‘Tibet issue about all Tibetans, not just Dalai Lama’July 18th, 2008 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS
Dharamsala, July 18 (IANS) Rebutting Chinese assertions, the Tibetan government-in-exile said here Friday that the issue of Tibet concerns the future of six million Tibetans there and not just the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Chinese officials said recently that the issue of Tibet is only about the Dalai Lama.
In response, the Tibetan government-in-exile said in a statement: “When the Chinese government made a five-point proposal in 1981, which included that the Dalai Lama will enjoy the same political status and living conditions as he had before 1959, the Dalai Lama had made it clear that the issue at stake was the well-being of six million Tibetans only.”
A senior Chinese official has said that China is willing to talk to the Dalai Lama about his future but not that of Tibet.
“The Chinese government will never discuss the future of Tibet with the Dalai Lama,” said Dong Yunhu, director general of China’s state council information office.
He explained that the reason behind China’s stand is the Dalai Lama’s claim that he represents the Tibetan people.
“I don’t think he is qualified to represent Tibet. If he ever did, it was before 1959,” Dong added.
In clarification, Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, secretary to the Dalai Lama, stated: “We would also like to make it clear that the Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, do not even dream of restoring the old society that prevailed in Tibet before 1959. As a matter of fact, democracy was introduced in the exiled Tibetan community in 1960 through election of representatives to the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Parliament in exile).
“Since 2001 Tibetans in exile have an elected political leadership and the Dalai Lama considers himself in semi-retirement. However, he will continue to fulfil his commitment to promote human values and religious harmony.”
The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.
The Dalai Lama has ever since been heading the Tibetan government-in-exile from here.
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