Dharamshala: - The political leader of Tibetans, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay accused the Chinese government on Thursday of blanket repression in Tibet as he launched a 'Middle Way Approach' campaign for genuine autonomy in the Himalayan region.
Before the official launching conference, His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessed the Middle Way Approach Campaign, which is said to be the "Most concerted effort till date to secure basic freedom through genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people."
During the swearing-in ceremony of Lobsang Sangay, His Holiness said: "I took over the political responsibility from regent Tagdrag Rinpoche at the age of 16. Now, after 60 years, as I hand over the political authority to the democratically-elected political leader Lobsang Sangay, one of my long-cherished aspirations was fulfilled."
'Today there is a programme on explanation of political situation by the Sikyong and some documents for dissemination. It is most appropriate if you ask questions regarding this to the political leader," His Holiness the Dalai Lama said on the occasion of the launch of Middle Way Approach campaign in Dharamshala.
"There is total repression and total discrimination" in Tibet, Lobsang Sangay told reporters at the headquarters of the central administration in northern India. The Sikyong unveiled the administration's most concerted effort to date to bring about basic freedom for Tibetan people.
Four years after talks reached a stalemate in 2010 and following the self-immolation of 130 Tibetans since 2009, Dr. Lobsang Sangay said the Middle Way Approach Campaign would help people across the globe understand exactly what the Tibetan people were calling for – genuine autonomy.
In his speech, the Sikyong said "Having been to many capitals around the world and met many political leaders and influential people, I know that there are a lot of people are informed about the middle way approach, but they have certain misunderstandings and incorrect notions about the middle way approach. Hence, the Tibetan administration felt the need to introduce this campaign to create awareness in , particularly because the Chinese government deliberately mislead international leaders and the international community about the middle way approach, which brings into question our intentions.
The recent news coming in from Tibet indicate that more restrictions are being posed during this holy month. Even after 50 years, the hardline policies imposed by the Chinese in Tibet have not worked, with numerous protests having taken place, including the recent cases of more than 130 self immolations, resulting in 112 deaths."
He also added, "I hope that the new Chinese leadership will realize their hard line policies are not working, and review the current policies and implement new policies in Tibet which are liberal in nature, in order to find a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue."
Talking about the Middle Way Approach, he said "The Middle Way Approach refers to the middle way between repression and separation. We are all aware of the repression and social discrimination, environmental destruction, economic and cultural degradation by the Chinese in Tibet. All this repression has led to the Tibetans being resentful towards the Chinese government and its policies, resulting in so many forms of protests. To end this oppression is of primary interest to the Chinese government as well as the Tibetan people. By ending the repression and granting autonomy to the Tibetan people, the Chinese government will gain stability, and China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will remain unchallenged. Hence, It's a win win proposition for both the parties."
"By visiting our website (www.middlewayapproach.org OR www.tibet.net/mwa) anyone can learn the exact nature and intent of the policy, and then by clicking on through to such forums as our UMAYLAM page on Facebook and making a 'Like' or 'Share' they can show their support for the Middle Way."
The Middle Way Approach is already supported by international leaders including US President Barack Obama and many Chinese intellectuals, such as imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. The name, the Middle Way, refers to 'the middle way' between repression and separation.
Dr. Sangay said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had spent the past year creating a set of documents and multimedia materials that would make it clear how long His Holiness and the Tibetan administration had stuck firm to this policy, about its impact to date and its intentions for the future.
During an auspicious inauguration ceremony today, the Sikyong presented His Holiness the Dalai Lama – who has devolved his political responsibilities to the elected leader – with the information package.
Introducing the information materials for the campaign, Dr. Sangay said "The Middle Way Approach information materials – including an interactive website, short documentary video, Social Media campaign, timeline of the Tibetan struggle and FAQs – many of them available in 7 languages including Chinese – will make it very easy for people around the world to understand exactly what the Tibetan administration is proposing in terms of genuine autonomy within China."
He said that His Holiness and the then-Tibetan administration formulated the "Middle Away Approach" policy in 1974 as a realistic option to solve the issue of Tibet. This foresight of His Holiness was affirmed in 1979 when Chinese paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, stated that, "apart from independence, all issues can be discussed" and offered talks with His Holiness.
His Holiness presented the Middle Way Approach to the Chinese leader, and a long period of contact and discussions between Dharamshala and Beijing resulted.
"Since this time, there have been 9 Rounds of Talks, four fact-finding delegations to Tibet and regular visits by Tibetans to the Tibetan regions," Dr. Sangay said
"We are calling on the people of the world – young and old – to join the UMAYLAM: Middle Way Approach Campaign and help secure the future of the Tibetan people."
Dr. Sangay's speech was followed by a speech by Miss Dicki Chhoyang, Kalon for Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibet Administration.
Miss Chhoyang spoke of The Middle Way Approach as a peaceful means of conflict resolution based on principles of non violence which we can all relate to. "Any situation of conflict seeks to find a resolution which is mutually beneficial to all the concerned parties," she said. "The Middle Way Approach was conceived by His Holiness the Dalai lama, following the forceful occupation of Tibet by Chinese forces in 1959, which led His Holiness to flee to India, along with 80,000 other Tibetans."
Stating that the Middle Way Approach has helped to establish direct contact between the Tibetan leadership and the Chinese government, she said "In the early years following the repression, the Tibet government wanted complete independence. However, the international obligations and situation in Tibet called for a more pragmatic and realistic solution. In 1997, through a resolution passed by the Tibetan parliament in exile, a resolution was passed unanimously to adopt the Middle Way Approach, which represented the official view of the democratically elected government of the Tibetan people."
There are 6 million Tibetans in Tibet, and another 150,000 around the world.