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TSG-Summit-2012-2Dharamshala: - Non-violence and the preservation of Tibet's culture and environment topped the bill during a speech by the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama to a group of international Tibet supporters on Saturday, November 17.

Welcoming participants of the 2012 Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting, at Dharamshala's Tibetan Children's Village, the Tibetan spiritual leader described his audience as "not pro-Tibet, but rather pro justice and pro- non violence.

"The Tibetan struggle has been a struggle of non-violence," he said.

"Globally there are number of communities that are experiencing difficulties, but unfortunately in many cases, although their cause is noble, they use violent methods to solve their problems.

"Therefore your support is encouragement for us and on a practical level, the non-violent support should succeed, otherwise people may say that non-violence is useless."

Expressing his concern over the damage done to Tibet's environment over the past few decades under Chinese rule, he continued: "One of my Indian friends said that due to Tibet's high altitude and dry climate, if its ecology is damaged it will take much longer to recover.

"Tibet is the roof of the world, so naturally it's a cold place with lots of snow, and is the source of major rivers in Asia, with more than one billion people depending on these rivers.

"The effect of global warming on the Tibetan Plateau is as much as on the South and North Poles. I heard instructions were given to protect Tibet's delicate environment during the time of Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji, but these instructions were not implemented fully at local level due to corruption."

He went on to address the need to preserve Tibet's Buddhist tradition and culture, stating: "The preservation of Tibetan culture is very much needed because it is a tradition of peace, love and compassion.

"But it is being completely destroyed. Through Tibetan culture we can make some contribution to create a happier and more peaceful world through inner peace and a calm mind."

Alluding the Chinese Communist Party's selection of Xi Jinping as its new president this week, he added: "The world's trend is towards openness and more democracy. So no matter how powerful the Chinese government is, they cannot escape the world trend and they have to follow that trend.

"The new leadership in China will realise that they have to adopt a policy based on reality. Unrealistic policy will not solve the problems."

Participants of the three day event, who have converged on Dharamshala from 45 countries, spent the rest of the day taking part in an open forum with Tibetan political leader, Dr Lobsang Sangay, as well as workshops on priority and regional campaigning.

Speaking about the current situation in Tibet, His Holiness said, he has nothing to say on the political aspect of the issue of Tibet. "I am retired and whatever the elected Tibetan leadership says about Tibet is absolutely correct."

"Things are quite serious in Tibet. There is a problem and the problem is neither good for the Tibetans nor the Chinese. Use of force will never bring a satisfactory solution to the problem."

"The Tibetan civilization is very sophisticated. Some Chinese say that the Tibetans are very backward but that is not true. One Chinese archaeologist told me once that Tibetan civilization has its own root."

"Now, the spirit and unity of the younger generation of Tibetans inside Tibet are stronger than my generation."

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