Dalai Lama Calls for ‘Peaceful, Lasting Solution’ to Tibet Problem


2008-03-28
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Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama talks to journalists as he arrives to attend a session of a week-long meditation workshop at a hotel in New Delhi on March 27, 2008. AFP

NEW DELHI—Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama called on March 28 for a “peaceful, lasting solution to the problem of Tibet” in an open letter appealing directly to the Chinese people for understanding.

“I assure you I have no desire to seek Tibet’s separation” from China, the Dalai Lama said.“My primary concern, as I have repeated time and again, is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people’s distinctive culture, language and identity.”

Chinese authorities have repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of “masterminding” the recent wave of protests and civil unrest in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and in western regions of China with large Tibetan populations, a charge the Dalai Lama denies.

“Even at this juncture, I have expressed my willingness to the Chinese authorities to work together to bring about peace and stability,” the Dalai Lama said in his letter.

“I urge the Chinese leadership to exercise wisdom and to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan people.”

Grief and frustration

Meanwhile, A Tibetan was beaten to death in detention after protesting on March 18 in the Luchu area of China’s Qinghai province, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan service. The man’s body was returned to his family on the morning of March 27, the source said.

“His name was Tsering Wangdu, age 45. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. There was a big commotion, and some members of his family attempted to kill themselves in grief and frustration.”

Of 30 protesters detained at the same time, two were released, one after also being beaten and the other after suffering a mental breakdown, according to the source.

“The fate of the remaining 27 is unknown,” he said.

Separately, Tibetan sources in India reported disturbances in Driru county (Nagchu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region) on March 26 and at Kirti monastery, a site of earlier protests, in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in Sichuan on March 28.

“On March 26, a group of Tibetans in Driru protested,” a source told RFA. “The protests did not last long. A large contingent of the People’s Armed Police arrived in the area and stopped them.”

“About seven protestors were detained, but there are no reports of injuries or deaths,” the source said.

Another source described what he called the “storming” on Friday of Kirti monastery by a unit of the People’s Armed Police.

“[Kirti] has about 2,500 monks on normal days, and today we were told that about 100 monks from this monastery were taken away,” the source said. “Even in the town, Chinese authorities have announced through loudspeakers that all Tibetans must close their shops and return home.”

“No Tibetan is allowed to remain in the town,” he said.

Original reporting by RFA’s Tibetan service. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Produced and edited in English by Richard Finney.

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