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In London on Thursday 22nd May, Avaaz.org will organize a 3-mile long “human chain handshake” from the Dalai Lama to the Chinese Embassy. They are calling it “Give Peace a Hand”. Here is the link.
It’s great to see this timely new website, associated with the forthcoming book of the same name by Professor Robert Thurman.
Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and I had the honour of briefing His Holiness the Dalai Lama immediately after our arrival yesterday from China. Kalon Tripa, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, joined us in the briefing. We also briefed the Deputy Speaker, Mrs. Dolma Gyari, this morning. The Speaker, Mr. Karma Choephel, is currently on an official visit.
On 4 May 2008 in Shenzhen, China, we met with Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and Vice Minister Sithar of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party. We would like to express our appreciation to the hosts for accepting our suggestion to hold this informal meeting in Shenzhen as well as agreeing to a meeting of principals without aides. Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and Vice Minister Sithar were our counterparts for the last several years. This long relationship made it possible to have open and frank discussions in a friendly and respectful atmosphere, despite the prevailing tense and grave situation in Tibet.
Our main purpose of seeking this urgent informal meeting was to discuss the critical situation in Tibet. There were strong and divergent views on the nature as well as the causes of the recent tragic events in Tibet. These views were expressed in a frank and candid manner. On our part we rejected categorically the accusation made against His Holiness the Dalai Lama of instigating the demonstrations and unrest in Tibet. Instead we made it clear that the events in Tibet are the inescapable consequences of wrong policies of the authorities towards the Tibetans, which goes back several decades. The recent crisis in Tibet is a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans with these policies. The task at hand is to address the legitimate concerns of the Tibetan people in a realistic and constructive way.
We have stressed the importance of ending the current repression throughout Tibet. We have called for the release of prisoners, to allow those injured to be given proper medical treatment and give unfettered access to visitors, including the media. We have also called for an end to the “patriotic re-education” campaign which is deeply resented by the Tibetan people.
We also rejected the accusation that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is sabotaging the Olympic Games 2008. On the contrary, we made it clear that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently and unambiguously supported the Beijing Olympic Games right from the beginning.
Despite major differences on important issues both sides demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches in addressing the issues at hand. In this regard, each side made some concrete proposals, which can be part of the future agenda. As a result an understanding was reached to continue the formal round of discussions. A date for the seventh round will be finalised soon after mutual consultations.
We welcome the recent statement of President Hu Jintao that his government is “serious” about the dialogue and his acknowledging that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being “conscientious and serious”. This statement is encouraging at a time when there is growing skepticism about China’s sincerity in resolving the Tibet issue through dialogue.
08 May 2008