Pema Jungney delivering the Statement of the Tibetan Parliament in-Exile on the occasion of 30th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Dharamshala, India, on December 10, 2019. Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala, India –  In a statement to mark the 30th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 71st International Human Right Day in Dharamshala, India, on Tuesday, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said: “champion of world peace, the destined patron-deity of the Snowland of Tibet and its savior for all lifetimes, and its unsurpassable leader and guiding light."

The commemoration of International Human Rights Day was marked by the 30th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Joined by Tibetans and Tibet supporters, the celebration took place on December 10th in the courtyard of the main temple in Dharamshala, India. In honor of the occasion, Pema Jungney, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile made a speech, bestowing thanks on His Holiness, and urging China to halt their attack on human rights.

Praise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

PemaJungney, speaking for the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, introduced His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the reverent audience. “We are gathered here today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the momentous occasion of the conferment of the globally distinguished Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the master of all the teachings on this earth of the Buddha” and the “champion of world peace, the destined patron-deity of the Snowland of Tibet and its savior for all lifetimes, and its unsurpassable leader and guiding light.”

30 years ago, in 1989, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded His Holiness with the Nobel Prize, recalled Jungney, referring to the prize as the “world’s most distinguished peace award.” The prize was bestowed in acknowledgment of His Holiness’s 40-year campaign of non-violence for the revival of Tibetan independence. Jungney expressed that His Holiness receiving the prize was of great significance to the Tibetan people and “to the people across the world who cherish democracy, freedom, peace, and compassion.”

In his speech, Jungney praised His Holiness’s “power of compassion” and his valuable influence on the surrounding world. “His Holiness has sought to enhance the inherent ethical nature of human beings as a means to strive for the protection of the natural environment, harmony among different religious traditions, for the resolution of situations of war and dispute and so on across the world with a sense of universal responsibility for the goal of ensuring global peace.

“His Holiness has, through efforts at keeping up without decline the fine culture of the religiously immersed Tibet with the aspiration to convert in future this Land of Snows, the roof of the world, into a zone of peace. It is with this profound desire that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has set the course of the Tibetan people on the path of non-violence and peace.”

Tibetan Chinese Relations

Jungney acclaimed His Holiness’s Middle Way approach to resolving the Tibet issue, saying “all people with discerning intellectual faculty have expressed admiration for the nobility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s great, mutually beneficial middle way proposal for the resolution for the issue of Tibet.”

Supported by the Tibetan community, the Middle Way approach was officially proposed by His Holiness in 1988 as a logical means to peacefully settling the Tibet issue. The suggested path includes a prospective co-existence between Tibetan and Chinese people in a relationship of mutual respect. Under the Middle Way approach, Tibetans seek genuine autonomy in the three historical provinces of Tibet but not complete independence from the People’s Republic of China. This, Jungney said, won His Holiness “nothing less than the Nobel Prize”, which was a great accomplishment for the Tibetan community and the Tibet cause.

Jungney then addressed China, denouncing its hypocritical celebration of International Human Rights Day. “In connection with this occasion, I wish to point out that on the 1st of October this year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the so-called People’s Republic of China was observed. In the run-up to the marking of this anniversary, China, in September, issued what it called a white paper on ‘Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China’ in the name of the State Council Information Office.

“The white paper made claims about progress having been introduced in the human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China under its successive topmost leaders during the past seventy years. Nevertheless, every year China has so far taken a front row seat among countries across the world with the worst record of upholding the human rights of its people. This by itself makes it clear that China’s claim about its progress in the field of human rights is patently false.”

His diatribe smeared the white paper, listing various ways in which China perpetually violates human rights. Specifically, he addressed the false claim that China has given autonomy to ethnic minorities living within its borders. “The so-called white paper made claims about China having granted Regional Autonomy for 'Ethnic Minorities'. To the people of Tibet, however, these have been nothing but years of horrendous repression marked by 70 years of territorial aggression and 60 years of deprivation of sovereign territory, with nothing good remaining to be said.”

Tibet had historically been a sovereign nation, said Jungney. “The truth is that ever since the emergence of human civilizations, Tibet and China had co-existed as neighboring countries […] Historical records showing that Tibet and China were two separate countries are too glaring to be possible for anyone to erase it by blacking it out.

He then recalled the history of China’s original occupation of Tibet and its subsequent brutalities. “[T]he communist Chinese government continued to launch in Tibet one campaign of mad and brutal repression after another, such as the Cultural Revolution, over the years. And it has been obvious that those campaigns were designed to deny the Tibetan people their freedom to make use of their own language and script, and their culture and traditions.

“It has therefore been obvious to everyone everywhere that the past decades were a tragic period of enormous brutality unprecedented in the history of Tibet with an underlying design on the part of communist-ruled China obliterate the Tibetan ethnicity.” Jungney highlighted the discrepancies between China’s rhetoric in their recent statement in light of this repressive history towards Tibet. “Given this reality, it was nothing but propaganda rhetoric on the part of the government of China to talk about having made efforts towards achieving progress in ensuring respect for human rights and its claims were devoid of any basis in substantive reality.”

Additionally, the “Seeking Happiness” statement maintains that prominent Tibetan leaders exist with autonomous power in the region and that ethnic minority languages are protected. Neither is true, said Jungney. In reality, “Over the last 60 years, 99 percent of the top leaders of the counties, higher-level offices and of cites in Tibet have been communist party members of Chinese ethnicity. Besides, there have been a total of 14 party general secretaries of the so-called Autonomous Region of Tibet established by China so far and all of them have been ethnic Chinese communist party members. None has been Tibetan.”

Of the alleged protection of linguistic practices, Jungney reported that China forced the Tibetan people to assimilate to Chinese society: “…over the last 60 years, the government of China has split up areas inhabited by the Tibetan people to merge them with various Chinese provinces to thereby deny them the opportunity to protect their ethnic language and script.

“In fact, even within the so-called Autonomous Region of Tibet, Tibetan has been given the status only of the second language. Besides, Mandarin Chinese has been made the medium of teaching in the educational institutions, with those having a better knowledge of this language being given better marks in examinations and in selection tests, preference in job opportunities, and being given higher salaries and so on.

“All this is done in the name of implementing a policy of common national language across the People’s Republic of China. It has been starkly obvious that under this egregious policy, the ethnicity and culture of the Tibetan people have been sought to be systematically obliterated.”

Finally, the “Seeking Happiness” statement proclaims China’s commitment to religious freedom. However, Jungney explains, a myriad of coercive measures are employed to control religious practice. For example, Chinese officials “install television sets and force the monks and nuns to watch and listen to its propaganda that praise its policies as perfect and excellent.” Additionally, the monks and nuns have been “banned from putting up any picture of their root spiritual master, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

According to Jungney, these practices are not exclusive to religious occupations. China also requires any Tibetan graduate interested in government-related employment “to denigrate their root spiritual master, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, before their candidature could be even considered.”

In the name of “democratic reforms, Cultural Revolution, Socialist Thought Reform Education, Education in Patriotism, and so on,” China utilizes various oppressive methods to limit the freedom of Tibetan people. “To the Tibetan people in Tibet, therefore, the past 60 years have been nothing but a period which could only be seen as one of absolute deprivation of human rights and of bondage under the brutal repression of the communist Chinese government.”

2007 Regulations on Tibetan Buddhism and Rinpoche Reincarnation.

Jungney next spoke on China’s State Bureau of Religious Affairs 2007 Regulations on Tibetan Buddhism and Rinpoche Reincarnation, which claims that the government of China protects the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism and has the authority to choose and approve all reincarnations of tulkas.

According to Jungney, China’s claim to Tibetan Buddhism is “utter madness” for several established reasons. The first is that China’s government is a self-proclaimed atheist communist nation, “which rejects any sort of belief in past and future lives.”

The second is that the Panchen Lama is still missing. “If it is indeed true, as claimed, that the government of China protects the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism, the 11th Panchen Lama GedhunChoekyiNyima recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama should be seen enthroned on the seat of his predecessor Panchen Lama,” Jungney justified. “But far from doing anything like that, the government of China has rendered him disappeared along with both his parents. And the question remains: Why does the government of China keep failing to provide a clear answer to all queries on his whereabouts made by the United Nations Human Rights Council?”

The third reason is that the Chinese government has “never ceased to denigrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama, […] targeting him as its rival enemy” and yet it hypocritically “seeks to claim that the power to recognize the reincarnation of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama vested in the communist Chinese government.”

By all Tibetan people, it is understood that the power to find the next Dalai Lama rests with the Tibetan community and not the Chinese government. In his speech, Jungney mentioned that the question of His Holiness’s lineage was discussed during The Third Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People, which was held from October 3rd to the 5th of 2019. All participants prayed that His Holiness leads a long life and that once He has passed that He may “continue to appear in successive reincarnations for as long as sentient beings continue to sustain on the Snowland of Tibet.”

The meeting confirmed that “with regard to the [future] reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the sole responsibility and authority for its determination resided in His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself and in the duly empowered officials of his GadenPhodrang Trust and no one else.” It also established “resolute opposition to the so-called State Bureau of Religious Affairs Order No. 5 of 2007.”

Jungney noted that the decision was reaffirmed during the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference of the Central Tibetan Administration held from November 27th to 29th, 2019. It further resolved that “if the Government of the People’s Republic of China for political ends chooses a candidate for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people will not recognize and respect that candidate.” Wishing to make the position of the Tibetan Parliament perfectly clear, Jungney asserted that “the communist Chinese government, which regards religion as poison, can have no right whatsoever to interfere in the process for the recognition of the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and will also never be in a position to do so.”

“The Chinese government speaks and propagates about the importance of friendly relations and stability,” Jungney went on. “Nevertheless, in Tibet, it has continued to carry out a relentless policy of uninterrupted violent repression.” China has made it increasingly difficult for Tibetan organizations and “attempted to put up every conceivable kind of obstacles by every possible means” to block them from their goals. Especially, Jungney said, it has focused on blocking the Central Tibetan Administration from progressing the Tibet cause.

Once again, Jungney remarked the hypocritical nature of these statements and called for their end. “This is very obviously inconsistent with its claims about having concern for the importance of friendly relations and stability. Accordingly, it bears pointing out that the government of China should bring an end to these kinds of actions and behaviors which are designed only to cause damage to friendly relations and stability that it talks so much about.

“Likewise, the government of China says a great deal about being actively engaged in protecting the human rights of the citizens of the People’s Republic of China. If this is indeed the intention,” Jungney advised, “the communist Chinese government should, without being encumbered by any sort of morbid fear, bring to an end the highly depressing, brutally repressive policy of ethnic genocide that it is still actively implementing in Tibet.”

Jungney finished his address with a call to action, asking the international community to take responsibility in responding to the Tibet issue without delay. “It is therefore of utmost importance that responsible international organizations and groups such especially as the United Nations, the United Nations Human Rights Council and others should carry out a result-oriented investigation of the current tragic situation in Tibet. The purpose should be to ensure that the communist Chinese government does not get away with its highly reprehensible conduct in Tibet as if there is nothing wrong with it. I accordingly urge the international community to strive in bringing China to the level of other progressive nations of the world in terms of having the highest of regards for the human rights of its people.”

He concluded by urging the Tibetan people to unite as one in efforts to resolve the Tibet issue: “The absolutely best way to repay gratitude to His Holiness would be to carry out his wishes with a sincerity of purpose.” He expressed his appreciation for the governments and publics loyal to Tibet, giving particular thanks to the central government and the state governments of India for their continued support. Finally, he prayed that “His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live for a hundred eons, that all his wishes may be seen fulfilled with spontaneity with the result that peace may prevail across the world, and the just cause of Tibet may be achieved in all speediness.”