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.
Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials have been engaged in a dialogue process since September 2002. ICT advocates for negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government in order to bring about a peaceful solution to the status of Tibet.
The International Campaign for Tibet offers 11 recommendations for policy makers, including recommendations for: U.S., European, and other governments; the government of the People's Republic of China; and the international community.
Note on the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People was formally presented by the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to their Chinese counterparts during the ninth round of dialogue in Beijing, PRC.
Translated from the Tibetan original
Note on the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People
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.