More than 100 Tibet supporters from over 30 countries affirmed their support for the Dalai Lama’s emphasis on engagement with China and outreach to the Chinese people, but expressed serious concern about Beijing’s propaganda offensive on Tibet and failure to engage with the Tibetan side in the dialogue process.

The activists gathered in Delhi this weekend to discuss strategies for Tibet’s future at a time of crisis, responding to a call from the Dalai Lama for suggestions from the movement to the Dharamsala-based exile government, following a meeting for Tibetans from the diaspora between November 17 and 22.

“This meeting was called at a time of crisis in Tibet – there is a major crackdown on the Tibetan plateau following a wave of protests against Chinese rule, and Beijing is taking an increasingly hostile approach to the Dalai Lama,” said Dr. N.K. Trikha, Convener of the Indian Core Group for the Tibetan Cause, which organized the meeting. “There is a deep concern that if the issue is not resolved, there may be more unrest and repression in Tibet in the buildup to the 50th anniversary next year of the March uprising which led to Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet in 1959. Representatives from all over the world shared a sense of solidarity and urgency in discussing new approaches to be presented to the Tibetan government in exile,” he said.

The meeting observed a one minute silence in memory of those hundreds of Tibetans who lost their lives to Chinese security forces’ bullets in uprising this year and also to those who were killed in terrorist violence in Mumbai last week. The communiqué of the group, which met in Gurgaon, stated: “This violent tragedy underlines the urgent need for the international community to take meaningful action in support of those who pursue non-violent struggles, including the Tibetan people.”

The TSGs are non-governmental organizations formed voluntarily by individuals to support the Tibetan people’s freedom movement through various non-violent actions and means across the globe. This was the first such meeting of TSGs following the Tibetan people’s uprising across Tibet during March-April this year.

“The meeting expressed profound concern over the continuing suffering of the Tibetan people living under de facto martial law and solidarity with over a thousand political prisoners and hundreds of those Tibetans who still remain disappeared since the beginning of the Tibetan uprising,” said Dr. Trikha.

Delegates took exception to the Chinese government’s presentation of the Tibetan uprising in occupied Tibet as ‘violent riots in Lhasa’ despite the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of six-month long Tibetan people’s expression against Chinese rule across the entire Tibetan plateau. There was general agreement that despite lack of progress in the current dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and Beijing, the strategy of engagement needed to continue.

Delegates’ suggestions will be presented in full to the Tibetan government in exile. Some comments made during the meeting were as follows:

1. “We understand there are many different perspectives among Chinese people and we need to create alliances with those who are also suffering under Communist Party policies.”

2. “Focus advocacy work on stake-holder governments in Asia such as India, where Tibet is of particular geopolitical importance, and draw attention to the critical significance of Tibet’s environment as a watershed for Asia’s great rivers and as the earth’s ‘third pole'”

3. “Explore fresh strategies for supporting the institution of the Dalai Lama, and recognize that the Dalai Lama’s leadership extends to peoples of many different countries in the Himalayas, Mongolia, and beyond”

Advertisements