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His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Statement on the Occasion of the 43rd Anniversary of the Tibetan People's Uprising on March 10, 1959

Today we commemorate the forty-third anniversary of the tragic event in our history. However, I have alwaysconsidered the present and future more important than the past.

The world is greatly concerned with the problem of terrorism as a consequence of September 11.Internationally, the majority of the governments are in agreement that there is an urgent need for jointefforts to combat terrorism, and a series of measures have been adopted. Unfortunately, the present measureslack a long-term and comprehensive approach to deal with the root causes of terrorism.

What is required is awell thought-out, long-term strategy to promote globally a political culture of non-violence and dialogue.The international community must assume a responsibility to give strong and effective support to non-violentmovements committed to peaceful changes. Otherwise, it will be seen as hypocrisy to condemn and combat thosewho have risen in anger and despair but to continue to ignore those who have consistently espoused restraintand dialogue as a constructive alternative to violence.

We must draw lessons from the experiences we gained. If we look back at the last century, the mostdevastating cause of human suffering has been the culture of violence in resolving differences and conflicts.The challenge before us, therefore, is to make this new 21st century a century of dialogue when conflicts areresolved non-violently.

In human societies there will always be differences of opinions and interests. However, the reality today isthat we are all inter-dependent and have to co-exist with one another on this small planet. As a result, theonly sensible and intelligent way to resolving differences and clash of interests today, whether betweenindividuals, communities or nations, is through dialogue in the spirit of compromise and reconciliation. Weneed to research, develop, and teach this spirit of non-violence and invest in these efforts as much resourcesas we do for military defense.

Within the context of the present tense political atmosphere the Chinese authorities in Tibet have continuedin the past year to subject Tibetans inside Tibet to gross violations of human rights, including religiouspersecution. This has led to an increasing number of Tibetans risking their lives to flee Tibet and to findrefuge elsewhere. Last summer, the expulsion of thousands of Tibetan and Chinese monks and nuns from aTibetan Buddhist learning institute at Serthar in Eastern Tibet highlighted the intensity and scale of therepression in Tibet. These abuses of rights are a clear example of how Tibetans are deprived of their rightto assert and preserve their own identity and culture.

I believe that many of the violations of human rights in Tibet are the result of suspicion, lack of trust andtrue understanding of Tibetan culture and religion. As I have said many times in the past, it is extremelyimportant for the Chinese leadership to come to a better and deeper understanding and appreciation of theTibetan Buddhist culture and civilization.

I absolutely support Deng Xiaoping's wise statement that we must"seek truth from facts." Therefore, we Tibetans must accept the progress and improvements that China's ruleof Tibet has brought to the Tibetan people and give recognition to it. At the same time the Chineseauthorities must understand that the Tibetans have had to undergo tremendous suffering and destruction duringthe past five decades. The late Panchen Lama in his last public address in Shigatse on January 24, 1989stated that Chinese rule in Tibet had brought more destruction than benefit to the Tibetan people.The Buddhist culture of Tibet inspires Tibetans with values and concepts of compassion, forgiveness, patienceand a reverence for all forms of life that are of practical benefit and relevance in daily life and hence thewish to preserve it. Sadly, our Buddhist culture and way of life are under threat of total extinction. Themajority of Chinese "development" plans in Tibet are designed to assimilate Tibet completely into the Chinesesociety and culture and to overwhelm Tibetans demographically by transferring large numbers of Chinese intoTibet.

This unfortunately reveals that Chinese policies in Tibet continue to be dominated by "ultra-leftists"in the Chinese government, despite the profound changes carried out by the Chinese government and the Partyelsewhere in the People's Republic of China. This policy is unbefitting of a proud nation and culture such asChina and against the spirit of the 21st century.

The global trend today is towards more openness, freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. No matterhow big and powerful China may be, she is still a part of the world. Sooner or later China will have tofollow the world trend. In the coming months and years the process of change that has already taken place inChina will accelerate. As a Buddhist monk, I would like China, which is home to almost a quarter of theworld's entire population, to undergo this change peacefully. Chaos and instability will only lead tolarge-scale bloodshed and tremendous suffering to millions of people. Such a situation would also haveserious ramifications for peace and stability throughout the world. And as a human being, it is my sinceredesire that our Chinese brothers and sisters enjoy freedom, democracy, prosperity, and peace.

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