symbolic embodiments of the Tibetan identity. In particular, it continues to implement a vicious policy of transforming the land of the Tibetan people into one overwhelmed by Chinese people, rendering the situation in Tibet tragic and critical.
Starting from 10 March 2008, when all the three traditional provinces of Tibet were engulfed by peaceful Tibetan protests, China has been continuously carrying out a policy of violent repression, including by killings, imprisonments, abductions and torture, and merciless beatings. Under such hardline, brutal policies of the communist government of China, the Tibetan people in Tibet have been subjected to a life of ill-treatment and torture of such magnitude as if the realm of hell has been transferred to the land of the living. Subjected to a life of constant fear and anxiety, the Tibetan people in Tibet find themselves in endless despair, wondering whether even if they had managed to live through one more day of it, they will be able to endure the coming night. Unable to take it all anymore, the Tibetan people snapped up; and they carried out campaigns of peaceful uprising protests one after another in an unending series of actions to give vent to their feelings. In particular, since 2009, until 29 February 2016, when Kelsang Wangdu-la, a monk of Tsokha Aryaling Monastery in Kham Nyarong Dzong, set himself on fire for the sake of the fundamental cause of the Tibetan people and died, there have been a total of 143 verified cases of protest self-immolations by Tibetans in Tibet.
Tibetans living in exile too have continued to carry out various kinds of campaigns to protest against the Chinese occupation of their homeland, and against China’s hardline policy of violent repression of the Tibetans in Tibet. In particular, there have been a fair number of Tibetans who carried out their peaceful protests by means of self-immolation. In that respect, on 29 February 2016, Dorje Tsering-la, a Class X student of Tibetan Homes Foundation school, Mussoorie, set himself on fire for the sake of the fundamental cause of the Tibetan people and died while uttering calls for a free Tibet. Such actions show that Tibetans in Tibet and in exile are of one mind in their aspiration and also indicate that for as long as the just cause of the Tibetan people does not prevail, it is impossible that the Tibetan people will ever give up their struggle.
In that respect, the main demands of the Tibetan people living in Tibet and in exile, which have been especially raised by those who have carried out protest self-immolations, remain that His Holiness the Dalai Lama should be able to return urgently and speedily to Tibet, his homeland of snows, and that the Tibetan people should be able to enjoy full freedom. However so far the government of China has not only refused to pay any heed to these totally justified demands or aspirations of the Tibetan people but also routinely carried out an absolutely brutal policy of violent repression and aggression against them. Under it, China’s invariable response to every incident of peaceful raising of these demands and aspirations – whether by top religious leaders such as lamas, khenpos, and geshes; or by ordinary monks and nuns; or by scholars and artistic professionals; or by government officials and students; or by ordinary masses from the nomadic, farming, and other Tibetan communities – has been to unlash its police and paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force troops to carry out instant violent crackdowns. China thereby routinely tramples on the basic human rights of the Tibetan people. In particular, having run out of its reserviours of deceptive actions and false utterances, China has now embarked on an insane recourse of fabricating stories designed to allege that the peaceful protest self-immolations that have been carried out by Tibetans had been instigated by people and groups from outside the country, including among them His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Central Tibetan Administration, and so on.
Making efforts to attain the common aspirations of the Tibetan people in Tibet and in exile, to address the critical situation in Tibet today, and, especially, to achieve definitive and speedy freedom from the state of unimaginably brutal persecution and torture that the Tibetans in Tibet continue to be subjected to, the Kashag, the executive organ of the Central Tibetan Administration, as well as the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have carried our numerous kinds of successive campaigns, including in the form of making appeals directed at governments and organisations on the global stage. These campaign actions continue even today and have won appreciable responses, including in the form of official resolutions in many countries expressing support for the Tibetan issue, issuing of statements, and media remarks expressing concern. These have been directed at calling on the government of China to put an end to its current policy of tight restrictions in Tibet and strongly urging it to enter into talks with representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a move directed at resolving the Sino-Tibetan dispute. And these actions from the international community remain ongoing.
There is still no clarity of information on the situation of many political prisoners, including in the case of the young Panchen Lama reincarnate, who remain under tight restrictions of the government of China. Those who have already been tried in Chinese courts and given jail sentences too continue to suffer unimaginably brutal ill-treatment in prison, with the number of cases of those resulting in deaths continuing to increase. The clearest example of a known case of such ill-treatment and death is that of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, one of the best known political prisoners in Chinese ruled Tibet. According to the most recent annual report of the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, there were currently a total of 2081 known Tibetan political prisoners in Chinese prisons, and that of them 967 were monks and nuns. In the year 2015 alone there were 68 known cases of Tibetans tried and jailed for political reasons. In addition, the report said, there were unknown numbers of other cases of detentions, arrests, and imprisonments. It also especially bears mentioning that many international human rights organisations have stated in their different reports that there was no improvement in the human rights situation in Tibet over the past one year. In particular, Freedom House, a rights organisation based in the United States, said in its latest annual report under the theme of Freedom in the World that the state of political freedom and civil liberties in Tibet was such that it ranked the second worst in the world. From this one could gauge how critical the situation in Chinese ruled Tibet today really is.
From every part of the Three Provinces of Chinese ruled Tibet today, emerging reports continue to speak of ever tightening restrictions on the Tibetan people. And among those places where the situation is reported to be most dire is the Kham Driru Dzong area. Different departments and agencies of the local Chinese government there were reported to be continuing to issue numerous directives in the names of orders and decrees, making the area one of the most tightly restricted in Chinese ruled Tibet.
Likewise, over the past more than one year, many young Tibetans have carried out lone protest marches on market streets, holding up in their hands portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shouting slogans. Such Tibetans have all been instantly detained and taken away, to remain disappeared thereafter. One of the latest examples in this regard was that of a woman named Manga-la who on 1 March 2016 carried out such a protest in Village No. 1 of Meuruma Township in Ngaba County of Amdo Province. She has remained disappeared ever since, bearing testimony to the existence of such a deplorable situation in Chinese ruled Tibet. Examples like these show that Tibetans in Tibet have no freedoms of religion, speech, and movement. Besides, China has made additional deployments in such places of soldiers and paramilitary police to greatly strengthen restrictions and enhance surveillance over the local Tibetan people.
In addition to an already existing state of very high restrictions on religious freedom, Mr. Chen Quanguo, the Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region committee of the Communist Party of China, recently explained how ethnic Tibetan officials of the Chinese government who secretly believe in religion and who follow the “Dalai clique” should be especially targeted and severely punished according to law. China also recently launched an online database of what it calls authentic Living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism. Likewise, China’s ethnic minority and religious affairs official Mr. Zhu Weiqun has made unabashedly false assertions that the Chinese government had the right to take decisions about the recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And On 1 September 2007, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs issued regulations saying all reincarnations of “Living Buddhas” in Tibetan Buddhism must receive approval of the Chinese government. With regulations and laws such as the above meant to legitimise its nefarious actions, China has been especially focusing on actually implementing in a systematic manner a policy of total destruction of Tibet’s unique historical attributes such as its religious institution, culture, linguistic heritage, as well as customs and traditions. These actions of the Chinese government speak for themselves with damning clarity.
The environmental situation in Tibet is not directly concerned with politics. However, the fact remains that the river systems, mountains, grasslands, forests, lakes large and small, and so on in Tibet have a direct bearing on the sustenance of the other living beings inhabiting them and especially on the lives of billions of people. It is imperative that these ecologically balanced geographical formations of natural beauty are obviously given greater amount of care and attention than they have received in the past. However, contrary to this, the government of China has taken recourses to damming the rivers to distort the natural course of their flows, dug up the mountains to explore for mineral ores, carried out deforestations, newly build hydropower stations over the lakes of different sizes, and railroaded the grasslands. As a result, the environmental situation in Tibet today continues to worsen considerably day by day and has, in fact, become critical.
The government of China has over the years published 13 so-called white papers on Tibet to assert claims such as that it respected the freedom of movement in the Tibetan territory, and, likewise, that it had continued to make improvements in the Tibetan people’s enjoyment of freedoms in such matters as their linguistic heritage and in the protection of the region’s environment, with plans being claimed to be underway for further progress in these fields. Also, the top leadership of China has so far held six so-called forum meetings for the undertaking of development work in Tibet. However, actions like these, while being grandiose in claims have been empty of any substantive meaning or result. They have been designed only to hoodwink both the international community and people within Tibet as well as in China. The stark ground reality remains that the Tibetan people have no freedom even to put on display a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, their object of undivided faith and devotion. Likewise, in the monasteries as well as in residential neighbourhoods, permanently resident so-called work teams of party cadres have been stationed to exercise strict control and supervision over every aspect of religious and day to day life activities of the Tibetan people, including when they are eating or sleeping, resting or moving. Situations like these show that Tibet today has come to resemble a vast labour camp for incarcerating prisoners. It is only fitting and of utmost importance therefore that given the critical and continuously rapid deterioration in the situation in Tibet, bringing untold suffering to the Tibetan people there, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile adopt the following official resolutions of solidarity.
1) While expressing admiration for the patriotically inspired heroic men and women of Tibet who for the sake of the Tibetan religious, national, and ethnic causes have carried out protests by setting themselves on fire, as well as those who for the sake of the Tibetan religious, national and ethnic causes remain imprisoned and endure untold suffering for their courage and determination, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, while also expressing solidarity with them, offers condolences to their surviving family members and close relatives. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile fervently prays that those who have died may be taken in by the lotus-holding supreme Bodhisattva to be reborn in the Snowland of Tibet where the sun of freedom and joy may rise once again with urgency and in all speediness, while those who continue to endure untold suffering under detention and imprisonment by the government of China may win a speedy release.
2) Under its ongoing anti-corruption drive today, China has issued orders such as that officials should also be investigated to find out whether they have maintained any sort of link with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In Kham Draggo Dzong and other places too, China has enhanced the restrictions on putting on display pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Likewise, China also continues to restrict with criminal charges Tibetans from holding prayers services for the good health and success of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On the other hand, however, China makes assertions about having the rights to have a decisive say in matters concerned with the entire process leading up to the recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thus it makes remarks and engages in actions of various kinds which are patently self-contradictory. China also recently launched an online database of what it calls “living Buddhas” of Tibetan Buddhism. There is absolutely no way the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile can accept any such courses of action taken by the government of China. As a matter of fact, with regard to all matters pertaining to the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a clarification has already been issued during the 11th conference in India of the four great schools of Tibetan Buddhism and of the Yungdrung Bon tradition. We wish to make it emphatically clear that apart from what has been explained in that conference, no one else has any say on any matter concerned with the process for the recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
3) The government of China all too frequently likes to make utterances about the great family of the motherland. However, in reality, it carries out rampant exploitation of the Tibetan territory and its natural and human resources by rendering the region an area of colonial domination; by ethnic discrimination, economic marginalization, and denigration of the Tibetan linguistic heritage; and by destruction of the region’s natural environment. We emphatically demand that China end all such practices, review them, and come to a decision to implement a policy which is based on equality and fairness.
4) On its part the Central Tibetan Administration will continue to strive to arrive at a settlement of the issue of Tibet based on the mutually beneficial middle way approach. This being the case, if the leaders of China are sincere and unequivocal without any inconsistency in their utterances and actions, and desire to achieve a positive solution to the Sino-Tibetan dispute, it should forthwith start the process of entering into talks aimed at actual implementation in the entire Tibetan territory a meaningfully autonomous governance in keeping with the provisions of China’s law on regional autonomy for ethnic minority regions.
5) The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile has to date adopted a number of resolutions to express gratitude to governments across the world which have acted on the critical situation in Tibet through gestures designed to express concern for and solidarity with the Tibetan people and to parliaments across the world for having adopted resolutions thereon. Likewise, through various types of totally peaceful, non-violent means, Tibet Support Groups, non-governmental organisations, Chinese democracy movement groups, as well as individuals who support justice from across the world have carried out all sorts of campaigns in support of the Tibetan cause. To all of them we express our gratitude. At the same time, we request all of them to continue to lend support to our just cause with efforts directed at resolving the just cause of Tibet in general terms and especially for the purpose of seeking an urgent and immediate end to the tragedy of Tibet and the untold suffering of the Tibetan people. During the past year of 2015, a delegation of members of the United States Congress and the Federal German Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid were able to especially visit Tibet and to look at the actual situation there. These visits have proved beneficial. We request that efforts be directed at making ever more such delegation visits. In particular, we reiterate our appeal to the United Nations to dispatch urgently and as soon as possible a representative delegation to investigate the tragic and critical situation in Tibet today.
Adopted unanimously by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on 22nd March, 2016
The above resolution was adopted unanimously by the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile at its 11th session on 22nd March, 2016
* In case of any unintended discrepancy between this translation and its original Tibetan text, the latter should be treated as authoritative and final.