Tibetan Parliament Speaker Penpa Tsering (l) and Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel addressing the press conference in Dharamshala on November 7, 2012.
DHARAMSHALA, November 7: On the eve of China’s once-a-decade leadership change, the exile Tibetan Parliament today urged China’s new leaders to accept the existence of a Tibet issue and revive contacts, broken since 2010.
Speaking to reporters in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Penpa Tsering and Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, made a four-point appeal to the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which begins Thursday in Beijing.
“We urge the imminent upcoming new Chinese leadership to desist from the existing policy of avoidance or the false notion of not accepting the existence of a Tibetan Issue. Rather we urge you to revive the channels of meaningful contacts to resolve the longstanding issue of Tibet,” Speaker Tsering said.
China’s vice-president Xi Jinping, 59, will be appointed Party Secretary and replace current president Hu Jintao at the end of a week-long party conference.
Calling the situation in Tibet “most tragic and critical,” the Tibetan administration expressed its deepest concern on the alarming escalation in self-immolation protests in Tibet, while recognising these drastic actions as the “highest form of non-violent activity.”
“We urge the 18th Congress to seriously deliberate on the continuing spate of self-immolations in Tibet, conduct a thorough investigation into the underlying causes and develop corrective policies and measures that meets the aspiration of the Tibetan people,” Tibetan lawmakers said in the release.
While blaming the self-immolations on the “wrong policies” of the Chinese government in the last 60 years and particularly since 2008, the Speakers urged the Chinese leadership to “immediately stop its error-ridden policy of denigrating and accusing His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
“We urge the PRC government to usher in conducive atmosphere for our people to freely practice and promote our religion, culture and language,” the release stated.
The Tibetan lawmakers further appealed the 18th Congress to “provide amnesty and release all Tibetan political prisoners to foster positive policy transformation in Tibet.” There has been a precedence of seven such amnesties in the history of the Communist Party of China.
“If the PRC government gives due consideration and follow up actions to prove their sincerity on the above four points, it will not only contribute to pacify the turbulent situation in Tibet, but would also be beneficial towards securing stability in China, promote peaceful co-existence between Tibetan and Chinese people besides contributing to the enhancement of China’s image and dignity globally,” Speaker Tsering said.Tibetan NGOs challenge Xi to address endemic policy failures in Tibet
Also in Dharamshala, four major Tibetan NGOs today took part in a global Xi Jinping Tibet Challenge and organised a Photo Booth action to collect direct messages from different individuals about what Xi's Tibet Challenge will be.
Tibetans and supporters around the world had earlier issued Xi a Tibet Challenge - to address the endemic policy failures and seek a just solution to the occupation of Tibet or face growing resistance.
An elderly Tibetan delivers Xi Jinping his Tibet Challenge in Dharamshala on November 7, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
The NGOs said China’s failed Tibet policies have contributed to a society in which Tibetans' human rights are “routinely abused, and where they are marginalised politically, socially and economically.”
“Decades of intense suffering in Tibet have led many Tibetans to feel compelled to engage in extreme acts of protests, reflected in the ever increasing wave of self-immolation protests taking place,” the Tibetan groups said in a joint release.
“It is increasingly clear that Tibetans in Tibet are determined to shape their own future. China’s Communist Party leaders will ignore this at their peril; or the 5th generation could be the last generation.”