'Tibetans begin talks with China for autonomy'
Mysore, August 8 - "I do not believe that the United Nations Organisation (UNO) can help solve the Tibetan problem in any way. It is an undemocratic institution, which is unable to implement its own resolutions. Hence, it is useless to approach UN", remarked Prof. Sandhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibetan Government in Exile.
He was addressing a press conference, after attending a seminar on 'World Peace' held under the aegis of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society, Mysore and Rotary West Mysore, at Mahajana PU College, Jayalakshmipuram, here yesterday.
"A Tibetan envoy of Dalai Lama has been in constant touch with the Chinese government, seeking 'People's Regional Autonomy Status', since 2002. Already, four rounds of talks have been held, with little bit of progress each time. Now, we are looking forward to fifth round of talks", Prof. Rinpoche said and added that the objective was to make the Tibetan plateau an Ahimsa (non-violence) zone, after which, there will be no need for defence forces.
"National defence and security of Tibetans residing in Tibet will be the centre of discussion this time. That apart, the aspects of culture, language, religion, education, law and order etc., will be dealt by the Tibetans themselves, as a self-governing system", he said.
"My countrymen will be free only through non-violence, failing which, the entire Tibetan race will be wiped out", Prof. Rinpoche felt and added that Ahimsa was the only way to attain freedom, as shown by many leaders, particularly Mahatma Gandhi.
"However powerful any country may claim to be, they have failed to curb terrorism. Violence cannot be subdued by more violence. It can be ended only through love and compassion", Prof. Rinpoche stated.
Asked about the move to strengthen Indo-China friendship, Prof. Rinpoche said, "we are watching the developments. We hope the relationship improves because, the more better relation India has with China, the more it will help solve the Tibetan problems. Unfortunately, not much progress is made in this direction".
Regarding India's role in the Tibetan fight for freedom, Prof. Rinpoche said, "India cannot fight on behalf of Tibetans. We have lost our freedom and will reclaim it on our own. Of course, India's help and patronage is needed.
Replying to a query about the numerical strength of Tibetans, Prof. Rinpoche said, "Numbers may matter in Government formation under a democratic set up. But in reality, truth does not depend on voice of great numbers. We believe in truth. Truth itself has unchallengable stren-gth and power. If you look minutely, you will realise that China is not able to compete with our popularity. Dalai Lama is commanding respect globally, which is a cause of worry for China, as they cannot counter our route of Ahimsa.
Regarding the differences of opinion among the Tibetans over the demand for administrative autonomy or total independence, Prof. Rinpoche explained, "As per a recent opinion poll, 66.60 per cent Tibetans were in favour of the Middle Path, that is autonomy, while the rest, being supporters of Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Democratic Party, are for total independence".
To a question about some Tibetan refugees in India seeking India citizenship after being well settled as industrialists and businessmen, Prof. Rinpoche said, "such instances are rare. But they are free to do as they please. Tibetan refugees come under the purview of Indian Law and they must abide by it. Tibetan refugees are there in 48 different countries".
Prof. Rinpoche, whose tenure as the Prime Minister of Tibetan Government in Exile ends on Sept. 4, 2006, said that the administration, with Dalai Lama as the Head of State, operates from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
"The Tibetan Government can have eight ministers. Presently, there are only four", he said and added that elections are held under two-tier system, by refugees all over the world. Tibetans in Tibet have been deprived of their voting rights, he said.