meeting_dharamsalaDharamsala, 17 novembre 2008. È iniziata oggi a Dharamsala l’assemblea straordinaria dei tibetani in esilio chiamati a discutere ed esprimersi sul futuro corso della politica tibetana alla luce dell’assenza di risultati concreti dopo otto tornate di incontri con la dirigenza di Pechino. Partecipano alla riunione, la più importante come numero di presenze tenuta dagli esiliati dal 1959, tutti i maggiori leader di governo e parlamentari tibetani e 581 rappresentanti della diaspora provenienti da tutto il mondo.
Il Presidente del Parlamento Tibetano in Esilio, Karma Chophel, ha fatto sapere che sono stati inoltre raccolti i pareri di oltre 17.000 tibetani in Tibet e che i lori punti di vista, raccolti in un documento preparato dal Kashag, saranno presentati e discussi nel corso dell’assemblea. Ottomila tibetani residenti in Tibet avrebbero dichiarato di rimettere ogni decisione al Dalai Lama, oltre cinquemila si sarebbero dichiarati favorevoli alla completa indipendenza e circa tremila si sarebbero espressi a favore della politica della Via di Mezzo.La prima giornata dei lavori dell’assemblea si è aperta con l’intervento del Primo Ministro Samdhong Rinpoche che, dopo aver elencato le numerose speculazioni e fraintendimenti che hanno accompagnato la decisione del governo di indire la riunione, ha dichiarato che la sua amministrazione “non ha alcuna agenda o piano nascosto”. Ha tuttavia affermato che, essendo ogni mutamento di indirizzo politico frutto di un processo democratico con il mandato del popolo tibetano, il meeting non sancirà alcun cambiamento della politica del governo ma è chiamato a “trovare una soluzione al problema del Tibet” alla luce “della gravità della situazione esistente all’interno del paese e delle indicibili sofferenze patite dai tibetani all’interno del Tibet a partire dallo scorso mese di marzo”. “Dovremmo poter comprendere i punti di vista e le aspirazioni della gente circa le migliori strategie da adottare per il futuro a beneficio della causa tibetana”, ha dichiarato Samdhong Rinpoche.meeting_dharamsala_1Il presidente del Parlamento in Esilio, Karma Chophel, nel commentare la decisione del Governo di non influenzare lo svolgimento del meeting ha così dichiarato: “Il Governo non vuole che i reali sentimenti e le opinioni che il popolo tibetano formulerà nel corso dell’assemblea subiscano alcuna influenza; per la stessa ragione, anche il Dalai Lama ha deciso di non essere presente”.

Questo, in lingua inglese, il testo completo dell’intervento del Primo Ministro tibetano:

Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speaker,

The Kashag extends warm greetings to all the participants who have come to this Special Meeting, as well as members of the press.

At the outset, the Kashag on behalf of all the Tibetans would like to pay our sincere reverence to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and express our gratitude for convening this first Special Meeting, after giving due consideration to number of things. The Kashag would also like to thank all the participants, who represent various sections of exile Tibetans, for making it convenient to attend this meeting. And more importantly, many Tibetans from Tibet have sent in their opinions for this Special Meeting for which the Kashag expresses its heartfelt gratitude.

The Kashag appreciates the opportunity for making this statement.

We need not further explain the seriousness of the situations in Tibet and the unspeakable sufferings of Tibetans in Tibet since March this year. Everyone is aware of the various challenges and obstacles before the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in its effort to find solution to the issue of Tibet. Under such critical stage, it is inevitable that we must contribute and come together to closely discuss about the views of the Tibetan masses on what future action needs to be taken on Tibet. Therefore to convene this meeting today is very timely and is the need of the hour. We believe this meeting will be considered an important event in our history. For such important event as this meeting, there have been many speculations and misconceptions. I will not try to clarify all of them. But I will clarify a few, which were told to me in person or through letters.

Some people say this Special Meeting is a political strategy and tactic to pressure the PRC before the eighth round of talks to extract some results. Some says this Meeting is convened so that the Central Tibetan Administration to shirk the responsibility of the failed talks or pass the blame to others. It is also said that this meeting is called because the Central Tibetan Administration had decided to change its current policy, or at least, one mentions that the CTA hopes that this meeting could bring about a change in the CTA’s current stance. And some says the CTA had convened this meeting to seek popular backing from Tibetan people for its current policy, and because of this reason, many of the participants at the meeting are CTA officials or those who are under the CTA’s influence. Those who made such speculations are not aware of real facts. I think they are oblivious to the decision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in convening this Special Meeting in accordance with democratic norms. Under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the CTA has always followed the principle of truth and has always remained transparent in all our dealings, without indulging in any double standards. The CTA has never adopted the policy of pressurizing others, nor will we do so in the future. We have briefed the media, the Parliament-in-Exile and the Tibetan public on the unsatisfactory outcome of the talks whenever necessary. We have been very transparent about the process and status of the talks and take full responsibility for the outcome, or lack thereof. Therefore, we don’t have to look for somebody else to blame. Regarding the question of changing the basic policy, this will be decided by the Tibetan people based on their collective aspiration. It is not the case of the CTA coming to decision, beforehand, and then later going to the people for consultation. This has not happened in the past and the CTA will never think of doing something like this in the future. A change in policy need not come from this meeting. The Parliament-in-Exile, through a unanimous resolution adopted on 18 September 1997, offered His Holiness the Dalai Lama full mandate to decide on the policy and direction of the Tibetan struggle, from time to time, keeping the global trend and other factors into consideration. Therefore if a change in basic policy is considered necessary, there is a way that is democratic and which has the mandate of Tibetan people. Likewise, the present policy has public mandate and therefore there is no reason to seek further public support for it. The participants for this meeting are constituted through a resolution of the parliament and the Administration has no comments on this. Customarily in the past annual meetings, the CTA officials were included. Other than that, there is no plan to overwhelm this conference with the position of the CTA. In fact, the Kashag has clearly instructed the CTA officials attending this meeting to freely raise their concerns and express their views, irrespective of the CTA’s standpoint and policy. As such this meeting is an opportunity for the Kalons to listen rather than voice its thoughts. The Kalons requested that they be excused from attending the group discussions. However, permission was not granted and the Kalons will join the group discussions but will not speak out the Kashag’s view and its policies at the group discussions. Based on these reasons, we would like to say that all the speculations mentioned above are not true.

Also few good-intentioned people have pointed out that today, the beginning of this Special Meeting, is an ominous day according to Tibetan calendar and that we should have been little more careful about finding the suitability of the day by consulting our own system of astrology. There are, however, remedies to reduce or reverse any adverse effects, especially when, on certain occasions, you need to perform important tasks within stipulated timeframe, with no time to find out whether a particular day is auspicious or not. Today is not particularly a bad and ominous day, except that you should avoid work related to water and to keep livestock indoor. Other than that, today is pretty good day with no obstacles as such. Nonetheless, the Tibetan Parliament has taken all corrective measures.

The reasons why this Special Meeting was called are as follows. Since March this year, in most parts of Tibet, Tibetans, irrespective of whether they were young or old, monks, nuns or lay people, male or female, spontaneously and courageously came together to demonstrate, with full knowledge of imminent dangers to their lives, expressing their anguish and dissatisfaction at the oppressive and brutal ultra-leftist policies of the PRC and to protest the total lack of freedom of speech and thought. This resentment has been building up for the last sixty years. However the peaceful and lawful manner in which the Tibetans demonstrated their long pent-up sentiments were crushed with brute force and merciless killings, torture, detentions and injury. Under such dire circumstances, Tibetans in Tibet pinned all their hopes on fellow Tibetans in the free world. It is needless for us to mention that, at such times, we cannot be insensitive to their cries. We must show solidarity with our brethrens and we must do whatever in our means to improve their situation. In this regard, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made tremendous efforts in this direction, including appealing to important world leaders and the international community, and specifically appealing to Tibetans, Chinese, and Chinese Buddhists. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has also written directly to President Hu Jintao and has send his envoys for an informal meeting in Shenzhen on 4 May and for the seventh round of talks in Beijing in July. However it is difficult to conclude if such tremendous efforts by His Holiness have brought any positive results. But the PRC’s repression and hardline policies towards Tibet and Tibetans have worsened and there is no sign of positive change. During the eighth round of talks in Beijing on 4th and 5th of this month, our act of submitting a memorandum about implementation of national regional autonomy provisions for all the Tibetans to enjoy autonomous status in accordance with law for national regional autonomy as enshrined in the constitution of People’s Republic of China was considered a ‘splittist’ act. We were accused of seeking independence in disguise. There was no positive response. Now the time has come for all the Tibetans to discuss their concerns and share opinions.

Generally, the members of parliament represent the masses and it is well known practice that any policy that has been passed in the parliament by resolution is assumed to have the mandate of the people, unless it is revised or changed by the parliament itself. This is most appropriate for a free country but this is not so for the exile Tibetan community. In a democratic country with a multi-party political system, the party with majority forms the government and it will use all its influence to safeguard the party’s interests. But we are a party-less democratic system in which the members of Parliament are elected from different religious schools and traditions and from Tibet’s traditional region rather than being elected from a specified constituency and representing people of that constituency. As a result, our Parliament members have limited contacts with the general public on a daily basis. For this reason, we have in our charter, unlike other democratic countries, a provision to call Special Meetings at times of emergency and for matters of great importance on which the general public opinion is needed.

The process of directly voting for the post of Kalon Tripa by Tibetan exiles is not so old. While voting for the Kalon Tripa, one should vote for his political stand and policy rather than voting for the candidate as a person. I have been told that it is a sign of failure on the part of an elected leader if he, enjoying the mandate of the people, consults the general public from time to time, instead of leading and giving political guidance to the people during his tenure. As mentioned above, our situation is not only urgent and pressing which cannot be compared with situation of other free countries, but also, under occupied situation, many day-to-day changes might possibly take place. So consulting the general public for their support on matter of special importance is exercising key democratic feature which should be followed not only by us but other elected leadership as well. For these reasons, this Special Meeting is not out of place with our charter and it conforms to the democratic process.

At this Meeting, by taking into account the urgent situation in Tibet, the current world situation and the behavior of the PRC’s leadership, we should able to understand the views and aspiration of the common Tibetans on what would be the best course of future actions beneficial to the Tibetan cause. The Kashag appeals to all the participants to use their intelligence and come together to contribute to an open and frank discussion. This meeting should not turn into a debate between political organizations and rigid political ideologies. And this must be stressed that the CTA has no hidden agenda and plan behind this Meeting. The Kashag will not make a statement about the works and programmes of the CTA thus far. The Kashag will neither say a single word about what is right or wrong on the agendas of this meeting. We do this because it may be viewed as influencing the views of participants. The Kashag has full faith in the wisdom of the public.

The statistic of opinions gathered from Tibetans in Tibet, concerning this Special Meeting, has been submitted to the Honorable Speakers.

The main objectives of this Special Meetings are;
1. To have open and frank discussion on the issue of Tibet by the general Tibetan masses at this critical point in time.
2. To invite views and comments on the CTA’s policies and strategies that are being expressed in media and on forums, and specially to provide official platform to receive the critical views and opinions regarding the CTA’s policies.
3. Whatever stand may be decided for the future of Tibet, it should have clear mandate of the people. The united efforts of Tibetans should be visible on the international stage.

Lastly, our prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and may His wishes be fulfilled. May the truth prevail on the issue of Tibet.

The Kashag
17 November 2008