Dharamshala: - The month of September – Tibetans in exile mark the 54th anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day. It is a time when we remember and celebrate the historical day that efforts to transform the exiled Tibetan society into a democracy, began. We should remember the day and join with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's collective efforts and value-commitment to democracy sustained non-violent and peaceful resistance against the Chinese rule – making millions of people across the world to pay attention to what Tibetan people have to say about their cause and how Tibetans in exile live in a new democratic society.
We also should never forget the solidarity shown by the international organisations, including millions of individuals that stood side by side with our non-violent freedom struggle icon and demanded a united democratic society in exile. International pressures, marches and public defiance campaigns against failed Chinese policies served to decisively weaken China to answer almost all the Tibet questions over nearly past six decades. Tibetans could not have made this journey alone.
As we celebrate the democracy day on September 2nd this year, we once again do not only express our gratitude to our brothers and sisters inside Tibet for their unshakeable and tireless encouragement and strength but also the international community, particularly the great India and her people who have always shown support in our struggle for freedom.
There is no question that Tibetan community in exile is today a better environment to live in than in Tibet. The democrat freedom we enjoy in exile today will must taken as a "gift" for those in Tibet; it will never voluntarily give by the Chinese oppressors in our motherland. Our people fought tirelessly for more than 50 years to free themselves of the oppressive system of China. We also must remember those hundreds of "leaders" and "freedom fighters" who made immense sacrifices to give hope to the dreams and aspirations of the six million Tibetan people.
It is through their blood, sweat and sacrifice that we understand freedom is not a free. The haunting last words of those Tibetans, including 130 self-immolators remembered not only this day, but will forever echo through time. "The return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland Tibet." "Freedom for Tibet." "Tibetans must be united" to continue the fight.
As we promise to follow in their footsteps, let us continue to remember their sacrifices by joining in celebrating democracy day. Perhaps you see images of flag-waving youth in Dharamshala or Washington or Brussels. Or maybe you heard the optimistic words of some politicians or journalists about happy life of Tibetans in Tibet. Yet one thing is clear once again—we heard the reports of heavy military crackdowns during the Shoton Festival in Lhasa city in recent days—although freedom and fundamental rights for human beings exists in the Himalayan region, that still does not actually exist for Tibetans.
It is clear how much the Tibetan people want peace and democracy, but after hearing the glowing, yet often patronizing, clichés about ‘One country, two system’ that have been bandied about democracy in Honk Kong recently, the fact remains that Tibetans can never experience true democracy and freedom if it remains under the same occupation.
To continue this piece, do we merely praising or expressing for our struggle and democracy or engaging in a real practical manner to continue the fight? Maybe its a question that we should all ask ourselves before we talk about our cause.
Many political experts say the Tibetan example of the development of democratic institutions and systems are a model for nascent democracies around the world. It can be an example that many democratic institutions around the world encourage the international community to assist the Tibetan institutions in exile to continue to evolve and improve on their success. Furthermore it was a relatively smooth process for the politically aware Tibetan population in exile. The only problems stemmed from unwelcome Chinese interference, including an article titled: “Terrorist poised to rule ‘Tibetan government in-exile’?” published by the state-run media "People's Daily."
Despite the upbeat rhetoric from the outside world, we should understand the reality that newly elected political leadership and His Holiness the Dalai Lama alone will not be able to deliver miracles: the real power for a standard democracy still lies with the general public, particularly our younger generations and their understanding of democracy and its values.
When we woke up the morning everyday or after an election or before democracy day, we might have had a new day, but we are still on journey to reach a fully democratic political system and other-hand the cold, hard realities of Chinese repressive rule and policies remained unchanged.
Today the majority of Tibetan people are still not free to move within their own land. When we celebrate this day in exile, at Chinese military checkpoints Tibetans inside Tibet still have to queue for hours, walk through turnstiles like cattle and present an ID card to a disrespected young Chinese soldier who will then decide whether or not they may continue the journey to a holy city, a monastery or wherever else in Tibet they may be heading.
As we celebrate World Human Rights Day every year, we also remember all those men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of peace, democracy, and freedom. We must understand that many Tibetan families stay with their sons and daughters in Chinese prisons on 10-year or life sentences on charges that have never been made clear to the world.
An example current situation in Tibet, Tibetans in Dhanma county in eastern Tibet still have to face the deadly attacks by Chinese armed forces this month and today they still mourn the deaths of six Tibetans tortured, and murdered by Chinese security forces just a few weeks ago. Their deaths, like the Deaths of many other Tibetans, barely make the world headlines because of severe censorship.
China has imposed increased-hardline policies, including military crackdowns on Tibetan people that make life an unbearable and humiliating hell that has resulted in radicalized segments of the population. If the goal of all the Chinese government brutality is stability and unity, as claimed, and if it is really to end peaceful Tibetan movements against China that have become international, then as His Holiness the Dalai Lama has reaffirmed, the easier way to go about it is the "Middle-way", which would curb the crisis rather than encourage more of it.
If the Chinese government could see H.H. the Dalai Lama's long-held belief of finding a mutually-beneficial solution from another perspective, that is only, as a demand seeking a "meaningful" or a "genuine autonomy" and not simply as an act of unprovoked aggression—seeking "separation" or "great Tibet" or "higher autonomy", then a hope would be easier to see the solution,— Change the "culture of genocide" to a "culture of co-existence", halt the Han re-settlements, allow a real "one country two systems" to live all Tibetans in a "single administration" and do it all sooner rather than later. If all this sounds too hard in gaining "hearts and minds of Tibetan people", start by easing a few of the harsh dehumanising measures that make life such a misery and only serve to fuel the long-lasting unrests.
For Tibetan people the decades long crisis towards China to end peacefully, which is the hope of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the majority of Tibetan people, as well as an increasing number of people in China, including intellectuals. Only His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has the miracles to get the support of 99% of Tibetan people to end the crisis, if the new Chinese leadership led by Xi Jinping restrains its heavy hand that continues long lasting repressive policies to disappear Tibet—attempts to repeat of the "historical tragedy" of the "cultural revolution."
The new Chinese president Xi Jinping's recent speech praising Tibetan Buddhism has been warmly received by Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, may be creating a hope for a better future of China in order to create a morally respected nation. But to be successful in this goal, Xi's government will need a serious engagement in honest dialogue with the Tibetan envoys—a crucial and historical dialogue as a means to break through deadlock, not just rhetoric. But we know Xi cannot do it alone.
A few positive reaction also cannot be trusted, just as the former leader Deng Xiaoping's statement on Tibet in earlier 1979 and Hu Jintao's "Harmony society" as well as Wen Jabao's mantra that the need for "democracy and freedom in China." But the Chinese government still has the ability to make substantial contribution to seeing the hopes for peace, democracy, and dignity realized. However the life of Tibetans inside Tibet, today, has not changed at all. There is opportunity and hope to bring change for tomorrow if everyone takes action.