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2september200991Dharamshala: Tibetans and supporters marked the 49th anniversary of Tibetan democracy today at the main temple in Dharamshala with a big celebration and a strong sense of optimism for the future of Tibetans and Tibetan issues. Tibetan prime minister Prof Samdhong Rinpoche declared that it is now time for younger generation of Tibetans to involve themselves in the political responsibility for the future of Tibet.

Around 2000 people gathered here today, including the visiting French senator’s delegation, members of the Tibetan parliament, and ministers of the Tibetan government in exile. Tibet’s prime minister emphasized that exiled Tibetans are enjoying freedom and democracy under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He said, “Tibetans at the grassroots level freely exercise their individual freedoms to correctly determine — without being swayed by hearsay — the short- and long-term aspirations of the Tibetan people as a whole. This — being a clear indication of the maturity of democratic culture among the Tibetan people — has not only gone a long way in fulfilling the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but it also serves as a source of great encouragement for those of us in the leadership.”  

The occasion boasted spirited traditional song and dance, as well as speeches from the Tibetan cabinet, parliament, and the French senator’s delegation. In the cabinet statement, the Tibetan minister encouraged his community to study the values of the democratic system,  “In order for us to attain greater heights towards true democracy, these conditions are indispensable: education of the people; intellectual freedom; awareness of and understanding/tolerance among the various viewpoints, positions and ideologies; wisdom to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong by eschewing narrow parochialism, etc. Not only is it important that these conditions be improved further but it is also all the more important indeed to be able to choose institution over individuals and duties over rights by judiciously applying the Buddhist concept of the Four Reliance.”  

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche spoke about the globalization and the worldwide economic crisis and urged his Tibetan followers to be cautious during these uncertain times, advising that, “In today’s time, with the rate at which the political, economic, and social changes are taking place globally as well as in Tibet and China, it is difficult to predict the future of anything. Therefore, all the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet must tread cautiously so that we do not make mistakes and lose opportunities.”  

The Rinpoche also elaborated on the current situations in Tibet, stating that “Last year, the Tibetan people inside Tibet, despite the great risk to their lives and properties, carried out a peaceful protest and as a consequence, a large number of Tibetan people had to undergo extreme torture and loss of property. No doubt their sacrifices will not be in vain and will contribute greatly to the realization of the Tibetan cause. The Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) would like to appeal to all Tibetans that it is important for us now to see to it that we do not put the lives of common people in danger, and also make every possible effort not to create any differences and animosity between the Chinese and Tibetan nationals.”

He concluded with a hopeful reference to the future role of Tibetan youth. The Rinpoche declared, “A time has now come for the third generation of Tibetans in exile, who are equipped with both traditional and modern education, to be able to take up political responsibilities. The Kashag believes that they will be more responsible than ever before in the political and administrative affairs of our society.”