By Phurbu Thinley
President George W. Bush presented the Dalai Lama with this US Congressional Gold Medal at Capitol Rotunda on October 17 after meeting the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate privately in White House on Tuesday. (Photo by Reuters)
Dharamsala, October 18: Tibetan Government-in-Exile today called on China to adopt sincere approach policy in the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process, which resumed since 2002.
The Tibetan Government made the call at today’s official celebration of the awarding of the US Congressional Gold Medal to the Tibetan leader on Wednesday.
Six rounds of talks have taken place so far between Tibetan envoys and Chinese leadership without much significant outcome.
Tibetans have long been blaming Chinese leadership for lack of complete sincerity in the dialogue to meaningfully resolve the Tibet issue.
The statement issued today by the Central Tibetan Administration called on the Chinese leadership to show true sincerity to resolve the Tibet issue peacefully according to the Middle-Way Approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“The Leaders of the People’s Republic of China can now use the ongoing 17th National Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) to show enough courage for the peaceful reconciliation of Tibet issue though the Middle way Approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the mutual interests of both sides,” the exile Government’s statement said.
The statement also called on China to improve human rights situation inside Tibet and release of Tibetan political prisoners by highlighting recent repressions in eastern Tibet in order to improve the dialogue process.
In a speech to accept the US Congress' top civilian award yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama used the high-profile ceremony to again insist he only wanted autonomy for his homeland, and not independence, and called for talks with China's leaders.
The Tibetan leader also warned of social and environmental problems occurring in his homeland under Chinese rule.
"Every year, the Chinese population inside Tibet is increasing at an alarming rate," he said.
"And, if we are to judge by the example of the population of Lhasa (Capital of Tibet), there is a real danger that the Tibetans will be reduced to an insignificant minority in their own homeland," the Dalai Lama said.
In addition to the US Congressional Gold Medal, the Tibetan Government's statement highlighted Canada’s Honorary Citizenship and Kalmyk Republic’s White Lotus Award conferred to His Holiness last year, and said that the honours were in true recognition of His Holiness’ enduring commitments and do not; in anyway, carry political motives of the presenting countries.
The Tibetan Government in exile today officially celebrated the awarding of the US Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness. Cultural songs and dances were performed by various institutions, schools and organisations to keep Dharamsala celebrating for the whole second consecutive day. Tea and snacks were served by the Tibetan Shops Association of Dharamsala.
Thousands of Tibetans, Tibet supporters and visiting tourists jam-packed the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts compound in Dharamsala on the night of October 17 to watch the live telecast of the ceremony awarding His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the United States' highest civilian honour at Capitol Rotunda by the US Congress. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul)
On October 17, President George W. Bush defied official Chinese anger by joining the Dalai Lama in the US Capitol, where the Tibetan spiritual leader was presented America's highest civilian honour, a move very much welcome by Tibetans.
Mr Bush, who on Tuesday also met with the Dalai Lama privately at his White House residence, urged China to open talks with the Tibetan leader.
"It's in their interest to meet with the Dalai Lama," Mr Bush was quoted as saying in a media report.
In Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama led Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Tibetans turned the occasion into a day-long public celebration. Following a morning goodwill prayer, several thousands of Tibetans later gathered at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) to enjoy series of entertaining events jointly organised by several voluntary organisations. Hundreds more assembled at TIPA, including sizeable number of foreign tourists and local Indians later in the evening to catch the live telecast show of the US Congressional Gold Medal award being presented to the Dalai Lama.
Joy and emotions culminated into loud cheers and bustling firecrackers being repeatedly shot into the air on Wednesday night as the crowd watched the Tibetan leader, led by President Bush, enter the Capitol Rotunda building on two large projection screens. The cheers and rounds of applause further escalated the moment His Holiness the Dalai Lama was presented with the medal by the President of the United States.
After two days of celebration, “It’s like we are celebrating Losar
(Tibetan New Year)” a young Tibetan tells a circle of his friends.
The awarding of the US Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama is the most significant tribute to His Holiness since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his enduring effort to meaningfully resolve the issue of Tibet through non-violent peaceful approach.