Convened Under Article 59 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile
22 November 2008
The Private Office's letter addressed jointly to the Speakers and the members of the Kashag (Cabinet), dated 11 September 2008, stated, "In order to hold an extensive discussion and debate with regard to the Tibetan cause in the light of recent emergency events in Tibet and the international scenario, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wishes to convene a Special General Meeting around November or December of this year under article 59 of the Charter. Timing and participants of the meeting should be planned at the earliest by the Parliament and the Private Office should be informed accordingly."
Since the Parliament was in session at that time, the programme of the Special General Meeting was prepared jointly by the Parliament and Kashag and was unanimously adopted after thorough discussions for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's approval. His Holiness approved the same.
Accordingly, the first session of this historic first Special General Meeting was inaugurated in Dharamsala on the twentieth day of the Ninth Month of the Tibetan Royal Year of 2135, 17 November 2008. Special invitees were the Supreme Justice Commissioner and the other two Justice Commissioners of the Supreme Justice Commission, Joint Chairman of the Public Service Commission and Election Commission, Auditor General of the Audit Commission, eight Kalons including Kalon Tripa, 41 members of the Parliament; 18 former Kalons, 32 former members of Parliament, 66 Central Tibetan Administration staff, one Special Envoy and an Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 10 Representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama stationed abroad, 78 representatives of the Local Assembly of Tibetan settlements across India, Nepal and Bhutan and of the general public where there is no local assembly, 60 representatives of regional Freedom Movement Committee, 32 representatives of Tibetan Associations abroad, 20 representatives from various NGOs, 58 representatives of the heads of the Tibetan schools; 30 monk and nun representatives from four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, 11 representatives from various autonomous institutions, and 48 volunteers from India, Nepal, Bhutan and abroad who are involved in the Tibetan cause. In total 560 participants from 19 different countries gathered together at the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) Hall for the inaugural session.
The two Speakers and the Kalon Tripa led the procession carrying the photograph of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Hall amid religious chanting by the monks of the Namgyal Monastary, followed by youths in ceremonial dresses of the three traditional regions of Tibet. Thereafter, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts sang the Tibetan national anthem, followed by one minute silence to pay tribute to the memory of all those brave men and women, specially those who have suffered and continue to suffer the brutal repression of the Chinese Government after the widespread protest movement across three regions of Tibet since 10 March this year.
The Speaker, Mr. Karma Chophel, gave the inaugural address to the first Special General Meeting. After Kalon Tripa, Prof Samdhong Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin's address, all the participants were divided into 15 sub-committees and held extensive discussions for three and half days at Gangchen Kyishong, the seat of Central Tibetan Administration on the specific agenda of "the Tibetan cause in the light of recent emergency events in Tibet and international scenario". Apart from these discussions, opinions were also received from Tibet, Tibetan settlements, organisations, educational centres and individuals.
On 21 November, once again participants gathered at the TCV Hall and the Chairman of each sub-committee presented his report of the result of each discussion group. On 22 November 2008, at eight in the morning, all the Chairmen of sub-committees and members the organising committee of the Special General Meeting of the Parliament's Standing Committee met to prepare the summary of recommendations of the 15 groups. By 1:30 in the afternoon, the final recommendations, which follow, were adopted after presentation to the plenary body.
With regard to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people:
1. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was unanimously enthroned by the people and deities of Tibet as the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. This was welcomed by Tibet's neighbours, including China which is a clear indication of His Holiness being the undisputed spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. This also means that the Central Tibetan Administration is the sole and legitimate representative of the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, which the CTA has inherited from many centuries. This historical experience of the Tibetan people proves the baselessness of the recent rhetoric and propaganda of the Chinese government, which says that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration have no right to represent Tibet and the Tibetan people. The Tibetans in and outside Tibet strongly oppose such remarks.
2. We strongly urge His Holiness the Dalai Lama through this Special General Meeting with the deepest respect, to continue to shoulder the responsibility of the spiritual and temporal leadership of the Tibetan struggle at this crucial period by not stating even a word of semi-retirement and retirement. As the pledge of successive reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, there is none other than His Holiness to continue to protect the people of snow-land, Tibet.
3. Through this Special General Meeting, we strongly urge the Chinese Government to immediately stop the baseless and unimaginable accusations against His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This has made an incurable wound in the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet, particularly in all the followers of the Tibetan Buddhism, including the Chinese Buddhists and in the justice-and-truth-loving people all over the world. This has also contributed to ethnic tension between Tibetans and Chinese thus damaging the long-term interests of unity and co-operation amongst the nationalities.
With regard to the policy and stance of the CTA:
1. Based on the suggestions received to this Special General Meeting from in and outside Tibet and after frank and candid discussions held by the delegates in regard to the future policy of Tibet, it came to unanimous decision to straightly follow the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based on the prevailing situation from time to time. Majority decision to continue the policy of Middle-Way-Approach. Besides that, looking at the Chinese Government's behavior in the past, views to stop sending envoys and to pursue complete independence or self-determination if no result comes out in the near future were also strongly expressed.
2. The Middle-Way-Approach, independence or self-determination, whatever is pursued in the Tibetan struggle, we shall not deviate from the path of non-violence to achieve our aims.
With regard to the Government of the PRC and Chinese people:
1. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in an effort to resolve the Sino-Tibetan problem, by adopting the Middle-Way-Approach, a memorandum on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people, within the framework the constitution of the PRC, was recently presented to the Chinese Government. Leave alone giving positive response, the PRC Government rejected every single clause of the memorandum and accused the CTA of seeking independence, semi-independence or independence in disguised form. Therefore, the dialogue process did not produce any substantive result to the Sino-Tibetan problem and the whole responsibility of this failure is solely with the PRC government.
2. The cause for the recent widespread demonstrations in the Tibet is the outburst of long pent-up dissatisfaction and suffering of Tibetans. The reasons for this outburst are due to harsh and severe policies adopted towards Tibet and Tibetans for all these years since China's occupation of Tibet. The reasons for the continuing Tibetan protests stem from the systematic plundering of Tibet's natural resources, the annihilation of Tibetan tradition and custom, specifically forcing Tibetans in the so-called patriotic education, a campaign which forces Tibetans to vilify His Holiness. The Tibetan protests continue because of the policy of large-scale population transfer of Chinese into Tibet, which further undermines the already-worsened state of Tibetan religion and culture and causes the destruction of Tibet's ecology. The protests also took place because of violations of all fundamental human rights.
3. Because PRC had alleged that they have evidences to prove that recent unrest in Tibet have been 'triggered, instigated, planned and orchestrated' by the 'Dalai clique', His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration insisted that an international investigating body be allowed to travel to Tibet to verify the PRC's claims. And that delegates from China can also visit Dharamsala to investigate and validate their allegation. However, the PRC did not have the gumption to accept both these suggestions. Moreover, PRC could not even bring forth one single evidences in support of their claims before the world audience. This has clearly pointed to the fact that demonstrations and protests in Tibet since March this year are because of repressive policies adopted by PRC towards Tibet and Tibetans since its occupation. Therefore, the PRC government should accept responsibilities for their mistakes.
4. This is to reiterate, through this Special General Meeting, that the cause of Tibetan struggle is a struggle for the rights of Tibetans. It is a struggle against the wrong policies of PRC towards the Tibet and Tibetans. The Tibetan struggle is in no way to wage against Chinese people, as it is being portrayed by the PRC.
5. In order to destroy Tibetan Buddhism, the PRC instituted new regulations on measures for the recognition of incarnate lamas or 'Living Buddhas'. We totally oppose any interference by a government which is avowedly atheist to interfere in spiritual affairs for political advantage. We strongly oppose the 'Patriotic Education' campaign that is being increasingly forced down in various monasteries in Tibet.
With regard to improving and enhancing institution and project works:
A 'Report' will be complied shortly by the Secretariat of the Parliament on suggestions and feedbacks received from Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, as well as recommendations of respective groups, in carrying out administrative tasks, tasks related to education, information broadcasting, health, and finance. This Report will be distributed to concerned departments for their information and action.
Gratitude and appreciation for all the supporters for the Tibet Cause:
This is to sincerely thank, through this Special General Meeting, all Tibet Support Groups all over the world, Governments, general public, Parliaments, other international organizations, and specifically the people and Government of India, for all their consistent support for and solidarity with cause of Tibet and Tibetans during all these years.
On behalf of all the participants of the first Special General Meeting
Twenty-fifth Day of the Ninth Month of the Tibetan Royal Year of 2135
22 November 2008
Mr. Karma Chophel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
Mrs. Dolma Gyari, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
N.B. Translated from the Tibetan original
Please consider the Tibetan as authentic and authoritative.
Source: Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government-in-exile); www.tibet.net.