In a Press conference organized by Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo today (2 April 2010), minister Tempa Tsering thanked the organizers for the valuable opportunity to address Tibet issue to the local and foreign medias in Japan. He started his talk giving brief outline of Tibet issue, its complexity and complication. He said that the Tibet issue is an issue of justice, freedom, non-violence and peace. "These principles being fundamental to all; Tibet issue is a universal issue that affects the whole world."
He spoke on the differences in Chinese and Tibetan stands, "Chinese side always claim that Tibet was a part of China and the society was based on feudal serfdom, which China liberated it to a 'Socialist Paradise'. Tibetans maintain that Tibet had been an independent country historically and legally, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration in India's stand is that we should leave the history to the historians, important things is to discuss the future. In this context, if genuine autonomy is granted to the Tibetans, we seek no separation and independence from China."
He said if the so-called 'Socialist Paradise' is a reality, China should open Tibet and let the world see what the Chinese 'Socialist Paradise' is like. "The fact that Tibetans are even now risking their lives crossing the dangerous Himalayan ranges is a clear indication that death is better than this 'Socialist Paradise'."
Tempa Tsering detailed on the Sino-Tibetan negotiation based on the late Deng Xioping's suggestion that 'except for independence, all things could be negotiated'. "In July 2008, the Chinese side has shown a sign of wanting to know what exactly this 'genuine autonomy' that Tibetans are demanding. Taking this as a positive sign, Tibetan delegations during the November 2008 talk presented the Chinese authority, [Tibetan people's Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy in Tibet] which was carefully drafted to stay within the framework of Chinese constitution. But the Chinese authorities rejected this as 'disguised independence'."
"This February", he said, "Tibetan side presented 7-point notes to the Chinese counterpart to clarify the memorandum. Unfortunately, there was no positive response from the Chinese counterpart." But he clarified that the Tibetan side have made it clear that they are open to further negotiation and that they are still committed to talks.
Answering to a question from media on recent Chinese law requiring the Government's approval in confirming Tibetan Buddhist lama's reincarnation, he said, "How can a government that does not believe in religion think of giving approval to something as sacred as reincarnation issue. This is total interference and unreasonable."
On military build-up at Indo-China border, he said that the Tibet has been a peaceful buffer for centuries, now with this buffer gone, the increased military activities in the region is dangerous not only for India but also for neighboring Asian countries in the regions.
When asked about issue of Tibet after His Holiness the Dalai Lama, minister Tempa said that the His Holiness has said that history of Tibet dates back to centuries, where as Dalai Lama institution is some three hundred years old only. "So, with or without Dalai Lama, issue of Tibet will continue to live, current activities and dedication of youngsters in and outside Tibet are living testimony to this trend."
Former minister Jetsun Pema attending to a question on language issue, she said, "Language, written and spoken, is a pillar for every culture. Tibetans in exile have worked hard to preserve this important aspect of our culture." She went in detail to explain about the effort of making Tibetan, a medium of instruction in Tibetan schools in India.
On being asked about how the young His Holiness the Dalai Lama might have felt about his first visit to China in 1954, "From what I have read and heard, His Holiness was very impressed about Chairman Mao and was very positive that things would improve, but the departing word of Mao that [Religion is poison], had alerted His Holiness greatly and took this as a premonition to what was to happen in Tibet".
Regarding President Barrack Obama and His Holiness meeting, minister Tempa Tsering said the February meeting went very well, and that the President has reassured his support to His Holiness middle path approach and non-violence struggle.
According to the organizers, 25 foreign and Japanese medias from all sections and some members of the club have participated in the press conference.
Minister Tempa Tsering is a former Foreign and Home Minister of Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, India. Currently a Minister serving as Chief Representative at Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at New Delhi, India. He is also a senior member of Sino-Tibetan negotiation task force. Jetsun Pema is a former Education Minister and President of Tibetan Children Village (TCV) school based in India.
Tempa Tsering and Jetsun Pema are scheduled to attend discussions and give public talks on Tibet issue and Tibetan education situation in Tokyo, Ishikawa-ken and Okinawa prefecture.
Report filed byTsewang Gyalpo Arya of Tibet House Japan.