ICT Recommendations for Policy Makers
The uprising in 2008 and the continuing tensions in Tibet result from the failure of the government of the People’s Republic of China to implement a system of genuine autonomy for Tibetans concurrent with its campaign to dilute the Tibetan identity and, in particular, to constrain the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, of which devotion to the Dalai Lama is an integral element.
A political solution is possible. Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials have been engaged in a dialogue since September 2002. Unfortunately, seven years of sporadic dialogue have not progressed to substantive negotiations and have not met the expectations of the international community, including several heads of state, for meaningful progress towards a mutually-agreeable solution for Tibet. The Tibetan position in the dialogue is that Tibetans be able to maintain their distinctive Tibetan identity into the future. Central to this position is the political right of autonomy provided to all Tibetans living in contiguous Tibetan areas, an area roughly defined by the geography of the Tibetan plateau, governed by a single administrative unit under a single unified policy. According to the Chinese government’s own analysis of its law on regional ethnic autonomy, the Tibetan people are entitled to the full political right of autonomy:
- full decision-making power in economic and social development undertakings;
- freedom to inherit and develop traditional culture and to practice religious belief;
- freedom to administer, protect and be the first to utilize natural resources; and
- freedom to independently develop educational and cultural undertakings.
Given the disappointing results of the dialogue, the instability in Tibet and the unjustifiably and disproportionately harsh consequences for Tibetans involved in the spring 2008 demonstrations, and the intensification of Chinese government campaigns against the influence of the Dalai Lama, ICT offers the following recommendations.
ICT offers 15 recommendations for policy makers:
For the government of the People’s Republic of China:
1. End the ongoing Patriotic Education and ‘Strike Hard’ campaigns that provoke resentment among Tibetans and undermine rights nominally conferred by the Chinese constitution;
2. Provide unimpeded access to Tibet for UN human rights experts and other independent observers to investigate the situation in Tibet
3. Release immediately and unconditionally all those detained solely for engaging in peaceful protest;
4. Provide an accounting of all who have been killed or gone missing and all those detained, including names, whereabouts and charges against them;
5. Ensure that all detainees have prompt access to family members and any medical treatment they may require, lawyers of their choice, legal documents in the Tibetan language, and that they are treated in full accordance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, to which the People’s Republic of China is a party;
6. Provide unrestricted foreign media access to Tibet, including the Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, and an end to the special permits required for access to the Tibet Autonomous Region.
7. Implement all Tibet-related recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Torture and issue standing invitations to all UN Mechanisms to visit Tibet, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Rapporteurs on Torture, Religion, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, and Human Rights Defenders.
8. Engage in sincere, results-based negotiations with the Dalai Lama or his representatives on a solution to the Tibet issue that meets the interests and aspirations of the Tibetans and Chinese peoples.
For other governments and heads of state:
9. Continue to work multilaterally for a negotiated solution to the Tibet issue and consider the establishment of a Contact Group for Tibet as well as other means to enhance regular contacts, exchanges of views and coordination on Tibetan issues;
10. Urge the Chinese government to engage in substantive discussions with the Dalai Lama or his representatives on the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, which was provided to representatives of the Chinese government at their request by the Dalai Lama’s envoys in November 2008.
11. Recognize that assertive and visible engagement with the Chinese Government on Tibetan issues, in addition to quiet diplomacy, can yield positive consequences and provide hope to Tibetans that a peaceful solution is possible;
12. Give political and financial support to programs that address chronic needs, as articulated by the Tibetan people, in such areas as education, work force development, environmental protection, and sustainable development; and
13. (For the United States) expeditiously appoint a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department; (for other governments and the EU) consider the creation of a similar post to promote and coordinate Tibetan policies and programs.
14. Adopt a common position that heads of state meet with the Dalai Lama as the preeminent Tibetan leader and also press for his participation in appropriate global fora.
For the international community:
15. Foreign broadcast and other media outlets should actively seek unguided access to Tibet and Tibetans in order to provide the world an accurate portrayal of Chinese rule in Tibet.
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|Tibet: Lhasa and Beyond, takes readers from town to town, offering them a chance to get to know these places and the Tibetans who call them home. Each month features a different hometown, highlighting the significance of the area and juxtaposing it with Tibetans’ political turmoil.|
ICT Press Releases
- 3 May, 2013International Campaign for Tibet
- 24 April, 2013International Campaign for Tibet
- 15 April, 2013International Campaign for Tibet