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Tibet-Sikyong-Middle-way-2014Dharamshala: - In recent years, authorities of the People’s Republic of China have travelled around the world meeting heads of states and important, influential individuals, trying to convince them that Tibet is seeking separation from China; a move that affects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Chinese nation.

However, this is far from the truth, and these blatant lies and propaganda being spread by the Chinese government, have negatively affected people’s perception of the cause of Tibet.

The Middle Way Approach, proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is the long term sustainable solution to the issue of Tibet. Also known as Umaylam in Tibetan, the Middle Way Approach is representative of the middle path between ‘repression and separation.’ According to the Middle Way Approach, a non-partisan and moderate position has to be reached which safeguards the vital interests of all concerned parties-for Tibetans: the protection and preservation of their culture, religion and national identity; for the Chinese: the security and territorial integrity of the motherland; and for neighbors and other third parties: peaceful borders and international relations.

It has long been established that the Tibetans are not seeking independence from the Chinese government, but want ‘genuine autonomy’ for the three traditional provinces of Tibet- Kham, Amdho and U-Tsang, which have been forcefully occupied by the Chinese since 1959. The Chinese government claims that the Middle Way Approach is separatist in nature, even though all that it seeks to do is unify the Chinese and the Tibetans.

Talking about the Middle Way Approach, the Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay recently had 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 misleads international leaders and the international community about the middle way approach, which brings into question our intentions.”

He also added, “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.”

Responding to the Sikyong, Beijing called him an “out and out separatist” and ruled out any form of “independence or semi independence under disguise” for Tibet. Refusing to acknowledge Dr Sangay’s leadership, Hong Lei, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said “Nothing he has done so far is beneficial to the Tibetan area and this so called government-in-exile is against Chinese law. It is well organized with its own agenda to separate Tibet from China and no country in the world has recognized such a government.”

He also went to add, “The door for contact is open but I want to stress that we only talk with personal envoy of Dalai (Lama) and we will only talk about the future of Dalai not anything about Tibet. What Dalai should do is to discard his position of separating Tibet from China and halting all such separatist activities, much with his actions and win the trust of the Chinese government and the Chinese people. The Middle Way proposed by Dalai in nature is seeking for independence under disguise. Our position on this issue is clear, we will not allow any independence or semi-independence under disguise and our policies in having contact with Dalai are consistent and clear.”

Autonomy through the Middle Way Approach is the most basic demand being made by the Tibetans, after decades of oppression and subjugation by the Chinese.  Without autonomy, there remains no way for the Tibetans to reconcile with the Chinese government. The Chinese, hell bent on not granting the autonomy Tibet, has not provided a single reason for doing so. In the absence of valid reasons, it has resorted to false propaganda and name calling.

The only logical and political reason for the Chinese not to grant autonomy to Tibet is because the Tibetans are not Chinese, and Tibet is not Taiwan, or Macau or Hong Kong. Another possible reason is that historically and politically Tibet has never been a part of China. The Tibetans under Chinese occupation are not treated as citizens of China, and there are regular impositions on their cultural and religious practices which are globally respected but neglected by China as they feel it is not a part of their own country. Furthermore, the Tibetans have had their basic fundamental and human rights being infringed upon by the Chinese military occupation.

However, these political manipulations by China are out in the open and the entire international community is watching. It would be juvenile on behalf of the Chinese government to believe that they are capable of hoodwinking people around the world with their malicious and grossly incorrect interpretation of the Umalayam or Middle Way Approach.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com