Document no. 7
Official Solidarity Resolution on Critical Situation inside Tibet
With the enthronement of the first Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo in 127 BCE, the Purgyal dynasty of the Tibetan empire was established. Since then, the Tibetan emperors particularly the three dharma kings have transformed the Tibetan nation into a powerful empire in Central Asia. This is a historical fact. Following the Tibetan empire, the Sakyas, Pagmodrupas, Rinpungpas, Depa Tsangpa, and the Gaden Phodrang governed the Tibetan nation, transforming Tibet into a nation rich with religion, language, and culture. At the time, Tibet also formulated and practiced its own foreign policy with its neighboring states, and its national sovereignty and independence was undeniable.
However, in 1949, the Chinese government militarily invaded Tibet. It took complete control of Tibet’s administration in 1959 and forced His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet, to flee into exile in India. Following His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s footsteps, the heads of the various Tibetan religious traditions and a section of Tibetan government officials as well as over 80,000 Tibetan public came into exile. During and immediately after the period, the Chinese government killed at least 1.2 million Tibetans and destroyed at least 6000 monasteries. It also burned numerous sacred scriptures, relics, and Tibetan Buddhist artifacts and cultural treasures. It was a period during which Tibetans endured untold suffering and brutality.
Since the invasion, the Chinese government has continuously destroyed the civilization of the Tibetan people with the implementation of various campaigns such as Liberation of Tibet, Democratic Reforms, Cultural Revolution, etc. Through Patriotic Reeducation Campaigns, the Chinese government has tried to forcibly transform Tibetan people’s collective thoughts and aspirations. Under the pretext of modernization and development, China constructed airports, highways and railway lines in Tibet. However, in reality, it was to effectively transform Tibet into a military zone, enhance the mass migration of the Chinese population into Tibet and exploit the abundant natural resource of the Tibetan plateau through deforestation and excessive mining. Despite such atrocities and brutalities from the Chinese government, the Tibetan people inside Tibet has remained resilient and steadfast in their efforts to preserve the sanctity of the Tibetan identity, language, and culture.
During the Seventh Tibet Work Forum from 28 to 29 August 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping has emphasized the unification of the country and stability in Tibet as the key to securing China’s borders. He also highlighted ethnic harmony, patriotic education, countering ‘separatism’ and Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism. In other words, he announced various policies to foster loyalty among the Tibetan people towards the Chinese Communist Party.
In 2021, the State Council Information Office of the Chinese government issued a white paper on Tibet titled ‘Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development, and Prosperity’. In this white paper, the Chinese government propagated numerous lies and exaggerations on China’s infrastructure development, advancement of religious freedom, and promotion of Tibetan education in the last 70 years. It also explained how Tibet is historically an inalienable part of China. In reality, Tibetans are deprived of even basic human rights in Tibet. Tibetans who advocate Tibetan language education, preservation of Tibet’s environment, promotion of Tibetan culture are arrested and sentenced to imprisonment. It has also disallowed Tibetans below the age of 18 to be ordained as monks, and the religious activities of the Tibetan monasteries are critically monitored with the institution of ‘Work Teams’ near monastery premises. Portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are banned in monasteries and in its place, monasteries are forced to display the photos of the Chinese communist leaders. In 2007, the Chinese government has issued its Order no. 5 with regard to the Tibetan reincarnation system. This order is a violation of the centuries-old tradition of the Tibetan people and is a testament to the fact that there is no religious freedom in Tibet. However, despite the Chinese government’s repeated lies on Tibet’s history and propaganda to legitimize its occupation of Tibet, it has not been successful in convincing the global public.
China has annihilated Tibetan tradition and culture for the last 73 years. Tibetans from all walks of life are severely curtailed from practicing their traditions due to which Tibetans have expressed their anguish through numerous peaceful protests and demonstrations. In 2008, Tibetans from all three provinces of Tibet rose up against Chinese rule in Tibet. Following the 2008 Tibetan uprising, China illegally arrested, detained, and brutally tortured the Tibetan protesters in complete violation of the UN charter on Human Rights. Hundreds of Tibetan protesters were killed by Chinese authorities and thousands more were reported missing after the protests. Similarly, from the self-immolation of Tibetan monk Tabhey in 2009 to the self-immolation of Tsewang Norbu on 25 February 2022, at least 156 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in an expression of peaceful protest against the Chinese government. Most of the Tibetan self-immolators have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans while some have called for the complete independence of Tibet. However, instead of reforming its failed policies in Tibet, the Chinese government has intensified its repression and suppression of the Tibetan people’s human rights including curtailing freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to education in one’s own language, and has imposed Mandarin as the standard language in Tibet and has enhanced the Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism. This calls for our continued resistance to these policies of the Chinese government.
Due to intense repression and surveillance, it has become extremely difficult to receive accurate information from inside Tibet. Moreover, Tibetans inside Tibet are arrested and sentenced to prison for contacts with Tibetans outside Tibet. For these reasons, Freedom House, an international human rights organization based in the US, has designated Tibet as the second most inaccessible region for two consecutive years. Journalists, world leaders and diplomats have not been allowed to visit Tibet. In the rare cases where they are allowed, their visits are heavily orchestrated by the state and they are not allowed to go beyond the guided tours. Although China has labelled Tibet as a ‘Socialist Paradise’ with middle income economy, harmonious society, advancing educational opportunities, and beautiful natural sceneries, there is a huge disconnect between what China says and the policies that they practice in Tibet.
For instance, the Chinese government demolished several Buddhist statues including a 99-foot statue of Lord Buddha at Gaden Rabten Namgyal Ling monastery in Kham Dragko, and a 30-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha. It also demolished a monastic school, several monastic residences, and a three-storied statue of Guru Padmasambhava in December 2021. Since November 2021, under the pretext of Patriotic and Redevelopment programs, the people of Dragko have been imposed with severe restrictions and surveillance. Dragko monastery’s Khenpo Paga, administrator Nyima, monk Tenzin Nyima, monk Tashi Dorje, sculptor Lhamo Yangkyab, and treasurer Tsering Samdup, have been detained. The cellphones of the people of Dragko were also checked regularly for videos of the demolition of the statues and for photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Similarly, Tenzin Norbu and Wangchen Nyima, two monks from Dragko monastery, were arrested. In another instance, Lodhen and Sherab, two Tibetan youth from Gyalthang in China’s Yunnan Province were arrested by Chinese authorities. In January 2022, three Tibetan pilgrims namely Nortso, Azang, and Dotra from Dagyab in Chamdo were arrested while returning from their pilgrimage under allegations of storing ‘politically sensitive’ photos. Dragko monastery’s monk Tashi Dorje was also arrested in early January 2022.
Similarly, Go Sherab Gyatso, a popular Tibetan author, was arrested on 26 October 2020 by Chinese authorities in Chengdu city. He has been missing since then. However, information was received on 3 December 2021 that he has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a Chinese People’s Intermediate Court in Lhasa on 3 February 2021 under charges of separatism. Earlier, in 1998, Go Sherab Gyatso had been sentenced to three years in prison in Ngaba under charges of possessing a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was also arrested and sentenced to one year in prison during the widespread Tibetan uprising of 2008. At least 14 Tibetans detailed above were known to have been detained and sentenced to prison.
Similarly, the authorities of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) issued a Code of Conduct for Non-religious Beliefs of Communist Party members in the Tibet Autonomous Region (For Trial Implementation) on 22 April 2021. Through such laws, Tibetans are prohibited from practicing any religion. A new department was also established where the phone numbers of Tibetans in TAR were collected to monitor the phone conversations and photo-sharing practices of Tibetans in TAR. These clearly show that Tibetans don’t have even the basic human rights.
However, Tibetans inside Tibet have been steadfast in resisting the oppression and repressive policies of the Chinese government. To honor their sacrifices and persistent movements against the Chinese government, Tibetans all over the world should redouble their efforts to resolve the just cause of the Tibetan people. The successive Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have also expressed and passed resolutions of Solidarity with the suffering and the continuing efforts of the Tibetan people including the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan organizations and associations, as well as the efforts and initiatives of private individuals. Internationally also, many nations have passed official resolutions of support to the Tibetan people, and issued statements of support and concern to the situation inside Tibet. We urge the Chinese government to stop its brutal stringent policies in Tibet and engage in dialogue to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict as advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Therefore, the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile during its second session feels it imperative to pass this official resolution of Solidarity.
- Reaffirms and expresses its highest respect to all the brave Tibetans who have sacrificed their sacred lives under the brutal oppression of the Chinese government in Tibet, and pray that they are reborn in Tibet and continue to offer their noble contribution towards the Tibetan polity. We also express our profound condolences to their families and relatives.
- In 2021, the Chinese government demolished a 99-foot statue of Lord Buddha at Gaden Rabten Namgyaling monastery in Kham Dragko along with a 30-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha. It also demolished 45 prayer wheels, a monastic school and a three-storied statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Nyingma Chanang monastery. These demolitions are reminiscent of the destructive policies of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet and should be stopped immediately. These policies and practices of the Chinese government should also be properly disseminated in the international arena.
- The Chinese government should take responsibility for the physical welfare of the Eleventh Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, author Go Sherab Gyatso as well as all the other Tibetan political prisoners. We urge the Chinese government to release them immediately and provide them their basic human rights. As Michele Bchelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is scheduled to visit East Turkestan for inspection in May this year, we also request her to visit Tibet.
- Although Tibet was never a part of China historically, the best viable option to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict is the mutually-beneficial Middle Way Approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Therefore, we should make efforts to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict through the Middle Way Approach.
- Tibetan religion, culture, and language have been the source of Tibetan identity for thousands of years. The Chinese government should treat these cultural treasures with due respect and should implement programs to provide education on these subjects. It also should not mix politics with Tibetan Buddhism. If the Chinese government continues to perpetrate the violation of these basic rights, we will identify the Chinese government and its leaders as the Real Separatists.
- Tibetans inside Tibet have been forced to endure hell on earth since the occupation of Tibet by Chinese forces. However, the determination and spirit of the Tibetan people have been unflinching. Tibetans in exile should take inspiration from the people inside Tibet and should strive to resolve the Tibet issue. The Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament should also organise a largescale lobbying campaign to amplify the Tibetan movement.
- The Tibetan Parliament also expresses its heartfelt gratitude to the people and government of India for its kind hospitality and support. We also express our gratitude to the international community including governments, parliaments, non-governmental organisations, private individuals, particularly the United States government and Congress, for extending their continued support towards Tibet through official resolutions, and political statements. And so be it adopted accordingly with the unanimous approval of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on 15 March 2022.
The above resolution was passed with unanimous approval by the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile at its 2nd session on 15 March 2022.