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18november20090Rome: “Welcome to our country, city and home, Your Holiness.” Thus President Luis Durnwalder of South Tyrol greeted the Dalai Lama yesterday, on his visit to the Regional Autonomous Governments of South Tyrol and Trento, northern Italy.

His Holiness expressed his appreciation for the support of the two regions and, when asked by President Durnwalder about the situation in Tibet, replied that it has worsened. Since the March 10 2008 demonstrations, he said, he had hoped the Chinese government would address Tibet’s real problems, but  that hasn’t happened.

His Holiness showed President Durnwalder a map of Tibet, pointing out the capital Lhasa, the locations of the 2008 demonstrations and his own birthplace in Amdho.

18november20091His Holiness said that, despite the grim situation, things are changing, with more and more Chinese scholars showing sympathy towards the Tibetan struggle. Over 800 articles in Chinese have been written on the issue, many coming from mainland China.

Speaking at a Meet the Nobel Laureates question-and-answer session yesterday morning, His Holiness spoke about his childhood, reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism, non-violence and the Tibetan issue.

In the afternoon, His Holiness, President Durnwalder and President Lorenzo Dellai of Trento addressed a round-table discussion at a conference on Tibetan autonomy.

His Holiness expressed his appreciation to the conference organizers, saying the event would send a strong signal to China that the Tibet issue will not go away. “We also want autonomy in People’s Republic of China,” he said. “You enjoy all the rights mentioned on paper. In our case, even though the (Chinese) constitution mentions these rights nothing is implemented.

18november20095“The Tibetans have 1,000 years old history. We have developed our own language, and civilization. It is not from China. Not a single Tibetan considers themselves as Chinese. Wherever I go, people say Dalai Lama of Tibet and not Dalai Lama of China.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama pointed out that Tibetan Buddhism is not called  ‘China’s Tibetan Buddhism’, but added that Tibetans do seek independence from China. He suggested the reason for the lack of change in the Chinese government’s position is that it fears allowing more freedom would bring more trouble.

The conference resolved to support the Dalai Lama’s decision to pursue internal self-determination instead of independence, stating that “The proposals contained in the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People are the most effective way to achieve recognition of the rights of Tibetan people to self-government in all regions of Tibet."

18november20093The resolution continued that the memorandum proposes the most effective means of preserving Tibetan language, culture, and religion, as well as protecting the environment and natural resources.

Finally, the conference called on China to engage in negotiations with His Holiness and the Tibetan Government-in-exile, requested all autonomous regions to sign the resolution, and urged the United Nations to support the resolution’s objectives.

Today, His Holiness will address over 200 MPs from 28 countries at the fifth World Parliamentarians’ Convention for Tibet in Rome.

Edited by Matthew, The Tibet Post International

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com